Last week I shared my 2019 travel goals (better known as my annual bucket list) but today I want to share my overall goals and expectations for the year. I don’t really consider these resolutions but more of a general outline for the things that I am hoping to accomplish in the next twelve months. I have always been a list person so it is only natural that I write this out to help guide me as we go along. Hopefully I will check in on this post over the year and hold myself accountable to these tasks as I think they are both important and realistic goals.
Looking back on the past few years, each year had an (unintentional) theme…2016 was our big year of travel, 2017 was the year of our wedding and 2018 was the year of new. In 2016 I spent almost more time away than home, whether it be weekend trips, work trips or big vacations. It was exciting and exhausting. In 2017 we spent the entire first half of the year planning our wedding, attending tastings and showers, and the second half getting married and going on our honeymoon. This was no doubt one of the best years of my life but we spent a lot of money. Then last year, 2018, was focused more on getting back on our feet. We were in a new home, Terry started a new job, I created a new interior design company, I took on many new blog campaigns and we enjoyed our first “new” year of marriage together. It was one of the most stressful professionally, yet most enjoyable personally.
In 2019, I am hoping this will be dubbed the year of balance. We will no doubt work hard (I am starting a big new job today – more to come next week), Terry’s start up is rapidly growing, my blog is growing, we are hoping to purchase a home and getting everything in order to hopefully purchase another home in 2020 and start a family. We will be working hard but also playing hard. We’ve got a few big trips lined up – it’s definitely the year of quality over quantity, on all fronts. Let’s dive deeper.
Monthly bonus posts: I sent out a few surveys on Instagram which gave me some great insight into more of what people are wanting to see. Two areas that I received a lot of feedback for increased posts were recipes and everyday life. Since I tend to post more of interior design and travel (aka everything is curated and looks perfect), I can see how people want to see more “real” life stuff. While I do cook dinner almost every single night (at least 5-6 nights per week) and I meal prep every Sunday, I never really share any of this. So I will be trying to incorporate a monthly bonus post on the recipe front. Additionally, I will try to share more personal posts (on topics such as work-life balance, house hunting, finance, anxiety, etc) and will continue to give a more “behind the scenes” look on my Instagram story so be sure to follow along.
Increase Pinterest traffic: Increasing traffic in general is a area that needs a lot of focus in 2019, particularly with Instagram and Pinterest. I’ll be focusing more on the latter since I have hundreds of posts already that I need to upload and categorize. This is not an area I am particularly excited or knowledgeable about, so if anyone has any inside tips or tricks, please let me know.
More travel diversity: Another area that I heard a lot in my surveys were more travel. It seems like people want not only hotel reviews (least interesting but sometimes a necessary evil), city travel guides, planning tips and more. I will be diving deeper into various places that I have been and try some new writing angles, such as “the 5 best places to visit in ___” or “10 ways to spend in afternoon in ___”. Again, if there are any posts that you want, send them my way!
Local partnerships: Networking is probably the area I struggle most in for two main reasons. One is that I have very little free time for this (I work a full-time job in addition to my blog and design business) and the other is that these things scare the hell out of me. To be honest, I am so beyond uncomfortable going to a blogger networking event – I never know what to wear, I feel akward, I don’t know anyone…the list goes on. There were a couple that I signed up for but honestly I was too nervous and completely chickened out. I am hoping that by networking more in my local area, I can become better at this and partner with more local businesses in 2019.
Grow my e-design business: In the latter part of 2018, I had so many interior design clients that I was bursting at the seams (both with excitement and stress). I had to turn down a few projects because I simply did not have the bandwidth and I will never take on a project unless I can give 100% each and every time. That being said, I am hoping to grow my e-design business as it is easier for me (I can work on my own schedule), it is more affordable for the client and the turn around time is quicker. All in all, it is a different type of design but one that I can find balance with my full-time job.
Lose 10 pounds: Ugh, what a cliche goal. Truth be told, I am about 10 pounds heavier than I was on my wedding day which was where I felt my best. While I exercise consistently and very hard (with a combination of cardio and strength training), I know that my every day diet needs to improve. I have started to notice things shift in my body over the past few years and my metabolism is definitely slowing down. It won’t hurt for me to focus more on more plants, more lean protein, minimal to no dairy or sugar and limit my alcohol intake. I will be all but eliminating dairy, sugar and booze from my diet in January to help kick-start these healthier habits.
Learn to slow down: If there’s one thing I am really good at, it’s staying busy. I know that it’s a combination of the blog + my design + my husband’s startup so mostly environment; however, this is an area that I have always struggled with. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had a family member or friend say “will you just relax already?!”…it is something that I am just really bad at. Rarely does a night go by where I don’t work from diner until bedtime. When I am doing nothing, I get extreme anxiety and feel like I am wasting time. In reality, I know that relaxing and “doing nothing” is often the best way to recharge. So whether it is taking a bath or reading a book…I need to do it.
Re-connect with old friends: One of the most frustrating things about living in a city far away from where you grew up / went to college / lived the first 28 years of your life is that you lose touch with old friends. I am lucky in that I have quite a few great, lifelong friends who I keep in regular touch with and that
Ask for help: The last twelve months have been particularly stressful at our house as time is the enemy. While I typically only work 40 hours/week, my husband works at least 60 so that leaves a lot of the household stuff for me (which I am happy to do). However, it’s no easy task balancing my day job, writing three blog posts per week, keeping up on back end blog work, working with interior design clients, traveling 1-2 times per month, maintaining a household, keeping my dog happy, etc. I think you get the drift. That said, there are a few areas that I will be hiring for in 2019, including a 5 times per week dog walker, a monthly maid and Instcart. Having help in these three areas will eliminate a lot of worry for us and make our lives much easier.
Have a structured plan: Every since we got married, Terry and I have been just kind of “fly by the seat of our pants” when it comes to our finances. Well, not anymore. We met with a financial advisor, figured out our short term – long term goals and came up with a semi-structured plan. Together we are hammering through the details and giving our financial life a complete overhaul. This means less frivolous spending, more saving and more intentional investing. I am excited to get this organized so we can start to reap the benefits.
Decide whether to move or stay: If you have seen our home tour with Houzz, then you probably know that we live in a beautiful (read: expensive) brownstone in Boston’s South End. We absolutely love our place and it has pretty much every feature that we were looking for but it’s a total cash cow. Our location is perfect (walkable to both of our jobs and in our favorite neighborhood in the city) so we are hoping to stay in the area. It is a constant struggle when we love our place but it costs a small fortune. Not to mention that moving is pretty much one of the most painful experiences and I do not want to do it again. That said, we need to stop wavering and just make a decision. Hopefully we will have a plan by the start of summer.
Buy an investment property: Long story short we were under contract for a beach home (whoop whoop) but it fell through due to a few alarming findings during our inspection (moral of the story: everyone get your home inspected). We have been looking at various investment properties the past year and would really like to pull the trigger on one sooner rather than later. Real estate is an area in which we hope to expand our investments over the next 10 years and this is a great place for us to start. I’ll be sharing more on this during the upcoming months.