It’s kind of exciting to wrap up 2017. It was a strange year – 2016 felt like the world was coming to an end. 2017 felt like some days we were truly heading in that direction whilst other days felt like there’s hope. Maybe I’m just a melodramatic one. Do you feel the same way or am I the only one?
I always like to put together a reflection and resolution type of post at the end and beginning of each year to share with you. I love reading these and getting to know the person behind the blog better. I hope this isn’t TMI and I’d love to read yours too (feel free to drop your link in the comment section!)
6 Things I’m Proudest of Accomplishing This Year
1. Switched Career and Industry
It’s always tough to become competent in one profession only to realize it wasn’t your true calling. I spent 6 months last year agonizing over the idea (or foolishness) of leaving a stable job where I was progressing very quickly while earning an above-average compensation. It took a lot of soul-searching but I felt I had to do the right thing for myself, and resigned my old job (Which took a lot of people by surprise) to seek out non-marketing opportunities.
Long story short, I’m glad I took that leap of faith. I sought out and ended up in a role, industry and with a team that was more in line with what I wanted and was looking for. It’s weird to say this about a job, but I’m pretty happy with where I am today. I have had far more opportunities in the short amount of time I’ve been here and feel like I’m more in sync with career goals and there’s a more defined path to where I’d like to be in the next 5-10 years.
2. Slayed that Student Loan
If you are a regular reader of my travel posts, you’ll remember that I’ve mentioned more than once that despite a sizeable my student loan ($60K), I still managed to travel quite a bit. It took me around 22 months to fully pay down the entirety of my undergrad program and it’s left me with a bit of anxiety at the thought of pursuing a post-graduate degree and taking on another double-digit debt. However, I am immensely proud that I allowed myself to indulge in travelling (rather than moving out) despite this financial burden. Now that it’s over, I’m looking forward to incredible opportunities of post-student loan life.
3. Reduced the Makeup Spending (By 60%+)
Being a beauty blogger means you’re constantly on the Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart sites scoping out the latest launches and newest “it” product. This year, I just felt makeup-ed out because it felt like the same routine over and over again. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like makeup – I just feel like I want to invest in the best ones and return to the same one than trying 1204710 different serums and foundations.
Perhaps I became very jaded because of the years I spent working in marketing and knowing what happens behind the scenes. I still grieve over the 3 years that I was a VIB Rouge status holder, not because of the lack of perks, but over the amount of money spent. This year, I’m barely hitting VIB (will likely renew the VIB status with any boxing day spending) and my makeup collection has largely remained the same which I’m very pleased about.
4. Discovering the Shoebox Project
Please do not judge me for this but this year I discovered the Shoebox Project. I became very overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I have and feel like there must be a way to share some of the good things in my life. That’s how I discovered the Shoebox Project! My sister has always done Operations Christmas Child every year which focuses on underprivileged children and inspired me to seek out an alternative! I am excited to make this a regular Christmas tradition!
5. 30 Countries of Solo Travels
Portugal will always have a special place in my heart, not only because of the incredibly delicious and flavourful dishes and deserts I had whilst there, but because it was the 30th country I travelled to as a solo traveller. I still have to pinch myself sometimes because the idea of doing the kind of traveling I was doing and the destinations I picked (South Africa, Ghana, Jordan and Israel are a few examples) meant I was putting my family in a state every time I’ve been away. 30 countries of solo travel and more to come in the new year!
6. Finished 12 New Books
I promised to indulge myself in reading more this year – it’s just good habits to lose ourself in a book and walk away with a new perspective. I’m happy to do a reading round up if this is something that you would be interested in.
Things to Work On
1. Finding my Social Media Niche
Ever since Instagram and Facebook updated their algorithm, I know my posts and shares aren’t really getting to my audience which really sucked. I think I’m kind of over trying to “beat” or get on top of the new algorithm because it’s really not going to get me anywhere. As a result, I’ve been refocusing on my blog as a resource rather than on social media which has a shelf life of mere seconds these day.
2. Swimming and Strength Training
I’ve discovered my passions this year: swimming and strength training. My knees are not in their best shape so cardio activities tend to take its toll on me very quickly. Plus, I’ve always seen great results with strength training and look forward to doing more next year. I’ve found that I get the best results when I work out for 45-60 minutes (strength training only) a day and add a 60 minute swim every other day. I try to alternate both but some days I end up doing both in the morning (5am) and after work (5pm). I try to exercise 5 days a week, alternating between the two to give me more “varieties” to choose from. It gives me energy and makes me feel a lot less restless at the office.
I also invested in two new programs from my favourite fitness youtubers. Daniel and Kelli from Fitness Blender are certified personal trainers who I’ve religiously followed for years. Not only are their programs quite diverse (Flex, Burn, 30 Minute Workouts, bootcamps focusing on specific body areas) but they are also incredibly affordable. No need to shell out your life savings – Fitness Blender’s programs range from $6.99-14.99 and they run 40% off sales during Black Friday too! The Fitness Blender website got a nice upgrade this year so it’s easy to add and remove program on your account ???? In addition to owning the FB30 (30 minute workouts for 8 weeks) and FB Fit (8 week fat-loss program) I picked up FB Flex (focusing on upper body, shoulders, chest and arms), and FB Booty 2 (bootcamp focusing on the butt and thighs!) I’m currently going through FB Booty 2 and FB Flex. If you want to try out their program, I recommend FB30 – all the workouts average to only 30 minutes and it includes a combination of cardio, HIIT, strength training, yoga and pilates – a very good well-rounded workout program!
3. Discovering More Outdoor Activities
Late last year I discovered skiing and I loved it – I wished I could go more often but I can’t find a ski buddy who’d go regularly with me. I also continued learning to surf and I’m excited to keep getting better. I continued to do a lot of hiking during my trips and I’m confident my weight loss during my trips come a lot from that. I also picked up bouldering and am very keen to get back into it again.
What I’d like to do more of next year
1. Loving Myself & CSelf-Care
I think I finally “get it” – self-care doesn’t mean spoiling yourself silly but really looking out for myself. That means purging that Facebook friends list every once a while, or spoiling myself with a trip to the spa, and not feeling guilty to indulge in that book that I’ve wanted to dive in for ages.
I am myself’s biggest critic so one thing I’d like to work on next year is being kinder to myself which will in turn, help me be kinder to others!
2. Continue saying “Yes” to opportunities
Saying yes and being more open has brought some many new opportunities and I think continuing that will let me experience more and see more. My mind is racing with the many things I want to start or keep doing and my little bedside notebook is full of ideas and
3. Learn new languages
Well, this is the third year in a row where I have to say I’m genuinely disappointed in my lack of progress. I’ve said it in the last two posts but getting myself in the zone to learn new languages have been tricky and I hope to eventually get there. I have Duolingo on my phone and quite regularly spend 30-45 minutes a day practicing in the first half of 2017 but the motivation just ebbed away. I need to find what works the way I discovered working out for me.
4. Live Minimally
One of the improvements I saw in myself this year was the fact that I’ve not shopped as much as before and when I did, it was investing in high quality pieces that I can wear for years to come. I skipped the Black Friday shopping except for a new blog theme and course which was only because it was a much better deal than buying at full price. I’m going to continue chipping away at those mindless shopping and buying new things for the sake of not “being bored”
Thank you all for your support and reading through this fairly lengthy post!
Tell me, what are your goals for the new year and what are your proudest moments from 2017?