Christmas came and went at the speed of light, and it's now time to reflect on the year that is coming to an end, and make a list of resolutions for the new one that's fast approaching. I feel like this year flew by! Especially the second half. Overall, I've had amazing things happen in my life this year. Some of them I even managed to tick off of my bucket list! Things such as buying a Fiat 500, finding a job that I love and buying my first house. Looking back, and even though the year got off to a bumpy start, I am actually very proud of myself, for everything I've accomplished in 2017.
I have, however, failed at a couple of promises I made for 2017, and what better time to fix these things if not while planning and writing down goals for the new year? In 2018, I want to focus more on those things I didn't manage to accomplish this year. It's never too late to achieve the things you want to - you just have to work really hard, have the right mindset and make things happen for yourself. 2017 was a year of struggles and a lot of fighting. But I can smile as I enter 2018, because not only have those struggles made me a stronger person, they've also given me what I was hoping to get from all the hard work. I can confidently say that I am now at a much better place with everything in my life! Finally!
Now that the core puzzle pieces are coming together, I can focus on perfecting other aspects of my life. I've decided to create a list of New Year's resolutions, so I can keep track of my progress throughout 2018, by ticking things off as I go. This is my very premature list of 26 New Year's resolutions for 2018. Yes, I know we're only entitled to 12 wishes each year. But I'm not relying on magic or pixie dust, here. I want to really focus and WORK towards these goals.
1. Commit to writing a blog post every week / focus more on my blog. I really want to focus more on this blog in 2018. One blog post a week sounds perfectly achievable to me. I want to express myself through writing a lot more in 2018 than I have this year.
2. Increase my followers on nouw. I didn't put a number on this one, because it would probably be too impractical to begin with. I would probably aim too high.
3. Save money to go on a big trip around the US. I want to try and save at least £100 every month. If this means cutting out on take-away, coffee shop stops, eating out or going out, then be it! I want to go on a big trip in 2019, so I want to save as much money as I can in 2018. It will all be worth it!!
4. Drink 2L water a day - if it's true what people say, it should only take me about a month before my body changes its mind-frame, accepting water as a 'habit / necessity' rather than a horrible 'challenge / burden'. I'm not going to lie, I hate drinking water. It's flavorless, and makes me feel bloated every time I drink a full cup of it! I only used to drink whenever I was thirsty, which is a big no-no, as it means I'm dehydrated already...it shouldn't happen! I have been getting better at this, but I'm far from there, yet. I want to have a go at 2L a day, and if I find that number too ambitious (which honestly...it isn't...) I'd like to re-write this and definitely drink at least 1.5L every single day.
5. The big 20.000! I've been using this number as a 'rule' for daily steps I do for a while, but I seem to have become lazy, and I stopped tracking it. To be honest, I think the problem was that I became too obsessed with it. If I hadn't hit that goal one day, I'd become really depressed and self-conscious. Sometimes, I would start running around the living room (yes...this has happened in the past) to try and hit that goal. I couldn't relax, and you all know I have anxiety and stress problems as it is. In 2018, I want to make sure I walk at least 20000 steps each day, without pressure! Tracking is not the problem. Tracking is super easy with any fit-band, apple watch, or with simply a pedometer. There should be no excuse. I just need to not be so hard on myself if I ever miss that goal. Now that I've got a car, I don't walk nowhere near what I should every day. Driving around has become a commodity, and I still want to make sure I am walking / exercising enough. Hence why the big 20.000 is part of my resolutions for 2018.
6. Eat better and learn / try more recipes - I have transitioned to a fully vegan diet for a few months now. I have watched so many documentaries about the environment, animal agriculture and every single bit of information that's out there about environmental changes and what we're doing to our planet and I just don't want to be a part of it anymore. I don't understand why we would love a cat or dog but kill a pig. And it upsets me that I haven't seen it before. I am still eating a few non-vegan things every now and again (more out of habit than need, if you ask me), but I want to quit all of that in 2018. I want to make sure I go fully raw / vegan, and that I won't poison my body with any more dead animals. If this means learning more recipes, reading more books, watching even more documentaries about veganism, I will do it. I've already cut out all the meat, fish and dairy products of my diet. But sometimes I struggle finding products that don't contain any milk, eggs or cheese in them. A few times this year I've bought them anyways, because finding an alternative was too hard / time consuming, and I needed a quick fix. With this in mind, I want to meal prep more in 2018, and I don't want to eat ANY animal products! No meat, fish, eggs, cheese, butter, or milk! Fully vegan!
7. Sign up to a gym and rediscover my passion for working out. Why am I so lazy? I hate myself sometimes because I genuinely truly LOVE to run! Running has always been one of my favourite sports. I really love the feeling I get whenever I run. What's frustrating is the struggle of getting up from the couch, getting dressed and drive to the gym. That's the hardest part. Once I'm on that treadmill, I GENUINELY love it! I love to challenge myself in my head, and try to run an extra minute, or faster miles every session, keeping track of my progress. I am just dead LAZY! I AM going to change that in 2018. I have already signed up to a gym and my first session will be TODAY! I will get back in shape in 2018, but I will EASE INTO IT. (The quicker and sudden the change, the easier it will be to quit, or fall back into old habits). Get out of the way, the abs are coming!! Haha!
8. Have abs by the end of 2018. Bit of a childish one, I know. But if there's someone who can pull it off it's me! I'm a former gymnast, and I know how my body responds to exercise. I might have a lot of work ahead of me, but I really want to give it my best shot. 365 days should be enough! Even if it's just traces of a tiny bit of abs...
9. Go to bed early and at the same time as much as possible. I won't even lie, I am definitely a morning person. Yes, I know it sounds weird and most people (especially people my age) are the exact opposite. But the truth is my brain functions one hundred times better in the mornings. I have no problems getting up at 4 or 5am if I have to. I actually enjoy waking up as early as possible so I can shower, get dressed and have breakfast taking my time and without rushing things. I also feel like the days are so much longer if I wake up early. Going to bed early is ESSENTIAL for me. After 10pm my brain switches off. I cannot function.
10. Make coffee at home and work, and stop spending money in coffee shops. The first half of 2017 was much worse than the second half. I feel like I'm much more content now when it comes to spending money on coffee. Don't get me wrong, I still spend money on a cup of coffee here and there. But I used to do this almost EVERY DAY. Or at least two to three times a week. For three times a week, If you add the average price of a cup of coffee which is around £2.50, that's £7.5 lost every week just in coffee. That's £30 a month, and £360 a year! £360!!! I could book a flight and travel somewhere with that money. Definitely making this change in 2018.
11. Lower my sugar and salt intakes / give them up. These bad boys have been a problem for a long time. I am addicted to salt, and even though I am much, much better than I ever was before, I still need to ditch them and start appreciating the real flavour of food. In 2018 I will add NO SALT and NO SUGAR to my food. Sugar is a different problem. I don't go around adding teaspoons of sugar in teas, coffees, fruit...I don't do that. I used to, but I don't. I drink only black coffee, except on rare occasions where I might add some almond milk. My problem with sugar is eating processed things already loaded with sugar. Snacks, biscuits, crisps and other packaged / processed foods with loads of sugar or salt. I want to stop this in 2018. I will eat as much fruit and vegetables as I possibly can - I want to lower my sugar intake by A LOT, and I want to completely ABOLISH salt from my diet and life! (it's necessary). It might be a bold decision, but thinking about the health benefits makes it worth it. And I know I'm strong enough to do it.
12. Journal / scrapbook. Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and saw videos of scrapbook diaries? How amazing do they look? This is one of the things on my 'Before 30's Bucket List' and I really want to start doing it. Not only is it good for future generations and to show your children all the adventures you went on, but it is a great tools for you to remember trips, events, concerts, and other places you've been to.
13. Keep my weight down at 54kg for a whole year. My weight fluctuates more frequently than stock prices! Not an understatement. My poor eating choices / habits always make me put on weight after I've battled to bring it down. I want to focus on losing what I've gained and keeping it down for the whole year so that it stabilizes once and for all.
14. Start a successful business and make money from it. It's been about a year since I started thinking how great it would be to have an idea that would become a business that would bring me some extra money. I've watched so many Youtube videos, documentaries and even read some books and studies about the science behind making money, and the mind-frame of millionaires. How do they get there, and what do we need to get there too. I've realised that it doesn't take much to make a lot of money. I want to have a go at it, I just need a killer idea to jump start my money making career. I've already had an idea that I want to try. If it doesn't work out, I'll come up with something else. You have to try until you get it, right?
15. Be more positive. I want to become a different person in 2018 when it comes to positivity. I am done being a very negative and destructive person. I am my worst enemy. I can be so negative and bring myself and other people down with me, and I want to stop this! I also realise this will probably be my worst challenge for 2018. This will really be a tough one for me. (I know what you might be thinking...'worse than drinking 2L water a day?' Or 'harder than giving up salt and sugar?'.... Trust me....this one will be my main challenge. I will struggle to accomplish this, but I want to give it my best shot, still.
16. Do at least 3 things off my bucket list. I don't want my Bucket list to be just a bunch of things written down on a piece of paper. I genuinely want to focus on achieving every single thing on that list. There are a few things I can easily achieve without the need for ridiculous amounts of money (horse riding on a beach, for example). I don't have to be a millionaire to do practically anything on that bucket list, so I need to keep moving and keep crossing it put throughout 2018.
17. Post at least one photo every week on Instagram. Photography is a great part of my life. For Christmas I was even given some new gear to try on. My passion for photography keeps growing and I keep wanting to learn more and new ways to use my camera. I want to commit to continuing with the creativity on my Instagram feed, posting at least one photo every week. This doesn't have to be hard to achieve. A week has 7 days, each day with 24h. If I can't find 30 minutes on one of the days of the week to shoot something worth posting, I need to reevaluate my whole life! This one should be easy. I might struggle with ideas or creativity, but that's a different story. I want to plan photos in advance so that this doesn't happen.
18. Get to at least 500 followers on my Instagram account for Stanley and Marvin. I've got an account for Stanley and Marvin (you can check that blog post here). I want to invest time in doing creative photography for their Instagram feed.
19. Write more, focusing on creative writing in particular. I will focus more on creative writing in 2018. Creative writing is something I really enjoy doing. I want to do more writing exercises to improve my creativity, vocabulary and writing ability.
20. Reduce stress in my life. I am a very anxious, stressed, panicky person, and I am willing to let it all go in 2018! I want to stop stressing about getting up on time, getting stuck in traffic, not having time to cook dinner, etc. I want to stop relying on the clock so much. I want to enjoy life more without the stress of 'time'. Time is my worst enemy and I want to break up with it.
21. Watch less trashy TV and movies. I wouldn't necessarily say I watch a lot of crap TV shows. I'm not a fan of the Kardashians, Geordie Shore or any other TV program of that nature. I am, however, addicted to cinema and movies. Some of them trashy, I'll admit. Some comedies I watch are pure trash. In 2018 I want to watch less of these things that pollute my mind, and more of documentaries about the environment or any other subject that contributes to a better me. If nothing worth watching is on the TV, I want to use that time to do something that will contribute better towards my future.
22. Spend more time in nature and less time indoors. This is tricky. After work there's nothing better than going home, lying on the sofa, because we think there's nothing we could possibly be doing with the remaining 4 or 5 hours of the day / evening that would be worthwhile. I want to stop thinking like this and use every second of every day the best way I can. I want to spend it outdoors, because indoors won't contribute to my creativity, well being, and health in general. I love being around nature and it makes me feel so relaxed and cured from the stress of my daily life.
23. Learn to use Photoshop or Lightroom. I want to be Photoshop/ Lightroom proficient by the end of 2018. Photography is an important part of my life, and I know very little of Photoshop (embarrassing...I know!). I want to do some online courses, or possibly take actual classes throughout 2018, and be able to use the different functions and tools in Photoshop.
24. Be organised with receipts / keep track of purchases and money expenditure. I am terrible at this! I always start the year off on a good note and quickly convince myself that I have no time for it, or it takes up a large portion of my days, and I've got better and more important things to do. I want to try and make 2018 a better year of tracking my finances and expenditure.
25. Decorate my new home to my liking. Ever since I've moved to the UK I've never lived in a home of my own. This means I could never put frames up on the walls or make any major changes to the house, for obvious reasons. Now that we've bought our first house (which will be ready for move-in very soon), I want to put aside a small amount of money every month to buy something needed for the house. I am excited about being able to have a colour scheme going on in the house, and I am excited to be able to buy small pieces to bring life to my very first home.
26. Stop drinking soda. Another bad habit of mine. Even though I only drink either zero calorie / zero sugar drinks or sparkling water, I would like to quick the soda all together. Or at least, significantly reduce it. I normally buy sparkling water for myself (which honestly helps me every time I'm craving fizzy sugary drinks), but I tend to still turn to Coke Zero, 7up Zero and all other 'zero' drinks in the hope that they aren't bad for you. I know they are really bad, and I want to quit it altogether.
I'm sure more resolutions will come to mind before the end of the year, but these are the ones I really want to focus on, dedicating them all my time and energy. Will it be hard to achieve all of these? Yes. Is it possible, though? YES! A year from now I will sit down and write down how many of these I managed to achieve in 2018. What about you? What are your New Year resolutions? What do you want to change, improve or start in the New Year? Drop me a comment with some of your New Year's resolutions. I'm sure I'm missing some of my own, anyway.