The start of the new year is commonly used as an opportunity to reflect on the year you had, and to set goals for the next. Even though I believe self-reflection should be practiced regularly - asking yourself: “Are the actions I fill my life with serving me? Are happiness and content part of my every day? What could I change for me to feel fulfilled?” are simple questions to incorporate into your daily routine - I do find my annual end-of-the-year reflection to hold special sentiment. When self-reflecting about 2020, it's important to take into account this year was an incredibly turbulent year for everybody. Be compassionate, and kind when looking back at your achievements. The most important thing is that you survived this year - you should be proud of that. I'm excited to close this chapter for good, and start a brand new page for my new goals in 2021. If you’re curious if I achieved the goals I set for myself this year, and what my new goals are for 2021, this blog post is for you.
MY GOALS FOR 2020
BUILD A LIFE FOR MYSELF IN LA
Check. My most important goal for 2020 was to build a life for myself in LA. At the start of 2020, I had just moved into my one-bedroom apartment in West Hollywood, and I was ready for a new adventure. It was the third time I was re-starting my life in a new city (first Groningen, then Washington DC, and now Los Angeles...). If there's one thing I've learned, it's that moving to a different country or city always remains a challenge. Even though I loved my place and the area I was living in, I struggled to feel truly at home. My social life was pretty much non-existent, I was not that familiar with the city, and I didn't have any fun activities or hobbies to look forward to. This needed to change in 2020. Considering the unforeseen circumstances, I think I did a pretty good job! I have found a small group of amazing souls I enjoy spending time with. Since LA is such a stretched out city, I don't see them as often as I would like (+ COVID-19 happened obviously), but I do stay in touch as much as possible. Most of my friends here are in the same position as me, immigrating to the US and working in the creative industry. Furthermore, I also met my boyfriend Sebastian this year. Before I met him, I decided to stop dating altogether because I felt like I was wasting my time with men. I learned the hard way that most men are just incredibly disappointing and unreliable. If he didn't ask me so directly on a date, I probably would've said no. Ever since our first date, we have been inseparable. He is one of the kindest human beings I've ever met, and I feel so inspired by him, every single day. No relationship is perfect, obviously, but our relationship comes pretty close to it.
FOCUS ON YOGA
No check. I really thought I would nail this goal. I'm honestly quite disappointed I wasn't able to focus on yoga as much as I wanted this year. I fell in love with yoga after completing a 30 days of yoga challenge. Yoga became an essential part of my everyday routine, so I decided to gift myself a yearly unlimited membership at my local yoga studio. I was practicing yoga almost every day until, you guessed it, the pandemic happened. I know it's not a proper excuse, but I have struggled to do daily at-home yoga ever since the lockdown started. Following online yoga classes was not the same, because I missed my yoga studio's ambiance and the real-life interaction with the yogi. Unfortunately, the studio had to close because of the quarantine, which really broke my heart. I have done some sporadic online classes here and there, but I did lose my daily yoga practice routine. However, reflecting on this goal and realizing how much I loved doing yoga makes me want to get into it again. I will have to push myself to feel motivated through online classes!
EXPAND MY BUSINESS
Check, kinda? 2020 was a tough year with regards to my business. During the start of the lockdown, I was anxious about my financial situation. No one was buying planners to plan their lives, since the pandemic pressed pause on most people's activities. My usually overflowing email box was empty, and brands' PR budgets for working with content creators pretty much disappeared. This came as a big hit, especially since I had so many plans to expand my stationery line Supplied by Lily in 2020. However, looking back at the year, I recovered financially and still achieved some goals I set for myself. I designed a brand new website for my webshop I am very proud of, shot many beautiful product photos, and launched 2 (!) stationery collections this year. I collaborated with many amazing big and niche brands this year. I also had a few local freelance photography jobs, which is something I love doing. In sum, 2020 wasn't as good as I imagined it would be, but it wasn't terribly bad either.
CREATE MY NEW DAILY ROUTINE
No check. My everyday routine fluctuated so much in 2020. At the beginning of the year, I felt incredibly motivated to stick to my day-to-day routine. I worked out a lot, had a healthy diet & created so much content. Even when quarantine started, I threw myself into work mode to forget the craziness going on in the world. After a few months, I noticed that real life was catching up to me. All of a sudden, I realized how lonely I was. I started questioning my life, my decisions, and the direction it was going. Everything felt pretty pointless and unimportant to me. It took a while for me to get out of that funk. Talking with friends and family, meeting Sebastian & getting back into philosophy definitely helped me a lot. I am excited to get back into the swing of things in 2021, with a positive mindset and a more mindful approach to my everyday routine. Instead of focusing on being as productive as possible, I want to focus on being present in the moment, and having a healthy work-life balance.
BE MORE CREATIVE
Check, kinda? This year, I really struggled with feeling creative. Being stuck at home in a small apartment made it quite challenging to feel inspired, and create inspiring content. I missed travel photography, cute coffee shops, and shooting together with my friends. Despite being physically challenged and confined to one space, I created social media content I am proud of this year. I just needed to be creative to make things work. By re-decorating my apartment, learning new editing techniques, and investing in a new camera lens, I was able to maintain my creativity as much as possible. However, 2020 did put another burden on my creativity: the financial uncertainty 2020 caused made me feel pressured to "monetize" everything I do. Looking back, I am proud of the hard work I've done, but I am ready to do things differently in 2021. I want to put my mental health first, focus more on different creative projects, and less on monetizing everything.
MY GOALS FOR 2021
PRIORITIZE MY PHYSICAL HEALTH
Similarly to my goal in 2020, I am setting another health-focused goal this year. I want to live my best healthy life in 2021, and I'm honestly really excited to get this started. I have a few specific habits I want to incorporate in my daily routine:
- Wake up between 6:00-7:00 am
- Drink 2 liters of water every day
- Take my vitamins consistently
- Go on a daily walk (could be a short one)
- Practice yoga 5-7 times a week
- Do a short abs/arms circuit 5-7 times a week
- Go on weekly hikes
- Get into juicing (Sebastian gave me a juicer for Christmas, and I'm so excited to start using this!)
- Plan out my meals and grocery runs for a week
- Make more food from scratch (hello, home-made almond milk and veggie lasagna!)
- Eat more leafy greens
- Go dairy-free (an occasional exception for tiramisu is allowed)
- Practice intermitted fasting between 12 PM to 8 PM (not counting the weekends)
This is quite an extensive and specific list, but I wanted to share all of these with you as inspiration to make your 2021 healthier and hopefully happier.
BE OPEN FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES
"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there."
- John Assaraf
This quote inspired my next 2021 goal. 2020 was a harsh reality check. My day to day life left me unfulfilled, and I wasn't really sure what to do about it. I felt like I was stuck in my comfort zone, not knowing how to get out of there. Should I move back home? Should I move somewhere else? Should I start a new project? Should I start a new course or degree? How can I ensure to make 2021 a successful year? I didn't know the right answers to these questions. This year I want to make myself unstuck. I want to understand my intrinsic motivations in life, focus on things that energize and inspire me, and start new passion projects. I'm currently starting a session with a life coach to figure out these things, and I'm really excited about it!
START NEW PASSION PROJECTS
I think I'm most excited about this goal. In 2021, I'm planning on starting a few new passion projects. First of all, I want to write my first ebook in the first quarter of the new year. I have wanted to write a social media content creation book focused on Instagram photography for such a long time, but I have not prioritized it enough to finish it. I think it's a great smaller project to work on and get my writing juices flowing. Another project I want to launch at the end of the first quarter of 2021 is a philosophy podcast. I've been meaning to start a podcast for ages, and now it is finally happening. It's going to be a podcast focused on mindfulness and philosophy, with 1-2 episodes a month. I already purchased a podcast mic and made a list of episodes I want to record, so I can't wait to get started! What I'm going to do for the rest of 2021, I'm not sure yet. Setting smaller, attainable goals instead of making intense 5-year plans works better for me, especially in current times. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself, and see how the new year will go.
TAKE CARE OF MY MIND
Aside from prioritizing my physical health, I also want to focus on my mindstate and mental well-being. The following healthy habits are great to incorporate into your daily routine for 2021:
- Journal every morning when I wake up, and every evening before I go to bed
- Make reading a book a daily habit (even if it's just a few pages)
- Read at least 1 book a month
- Meditate for 5-10 minutes every day
- Have an extensive self care routine once a week (Sunday pamper day!)
- Expand my knowledge
- Listen to spiritual & philosophy podcasts
- Don't check my phone 20 minutes before I go to bed
A pretty specific list, but I hope it helps you feel inspired for your own mental health goals. I also want to emphasize the "expand my knowledge" habit on this list. Ever since graduating from law school, I miss the academic life. Sometimes I wonder how I could read so much and retain all the information - it seems like such a long time ago! However, I know I have it in me, so I want to expand my knowledge by taking online courses this year.
HAVE A HEALTHY BALANCE OF CONSUMING & CREATING
Thank you for taking the time to read my annual goal reflecting & goal setting blog post. I hope I can encourage you to do the same. Even though New Year's resolutions are not everybody's cup of tea, I strongly believe that starting your years with goals and aspirations will help you achieve them. I would recommend setting smaller, more attainable goals for 2021, combined with weekly or monthly reflection on what does and doesn't serve you to stay focused and motivated. 2020 might have been a tough year, but looking back, I didn't do that bad - and neither did you. I am proud of all of us, and hope we can incorporate the lessons we learned to create a better 2021, together.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR 2021?