The coming of a new year is always a great time to reflect; reflect on what you’ve accomplished across the previous year, reflect on who you’ve become and how you’ve grown. It’s also a good time to reflect on aspects of your life that you may not be as happy with.
We expect a lot of ourselves. We’re capable and talented and have a lot to offer. But, sometimes we let ourselves feel too comfortable in our complacency. I recently read an article that explained that “the foundation of all fears is the unknown. We want our lives to be predictable. We don’t want to deal with the intense emotions involved in doing something new and different.” And yet, how are we expected to change and grow if we become so comfortable in our daily routines that deviating even slightly evokes immediate anxiety?
The article continues on to explain that yes, change can be scary, but if we want to design our life and our future we need to stop living in the past. And, beyond that, anxiety is inevitable. Of course some of us experience anxiety in more extreme ways, but in order to truly make a change you need to be able to embrace the uncertainty. A degree of anxiety is necessary to move forward, break free out of your comfort zone, and actually makes things happen for yourself.
“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”
Now, I’m never big on New Year’s resolutions. I used to fall victim to the “new year, new me” mindset in terms of, “it’s a new year so I must work out EVERY DAY,” and, “it’s a new year so I must eat healthy ALL THE TIME,” etc. But any time I’ve jumped on that bandwagon on January 1st, I’ve just as easily fallen off a few short weeks (eh, maybe days) later. These resolutions aren’t sustainable and… well, yes, I should probably eat less pasta and go to the gym more than once a month. But this year I decided to commit to some resolutions that 1) I could attain and sustain, and 2) would help me get back in touch with who I am and who I want to be.
So, who do I want to be? My whole life I’ve always found passion in things revolving around my creativity. I want to be a photographer. I want to be a graphic designer. I want to be an interior designer. I want to be a blogger. I want to be well-rounded. I want to be successful. I want to be confident. I want to be happy.
I’ve chosen these 10 goals because I feel like they will put me on the path towards becoming a better version of myself. Admittedly, some are “easier” than others, but I think it’s important to focus both on straightforward, short-term goals as well as goals that may take a bit more effort and commitment.
1) Migrate website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org
Although this doesn’t seem like a huge goal, it’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for the past few years and had just never gotten around to. I knew the process could potentially result in several (small) headaches, but the switch would actually save me money in the long run. Basically, WordPress.com is a one-and-done, plug-and-play solution for hosting a blog; you are constrained to the themes they offer, you can do only very minimal customization, and you have to pay an annual fee. WordPress.org, however, offers a lot more freedom – and it’s free! Learn more about the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org here. I am happy to announce that I’ve accomplished this goal! Took the plunge and dedicated a day in early January to make the switch – never going back!
2) Get accepted as an influencer on LIKEtoKNOW.it
LIKEtoKNOW.it is an app created by RewardStyle where you can shop looks and styles from your favorite influencers. I had applied for LIKEtoKNOW.it last year and was unfortunately not accepted. But, new year new me, right?! I went into the year knowing I wanted to improve my social following and engagement enough to qualify for influencer status. In fact, I just tried again this past week and was accepted! I am so excited to finally be able to directly share links to products with my followers, especially since I get so many direct messages asking me where things are from. And, when my followers shop through my posts it helps me fund my blog so I can keep creating content. Make sure to follow me on the LIKEtoKNOW.it app so you don’t miss a post! (username: Jill Sahner)
3) Invest in new camera equipment (for the first time in 10 years)
I first started getting into photography when I was about 12 years old. I grew up riding horses so I would spend my days at the barn taking pictures of horses in the fields and my friends riding. It quickly grew from a hobby to a business, and at a very young age I was self-employed. My parents were generous enough to fund my equipment (perks of being an only child) and I was able to have access to incredible Canon cameras and lenses which helped to propel my “career.” Unfortunately, when the time came for me to truly choose what I wanted to be when I grew up, I opted to pursue business school instead of art school, feeling that I had a better chance of developing a lucrative career by taking that route. I don’t necessarily think I was wrong in that assumption, but I do wish that I hadn’t let the decision ultimately end my photography career. I stopped taking pictures in college and only recently rekindled my love for photography. But now, my equipment is almost ten years old. Not to say that it doesn’t work, but it feels like it’s time for an update. I have started out the year by purchasing a new lens, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, but I have aspirations to really rebuild my inventory this year to motivate myself to get back into it.
4) Apply (and be approved) for a new credit card
This one kind of feels like I’m cheating goal-wise because it was so quick and easy – basically, I applied for another credit card (to build my credit score, have access to points, etc.) and was accepted in approximately 12 seconds. But I did go into the new year with a goal to make this happen, and I did it so I think it still counts! So even though it was a short-term goal, it’s a result of me working hard to build and maintain my credit score up until this point.
(Now you might be thinking, hey wait, she’s already accomplished all her goals for the year?! I admit I’ve definitely started off strong tackling some of the more short-term, attainable goals, so here are some that will take a bit more time and effort.)
5) Take a web development course/class
When I was first getting into photography and design for my business, I taught myself a lot of basic HTML and CSS so that I could build my own websites and sell my prints and services. Now, that knowledge hasn’t necessarily gone away, but I would love to expand upon what I know and be able to more fluently write and manipulate code than my current abilities allow. Beyond being able to better develop my personal site, these skills would also come in handy in my current role at my company. I can design a visual mockup of a landing page, but when it comes to developing the front- and back-end I have to leave it to the pros. I need to do some further research around the type of courses available that would suit my needs (in-person vs. online, etc.) but I would really like to work on building upon these skills in 2019.
6) Create a LightRoom preset for download
In the past I’ve always edited my photography directly through PhotoShop, since that’s what I had access to (back in the days when it came on CD, was a one-time installation, and didn’t require a yearly subscription fee). Now with my new Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (finally caved! Getting my own subscription was actually another goal for 2019, but I felt like I couldn’t add another goal that I already accomplished) I have access to all of the latest and greatest apps, including LightRoom CC. It didn’t take long for me to find my way around the program, and it definitely does seem like a much easier alternative to apply consistent edits across a bulk upload. This year I’d like to master the art of presets and be able to offer direct downloads to my followers since so many people are always asking for tips on how I edit my posts.
7) Plan monthly blog content calendar one month in advance
And with this comes: consistency, consistency, consistency! I want to be more consistent in my posting – not just on my blog but on Instagram as well. Planning out posts ahead of time (and drafting/scheduling posts) will help me maintain a more consistent flow of content and help me avoid periods of “nothingness” – like, oh I didn’t do anything cool this week, so I won’t be posting anything on Instagram for a while. Consistency is key in building a brand, and I want to crack the code by planning ahead.
8) Build out a capsule wardrobe
What is a “capsule wardrobe” you ask? Well, Who What Wear does a better job explaining it than me. But put simply, it is a “collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.” Now I don’t know if I’d consider any of the pants I have to be trousers, but basically you pare down your wardrobe to basic pieces that you can mix and match to create different outfits without actually having to buy new pieces. This concept was brought to my attention by my work BFF, Alex, who moonlights as an associate at Madewell. This is the year that I commit to fully purging the old high school and college clothes and begin dressing like an actual 26 year old (RIP being on my parents’ health insurance). I cut the hair, now let’s adjust the fashion!
9) Find a workout that works for me
As previously mentioned, the “new year new me #fitfam” lifestyle just doesn’t work for me. I told myself that living in a building with a gym would motivate me to workout – um, no luck there. Right now I’m healing from an injury on my leg, but once I’m back in fighting shape I’d like to find a workout that is actually something I am capable of being consistent with. I can go to the gym all I want and hop on the elliptical and do some lame ab exercises, but I never make it a habit and I never see results. Last year I had an idea to start a “5×5 plan” (which is totally something I made up in my head) and walk 5 miles per day 5 days a week. This really didn’t seem that difficult; my commute to work typically equates to around 2-3 miles of walking anyway. So, then I could either make up the difference by walking to a farther PATH station or heading to the gym before/after work and walking 2-3 miles on the treadmill. It totally seemed doable, but unfortunately this idea came to me right as we were entering the cooler days of fall so it did not see fruition. In any case, 2019 is the year I find myself on some sort of attainable fitness journey that works for my lifestyle.
10) Break out of my routine (wake up, go to work, come home, go to bed)
This will, without a doubt, be my most challenging 2019 goal to achieve. I am a creature of habit. I wake up at the same time every day, eat my same cereal and drink my same green tea, do my same makeup, same same same. I like routine, I find comfort in it. I like coming straight home after work and making dinner and showering and going to bed. But, do I really like it? Or am I just comfortable? If I follow this pattern for the next 40 years of my life, then what? Will I feel like I accomplished anything? Will I feel like I’ve lived? And, I wish away my week. I wake up on Monday wanting to fast-forward to Friday. I live each day just waiting for it to be over and for it to be the weekend. That’s no way to live. So in 2019, I’d like to step out of my comfort zone – stay out a little later, meet new people, try new things. Make my weekdays count. Feel like I’m living, not just surviving. Sure, there will still be days that I stick to my routine, safe in the comfort of sameness, but if even once a week I can do something that I wouldn’t normally do, then that’s 52 more memorable moments than I would have had otherwise.
What are your goals for 2019 and how do you plan to achieve them? I’d love to know!