With one week of the month to go – god knows how it is still January – this is a bit late, I know. But I feel like everyone is full of promises and resolutions in the New Year that I prefer to see what really is doable before committing and sharing. As I proclaimed last year, I personally think it’s better to set goals, or make changes for the year ahead rather than resolutions, and the first thing I did this year was look back over what I wanted to change last year to see if I did or not. I actually did pretty well, or at least made a start on them all, and again they form a lot that I have in mind for this year. Life is a work in progress after all, and if there is one thing I’ve learned over the past year, it’s that priorities change. Here’s what I’m hoping for this year..
The biggest thing for me this year is balance, mainly work life balance but also extending into everything else, from spending habits, to diet and exercise, and of course travel. While my work travel calmed down last year significantly compared to the previous year, it was still pretty heavy and it impacts so much of your life at home. It is set to reduce again further this year, and although I LOVE this aspect of my job, I have such a busy year personally that I’m quite relieved.
It also leaves room for more personal travel – yay! I have never appreciated being sat in an airport bar waiting to board a plane to go on a real holiday as much as I have since I began travelling with work. It takes me a while to adjust to not needing to check emails and to realise it is actually my own time. I have some great trips planned already for this year, hen do’s, holidays, long weekends, and it’s my dream to do a real winter break at the end of the year – snow, log cabins and the mountains.
5 Things I’m Making Sure Happen in 2020
A routine and good time planning
A reduction in work travel means I can really get into much more of a routine in my daily life, which as old as this makes me sound I can’t wait for. After years of going between each others houses, fitting around work travel, moving about and living out of a suitcase what seemed like constantly, Kieran and I finally moved in to our place together just before Christmas.
The run up to Christmas was then absolute carnage, and it’s been so nice the last couple of weeks to just live normally, be able to plan nice meals rather than quickly grabbing something, and sitting on our own sofa with peace, quiet and a lot of box sets.
I’ve got into my own habits after work, I’m blogging more because I have more time for it, I’m spending a lot less, eating healthier, and in general feel a lot more settled. It’s a nice feeling, and one I want to continue long past January.
I spent a fortune on a 2020 planner and it is the most beautiful thing, but I’m also actually using it rather than forgetting about it after a week. It’s been so helpful to keep track of what I’m eating and spending, it’s literally my whole life now. Great for lists too, I love lists.
Stop over committing myself
This was on the list last year, and is very much still here again this year. Although I went through phases of being good at this and had all the best intentions, overall I’d say I failed miserably for big parts of it. Christmas time is always busy and I love catching up with people, but I was absolutely knackered by the end of it.
This happened at a few other points in the year, and I feel a lot of pressure to try and do everything and see everyone. Only from myself though, I hate missing out. I am still working on being comfortable with just saying no.
So prioritising is back on my radar, across the board. This year that’s going to mean that me, myself and I will be top of the priority list (not even sorry), along with Kieran and his 30th birthday, and my cousin and her wedding. I refuse to be anything less than ‘present’ for these things from start to finish.
A healthier lifestyle
That old chestnut. Yeah well this ties into both of the above too, having a routine that includes exercise and healthier eating is a lot easier when you slow the pace down and aren’t grabbing whatever food is available in airports or hotel bars, or relying on takeaways at the weekends because you’re too tired to cook.
I’m mid way through my 5.2 diet and dry January and I’m going strong. I’m even about to click ‘join’ on the gym website as soon as it hits February because I refuse to be a January gym cliche.
That said when you’re out of breath running from Asda to the car in the rain you really need a word with yourself. I also hated how my clothes were feeling. I don’t care what weight I am, but I do care how I feel about myself.
A healthier lifestyle also covers mental health as we all know, and while mine is pretty good overall, I’m making sure I’m doing something about it if things bother me. Which leads me on to…
Speaking up more and not feeling the need to justify myself
This was on the list last year too and when I read it to some colleagues the other day as we discussed resolutions, they all burst out laughing. I’m not exactly known for being a quiet little wallflower, but a lot of it is surface level. If I’m overreacting or mouthing off about something chances are it doesn’t really bother me that much and I’ll be over it quickly.
But if something does bother me usually with people or situations I care about then I bottle it up and stress over it. That type of issue keeps me awake at night and I can’t compartmentalise it, it just takes over my thoughts. The real shit, the stuff that matters, I just have to deal with it, usually in one go.
It doesn’t happen to me often as I’m pretty good at facing things, but when I worry about the consequences of speaking out that’s when I have a problem. I have an entire post coming about confrontation, and how I am fed up of it having such negative connotations all the time. Sweeping things under the carpet does no good for anyone.
So seen as I’m making myself a priority if something bothers me genuinely, it’s coming right at you.
On the reverse I’m also going to make a conscious effort not to justify myself all the time. I had it pointed out to me recently how much I do this. It’s not a lack of confidence in what I’m saying or doing, I don’t struggle with that at all, it’s a feeling of not being comfortable with just letting people deal with it whether they like it or not, and therefore having to explain myself.
It wasn’t until I looked back on last year and realised yet again how many amazing opportunities I got, and things I got to experience due to this blog and my Instagram. I worked with so many new brands across travel, Newcastle, and even dabbled in some beauty work too.
I earned enough money to be able to do things I would never have been able to if it wasn’t for the extra income, but still I don’t do it for the money. The experiences are way better than the cash for me, and glamping for the first time, a night at Ghetto golf, a spa experience at Seaham Hall, Go Ape, and working with some local brands have really been a lot of fun.
Last year I said I wanted to revamp my photography style which I did pretty quickly, and I rediscovered my love for taking photos and editing them. My instagram surged mid way through the year and I hit 10k followers in Autumn. It’s not the be all and end all but it has made a massive difference to my blog and the opportunities I am being offered.
This wasn’t an opportunity or partnership but getting all my New York content out there was a highlight, as so many people used it and contacted me to say how useful it was. People literally followed my itinerary to the letter, and it’s always so nice to hear.
This year for my blog and Instagram I hope to just do more of it. I’ll always focus on travel and Newcastle as a priority, but I have a draft list full of random thoughts and topics that I’m going to share some of those too. I’ve never put specific figures or numbers down as goals, as when you work full time too it’s not always easy to stick to them. But it’s all growing and I hope that continues this year.
I’m also launching my Social Media Consultancy, which is going to have various levels to it from just signing up for general info and insight, to full management and support.
So overall, nothing too drastic I don’t think, and all completely doable. As much as I want to be healthier, I’m not giving up takeaways and Doritos completely, as much as I want to be more organised, I want to keep doing spontaneous things and booking random trips away too, and as much as I don’t want to overcommit myself I want to enjoy everything that 2020 has in store.
Like I said – balance.