Well, well, 2020, here we are. A new year, a new decade but the same me. I don’t buy into resolutions or the social pressures to suddenly transform into a whole new person come January 1st. As though the strike of midnight will turn us into a walking, talking, goal-smashing wellness guru that will achieve all of their dreams and wishes because we have another 12 months ahead of us. No thanks. I’m pressing pause on that pressure cooker.
I started my year very slowly, nursing a heavy cold and getting stuck into Lucy Sheriden’s The Comparison Cure in front of the fire. Side note: I’d definitely recommend – it’s a fantastic manual to figure out what it is you want from your life and career. I’m totally hooked at chapter 3. I wanted to be super gentle on myself this new year because I have been known to pile the pressure on myself and become instantly disappointed mid-month if I’ve not hit any of my goals. Instagram can be an unstable place this time of year as everyone uploads all of their amazing achievements, exotic holidays and #letsdothis attitude.
I hold my hands up and admit I have done this in years gone past but I made a point of skipping it this year in a bid to not add to the growing “humble brag” culture on social media. And, if you haven’t had a great year it’s just a bit crap to see isn’t it? Luckily, after a few bad years, 2019 served me very well and I’m quietly grateful for every opportunity that was sent my way. I finally started to reap the rewards of lots of hard work and I’m excited to see what 2020 brings, if anything. I’m going in with no expectations, just a trust that the universe has my back.
But, just in case, I’ve been doing lots of thinking about what I want from this year and the direction I want to start taking my life and business in. So, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve been doing to set myself up for 2020 and what you can expect to see from me over the next 12 months
Ok, let’s ease into this and start with the most fun part of a new year. New stationary! Turning a metaphorical page as well as a literal one can be incredibly cathartic and gives hope that anything is possible. I’ve got three notebooks this year – one for journo work, one for blogger work and one to scribble thoughts down in because, let’s face it, no one likes to mess up a new notebook with untidy writing!
Although I use Notes on my phone a lot, there’s something a bit magical about pen to paper and gets all of those whirring thoughts in my brain out in the world. Treating yourself to a new notebook or diary is a great way to just…start.
This is somewhat of a revelation to me and one I’ve had to learn the hard way but this year is going to include a lot of kindness to myself and how I work. As motivating as it can be to hit the ground running come January and have a fresh perspective after a break over the holidays, it can also add a lot of pressure to achieve, achieve, achieve. So, I would advise everyone to take a beat. Think, plan, muse, and be inspired by all means, but don’t berate yourself for not being where you want to be yet and comparing your progress to everyone else around you.
We are all a work in progress and a new month or day isn’t a benchmark to suddenly reach all of those targets otherwise you’re a big fat failure. Take every day as it comes, celebrate small wins and be kind to yourself.
DECLUTTER YOUR INBOX
I spent a lot of time over the holidays unfollowing those who no longer serve me and curating my Instagram into a place of positivity and inspiration. It’s very easy to scroll through social media on the daily and be completely unaware of how those images and captions are actually affecting your emotional state. But the great thing about that is that we can do something about it.
Instagram should be a place that we enjoy hanging out on, not give us dread to click on that little app icon. Don’t feel guilty about unfollowing those who trigger you, even if they’re friends or family – if they’re not making you feel inspired, interested or generally good then click that mute or unfollow button and fill your feed with those who do.
This also goes for email subscriptions. I’ve de-cluttered my inbox and signed up for some new inspirational newsletters such as
Although I didn’t post a month-by-month account of my year on Insta, I did spend some time looking back over the last 12 months and taking stock of everything I did (and didn’t) achieve. So often we’re onto the next thing without giving ourselves a pat on the back about what we’ve just achieved and that’s so important for our confidence, self esteem and goal-setting for the future.
Something that I found really helpful last year was writing down every ‘win’ of the day in bed before I went to sleep. This could be anything from putting a wash on or securing a brand deal. Not only does it send me to sleep on a positive note, it also reminds me that every day I’m succeeding.
FIGURING OUT WHAT I WANT
A big focus for 2020 is to figure out what I want and work backwards. Alot of last year was finding my feet and trying different ways or working. I took on a lot of work that perhaps didn’t align with me or my goals but I had that self-employed guilt of taking everything that came my way. This year I’m going to be more selective and really hone in on my brand, and what I want to focus on.
Following Lucy Sheriden’s advice, I created a vision board for this year and I was surprised by how helpful (and fun!) it was. I look at it all the time when I feel like I’m going off-course and it keeps everything in perspective of where I want to get to this year and beyond.
Over the years I’ve found that not having a set to-do list and a few objectives is a sure-fire way for motivation to leave the building. Tackling all of those “that can wait” items on your ongoing to-do list can leave you feeling like you’ve really accomplished something and have a clear path for the year. Whether it’s filing old emails, deleting your camera roll or creating that contacts spread sheet.
For me, this includes my finances. This is the year where I’m going to sort out a pension, savings account and budgeting system. Apps like Moneybox and Quickbooks can help you track where you’re spending without realising (hello morning Starbucks!) and help you save effortlessly when you can’t spare chunks of your salary.
SET THE RIGHT KIND OF GOALS
Although I’m waxing lyrical about taking it easy, that’s not to say we can’t have ambition, as long as we set the right kind of goals. Sure, my life goal is to be Beyonce but perhaps setting something a bit more achievable will help me on my way. There are two types of goals; an outcome goal which is something that we don’t have control over such as “get 50k Instagram followers” or “get a promotion” and process goals which we do have control over, such as “email five brands” or “go to the gym twice a week”.
While it’s fine to set outcome goals, focus more of your attention on process goals which you can measure and have control over. That way you won’t be disappointed if you don’t meet them when they’re not in your control and you can keep pushing forward with what you want.
Here’s to a year of being gentle and kind to ourselves, celebrating the small wins and taking the pressure of winning at life.