It’s that time of the year again, New Years! We are in the first week of the new year and like clockwork, you see two major kinds of posts: “Resolutions, hell yeah!!!!” or “Resolutions are stupid!!!!” And everyone can agree that resolutions usually don’t go to plan. If it even makes it to the end of the month. Frankly, there’s already a lot of content out there about why resolutions fail, so I’m going to leave that alone.
The other day I posted my my 2017 year in review, all about this last year. And while it wasn’t the year I thought it would be, it was the one that needed to happen. Being able to look back on the last year has really shown me where I want to go for this next year.
Instead of listing specific statistics for my goals, making everything numerical (which I am very prone to, as a Capricorn), I want to focus more on themes and growth. Focusing too much on the numbers, and not how far I’ve actually come, can be unnecessarily demotivating, particularly because they aren’t always within my control. Numbers will play a part, but they will not be a focus.
This is definitely one of my top priorities this year. After years of trying to get a blog off the ground, I want to make this the year that I make it happen. I don’t want to give myself a specific number goal for followings or anything, since as I’ve mentioned that’s impossible to control without using some pretty shady practices and that’s not what I’m about.
This year I’m going to focus on consistent content, at least once a week on here and on my Instagram. Posting at least once if not twice a week on my blog and three times on Instagram, and engaging weekly in Twitter chats (you can find mine here) are going to be the main focus. Second will be engaging in groups on Facebook and starting to use we my Facebook page for my blog more. But overall, quality is going to be the main part of this consistency. Instead of making content simply to get something out, I’ll focus on making sure I put out posts I’m excited about, that I feel good about. Even if I only post once a week, I’ll be able to be proud of it because it’s going to be a damn good post. I’m making sure of it.
Something I made a mistake with in restarting my blog was not understanding the time it can take to get established and keep things running. I grossly underestimated it. Like holy crap. But now I have a better picture of what this can and will take, especially considering that I would love to do this as a job (part time or full time, not picky).
Creativity and Expression
When I was a teenager, I drew all the time. I used to play violin and I wrote, I had all these creative outlets, and I don’t know what happened but I stopped. One day I stopped creating things that made me happy, and I want to find that spark again. I’ve bought watercolor supplies, I now have a new iPad pro (which made me cry when I opened it on Christmas), so I have what I need to create. I want to express myself more, through art and through my blog and in every outlet of life that I can find. Starting an art journal this year is absolutely something I want to pursue, I just need to get over my Capricorn perfectionism and Leo ambition and get to it. You would think that combo would make me insanely productive, but I just tend to stall out from fear of failure.
Tying back into my blog, I’m going to find my own ‘look’. Lima from fashionicide.com (who is fabulous you need to follow her) has such a distinct style and look in her posts, you can tell them from a mile away. I want to be able to find that signature for myself. It’ll take experimentation, and no more slapping posts together to get them out in time. But it’ll be an adventure, and one I’m excited for.
This is advice I see again and again for blogging and life in general, and it’s something I’m bad at. As a very self conscious and insecure person, I have a hard time promoting myself, putting myself out there. Partially because I’m worried I’m doing it wrong, but also because I’m worried no one will care or respond or see worth in what I’m doing. And I’m starting to realize that it’s not about others seeing my worth. It’s not others jobs to seek me out when even I don’t want to deal with myself sometimes.
It’s up to me to promote myself, my blog, my friendship, my art, my work. It falls to me to show what I have, not for others to eek it out of me. This year, I’m going to be shameless about it. I’m going to offer up what I have and what I make and show the world. I’m going to seek out friends and opportunities because they won’t fall in my lap. Especially not in a field like blogging or biomedical sciences. Everyone’s got something, but it’s my job to advertise me. Not for others to beg me to advertise when they don’t even know my name.
Mindfulness and Intentional Living
For those of you who don’t know, I suffer from anxiety and depression. This causes me to run on autopilot a lot, especially when I’m having an episode. In those instances, I shut down, shut off, and just go from day to day. And this results in not being able to remember things. I forget what I do from day to day, I forget what I’m doing, I forget what I need to do. And I’ll end days feeling like I haven’t accomplished a single things because I’ve been too shut down to care.
I want to be more present in my life. Too much of my time has been stolen from me by anxiety and depression. I want to live with purpose, I want to remember each day and I want to live my life aware and not constantly dissociating. The brain fog needs to go now. So I want to practice being present, being aware of my choices and how I treat myself and my body and my projects.
Over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff. I’m not sure why entirely, but I went through a period of my life where I overshopped. I bought things I liked because I liked them with the justification of needing it “one day” or “treat yourself” or any other number of platitudes. Maybe I did it because I could finally afford the fun stuff I wanted, or maybe it was a case of trying to keep up with other bloggers, or maybe I was trying to fill a hole in my heart.
Now, I may not go full on minimalist, having less than 100 possessions or whatever the goal happens to be as dictated by the internet. But I want to reduce the clutter in my life, the needless possessions I managed to accumulate for literally the sake of having them. That wasn’t self-love, it wasn’t self-care to buy things simply because I wanted them. It was simply patching emotional hurdles that I refused to face. So I will be recycling what I can, donating, giving away what is possible. Some things will have to just be thrown out, unfortunately, due to age or what have you, but I don’t want to be wasteful in how I reduce either.
Part of this will be shopping more consciously, not just buying for the sake of it. Also, using ebooks instead of regular books (because I am a voracious reader and my to be read pile is actually taking over my room). It’s nice to collect things, and I’m not against it in theory. I simply ended up trying to collect everything. And that ain’t sustainable.
As part of pursuing a more minimal, intentional, and mindful life, I’m making self-care a major part of my year. Instead of chasing things that only patch emotional holes and soothe wounds for a moment, I’ll cultivate habits and behaviors that really nourish me. For example, eating. I notice a marked difference in how I feel when I eat well vs when I poorly. I feel a lot better when I take care of my skin. I forget how it feels to accomplish things like finishing a blog post or revising a chapter from a textbook. I get used to the feeling of doing nothing, which feels nice in the moment but not so much later on.
And I’m trying to teach myself that I’m worth the effort. I’m worth the time and the energy to feel my best and treat myself well. And that by taking care of myself I’m investing in myself in a way that doesn’t cost me anything except a few extra minutes during the day. Over the year I want to incorporate journaling (which I’ve saved a bunch of prompts for over on my Pinterest), to keep track of how I am feeling, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I’m going to study languages and cultivate a good meditation practice, and create art this year. For my own sake.
Plant-Based, Whole Foods
Finally, I want to switch my diet, which has frankly yo-yo’d from healthy to unhealthy. It really could do with some cleaning up, so I want to phase out things like junk and soda from my diet, as well as animal products. I’ve felt the difference it made for me when I ate clean, natural foods with no dairy or weird by-products. I know that it’s overall better for me to clean up my diet, spiritually, physically and mentally.
It’ll be better for me, the animals, and the environment.
Overall, I’m looking forward to this year. I sincerely feel I can make this a good one. I’m figuring things out, I have a plan. And even if it doesn’t go exactly according to plan, I’m pretty prepared to be able to work with whatever comes my way.
What are your themes for 2018? Let me know!