I love the start of things. New day, new month, new year, new ambition, new goal. It fills me with this massive sense of excitement that helps with motivation. I generally don't subscribe to the hype of 'new year, new me', since change is a constant aspect of life, and if you're truly dedicated to something you can start it at any time; but I do love the fact that January 1st can be a springboard, placeholder, or marker for something really great.
So let's talk goals. I like writing mine down so I can refer to (or flat out ignore) them throughout the year. I also prefer to view them as flexible guidelines or ideas - I ticked off some of my 2016 goals, but not all - because you can't plan for all life throws at you, but knowing that I've at least committed to something makes me more determined to achieve it. I explained in my 2016 roundup that I've been feeling lost a lot recently, so I think referring back to this post, and what I want to achieve in the next year is something I'm going to be doing more.
- improve overall health
Drink more water. Get more, better quality sleep. Stress, and be stressed, less. Exercise regularly. Eat well. Do things that make me happy.
I feel that this is one a lot of people go for, but I genuinely need to start taking better care of myself. I already eat pretty well (ty mum, dad), and I've been working on hydration levels for the past year so it's much easier for me to get that water intake in, but I do have a history of not being a healthy lil' bean. When I was 13 I got appendicitis, and aside from having a longer stint knocked out than anyone anticipated, the doctors and nurses were really concerned that I was ridiculously dehydrated. So whether I'm drinking enough is a conscious process. Sleep is something I'm working on, as is the regular exercise (so important for being fighting fit in the case of a zombie apocalypse). Stress is going to be something I actively tackle this year - knowing when to take breaks, say no, and just relax. Happiness isn't a destination, but I want to focus less on the things that don't go so well, and more on the things that do.
- read more
Books. Papers. Articles. Magazines,
Reading constantly crops up in the list of things my mum wishes I would do more of. I used to devour books in one sitting. I remember going through everything Garth Nix wrote the day it came out in a couple of hours, my nose in Harry Potter before we'd even paid for the latest (hardback) version. I used to read by torchlight after bedtime, and many of our shelving units are filled with well loved, spine cracked tomes.
Uni kind of sucked the life out of me reading around papers for fun, considering a lot of my degree consisted of reading, reading, reading, reading and more reading. Almost all of it was fascinating, but I think taking the literature module in my last year made me realise you really do have to make time to read. Also, I became adverse to the expense (??) of buying books not for my course during uni.
This year, I want to read more. Top of my list are design, photography, and some of those self-help books that get scoffed at a lot but I really like the look of. Definitely going to get my hands on a more diverse range of magazines, too. I don't think I'll be embarking on any good reads challenges, but I'd like to read more new books this year.
- keep things more organised
Utilise storage. Give everything a place. Put things back.
I wouldn't exactly say everywhere I go is a disaster zone, but I am not the tidiest of people. I have good intentions, but invariably the lazy side comes out and I'll devolve back into the 'I'll pick it up later'... 'I need to do/get something for it first'. No girl, just do it now. I know a tidy desk means messy drawers, but I'd like my room to be a space I can work in, and not give me a headache or a general feel of 'urgh' every time I try to do something.
Also, decluttering goes hand in hand here. I have a talent for accumulating stuff. Stuff that I then Keep Hold Of When I Have No Real Need To. It's not even a question of 'does this bring me joy', it's 'do I even need this???'.
- take TOPIK (test of proficiency in Korean)
This is my biggest 'work towards' goal for 2017. I want to be in a position where I feel ready to take TOPIK in 2017, or early 2018, which is generally a massive thing for me. I hate tests. But this is something that will be a brilliant achievement for me, since it'll help me be more confident.
Singapore!!! Hong Kong, Japan, Australia...
I don't quite know how this is going to work out, but it's a goal. A pretty generic one, but I'm hoping that I'll be in a better position to have more international adventures. And if not, then I want to travel more either by myself or with friends in a staycation way. Explore more. See more. Do more.
- nurture my creative side
Draw. Paint. Write. Create.
I've been really inspired this year by the likes of Noor and Areeba and Sarah with their sketches and art journalling, I'm so glad that 2016 brought them into my life via twitter-fate. In 2017 I definitely want to start doing more art and caring less about whether or not it's perfect, if it's researched properly or done in the right style. I hardly tell anyone this because I'm generally really embarrassed about it, both in the grades and the overall outcome, but I took art for GCSE and it was basically the Blemish of All Blemishes on my grade sheet. It also made me shy away from artsy endeavours because I felt so badly burned by that experience. I hope that 2017 helps me reverse some of the scarring and by the end of the year I want to have filled an art journal.
First, generic disclaimer but: I'm really really thankful for the opportunities that 2016 gave me, and the brands that reached out to collaborate. It's been a little overwhelming in tandem with everything else (and I think a few PR people have probably felt that overwhelm a little more strongly than others, I'm sorry), but I hope that 2017 will be another great year. I really want to build more on everything.
Plan more. Shoot in bulk. Make time. Hard, effective work pays off.
Consistency is a bit of a (massive) umbrella term for a lot of little goals I'd like to achieve this year. Mostly, I'd like to actually stick to a consistent posting schedule. For the past two years, that's been an attempt at posting every other day. Sometimes it's worked, sometimes I've had major burn-out episodes, but mostly that's because almost all my posts are written on the day. I very rarely plan or schedule content, it's an as and when kind of thing.
Planning is something I know I need to do more of. 'As and when' is fine when I'm not busy, and I guarantee there'll be events this year that will inspire me to write, photograph, and post immediately, which I'll make allowances for, but I'd like to create and editorial calendar properly this year. And actually stick to it, for the most part. It'll be much easier that way to fit creating content in around work.
- migrate to self-hosted wordpress
More creative control. More freedom. More expensive, but an investment.
Blogger/blogspot has been a fab start for me. It's allowed me to create this website with pretty much the minimum of running costs and an easy user interface. I think there is a time when people outgrow the platform though. I'm not a fan of the way Google (they own Blogger/Blogspot) changes things because they think they're 'underperforming' features; it's a bit jarring when things change suddenly, I'm not that adept at coding and I'm dreading them changing anything that really matters to my content.
Wordpress is a scary, and costly, move, but I watched some of my favourites migrate over in 2016 and talk about how freeing it was; I kind of think this year is the year for me. I'll have sole rights to my content, no threat of Google axing the platform, and will be able to take that next step in presentation of my posts. I'm not aiming for glossy magazine (it's not really me), but I definitely want something that I have more control over.
- collaborate more
Guest posts? Style swaps. Box swaps. Joint posts, collab videos? More collaborations and sponsored content with brands.
I want to collaborate and work with other bloggers as well as brands this year. To be honest, guest posting for others has always been something I'm kind of scared about, and allowing people to write content to post here terrifies me. But that's something I really, really want to change in 2017. I'd love to include other bloggers voices on topics that they're passionate about here, and lend my voice to others' content.
In the realm of brands, I'd love to work with more in 2017. Saying that I'd love for more sponsored content probably has people rolling their eyes, or thinking how crass, but collaborations work best when they're mutually beneficial. It's also nice to know that brands respect your writing, commitment, and dedication enough to actually pay you for your service. Like, really, really nice. So I won't be taking on work that enters me into competitions to win something, or writing posts for the 'chance' of some reward for my time and effort.
- learn more & hone creative processes/skills
Photoshop, after effects, premiere pro, the benefits of using a tablet. Design rules, photography tips, graphics for cohesive content.
I have the basics of photoshop, after effects, and premiere pro down. I'm actually working in the realm of 'actually quite competent' in photoshop, and I'm learning new things in after effects and premiere pro all the time thanks to a wealth of youtube tutorials and websites. I'd really like to learn how to do more cool effects and actually use my graphics tablet to add more of what I want to in images and videos I create.
I also really want to learn more about design rules and create a better and more cohesive 'aesthetic' (for want of a better word) for youtube and graphics here on the blog. I know a lot of people hire graphic designers to do that for them, but ahahhaha funds. Branding is something that's important so people instantly recognise what you make, and I think that I need to put more time and effort into creating something that's really cohesive and 'me'. If anyone has any tips I'd love some help.
Photography is something I want to improve too. My skills have come on a lot since the first few posts (and years) of the blog, but I definitely need to challenge myself and learn more about composition and lighting, and push myself more with locations and shoot scales.
- create more on youtube
Fashion content, vlogs, beauty content (?).
I've had a lot of ideas for youtube content, but not a lot has materialised this year. I've put out far more than I did in 2015, but what is consistency?? Youtube is the most intimidating platform, there's so much there already, which I really question myself and what I can bring to the table. Usually that'd be a challenge, but I often feel that my ideas aren't reflective of what I want to make, or the content isn't coming out how I envisioned. It's a really time consuming endeavour, but it's one that I really enjoy. So I'll definitely be planning and doing more in video format to push myself creatively.
Comment more. Support the industry and individual successes.
I was nominated for The Girl Gang Community award at 2016's Bloggers Blog Awards, and I was completely surprised that I was considered, or that people voted for me. I really do try to be as supportive as I can be, but most of that is through twitter, and I've really let commenting on other social platforms slide. In 2017 I want to give more love back and celebrate the achievements of others.
I think it's important for me to note I'm not setting number goals, and apart from taking TOPIK and migrating to wordpress, all of them are things that are generally progressive and achievable. My overarching goals for 2017 are: to continue to create content I'm proud of, and to grow as a person in my understanding of the world and how I react and relate to it.
Are you setting any goals, resolutions, or small things you'd like to achieve for the year?