Last year was a whirlwind of change and self-discovery. Many changes were made in my life and perhaps the biggest and most influential change was when I quit my full-time job working in the corporate world to pursue blogging as my full-time career. Becoming my own boss taught me a lot about myself, my perseverance, and my dedication. Between putting the stability of my family on the line and making a huge leap of faith, leaving a comfortable job removed all sense of stability; all of 2015 was spent hustling until I got what I want--which was a paycheck. I wanted to prove that I could make a real living as an independent freelance writer, so making money was truly my only goal. With the arrival of the new year on my heels just a few weeks back, I started brainstorming what my goals were going to be for 2016.
After spending the first month of the year truly thinking things over, I have finally decided what my resolution for 2016 is going to be. This year, I am going to focus less on making changes in my life and focus more on improving what I already have: my career, my relationships, my health, and my mindset. Everyone always talks about making huge changes for their new year's resolution and creating a "new me," but really, my outlook on 2016 is going to be all about maintaining what I have (and making what I have just that much better!) Essentially, I am striving to make the 2015 version of myself just a little bit better all-around.
Remaining focused on my resolution to better myself this year is something I have thought a lot about. Knowing that I succeed most when I have a list to turn to helped me determine what exactly I needed to do this month to lay out the goals for making 2016 all about bettering myself. Over the weekend, I sat down and started journaling my ideas for what could make me an all-around better human; the first few things that came to my mind were improving: my career, my relationships, my health, and my mindset. Once I had an idea of what I wanted to work on, I began thinking about some list ideas that were general enough that I could fit them into my everyday schedule but also specific enough to keep me focused on the finish line.
After brainstorming and sitting down to contemplate what I want to accomplish this year, I came up with 5 goals to improve myself throughout 2016:
- Value My Time
- Listen First
- Learn to Take a Break
- Sweat More
- Snack Smarter
"Value My Time"
If there is one thing I have learned about being self-employed it is that my time is my most valuable commodity. I am a "yes man" through and through--if someone comes to me and asks for help, my gut instinct is to commit to it and help this person however I can. But when my time is what determines whether or not I can take on a project with a new client (and ultimately make money to pay my bills), I really need to decipher if something is worth my time. Now, I'm not planning on completely cutting out helping a friend in need. What I mean to say is when it comes to anything blog-related, my goal is to stop and evaluate the worth of an opportunity; emails and messages constantly come in filled with opportunities for me, but I'm learning now that I need to hone in on what projects truly matter and how an opportunity is valuable (or even invaluable) to me. Valuing my time is crucial if I want to better myself and my career in 2016.
I wish I could say that every person I know is always supportive of my choices that I am passionate about. Last year, I spent more time than I would have liked to having to defend my actions to some people in my life; some older relatives, friends and co-workers did not understand or want to understand why I left the corporate world to become a blogger (undoubtedly the biggest chance of 2015). So, I spent a better part of the year having to speak up and try to convey my plan to those who questioned my choices. Over time, defending myself became muscle memory--so anytime someone wanted to talk to me about my career or what I did for a living, I was already preparing what I wanted to say in my head and not even truly listening to the person I was having a conversation with. My choices and my passion are worth defending, yes, but this year I'm making it a personal goal to hear someone out before I grab my megaphone and my notes ready to have a debate with someone. Listening is half of what makes something a conversation, so before I jump into talking about something, my goal is to stop preparing mental bullet notes as a response and focus more on what a person means when I am conversing with them.
"Learn to Take a Break"
Sometimes, I do miss the days of having a 40 hour a week job. But when it doesn't feel like work because I am having fun and it's something I am passionate about, I tend to lose track of time.
Being self-employed means there truly is no "off the clock" time. If an opportunity presents itself and it is time-sensitive in nature (like most of them are), I jump on it the second I get a chance. I don't kid myself--I know that I am a small fish in a big pond--so there is no way I will grow unless I continuously hustle and do what I need to do to rein in the job opportunities that matter most. However, I am only human. I go days when I feel like I need a break, but, I do not stop because I know that I am working toward a bigger goal. This year, my goal is to "learn to take a break" when I feel like I need one. Adam was essentially the only reason I took any "breaks" last year--he insisted that I needed to stop and take a breather so that I did not burn myself out. So I'm taking my hubby's great advice, and I'm learning to adjust my day-to-day schedule to his as much as I can (so we can have dedicated non-work time together).
There is no denying I have some health concerns. Although I have been out of shape my whole life, this is truly the first time in my life when I have been the least active; my day as a blogger is spent working on the computer for hours and hours and sitting at my desk. Some small changes that I have already made to go along with my "sweat more" goal include: walking to the store instead of driving there, trying to step away from my desk unless I absolutely need to be sitting down, going to the gym on a regular basis, and walking at least once a day (even if it's something as small as walking to and from the mailbox). Our bodies are made to move, and I am weary that a sedentary lifestyle will lead to bigger health issues down the line. This year, I will be more conscious of when I am not moving and do something about it.
I am not going to lie to you--it is difficult to be a food blogger if you have little to no willpower. Right now, my cabinet is jam-packed with sweets on sweets and I have to stop myself from snacking on the extra food that I have tucked away for upcoming recipes and blog posts. I won't deny myself from having a snack (because it helps keep me from overeating during my meals), so my goal for 2016 is to "snack smarter." I've already started switching over to enjoying treats like fresh fruits, nuts, and snack squares.
The goodnessknows® snack squares are tasty treats that I like to enjoy in-between my meals. Today, I've partnered with them to share this post with you about my 2016 resolutions--and I'm also excited to share the goodnessknows® sweepstakes with you, too!
Enter the goodnessknows® sweepstakes with a photo or quote for a chance to win one of two $500 gift cards up for grabs each week for three weeks beginning January 18th! Good luck!
Made with real fruit, dark chocolate and whole nuts in bite-size portions, goodnessknows® snack squares are a better alternative to some of the other kinds of snacks I ate all throughout last year. Two of my favorites are goodnessknows® Cranberry, Almond, Dark Chocolate and also goodnessknows® Apple, Almond & Peanut, Dark Chocolate (and you can even try a third flavor: goodnessknows® Peach & Cherry, Almond, Dark Chocolate). I like to pick up these snack squares when I am waiting in line at the check-out in Walmart.