Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Goals For 2018!


It's coming up to the end of the first month of 2018 and I couldn't be more prepared to face the rest of the year. After what has possibly been the worst year of my life so far, I happily waved goodbye to 2017 with my middle finger, and welcomed 2018 with hugs and lots of coffee. 

Finishing university last year and beginning my life as a single adult in the 'real world' hit me hard, and after challenging myself year after year with higher education, I just wanted to take some time off to live my life and see where it went. Turns out, having no real plans or deadlines or set challenges really doesn't agree with me very well. Instead of being "free" like I imagined, I derailed to an extreme where all I was was an existence. I had no goals, no drive, no motivation to get up in the morning. Where had all of my passion and energy disappeared to? Why was I not more willing to better my life and aim for the best? Now I'm not entirely to blame for my own derailing, the fact that life happens and you've just got to take the shit that is thrown at you and try to deal with it in a healthy way was definitely a major contribution.

BUT.

Everything happens for a reason.

^ Something I have always believed in. ^

Now I'm not sat here, claiming to have the perfect life and the perfect mental attitude, in fact there is a long way for me to go before I can momentarily take a look at my life and say: "yes, I am truly happy."  But I can see so much happiness and success in my future and the feeling that I get that tells me it's not so far from now, is all the material I need in order to build a bright future for myself. To quote J.K.Rowling here: 
"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."

I have been at rock bottom. I have stayed there and scraped my face across the floor for some time until literally one day happened where I just didn't want to be in that place anymore. Enough was enough. Luckily for me I wanted to better my life just as the new year was approaching, once Christmas was over and done with I could finally take that big deep breath I'd been gasping for, and exhale so much negativity and dark air. That 'light' that everybody talks about seeing when they turn over a new leaf, or find the strength to get up in the morning, or when they're beginning to climb their way out of darkness - I see that light.

It's so warming and welcoming, enticing and exciting, bright and happy

I suddenly realised that all of these little things that I enjoyed doing in my spare time I finally had room for. How was I ever supposed to put my heart and soul into my passions in life and the things that I loved when school, college and university were all sticking their beaks in? I couldn't catch a break or a spare five minutes to really connect with these things. Instead I kept them hanging just within reach until education was over, until I was finally ready to pursue my dreams. 
But you see, this is where that little 'Everything happens for a reason...' saying comes back around.

Without university I would never have had the opportunity to build my life to where it is today, I would not have been as strong or independent as I am now, as experienced in life as I am now - and most importantly, I wouldn't be ready to pursue these passions. 

Everything in my life has been leading me to these moments here in front of me. 

I had to go through so much to get here, but here I am ready and eager to face new challenges, and to really push myself.

I am ready to live my life.

And so 2018 begins, with new goals and challenges, and turning dreams into plans. So what better way to commit to them (other than actually doing them) than publishing them online. Written confirmation. 



Here are my Goals For 2018:
(in no particular order)

1. Finish my novel. Take me back to June 2014 when I sat down on my bed with my laptop, filled with so much inspiration to write my own teen fantasy fiction novel. Possibly one of the greatest genres in my opinion, I just really wanted to create my own unique world full of magical powers, spiritual encounters, history, romance, drama and action. A little bit of everything really! I instantly fell in love with writing and creating stories - so much so that it became the only thing that I ever wanted to do for a career. It took me a good two-ish years to finally admit to everyone that I didn't want to be an interior designer like I'd planned and gone to university for, but actually an author of fiction novels. At this point I had one year left of university to which I completed and saved up to live in my own flat - and now finally I have the time, energy, and mental capacity to indulge myself in my own little world, and fall in love with my own characters for a change (haha!). You see, I will never become an author if I do not write, and something that I have learned over the last six months is that I need structure and discipline in my life - something to keep me focused and motivated. Timetabling myself one or two long sessions a week where I can dedicate my time to my novel is something that I am setting myself a goal for. I want to end 2018 with a finished novel in hand.

2. Pursue Blogging & YouTube. Again, something that has been tiptoeing in my life for many many years, only to be pushed aside by coursework and LIFE. Well not anymore - I feel such a great energy surrounding my little dream of building up my blog and YouTube channel, I get such a strong sense that they're going to become something that I am truly proud of. It's a tough cookie to crack and the amount of hours and hard work that goes into something like this is incredible. But something you thoroughly enjoy will never really feel like work. The art, creativity, uniqueness and personal touch that can be put into an online dream is something I've always wanted to fully pursue. Not to mention the writing side of this - it's such a different style to novel writing and again, is something that I can put my heart and soul into. I can combine so many of my passions and portray them to the world in a variety of ways. My cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle, my passion for travelling and writing, spreading positivity, and sharing what I love with the world - just to name a few. This kind of thing has to be consistent and I have to remain focused - once again, something that I am timetabling into my weekly routine. 

3. Travel. Psht, who doesn't want to travel? Of course I would love to see the world, but realistically on my budget that's impossible right now. What I mean when I say I want to travel this year is simply head out to all of these little places in the UK that I've never been before, and also return to some that I have and now love. I want to visit Stonehenge, and a variety of castles. I want to take myself off to London for the day in search of new vegan finds. I want to return to the one place in the world that I feel at home, and explore new places that I can call home too. Climb mountains, explore caves, embrace my inner Lara Croft and discover secrets about the world. I want to fall in love with nature again and tread ground that will leave a mark on my life. I seek adventure, places that help clear my mind of negativity while feeding me so much passion and excitement. I want to leave my mark on the world and let the world leave its mark on me. 

4. Spend more time with family. If the past few years living away from my family and being independent have taught me anything - it's that however far away you travel from them and how much you create a life for yourself, the love that one family can hold is so powerful and so precious. It's through the hard times that you're all brought together and the love is at its strongest. But this year and onward, I don't just want to be there for the difficult times. All of these memories that I want to create and places I want to explore, I don't always want to do alone. Finding people in this world that you connect with and care for is one of the greatest gifts about being human in this life, and luckily for me I am blessed every single day with such a strong and loving family whom I love and care for very much. I definitely appreciate my family so much more since branching out to make my way in the world. And this year will be the starting year where I can spend more time with them. From booked holidays later in the year to casual visits home and regular FaceTime calls on weekends. Even a spontaneous trip to the seaside or family dinner out, I want it all and I want to embrace every minute of it. No more university means no more cancelling plans last minute, or being stuck away from home when I want to visit. This is my life now, it doesn't belong to education anymore and I have full control over where I go, what I do and the people I see. Family is so important, and I'm not just talking about blood relatives but the people who have been in my life since I was small, the people who I may have not long since met but whom I love so much already - the people who have brought me so much happiness. 

5. Put myself first. This one is the biggie. Challenging myself in all of these other aspects, working harder and being more committed to the things that I want to pursue is easy compared to this last one. For several years I have been dealing with some personal mental health issues, from depression and various anxieties, to a much deeper problem I didn't begin accepting or trying to understand until recently. While publishing that part of my life is not what I want to have out there on the internet just yet - I do want to share that I am not perfect. Over the course of 2017 mental health awareness grew so strong and I think 2018 will be one heck of a year for people that struggle with mental health issues to seek help and push themselves to get better. I am one of those people. After being at rock bottom and scraping my face across the floor for a good while, I realised I no longer wanted to live my life that way - things had to change. So I began making plans for 2018 - not huge plans and life goals but small steps in order to get some form of routine and structure back into my life. I understood that it was these little things that were just as important for getting better as well as seeking professional help. 
    No.1 - I give myself at least one full day per week where I don't schedule anything - no work, no writing, no blogging or shopping etc. The day is mine to just spend in bed if I need to, or open if I want to do anything else. I leave the day completely open and just for me. Generally this day is Sunday because I'm already not at work and all of the other things can be scheduled around my shifts during the other days of the week. It's perfect for me because it gives me time to clean up around the house, pamper myself as well as mentally and physically preparing myself for the next week ahead.
     No.2 - I have a nighttime routine. Small steps - they're important. Something as simple as washing and cleansing your face, brushing your teeth, taking a multivitamin and settling down into bed with a cold pint of plant milk while watching YouTube videos. I've had this routine for over 3 weeks now and it's become the thing that I do not skip out on. Sometimes I push work-type tasks back a day if I'm too tired from my paying job, or I'll do more on one day to free up another, but I always make sure to stick to my nighttime routine. 
     No.3 - Setting monthly goals. Okay I know I'm sat here creating goals for the whole year but these are all broken down into monthly and/or weekly goals. For example, I will spend a couple of weeks saving up some money and then spend it on a particular travel goal by incorporating that into one of my monthly goals, and arranging it for one particular week. Similar rules apply for more regular goals - I will create a timetable every month to ensure I am working on my novel each week, posting on my blog and YouTube channel regularly, and spending more time with my family. The whole point behind these goals and timetables is to keep myself in a set routine and bring back some much needed structure to my life. When I have things to work towards and goals to achieve I tend to do better - I remain focused, which is exactly what I need to do in order to get better. I keep focused on the positives.




***



There we have it. My goals for 2018. While they may not seem like much to some people or fit the stereotypical 'new years resolution' category, they're the goals I want to achieve before the year is out. This time 2019 I want to be at a place in my life where I am so proud of what I've made of myself and the things that I've achieved. As scary as the future can be I want to enjoy making plans for it and challenging myself to achieving them. 

"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." - Earl Nightingale. 
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