Happy New Year/Decade everybody! Doesn’t it feel special when not only do we creep into a new year but also a different decade? 2020 – how the heck did that happen? It doesn’t seem two minutes ago I was raising a glass of Lambrini with my Nan to see in the Millennium (I was 8 and felt trés chic with a glass of bubbles!) but when in fact that was 20 years ago, time really does fly when you’re having fun.
I always reflect like hell at the turn of the year and this one isn’t any different – if you haven’t read any of my previous posts you may not know I am a proud New Year’s Resolution maker, but this year I wanted to put together a list of goals rather than a single resolution. The idea being that I can look back in a year’s time and see if my plans worked, if they varied somewhat or if something drastically different happened. This past year has taught me that life throws surprises at you which you could never predict, so all we can do is set the best intentions but if you get a chance to do something which was never even on your radar, that’s equally as bloody brilliant (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you may want to read my last post on moving from Norfolk to Scotland). So without further dragging it out and blabbering on, here are my goals for the year of 2020.
Finish my Creative Writing Level 3 course, and begin my Level 4 Proofreading qualification.
I don’t think I’ve spoken about my home studies on the blog before, but they do exist! You probably wouldn’t know that I’m a keen writer in a capacity outside of this blog and plan to launch my own freelance business in the New Year (alongside my 9-5 unfortunately until it can pay the bills!). I plan to offer SEO optimised blog posts for businesses without the capacity or skills to do it themselves, I’m putting together social media courses for beginners, I’m offering written website content, articles for print, press releases and social captions – basically if it can be written, I want to be able to offer it as a service. Hence where my home study courses come in; I’ve nearly finished my Creative Writing Diploma which has been a lot of fun as well as helping me develop my skills- it has meant writing fiction and poetry as well as non-fiction genres and I haven’t done that since school! When that is finished I plan to enrol straight away on the Proofreading course, meaning this too can then be offered on a freelance basis, expanding my services. Realistically I won’t finish both courses by the end of the year but if I can be nearly there, I’ll be chuffed. Home study isn’t for everyone but personally I love learning, and as a writer I think the more you do and the more you expose yourself to different mediums, the better you get. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting to add to my skill set, which is something I’m proud of.
Offer paid written services via my own freelance business
As detailed above, I want to be taking on paid work this year and slowly start to build my own business. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work and commitment, but if I can end 2020 saying I have at least a few clients under my belt, I’ll be mega happy. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for so long and I have always had a passion for writing, but honestly it’s just having the balls to get on and do it!
I’m not shy to admit that I want to grow my following on Instagram – I KNOW it’s not and shouldn’t be about the numbers, but unfortunately that follow count does still unlock doors and I want to keep growing in my own way. I’m passionate about being authentic online and I haven’t changed myself in any way to gain popularity on either the ‘gram or this blog – and fingers crossed it has worked so far! I’m hoping to be able to keep doing what I am doing, maybe with a little more consistency and commitment from myself, and double my numbers this year. I want to double my Insta following to 3.5k, and I want to double my online readership. This just means a bigger platform to share things I’m passionate about – at the end of the day I try and be a positive corner of the web, an antidote to modern day life if you like, and the more people who see that the better, right?
Use my cookbooks more!
This may seem a silly goal but for me it’s a big one; my husband is an ex chef (and a bloody good one at that) and I’m low key obsessed with food and nutrition, so as you can imagine we have the biggest collection of cookbooks you’ve ever seen! That being said we use them so rarely and it’s a crying shame as there is no excuse not to, it’s just laziness mainly on my part. As part of our move we have gained a room meaning we could have an office, and I am going to get a great big bookshelf with space to clearly be able to see every one of our books, and I’m going to ‘shop my own bookcase’ on a regular basis. By that I mean that instead of looking in shops for new cook books or instead of going online for dinner inspiration, I’m going to visit our bookshelf in the same way you’d browse a Waterstones. Heard the expression ‘shop your own wardrobe’? That, but for books. That goes for novels and other non fiction books too, I’ve got so many I haven’t read yet, again with no reason why not. I might even do a ‘Cookbook of the Month’ blog post at the beginning of each month this year, what do you think? Comment below if you’d like that!
Achieve a consistent diet and exercise routine
Not your typical ‘I want to lose ‘X’ amount of weight’ goal but more the fact I want to achieve routine and consistency for my health – I’m fast approaching 30 and I think it’s really important at this age to start to think more about wellness and less about looks. For those of you who have followed me for a while, you will know I dabble with veganism and am a yoga lover, but neither have a full-time place in my life. With yoga I did go regularly to a class in Norfolk for 6 months, however with moving I need to find a class locally again and also take up more home practice – I want to be doing some form of yoga or meditation every single day moving forward, it’s so good for my mental health and calms my anxious tendencies no end. Ref veganism, it’s a complicated one. I was never strict but for over a year, from around October 2017 to the beginning of 2019, I followed a mainly vegan diet and I loved it. I lost weight, felt the healthiest I had ever felt and had a real sense of living my true life. You may have seen my foodie posts on Instagram – however I kinda wish I never made my diet public. At the start of this year I wavered from my vegan diet and without pointing fingers and trying to blame other people, I kinda blame other people. I have NEVER felt scrutiny in the way I did when telling people I was either vegan, trying veganism or even just saying I didn’t want meat at any given mealtime. My partner is pretty good, although as previously mentioned the fact he used to be a chef means he will never join me in wanting to go plant based and that is completely fine, I’d never force anyone. However apart from a very small handful of people, the reaction was ghastly and it made it really difficult. People would literally poke their head into my lunch at work and ‘check’ what I was eating was vegan, people would ask ‘am I still doing the vegan thing’ about 20 times a day and people would try and have debates with me on my reasoning – it was shocking and it made me not want to do it anymore. Alongside this, vegans were giving themselves a bad rep in the press by terrorising farmers and playing pig slaughter footage in public where children were seeing it and I just didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. So, my diet now is mainly plant based still, however I do occasionally eat meat and fish. Dairy for me isn’t great and I do drink Oatly milk, have vegan butter and many other alternatives, however if I’m going to a friends for tea, I would never expect to be given oat milk so I take whatever I am given. I have found what works for me and that is 80% plant based, 20% not, and it’s as simple as that – but never again will I label myself as vegan as it’s just not worth the hassle. My goal for 2020 is that I want to be able to go back to creating delicious plant based meals and posting them online as I miss it so much and I feel it gives me a little extra boost to be healthy, but without feeling such pressure to never mention the fact that I’m eating tuna for lunch on the odd occasion! I have found my sweet spot and I’m just going to share what I want with the world, minus the labels.
Conquer my fears
Things that currently scare me beyond reason; flying, being a passenger in the car on a motorway, driving in the winter, driving in the dark, generally just being in the dark, social situations where I have to make conversation, giving presentations or any other public speaking. That isn’t counting the hundreds of things I worry about from day to day for no apparent reason, and I can’t do anything new or out of my comfort zone without feeling my like my heart is going to beat out of my chest. Couple that with the fact I have just moved to Scotland where I am in fact going to have to travel to new places, sometimes in cold weather, and also travel a long way to see any of my existing friends and family – I’m going to have to toughen the f**k up. I have various plans of how I’m going to do this, and it’s going to be something I am going to have to work on all year and beyond, however I think it’s achievable. My plans involve lots of yoga and meditation as previously mentioned, along with other forms of exercise, all of which are second to none when it comes to helping treat anxiety and stress (in my opinion). Alongside this, I am going to research places locally which perform hypnosis and possibly also acupuncture, both of which I have heard from people first hand how they got rid of fear and anxiety in miraculous ways. Hopefully the latter will work but I also am going to spend time looking at different breathing exercises and ways to cope specifically when in moments of heightened anxiety such as when I’m at the airport about to get onto a plane or the moments before a big work meeting – both of which have caused me so much stress in the past that I become physically ill and I just don’t want to live like that anymore. If you have any suggestions for me on things I can try or ways in which you’ve concurred severe anxiety, I’d love to hear them please! I know that I’m so lucky that in comparison to a lot of people’s mental health, mine is in pretty good shape and yes everyone has fears, but I feel like I’m living a life full of limits at the moment and that is not something I ever want to do – so 2020 is the year I do something about it.
Make new friends and enjoy my new life in Scotland
My final goal for 2020 is to make friends. As I sit and write this, I haven’t yet started my job in Scotland (I enrol on the 6th Jan – wish me luck!), I haven’t yet joined any groups such as yoga classes and I don’t really have any neighbours seeing as we live in a detached cottage in the countryside. So, I can officially say that right now the single only person I know in the country I live in is my Husband. As much as I love the guy, that’s a sad state of affairs and I cannot wait to start work and get involved in the local community here! This goes hand in hand with the above ‘conquer my fears’ goal really as I’m pretty rubbish at making new friends considering the fact I’m shy and get nervous interacting with new people, however needs must! Being on Instagram and having a blog does however open a few more doors too which is fab, and I hope that in the coming months I can go to meet ups and get to know some other local bloggers just as I did in Norfolk/Suffolk, so there is a lot to look forward to. I feel so ready to meet new people and really embrace life, so please send me your love and good thoughts as I muster up the confidence to go out and find my people!
And that you lovely people, concludes my goals for 2020. It may resonate with you or it may be completely different to what you’d like to achieve in the year ahead, but I think we should all be striving for something in life so we make the most of it! What are your goals? I’d love to hear what you want for yourself in 2020 – I hope you all get what you want from the year and much more!
Just Hollie xox
Further reading if you liked this blog post from Just Hollie…
Moving to Scotland – A New Chapter for Just Hollie
Wedding series, 4: THE WEDDING!
Norridge Summer Wellness Event