Wow-ee and golly-gee-whizz! That went by fast, didn’t it?
I hope you all had a great Christmas Break and some time to take stock over the last few weeks.
The weather may have been a bit patchy in some parts of the country, but the enjoyment of having more time off never disappoints. The only shame is not getting a bit more time. I worked through a little bit of Christmas and New Year, just taking the stat days off. But as you’ll have seen I did give myself a proper three-week break from writing blog posts (although who am I to stay clear of Instagram and Snapchat - I haven’t got that much will-power).
2016 was an amazing year for me in so many ways. Personally, I moved in with my wonderful love/boyfriend, the dashing tall ginger Matt, to a wonderful Wellington spot, turned 27, finally passed my restricted drivers licence and made new friends. Professionally, I started a new job I loved and even got a pretty decent end of year review. High five for making life work in your later twenties.
Blogging-wise, I reviewed the New Zealand Festival, The New Zealand Film Festival and the Fringe Festival, took over the Wellington on a Plate Instagram and Facebook for 3 days, wrote for Blogosphere Magazine and Word on the Street Blog, was interviewed by The Dominion Post, sat on a panel about Wellington Marketing, held a workshop on blogging for a women’s business network and went on my first blogger overseas media trip to Thailand! Holy Moly.
At times I was exhausted (those of you following me on Snapchat - residents_welly - would have been likely to see more than you bargained for of my baggy under-eyes) but I have never lost my passion for making blogging content. OH and I met my goal of publishing an interview with a different interesting Wellingtonian every week for the whole of the year! Boom! Wham! Wallop! I also managed to watch the whole of Unreal, House of Cards, Silk, Mr Robot, Chewing Gum and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Embarrassing as it is, I felt quite proud of that. What would life be without Netflix and Lightbox, eh?
But that’s all in the past now. The future marches ever onward, as sure as the sun rises and sets over Lyall Bay. And I am sure that you’ve all been rushing onto Etsy or down to Madam Fancy Pants to pick up a new diary to plan for the year ahead and maybe make some resolutions. I thought it would only be right to share my goals for 2015. I have a couple and just to keep it simple have got them split into fitness and health, professional, personal and blogging. I've kept it to quite specific things. As I talked about in this post earlier in 2016, studies show goals should be specific and quantitive if you want to make real change.
Fitness and Health
1. Nourish my body
Last year in late 2016 (and onwards into this year) I’ve had the privilege to work with Shelley Gawith, a functional nutritionist, Wellingtonian and health-scare survivor (that sounds rather dramatic but trust me, that’s putting it lightly - you can read her whole story here). Shelley brought me and Matt around to the idea that putting our health first can be easy and enjoyable. Since October, she has been giving us tips and tricks to improve life, from setting achievable daily goals (sip water, don't skull it) to thinking mindfully about how we use our body and mixing it up (beach walking or a waterfall pose anyone).
I used to worry about my weight in my teens and twenties. These days, I care less, but I do worry about my energy. 2016 taught me burn out can be dangerously close and your diet is your best defence. I want to embrace treating my body more respectfully, smashing a green smoothie a few times a week and avoiding wasting money on food out where I can because I’m too lazy to cook. Expect more recipes here in 2017. Also, do some form of physical activity three times a week (after being suddenly invited to Thailand for the blogging trip, I fell off the band waggon a bit at yoga. I’d like to pick it up again and I’m quite keen to try pilates and to swim.)
2. Drink (a little) less
This really is just an extension of the first goal, but I have noticed that cutting drinking has made a difference to some friends and family (including Matt who went booze free in October and dropped a pant size). I want to get in on the action, more as a way of re-setting my body back to baseline than anything else. I’ll always enjoy a glass of Rose but I’d like to be even more thoughtful about when I reach for the bottle. Anyone else feels the same way?
3. Put my phone away at work
I don’t know about you, but some days Instagram is waaaaay too tempting. 2017 will be a big year at work I hope, so it is important to get better at disciplining my hands not to reach for the iPhone when I want to be distracted. I’ve found that the only way to resist temptation is not to yield to it as Oscar Wilde said but to stick it in the drawer or in my coat on the other side of the office. Realistically, any blog emails can wait until the evening or lunch. Putting away distractions should help me feel less split and able to stay on task more.
4. Think about how to be proactive and look for further opportunities
I know - loads of people have this kind of goal and then as soon as work gets busy with BAU, it all goes out the window. 2016 was very much a bedding in time for me, so 2017 is really a time to prove my stripes. I want to make sure I am bright eyed, bushy tailed and on the ball to plan in my notebooks where I see opportunities pop up to do more, helping out those around me and adding value (sorry if this is way too earnest for some of you - please vomit in your mouth quietly.)
5. Read a book a month
Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved reading. From 7 - 14, my nose was always in a book, from the boarding school series of Enid Blyton to Marion Keyes fodder. Although I wrote so much in 2016, I rarely read more than Guardian articles and many, many pieces on blogging. The break over Summer was a great time for me to catch up on reading some of the blogs I’ve been keen on but hadn't properly analysed (such as the very, very good www.iwantyoutoknow.co.uk). BUT - one of my fav YouTubers/bloggers Anna Gardiner set this as her New Years Resolution and I think it is a good one. Books are important to me and relax me in a way that can only be compared to meditation. Books help decompress, chill and learn new things. Reading will also undoubtedly help my writing too. So really, it is a no-brainer.
6. Make space and learn to say no more
While I've had some incredible opportunities that I would do all over again and am hugely grateful for, I crammed a huuuuuge amount into 2016 (sometimes doing up to three interviews on a Saturday). Blogging three to four times a week is no mean feat on top of 40 hours of work a week.
I wanted The Residents to take off so badly, I rarely said no, even if I wasn’t fully able to give myself properly (somehow, I pulled it off). I now understand that to be the best person you can be, you need time to take care of yo’self.
Giving myself some time off over Christmas, encouraged by Shelley, helped me acknowledge you need to step back to move forwards. Your helpful feedback also made be realise that you guys don’t necessarily want or need the high energy output posts (by which I mean ones that require me to go interview people or go to events, take a million bespoke photos). Just writing reflections on Wellington life can be enough and sharing insights is really useful. Some of my most popular posts in 2016, like my blog post about Date Ideas in Wellington or a Perfect 24 Hours were dashed off, using photos I’d collected previously. So I am going to be pickier about where I put my energy, to help the blog grow, keep sharing useful knowledge, practice saying ‘No’ and listen to your feedback. As one of my heroes Marie Forleo says, “If it’s not a Hell Yeah, it’s a Hell No”.
7. Plan, plan, plan and get making more videos
Last year was a year of learning. This year, I want to be a bit more polished and have more of a specific idea about what I need to get out of each week (in order to service point 6). So with the help of my blogging pals Megan and Lucy, I am intending to make the most of Google Docs and spreadsheet the shit out of 2017 (if you want a blog post about how to do this, please let me know in the comments below).
8. Share more personal stories so you guys can get to know me better
Over 2016 I grew in confidence. I feel so amazed that The Residents was received so well, growing from 0 - almost 10,000 followers on social media in just over one year. You have all given me so much lovely feedback, whether you’re overseas just wanting to see what’s happening in your old stomping ground or thinking of moving to Wellington from overseas.
On the whole, I’ve received almost all positive feedback which absolutely blows me away. You guys seem to like when I throw more of myself into the mix, sharing what I love about Wellington, and of life. Over 2017, I promise to be proud of the nutty 27-year-old Wellington girl I am and to take you with me (if you don’t want to come, that’s cool - hit the X-box above). Hopefully, you can get to know me better and I can get to know all you guys better. Please keep sending me your feedback because it helps me and The Residents blog grow. Happy New Year guys!!