I rolled out of bed to a still morning with the remnants of midnight’s champagne toast in my system. I relish in the quiet moments where I’m the only one awake in my home, so I lit some candles and broke in a new 2019 planner. I took to the vacant page with a rainbow of office supplies and began to home in on my 2019 goals. January 1st may have the same 24 hours as any day, but its vitality and promise are palpable. Each new year gives us the opportunity to press the reset button. Perhaps the idea of starting fresh is an adult’s version of Christmas morning — we unwrap the gift of a new year from something bigger than ourselves.
To be quite honest, parts of 2018 felt blasé at a glance. I didn’t travel the world, get married, or grow to national success like some of the people in my life. It’s easy to discount the moments in your life when you spend your time looking at everyone else’s highlight reel. As I settled into my desk chair to rattle off a new list of goals this morning, I remembered when this office— my “studio”—was just a spare room. 2018 was the year I took a huge leap and quit my stable job to blog full-time. This room became a space where the sky was the limit as long as I worked diligently and passionately.
This is the room where I wrote stories for four publications — one that happened to be national, which was a first! While many hours felt like I was being defeated by my inbox, I spent more time poring over contracts and exciting creative content with brands like Olay. I created videos encouraging readers to call their elected officials and get involved. I made a laughably bad YouTube video (that audio!) and learned to be forgiving. I staged tedious photoshoots on tight deadlines with a tripod and a prayer. I spent late nights huddled over my laptop. Many times I felt like I was writing for no one, but then I’d get a message from one of you that made everything worth it. I uncovered the grit required for entrepreneurship, boxing with the demands and dreams, and learned that I am capable of achieving the things I’ve wanted. We all are.
If I had to choose a word to describe 2018, I’d start with self-discovery. I spent a huge part of last year dedicating time to self-care. I reconnected with myself through journaling, working out and meditating using apps like Headspace, volunteering with political campaigns I cared about, and traveling to new places with people who filled me with light. I even started therapy to unpack the dumpster fire of my past in the era of #MeToo. I traversed the wide unknown of self-care that I used to avoid. I learned that taking care of yourself can be practical, but it can also require capacious amounts of energy and effort. It isn’t all bubble baths and wine, y’all!
2019 fluctuated from plain to chaotic, often at break-neck speed. I made a long-lasting friends (and let go of a few toxic ones as well), started a freaking business, volunteered and felt hopeful about positive change on the horizon, read books voraciously, learned to say “no” more, faced family hardships that tested my fortitude, strengthened my relationship, and grew a bit myself in the process.
Reflection is a necessary step before goal setting, so I implore you to journal or jot down your own successes from 2018 to get you started on the new year. With my reflections in the rearview mirror, here are my 2019 goals!
NOTE: My new agenda breaks down goals into Career, Self, Relationship, Spiritual, and Community which I absolutely adore so I’m replicating that here for you. I got the agenda from my Winter
- Double my 2018 income
- Blog CONSISTENTLY every week
- Triple my amount of readers
- Create a Monthly YouTube video
- Land one piece of press
- Send 200 brand pitches
- Do one on-air segment on local news
Writing and Journalism Goals
- Get published in THREE national outlets (DREAM: New York Times or Washington Post, but I’ll start anywhere)
- Apply to writers’ workshops throughout the country
- Outline a novel
- Read 15 books
- Travel to three new cities
- Attend New York Fashion Week
- Learn how to successfully do my eye makeup (because why so serious?)
- Attend yoga EVERY week
- Use the Headspace for 10 minutes every day
- Plan one community-driven charity event for creatives
- Become a Big Sister (Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America)
- Be more present in my relationship (aka put down my phone and get off Instagram)
- Show up and be a consistent friend to the people I love
My Wishes for You
Whether you are recovering from a challenging year or reveling in your successes, today is brand new. You have a new lease on life in 2019. A chance to let your ambitions guide you. I hope you find peace, love, excitement, friendship, adventure and everything you are searching for this year. Take this moment to exhale all of the “what ifs” and breathe in this opportunity of this new year.
Photos by Banavenue Photography