I gave up on 2017 around the middle of August and spent the last four months of the year desperately wishing for Hogmanay to roll around. As a result, I think I put far too much pressure on the day itself and ended up having a pretty big breakdown that caused me to cancel my plans to ceilidh the night away in favour of a big bubble bath and bringing the bells in on the couch instead. It’s weird, I can’t quite believe it’s 2018. I know that the start of a new year is mostly a symbolic thing, but I feel somewhat lighter knowing that it’s a new chapter of my life.
I’m trying to avoid putting 2018 under the weight of too many expectations, as I think that was part of my downfall last year, but I do have a few intentions for the year ahead. You’re probably sick of these posts about all of the good things people want to do with this new year, but if you hadn’t already noticed I like to share things online, and for the sake of accountability I’m sharing these intentions too.
My Word(s) for 2018
At the start of 2017, I discovered the concept of having a “word” for the year. I liked the idea of having one specific word to focus on that encapsulates all of your goals and intentions for the year, and it was something I was very keen to adopt this year. True to form, I couldn’t settle on just one word, but I have narrowed it down to two.
For 2018, I have two main areas that I want to focus on. Each area has its own “subheadings”, so to speak, but there are two clear-cut parts of my life that are getting due attention this year. The words that I’ve ended up with, in an attempt to represent these two areas, are selfish and strive. Mostly because I really, really, really adore alliteration, but also because they feel like the most relevant choices for me.
I did consider something like balance or strength (which was a very strong contender, ironically), but I didn’t think they were fully representative of my ideals for the year. Essentially, I want to put myself first and I want to work hard on achieving the goals I want to reach this year. But that one sentence summary isn’t quite long enough for a whole blog post, so let’s dive a little deeper.
Selfish is one of those words that has kinda negative connotations, but I think that’s unwarranted. There’s a difference between being selfish with malicious intentions and simply looking out for yourself. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the past few years of burning myself into the ground it’s that I don’t look after myself enough, and that has to change.
Looking after myself takes two forms, covering both mental and physical. In 2017, my mental health was probably at it’s worst for a good few years – if not ever – and I don’t want 2018 to end the same way. Self-care is my top priority, and I’m not going to force myself into doing things I don’t want to do just because I feel like I have to. I’m going to stay in when I want to, go to sleep when I want to, spend some time alone when I want to and hang out with my nearest and dearest when I want to. I’m trying to accept my anxiety whilst refusing to let it rule my life, but I’m also listening to my brain and knowing when enough is enough.
This might seem like a bit of a leap, but I think my mental state also ties into my shopping habits. For the past four or five years, I’ve been taking retail therapy a tad too far, and am forever shopping based on how I’m feeling emotionally. I shop to celebrate, I shop to commiserate, I shop out of boredom and I shop out of excitement. In 2018, I want to be a more conscious consumer and stop letting my brain rule my pursestrings quite as much.
Last week I had a huge clear out from my room and was slightly disgusted at how much money I must have spent on clothes I never wore or makeup that was left untouched, and it needs to stop. I want to find my style and only buy pieces that will fit into my wardrobe seamlessly. I want to stop jumping on the makeup bandwagon and buying ridiculous eyeshadow palettes that just don’t suit me, and will only sit untouched in my stash for years to come.
Similarly, I want to get over this idea I have of saving things for best. I have some really nice things that just never get used because I don’t deem the occasion worthy of my nicest perfume or my favourite ring or that ridiculously expensive eyeshadow palette I bought one day when I was feeling a bit sad. These things are there to be used, and even if it’s just a boring Tuesday in college, wearing those “special” things will help bring a bit of excitement to an otherwise bland day. A little treat, kind of, because I deserve it.
And obviously, I think it goes without saying that I want to look after my physical health too. 2017 was somewhat ruled by my rubbish health, and as a 22-year-old with chronic health issues, it’s not something I can easily ignore. I want to nourish my body again and rebuild my strained relationship with food after a year of tension. I want to indulge in my love of cooking more and stop buying the terrible lunches from the college cafeteria. I want to remember to take my vitamins and stop letting my iron levels get too low. Hopefully, I’ll stop ignoring my water bottle and suffering the ill effects of dehydration.
I’ll also work on regaining my strength. I’ve signed up to keep on with my weekly sessions at the gym (going up to three times a week now, eek) and I’m going to take it seriously. Last year’s health issues and car accident ruined my strength and it’s infuriating feeling like I have no control over my body. Sure, I’d love to drop a couple of inches in the process, but right now I’m focusing on building up my strength and being proud of what my body can do again.
I know the “get healthy” resolution is an age-old cliche, and it’s one that I’ve tried and failed at keeping over many years. Previously, I was in it for the wrong reasons. I wanted to drop a dress size or look better on the beach. I was falling for diet fads and falling back into my old unhealthy ways, restricting my food and denying myself the things I love. I wasn’t giving it my all and I gave up after a few short weeks. Now that I’ve found AG Fitness Training, I feel like I can actually meet my goals, and rebuild the confidence that I once lost. But more on that in a future post, because this is getting really long.
I guess you could say that “selfish” is my personal word for the year, and “strive” is my professional word. I have a lot of plans for this year, for my business, my blog and my education, but I want to make sure I’m fulfilling these to the very best standard possible. The latter half of 2017 was quite good for me, work-wise, but I think that my hampered mental state left me feeling a bit unfulfilled and lacking the motivation to work to my full potential. This year, I’m mostly excited about what’s to come.
If everything goes to plan, 2018 should be the year that I graduate from college and move on to university where I’ll begin the final years of my degree. When I first dropped out of university, three years ago now, the final point of my degree felt so far away. Since then, I’ve found a course I love, a subject I’m passionate about and a university that is hopefully the right one for me. My application has been sent, and it’s just a bit of a waiting game now, but I’m feeling very optimistic about the future when it comes to my education.
2018 will also be my first full year running my freelance business, Content by Charlotte. It’s been one hell of a journey so far, but I am so proud of how far I’ve come. This year I want to add a couple of new strings to my bow, some of which I’ve already taken the first steps to implement. I’m hugely excited to see what this year holds for my little business, and I think it’ll be a good one. As a shameless plug, if you want to be the first to find out what my plans are for the year, you should really be signing up for my newsletter.
My newsletter is another thing I’m incredibly proud of. I turned a fleeting idea I had in class one afternoon into something I love working on, that others love reading. In 2018 I’m planning on changing the format up a little bit and bringing out new issues twice a month instead of once a month. It’ll still be packed with brilliant tips for bloggers, but I’m going to bring in some more content for other creative entrepreneurs too. Basically, I just want to work to create a valuable resource on all things internet, to work alongside both my blog and my business.
And finally, my blog. In 2018, Colours and Carousels will turn eight years old. Eight! I’m constantly amazed and intimidated by the fact that I’ve been doing this for eight years. It’s weird, it makes me feel old but also not old at the same time. I don’t know.
Anyway, for the longest time, I felt like I was in a little bit of a rut with my blog. I’ve been creating content I absolutely adore but I didn’t think anyone was reading it. Truth is, I was a bit stuck in my ways, and something had to give. At the end of last year, I started working with Jasmin to figure out a clear path forwards, which gave me a much-needed burst of motivation for the year ahead.
I’m full of ideas right now, and can’t wait to share them with you all. Hopefully you’ll love them as much as I do, but only time will tell. I want 2018 to be my blog’s best year yet, and I want it to be my best year yet. I think I deserve a good year, to be honest!
We’re just over a week into 2018 now, and so far I’m feeling pretty good. Last year was always going to be tough, but this year has promise. It has hope, which I didn’t really have last year. Not properly, anyway. It’s been a solid start to the year and fingers crossed it will continue on this upward path. It’s nice to feel a little bit more optimistic again, even though it is just because the last digit of the date is different. It’s weird how these things work, right?
What are your intentions for 2018?
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