If I had to sum up 2018 in a word I would say introspection. This November marked the 5th year since I started this blog. It has changed quite a bit, and in many ways I have too. I am more confident than I was 5 years ago, and I am not afraid to say or do things that when I first started, I never would have done. One of the biggest struggles for me in 2018 was balancing my work and my personal life. I am by nature a workaholic, sadly a title I wore as a badge of honor, yet the whole reason I left behind a good job, was because I didn’t want that. Five years later I realized I was falling back into the same pattern that pushed me to do something I never thought I’d do, leave behind a career to start something new, with no idea what I was doing and no backup plan. The last few months I’ve done a lot of reflection about what I actually want, in my life and my career. I was so tired of feeling like I was always working but not necessarily achieving the goals I set for myself. Thanks to some business coaching from Mike (I will share more about this in a blog post), I was able to clear some space in my brain to really think about my goals and strategy for 2019 and beyond.
The second thing that weighed heavily on me in 2018 was reconciling the expectations and nature of my job with my personal values. A major part of my business revolves around consumption. From a business perspective, I am expected to sell, constantly. In many ways, my job wouldn’t exist without consumerism, and I’ll be the first to admit, I like to shop. I love clothes and decorating my home and trying new beauty products, but on a personal level I have taken a hard look at those habits. I pulled way back on sharing and posting things last year because I just wasn’t comfortable with the feeling of constantly pushing consumerism when on a personal level I was cutting way back and being mindful of my own consumption. If I’m being honest, my income took a hit because of it. It wasn’t and isn’t easy to see that happen, particularly when you work for yourself, but I spent a lot of time reflecting on this, and ultimately I am happy with my decision. When I asked on Instagram to describe me/my brand in a few words many of you said things like trustworthy, honest, authentic, and mindful. Reading that was incredibly humbling and the wake up call I needed. I am really excited about 2019 and the direction I want to take my business. I am incredibly grateful that so many of you have stuck with me. This community we’ve created is honestly more than anything I could have ever dreamed of, and has inspired and pushed me in ways I never thought were possible. I want this space to give all of you as much as it gives me. I want this community to be a place of sisterhood, lifting each other up, inspiring and encouraging one another to fight for what we want, chase our dreams, and to be unapologetically ourselves. Thank you for your trust and your support. Here’s what I’m dreaming up in 2019, please share your goals and intentions in the comments too, I can’t wait to read them (if you’ve never actually written down your goals I encourage you to do so, it’s really helpful in making them more concrete and achievable).
Overarching theme/word: Intention (see that post here)
- Probably my biggest goal/intention for 2019 is to reduce my consumption and waste. While I did cut back a lot in 2018, I still spend when I don’t need to, I still buy lots of things I don’t need. I make up for it by constantly purging (selling and donating) but then quickly replace those items which defeats the whole purpose. I’m not freezing my spending altogether but I am taking a much more mindful and conservative approach to shopping and spending. That goes for all categories, clothes, home, beauty, etc. You might think, but you get lots of stuff for free. You’re not wrong, though I spent a lot of time last year asking to be removed from most PR mailing lists. Occasionally I request pieces or products from brands, otherwise I spend my own money. I will also focus on supporting and purchasing from more sustainable brands.
- Craig and I want to buy another fixer upper. It feels scary to even write that here and I wasn’t sure I wanted to share it because I don’t know if we can do it but we’re going to try our best. We are looking in Vermont and potentially New Hampshire. More on this to come as we are going to share this process with you!
- In line with my spend less/waste less goal I want to save more. I haven’t quite figured out concrete numbers yet, the reality is when you work for yourself your income is somewhat unpredictable, but I want to be aggressive about saving money (for our retirement, for the fixer upper, and for our rainy day fund).
- I have just made excuses for too long but I really want to prioritize a fitness routine. Even if I only get a minimum of 20 minutes a day, I have to make time for me. I want to work on my strength and my flexibility. I got a beach body membership for my birthday so I’m hoping to incorporate some at-home workouts to keep me on track.
- I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share this here either, but why not? I want to start writing a book. It wasn’t until recently that I allowed myself to think this was possible. I’ve always told myself I’m not good enough or I don’t have anything important enough to say, but I realize I’ve written a blog for the past five years, and while it’s not some of my best work, I think there is an opportunity for me to do this and I’m excited to just start writing and see where it takes me.
- I read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and so I wasn’t planning on watching her Netflix show but started it a few nights ago and now I am determined to de-clutter. Our house is so small we have to be incredibly intentional about what we have and where we put things. I might even attempt to go through each room but I am starting with our bedroom and I will document on YouTube!
- My home office has become a dumping ground for stuff and it’s driving me insane. I don’t even use it because it’s just a cluttered mess, so I want to finish my home office, and make it an organized space that I want to work in.
- I got a jump start on this at the end of 2018 but I want to focus on better time management. Business coaching from Mike really helped me work on this and I will definitely share some tips because it has honestly changed my life.
- So this is a bit of a crossover personal/work goal but I want to create a capsule wardrobe. I find myself going back to the same pieces over and over again and I also just want to simplify how I get dressed. I have too much stuff. I want to have a great core wardrobe with the most important pieces that are timeless and easy to wear multiple ways. I am creating a blog series around this too!
- Probably the project I am most excited about is my website rebuild. The process is just starting now so it will launch in the spring but I am working with my designer and developer to create a really great user experience with a lot of awesome and unique features. The Newport Guide will get a makeover as will the homepage and we’ll be adding custom content types and layouts. There will also be a more dedicated space for The Cozy Ranch and my home decor content.
- While the blog has always been my number one priority I haven’t focused enough on growing my readership and that is going to be a major priority for me this year. It’s interesting because I’ve had some conversations with other influencers/bloggers who say “people don’t read blogs” and I just don’t think that’s true, in fact I know it isn’t. I realize how people digest content is different now but I am not going to stop focusing on this space because my analytics are showing that people still spend time on here and I personally still enjoy reading blogs.
- I’m excited to finally submit The Cozy Ranch to at least two online design/decor websites for a feature. I didn’t do this last year and it was a goal of mine, but we’ve finished so many projects I think it’s at a place where I can submit enough content.
- Speaking of @thecozyranch, I have some big goals to grow that account on Instagram. With minimal effort we’ve already grown to over 12k followers and I want to create content specifically for that account as well. I want to get to 40k by the end of the year (that probably sounds insane, because it is, but I think it’s doable).
- I know the key to YouTube is consistency and I have so many ideas for videos, it’s just a matter of filming and editing them. I want to post at least one video a week to Youtube and hopefully increase that to two by this summer.
- I love that this space is a community and I want to foster that, whether it’s in person meet-ups/events, discussions in the comments, etc. I also want to start featuring other creators more, whether it’s artists, fellow bloggers, writers, creatives, female entrepreneurs, etc. I have some new content series launching soon on the blog so look out for that.
- I’m planning to create more exclusive email content for my newsletter subscribers and focusing on continuing to grow that list as well.
- I still love Pinterest (despite how often my images are stolen and used without credit to sell stuff-not bitter or anything). I find tons of inspiration on there and it’s a great source of referral traffic so I want to continue to focus on growing my following there.
- Last but certainly not least we are bringing back the podcast. I want to get on a regular recording schedule which I think will be twice a week (TBD).