I’m back from a short, unplanned blogging break that began with a cold that hit hard as soon as Winter Break and continued on with me realizing I desperately needed some downtime. So after some relaxing, watching amazing movies, reading for long stretches, discovering a talent for Cooking Fever, spending time with my family, and LOTS of sleeping, I feel (more or less) ready to hop back into the game, although I am realizing now that I may have overestimated how much energy I would come back to school with. Still, I’m trying to be gentle with myself, learn the lessons along the way, and trust in the process.
To write this blog post I put on a pair of shoes, a tip that I heard makes you more productive. So with my old little sneaks on my feet, I now want to share with you some of the resolutions that I set for this coming year, 2018.
A note on resolutions
I know resolutions have been getting a lot of bad rap. I’ve seen many people moving towards intentions or just foregoing the process altogether. I totally understand that, as I too have been leaning towards intention making rather than goal setting lately. For me, personally, however, the rush of the New Year is something I can harness to make positive change in my life. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with setting New Year’s goals if they work for you. It’s all about setting the ones that are right for YOUR life.
So for me, you’ll see that none of what I came up with is really overhauling my life. I’m not promising to travel to every continent, change my name, and become fully fluent in Japanese. My resolutions are also are specific, time-bound (when possible), and manageable. They are small changes I know will make my life better, but may not happen unless I set these goals now.
Read 12 non-fiction books
WHY? Reading is relaxing, and non-fiction books will expand my knowledge and skills.
Last year I kept adding “read 20 minutes” to my daily habit tracker (link to blog post). It was a nice try… by which I mean it did not work at all. Daily reading just ain’t gonna happen for me. So this year I’m giving myself more room to space that reading out when I have free time, and I’m resolving to simply read one non-fiction book per month. I’ve already got my first two books of the year set.
Complete 12 online courses
WHY? It will help me get better in a lot of the technical skills I need for blogging - photography, video editing, marketing, etc.
My communications internship provides me with free access to Lynda.com, and I resolve to take advantage of that this year. I’ve planned out my first few courses of the year to match what is going on in my blog/life that month. Obviously nothing is set in stone :)
January: Getting Things Done
February: Gap Year 30-Day Challenge AND Build a Profitable Blog Course
March: Learning Natural Light Portrait Photography
April: a course on manifestation (to be determined, suggestions welcome!)
May: Premiere Pro CC 2017 Essential Training: The Basics
June: Vlogging for Business
Put together a 365-second video
WHY? To learn to appreciate the beautiful little moments of even the most mundane days, and to end with a succinct visual record of the year.
My 2017 attempt didn’t go well… I kept forgetting to record the daily video clip and then getting discouraged by the blank spots in my video! My friend, who liked the idea, also got on the bandwagon a little bit later in 2017, and she has been going strong ever since then. Putting this back on 2018’s list is partly motivated by the New Year, and mainly by her inspiring tenacity. If you want to try the same thing, 1 Second Everyday is an amazing app. For inspiration (or if you’re like me, a good cry) here’s a video of a baby’s first year of life in one second a day.
Get my ears pierced by the end of January
WHY? It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time and it’s time to finally get it over with so that I can finally experiment with those earrings I’ve been pinning on Pinterest since forever.
While many people get their ears pierced when they’re little, or even babies, it just wasn’t something my parents ever suggested to me. Plus, as a worrier, the idea of a permanent hole in my ear terrified me (I now realize they can close up). Well, things change, I’m 17, and the lure of cute earrings is too strong. I am afraid of needles but have gotten my blood drawn multiple times, so I should be able to handle this… right?
Get up without snoozing for 30 days straight
WHY? To save time in the morning and feel more energized during the day.
Did you know that hitting snooze can actually make you more drowsy once you actually wake up? (source) Those few minutes that you so desperately crave aren’t even quality sleep, so you’re really just wasting time. Getting up right away can sound terrible, especially in the middle of the cold, dark winter, I know. That’s why instead of setting a vague goal of no snoozing for the entirety of 2018, which is improbable and easy to make excuses out of, I set a goal for hitting a 30-day streak. Once I reach this, I figure the habit will be ingrained in me and having experienced the benefits will be enough motivation to keep going. I’ll then be able to take this goal off my docket and replace it with a new one.
Maintain an average of 7 hours of sleep per week for 5 weeks
WHY? I was not getting sufficient sleep in 2017 and it’s critical for my health and happiness.
Seeing a pattern here? Lots of numbers in my goals. If you find your New Year’s resolutions to be hard to measure and keep up with, numbers just might be the key to success for you. I’ve been using my period tracker, Flo, as a sleep tracker. I simply press a button when I go to bed, and another button when I wake up. Easy peasy! The hard part is actually getting enough sleep. First semester was a little crazy, and for the first time in my life, 4.5 hours of sleep became a common occurrence, which was kind of scary to me. I know 8 or 9 just isn’t realistic for me, but I think that with the addition of the weekend, I can reach an average of 7 hours. It’ll take some increased efficiency and an acceptance of the fact that I can’t do everything I wish to do, but it will be worth it.
Be elected president of my volunteering club in April
WHY? It’s a leadership position I’ve been wanting to take on for a long time, and it will be my last year of high school next year.
I feel fairly confident that my friend and I can get elected co-presidents (we were co-vice-presidents this year) but it’s something I just want to keep on my radar so that I stay focused in my work for that club AND because achieving something is just a little sweeter when you get to also physically cross it off! Don’t lie and tell me you’ve never added an already completed task to your to-do list just for the satisfaction of crossing it off...
Achieve a 4.0 GPA for junior year
WHY? Because whatever path I choose for after high school, a 4.0 is always a good thing to have for colleges, scholarships, etc.
While I feel confident that I can achieve this goal, part of this is honestly a reminder to myself that a 4.0 is all that I need. During first semester, I had to do a lot of paring down in my schoolwork. I used to be a do-it-all student. And then slowly I came to realize that an A at 91% was no different from an A at a 100% when it came to transcripts. I started to push myself to work faster, not necessarily harder, because I realized that I had other priorities in my life that needed time and energy, and I couldn’t waste that on trying to get perfect grades.
Reach FBLA nationals in Baltimore in July
WHY? To push myself competitively in an event that is so closely related to blogging and my future aspirations, as well as to travel!
Future Business Leaders of America is a club I joined last year. I competed in the Publication Design event and honestly went into regionals feeling nervous nervous nervous and just hoping I wouldn’t embarrass my school’s chapter. Well, imagine my surprise when I got first place, and then went on to win first at the state level. Traveling to the state and national competitions were some of the best experiences of my sophomore year, and it is something I intend to repeat this year as I compete in the Social Media Campaign event. The theme this year? A food kit delivery service catering to various styles of eating, such as vegetarian and vegan. RIGHT up my alley.
Reach 1000 Instagram followers by the end of Q1
WHY? To push myself to produce better content for Instagram and to engage more with the community. To grow my blog.
I feel like a fancy business person using terms like “Q1”. All that is missing is a nice suit and a Powerpoint presentation with graphs to explain how I will achieve this goal.
But in all seriousness, I feel like I’ve been doing well on Instagram, just not as well as I could be doing. And I think that that is mainly due to not having number goals. I know, I know, numbers aren’t everything, but I think having this set goal will help me grow faster.
Earn a minimum of $150/month working for my parents, through June, and work at least a little bit each week.
WHY? To earn money, and to create a disciplined routine of working.
Whew, this is my most wordy goal, but I do think each part of the sentence is necessary. To explain, an opportunity I’m super lucky to have is the ability to work for my parents. They work from home, and they pay me when I help them sort and package orders. It’s one of those things that there usually “isn’t enough time for”, but hey, just last year I was saying I didn’t have enough time for blogging and look at me now. I know I can make it work. The goal’s time limit is June, simply because that’s when the school year ends. Once summer break is here (woohoo!), I’ll ramp up my work hours.
Meditate 2x a day for a full month
WHY? To increase my ability to cope with stress and anxiety, and to make my mornings and transitions from school to home smoother.
Work on my blog for 10 hours a week
WHY? To make sure I am giving a large chunk of my time and energy to blogging every week.
Through tracking my time with the Now Then Pro app, I’ve found that the time spent on my blog hovers around 10 hours. So I’m not making a drastic change with this resolution. Just reasserting my commitment to my blog and ensuring that I keep up with it every week.
Organize at least one social outing per month, through the month of June
WHY? I love my friends and want to spend more time with them because it’s not too long until we all go off to college. Plus, it clears my mind and brings me joy.
Once a month isn’t a lot but even that is sometimes hard to achieve, especially if it’s not a goal set in stone. With the busyness of school and extracurriculars, weekdays are basically off-limits, and weekends can feel like a precious time to catch up on work, sleep, and family time. With this monthly goal I hope to step out of my comfort zone and be the one to suggest and coordinate those board game nights, ice skating, movies, etc.
Complete the gap year challenge by February
WHY? I am almost certain I want to take a travel gap year when I leave high school, and it’s never too early to start planning.
Last year (so like a month ago, haha I’m so original with my New Year’s jokes), I found this 30-day newsletter thing from BootsnAll that guides you through a bunch of the steps of planning a travel gap year. I’ve been glancing at each e-mail as it came in, and sorting it into a little folder to look at later, but February is the time I’ve decided on to seriously sit down and complete all of the “homework” assignments they give you.
Whew, that was a long blog post! This list is long, but I think all of my resolutions (or goals) are manageable. Taking a one second video clip each day? Easy peasy. Getting up without snoozing. I got this! Reading a book a month? Feels a lot more manageable when I set that goal and plan ahead of time what book I’ll read.
2018 will be a busy year for me. Finishing up junior year (which everyone says is the hardest), starting my LAST year of high school (ahhhh), and becoming a legal adult (AAAHHHHHH). I want to make the most of this year. I feel like 2017 brought so much progress in terms of figuring out what kind of a person I am, what I want to do, and organizing my life to fit everything that matters to me. In 2018 I want to build upon that, learn more, experience more, and just get everything I can out of life.
What are you looking forward to this year? Did you set resolutions?
Wishing you all a beautiful New Year!