June Goals

2021, goals

Hello!

Another month, another set of goals! I think the British public will very much enjoy June if it remains as beautifully sunny as it has been so far, but I for one am ready for a fresh start, some sun and a month focusing on my own mental wellbeing.

My partner is going on a work trip to Rome for a month so I’ll be spending most of the month on my own, whilst I’m a bit nervous about him going away for so long, I’m trying to frame it as an opportunity to work on myself and spend some time doing all my favourite things.

Last month wasn’t particularly successful in terms of my goals but I’m ready for a fresh start and a new boost of motivation! So here’s what I’m working on (and, thus, you can hold me accountable):

Hannah Witton’s #DearJune Instagram Challenge
I don’t know why, but I love doing ‘Dear June’ – it pushes me creatively, gives me some structure and routine and sometime’s I get affirmation by sometimes being shared onto Hannah Witton’s story. I made my first post yesterday and I’m really pleased with it so looking forward to this one!

Work on my cosplay costume
I’ve been really bad at this so far this year, but I think having more ‘me time’ will mean I spend more time on crafts again! I bought the first piece that I wanted for this cosplay so that’s given me a little more motivation to figure out how to do the rest. I’ll be seeing my sister at the weekend who is super talented at cosplay so hopefully I can get her advice on how to make certain parts of the outfit and it can be a bit of a summer project!

Wedding planning – cake!
As per my monthly wedding planning goals, this month I get to think about cake a lot (which is definitely not going to help the diet). I’ve got some ideas about the cake and how to make it subtly nerdy without being in your face ‘Pokemon themed wedding’ (we’re not having a Pokemon themed wedding).

I really liked this cake topper I spotted in our town centre the other week – with the subtle nod to Captain America and Harry Potter, but definitely need the wand to look a little less… limp?

Clothes sewing
I’m so determined to get back into crafting this month – I’ve been thinking about making bunting, facemasks, knitting and cross stitching but I just haven’t had the motivation to actually start them! I’m planning to pencil in some time in the evenings to get my sewing machine out and get back into it because I love making creative things that aren’t all digital.

Restart Couch to 5k
I’ve said this at least a hundred times this year, but summer seems to be when I have my ‘running’ moment – I did it last summer and though I spent about two months on week 2, I did actually consistently exercise three times a week and I’d love to get back to that! June is going to be my month and even if it’s just going for half hour walks three times a week, it’ll be more than I’m doing now!

And my rolling monthly goal to read 2 books is ongoing, I’ve already put money in my savings account which I’m feeling probably too smug about and so far the monthly date nights haven’t been very successful as we haven’t even managed one, so might scrap that one for this year!

It’s probably the good weather putting me in a good mood, but I’m excited to spend time reading in the garden (when I get some garden chairs), make something creative and hopefully feel a bit better in myself.

It’s looking like it’s going to be a good summer and I’m excited about it, so I’m rolling with it!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

May Goals

2021, goals

Hello!

April really flew – between moving house, the country opening up a little bit to get to unessential shops and doing extra hours at work, I seem to have blinked and missed most of the month but I’m looking forward to things feeling a little more settled in May. Hopefully I’ll get more on top of my workload, I’m definitely going to spend lots of time with my fiancé before his five week work trip to Italy over June and maybe I’ll even figure out how to look after myself a little better.

How we’re this far into 2021 I’m really not sure, it’s going faster than I can keep track of but here are my May mini goals!

– Work on my portfolio: now that I’m in the professional working world, I want to make sure I keep my CV, portfolio and showreel up to date so that next time I apply for a job it doesn’t feel like a huge task! This month I want to spend time working on building a website that encompasses everything I would want to show off to a potential employer. I’ve been working on designing a website for a tech festival with work called Ox Tech Fest (yes, I’ll take the shameless plug) and I’m so proud of how this website has worked out and having worked with a graphic designer and a web developer, I feel like I have ideas for my own website. I’m sure I’ll share when I’m ready!

– Work on my cosplay costume: with April getting away from me and moving house and stuff, I didn’t get round to what I wanted to do for my Team Yell cosplay from Pokemon Sword and Shield – hopefully I’ll balance my time a bit better to get my sewing machine out this month!

– Wedding planning: next stage in the planning is to research music and entertainment and figure out what we want that part of our wedding to look like. I have absolutely no idea where to start with this other than my fiancé and I have started a Spotify playlist but I don’t think an aux cable is quite what most people have in mind for a wedding! Any recommendations welcome please!

– Research dance classes in the area: I may have left dancing behind after 15 years when I went to uni, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely prepared to give up! I never got the chance to find classes at the old house because out of the 18 months we lived there, approximately 13 of them were whilst the country was in a pandemic lockdown! I know things aren’t back to normal yet but I’d really like to find a dance class, meet some new people and do some exercise! I want to get my tap shoes back on!

– Go for walks three times a week: and with exercise in mind… I’ve noticed I’m starting to feel a bit agoraphobic at the moment; I’ve managed to find excuses over the last couple of months but feeling trapped in my own house is actually quite scary, so I want to push myself and get to know the new area we live in and actually get some fresh air. Even if at first it’s just walking to a park down the road and sitting with a book, it’s a start.

My recurring monthly goals haven’t been very successful – I wanted to make more effort to save money but moving house is really expensive, even if you’re only renting. I wanted to have date nights with my fiancé at least once a month but we haven’t managed it yet. And I wanted to read 2 books a month and I didn’t make it through anything in April (though I got ahead in other months so I’m still good on my 2021 goodreads challenge!). Realistically, date night’s just aren’t a priority right now and finances need to be flexible to allow for ‘real life’. I definitely want to get back into my reading habit though.

Things are feeling a little flat at the moment, so I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to feel a little brighter but it’s a work in progress – making an effort not to spend my lunch break at my desk is a good start!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

April Goals

2021, goals

Hello!

Another month, another set of mini goals – with moving house in just over a week, I don’t feel like I’m ready to start any new goals yet but after we move, I’ll be ready for a new start and some more focus. Right now half of my life is in boxes and I’m looking forward to having the amount of stuff in our one bed house in our three bed house and having some more space!

So the first goal is to do all the admin and packing for moving house, but other than that – here are my five mini goals!

  • Writing challenge – 35,000 words – it’s Camp NaNoWriMo month so it’s time for another writing challenge! This month I’m aiming to start planning and writing a new original fiction project, which I haven’t done in a long time – it’s something very different for me and I’m looking forward to pushing myself creatively.
  • Cosplay work – I planned out the steps I need to take to make my first cosplay costume (Team Yell grunt from Pokemon Sword and Shield) and this month I’m going to make a denim jacket I have into a waistcoat, experiment with making armbands and find a skirt that I can potentially adapt if I need to.
  • Wedding planning – this months task is to contact the silk flower florist I met at a wedding fair last year. I have already sent her an email and now I need to figure out what I actually want and which flowers I want to replicate but I’m so excited to not have real flowers and be able to keep them – I said from the very beginning I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on flowers that would just die but the flowers at Indigo Blooms are beautiful. I didn’t even know they were fake. April is going to be very flowery.
  • Find pattern for knitted jumper – I’m really enjoying knitting right now and I really like oversized knitwear so… why not make my own, y’know? I don’t know if the pattern I’ve found is any good but I’m aiming for a Weasley esque initial jumper so it might take a couple of attempts to make one that actually looks good but I’m excited to try it.
  • Start Couch to 5k again – it will be the third time I’ve attempted Couch to 5k, but as the weather warms up and I move to a new town that feels a little safer than where I currently live, I really want to try and make running work again.

And my recurring monthly goals are to read 2 books, have a date night with my fiancé and put some money in savings.

I’m still figuring out balancing monthly goals with full time work and I think I’ve been relatively sensible with setting achievable goals whilst pushing myself to learn new things and develop in the ways I want to. But also on the other hand, I’ve been getting better at not feeling like a failure if I don’t ‘complete’ a goal because if I’m not prepared to put the work in, now isn’t the right time and that’s okay.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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March mini goals

2021, goals

Hello!

Setting mini goals has been a way for me to keep myself focused and making progress for at least three years now, but in the last few months I’ve been really making sure that my monthly goals allow for consistent development from my yearly goals and already I’m seeing progress and it’s so motivating! Seeing a whole month of goals that I know I’ve solidly worked on makes me feel so good and so motivated to carry on!

To have 100% completed 3 tasks and half completed 2 tasks of my February mini goals, I know I made solid progress! I think, in part, vaguely planning my monthly goals for the year has made this easier because I can make sure I’m allotting enough time for each goal I want to achieve, but I know for a fact that I’m working really hard to make as much progress as I can too!

This is a combination of clever goal setting (knowing that I really want to achieve these goals, rather than feeling obliged to) and having the yearly/monthly/weekly goals and to do lists in place to hold myself accountable. I’m feeling so motivated right now and I can’t wait to jump right in to my March mini goals!

1. Start writing a book adaptation screenplay

I got a taste of screenplay writing for my dissertation last year and I very quickly discovered how much I enjoyed and how much more there was to learn about the art of the writing style. One of my potential dissertation topics was about book adaptations and my final dissertation was all about storytelling, so I thought writing an adaptation would be a good place to start to learn about the style without having to consider my own story as well.

This is just for personal use – I’m not claiming to be an experienced screenwriter and I’m definitely not writing any movie scripts to sell anytime soon. But this is a project I want to finish over the course of the year, so this is just the beginning.

2. Start my first cosplay costume

I’ve been banging on about cosplay for years, but this year I’m going to do it! Another goal that I want to achieve over the year rather than in just one month, but I want to spend this month planning it all – what I want to make, what I want to buy and how I can bring it all together.

I’m creating a Team Yell costume from Pokemon Sun and Moon (to go with my sister’s Marnie cosplay). I’m hoping this will really help me develop my sewing and learn about so many different kinds of crafting outside of clothes to make all the accessories. I think I’ll document some of the process on my TikTok if you’re interested!

3. March wedding tasks!

I said in my ‘how I planned my wedding planning’ post that I’d broken everything down and assigned tasks to each month and so far, it’s working relatively well!

My task for this month is to figure out what wedding insurance is and whether we need it, which I imagine will only take an afternoon really! I also need to finalise booking a photographer and videographer because I did a lot of research about it in February but it was all very overwhelming (and much more expensive than I thought it would be!) so hopefully I’ll be able to get that decision made this month.

4. Develop my 5 year plan

I don’t really like calling it a ‘plan’ because it’s definitely not certain enough to be a plan, but I have a spread in my bullet journal listing the next five years and goals and ideas for what I’d like to achieve in each of them. I’ve not looked at my 5 year plan since I last updated in 2020 (2020-2024) and I really need to start my 2021-2025 one, but that’s what this goal is for!

Rather than sticking with my 2019-2023 plan that I started in my 2019 journal, I like moving my 5 year plan through journals with me because I think it’s a much more realistic way of looking ahead for the next 5 years. In 2019 I never would have been able to predict that I would be where I am at the beginning of 2021 and it would have got really messy with crossing out and changing things, so I prefer the rolling approach.

5. Find somewhere new to live!

Although we have a lovely landlord on our one bed house, we’re ready to find something bigger and move somewhere more relevant to my work (if I ever get to work anywhere other than home). We are on a rolling contract in our current house, so we don’t have a deadline to find a new house by, but the time is right for us!

And to be clear; we’re still renting. We don’t have the savings for buying and we’re only 24 and 25 – I know people who are buying houses, but I don’t know a single one who’s saved every penny themselves and not had a rather large savings account from parents or grandparents. No shade, not judging anyone, just kind of fed up of being asked about it as someone who’s literally only just started their first career job – I have not got the income to have tens of thousands of pounds in savings!

And then my rolling monthly goals are:

  • Read 2 books
  • Put a certain amount of money in my savings account
  • Have a date night with le fiancé

I’ve had a good old ramble this month haven’t I? So I’ll keep the ending short and sweet – I love goal setting! Should I write a post about how I planned all of my monthly goals for the year?

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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how I wrote 30,000 words while working full time

2021, goals, writing

Hello!

When I was in it, it didn’t feel like January was that busy but looking back? I started a new full time job, I did really well with my January Goals, I read 4 books and I even made a more consistent effort at going for walks! As well as finishing a 30,000 word creative writing challenge!

I did my first NaNoWriMo challenge in 2011, where I attempted to write 50,000 words in a month (I managed 15k but I was 15 so I think it was still a good attempt!) and I fell off the creative writing wagon when I didn’t have the same evening downtime when I moved to uni and I’ve been trying to make it more of a habit since NaNoWriMo 2017.

For the last two years or so I’ve been doing writing challenge every few months to keep me writing and give myself a goal, because I find it way easier to ‘write X number of words a day’ than to just task myself with writing.

So this year I planned a 30k writing challenge for January, 35k for April, 40k for July, 45k for September and the traditional 50k for NaNoWriMo in November. I knew I was going to need practice to write daily (or the equivalent of daily) in that quantity whilst navigating my first proper career job and for the first challenge for the year, I smashed it!

Here are some of the things that I really think helped me hit my goal for the month.

Having a spreadsheet with my daily word goal made it really clear what targets I needed to hit when and having this visible when I was writing meant I didn’t spend half my time clicking between tabs checking to see how much more I needed to write (might be a me thing, but I’m always looking to be able to tick things off lists!).

Although it probably didn’t help my sleep schedule, I found going up to bed a little early and writing up there whilst my boyfriend played video games downstairs much easier to concentrate. If we had more rooms in our house I would have worked at a desk or something but currently my options are living room or bedroom! My word target was only 968 words per day (compared to NaNoWriMo’s 1667), so if I was feeling inspired I could write it in about an hour and then I’d snuggle into bed with my book and then watch the Repair Shop with my boy until we fall asleep. Lovely!

I’m not someone who can usually work with music – even when I was studying for school exams, I couldn’t study to music with lyrics because I’d get distracted by the words and inevitably end up singing along and not taking in any of the biology revision I was doing. I’ve gotten worse at multitasking since then and I get very easily distracted now, but I’ve found some brilliant playlists over the course of this month – magical instrumentals, lofi hip hop music – beats on relax/study to and ambient relaxation are great instrumental playlists and my current personal favourite is main character because they’re songs that everyone can pretend they’re in that bit in a movie where it’s a montage of the main character being sad or something. Also most of the songs are used in lots of tiktoks so it’s a lot of ‘oh it’s that song’.

It’s not been easy – there’s been a lot of late night writing sessions and yesterday when I had less than 1000 words to go I really struggled with motivation but I did it and it feels amazing.

I decided yesterday I want to start work on a new original novel for NaNoWriMo this year and I feel super motivated now!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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February Goals

2021, goals

Hello!

I’m really excited for my monthly goals this year – when I made my yearly goals I accidentally planned out which goals I wanted to achieve each month so that I had a plan for consistent progress (which sounds much more organised than I feel).  So I don’t get the same sense of a ‘fresh slate’ each month, but I love anything where I don’t have to make decisions so knowing that most of my goals are planned for the year is exciting!

The way I’m planning my monthly goals is in alignment with my yearly goals – I’ve picked one from my professional goals, one from my personal goals, one from my home goals and one from my ‘bucket list’ goals – so I’m making progress in each category of my goals (if I want to) and I’ve got one monthly goal left (because 5 is a nice round number) for if there’s something more relevant I want to include. I don’t know if mentioning all my categories is more confusing (it’s very personal), but that’s how I do it!

Here are my February Goals!

  • Develop my online portfolio – I just got a job, so having a super duper up to date portfolio isn’t hugely important right now, but I figure if I do the hard work in revamping it now then maintaining it will be easier and when it comes to looking for work again I’ll have it ready to go. The three avenues I want to work on over 2021 are my blog portfolio, my Instagram portfolio and a proper showreel, as most of my showreel is footage from 2017 which was three years ago. This month I want to make a plan to make more specific achievable milestones throughout the year, update my Instagram page because that’s the easiest place to start and start researching free website builders to potentially take my portfolio off my existing website.
  • Find a therapist – perhaps a bit personal, but I think we definitely need to normalise going to therapy. I have a mental health condition! I need help to feel like I can get back to my ‘normal’ and I’m in a position where I feel like I can be in a position to be vulnerable with a stranger and go through the process of finding someone who I think can really help me. It’s going to be a lot of sending emails, booking introductory calls and being brave and vulnerable. I probably won’t share how it goes but definitely going to try and help normalise therapy a bit more!
  • Wedding planning – as I mentioned in my ‘how I planned my wedding planning‘ post, I have a 2021 list of steps I want to take to make solid progress on planning our wedding (which is next year! How mad is that?). This month it’s booking the registrar/celebrant (the person who actually does the marrying in a non-religious service) and finding a photographer and videographer for the day, as they get booked up very quickly. It’s not much but little steps every month will all add up!
  • Start sewing my clothes – I don’t mean making my own clothes! I have a few bits and bobs that I’d like to adapt – a scratchy sweater that I want to put a piece of material on the inside, a t-shirt I want to try embroidery on, a shirt I want to try and take the sleeves up on – little things that I think would help me learn about sewing and give a second life to clothes I otherwise avoid wearing!
  • Use Ring Fit Adventure at least once a week – my boyfriend treated me to the Nintendo Switch game ‘Ring Fit Adventure’ when I started my new job and I used it once and decided I needed a sports bra to commit to it… and I’ve not made time for it since. I need to make more time for exercise and going for walks and I think when it’s a video game that is also exercise it’s definitely a reasonable once a week goal! If I can schedule it for straight after work one evening I can definitely do it.

Then my repeated monthly goals are a date night with my fiancé, read 2 books towards my annual reading goal (I’m on my 5th book in January!) and save my goal amount of money.

I’m feeling really good about these goals – my January goals have gone surprisingly well despite starting a full time job and having significantly less time for personal tasks than before.

The first month of this year has flown by and it’s been weird – it very much feels like ‘2020 Continued’, so I hope you as you’re reading this you’re feeling okay mentally despite the circumstances and you and the ones you love are healthy and staying safe!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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tracking joint finances + setting savings goals!

2021, goals

Hello!

If you’ve read any of my bullet journal, goals or organisation posts, you’ll know how much I love planning and making lists. Tracking my finances is no different – I implemented finance tracking in my bullet journal when I decided I wanted to get out of my overdraft before I left uni (still one of my proudest achievements). I set myself a weekly budget and used my weekly spread to make sure I stuck to it, in third year I kept receipts for everything because it was easier to remember how much I spent and I managed to buy myself a new phone outright before I went to New York in 2018 so I used to be quite good at managing all my finances!

At the end of 2020 I saw this video from Hannah Witton about tracking her joint finances with her husband and when I’m shown a pretty spreadsheet, obviously I want to make my own.

So I made it one of my 2021 goals to monitor our spending – I thought this would be especially helpful as we’re saving for a 2022 wedding and we really need to get some money together to pay for it and it can give us a clearer idea of where we’re overspending, where we can save and how we can reach our financial goals (which makes us sound way more grown up than I really want to be).

To set up my spreadsheet, I essentially watched Hannah’s video through really slowly, pausing often to type categories and things in my own Excel document and decide which colours I wanted for each heading.

 

Once I had the basics of income, savings and expenses all set up with our own personalised categories suitable to our life and expenditure (I didn’t know I knew that word tbh), I then got to my favourite bit – using equations to automatically add things up.

At first it was relatively simple – addition sums at the bottom of each column to calculate monthly income/savings, addition sums at the end of each row to calculate yearly totals in each category and then in the bottom right hand corner of each section, another addition sum to see our total income, savings and spending for the year.

But there’s more…

I then thought about being able to include a running total of our bank account – knowing how much we had leftover at the end of the month and using that as a starting point for the beginning of the next month. And in conclusion – this is my beautiful spreadsheet that I have to work with.

It might be harder to appreciate how beautiful and efficient it all is without any of the data (there’s some things I know I definitely shouldn’t share online) but I’ll talk you through it.

The top category – where we track what goes into the account, starting with what was leftover from last month and any additional finances we pay into the account (not necessarily everything we get paid). The total figure here helps to calculate the remainder figure at the bottom of the sheet which in turn becomes the ‘balance on the 1st’ figure the following month.

The last category is the fun one purely because there’s more data to put in and balance and equations and it makes me feel clever, but it’s simple enough – put what comes out of your bank account in each of the categories, total expenditure is an addition of the savings and expenses category and then remainder (or current bank balance, however you want to word it) is total income minus total outgoing, and that remainder uses a very simple ‘=[CELL NUMBER]’ equation to carry over to the next month.

And then I did it all again for my personal finances.

In all honesty, it’s not complicated – it’s a few addition equations, remembering to continuously update it (hence the cell that says ‘Last Transaction Input’ at the bottom) and maintaining everything I’ve already learnt about budgeting and not spending more money than I have.

I’ve been finance tracking for a long time on paper, but it’s never really had a purpose – it’s just been for the sake of being aware of what I’m spending. Doing it this way means I can see a generalised view of my year and I can see if I notice any changes in where we’re spending more or less, perhaps where we could save money and hopefully where we can save more for the wedding and one day getting on the housing market and all the other gross adult things that cost too much money.

Like Hannah said in her video, I’m the one that does all the finance tracking – I tried to show my fiancé and he said ‘that’s nice’ and went back to his video games, so as long as I can tell him how much we need in the joint account and whether he can justify buying the new Samsung phone (he can and he’s very excited that it’s arriving three days before it’s official release).

I love tracking a lists and this spreadsheet means that my finance tracking in my bullet journal is completely unnecessary, but I think I’ll keep doing it because there’s something really demoralising about having to put it in writing when you did a sad spend and ordered too many things online. Although demoralising sounds like a bad thing, sometimes it’s the nudge you need to stop unnecessary spending and avoid popping into McDonalds after I’ve finished the Asda shop (which is good for both the diet and the bank account!).

It’s not life changing – it’s not going to make me a Saving Wizard and give me more money than I have, if anything it’s depressing to think about how much money is spent on boring adult things like bills but it’s helpful in the long run, just in that boring ‘adulting’ way.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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2021 Goals

2021, goals, organisation

Hello!

It’s my favourite time of year – goal setting time!

If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know I love all things organisation, goals and planning (even if I am also a Queen Procrastinator and spend more time making lists than doing the things on them… it’s a work in progress) – every month I make mini goals that help keep me focused and working on my yearly goals, every week I make a spread in my bullet journal that helps me work on the tasks in my monthly goals and I’ve been setting yearly goals ‘properly’ (as in, actually tracking them) for probably three or four years now? So I’m getting better at figuring out what I actually want and what’s achievable.

And if we’re learnt anything from 2020 is that something can always throw a massive spanner in the works no matter how hard we try to avoid it, so I learnt a lot about being okay with not ‘achieving’ my goals and knowing that it’s not always a personal failure if I don’t do something. As well as knowing that goals and priorities change – last year I wanted to learn website design and photography, but actually, that’s not a priority for me right now so I didn’t make the time for it.

It’s all about balance and making ‘SMART’ goals. I know I sound like a University Careers officer, but making Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound goals takes practice and breaking bigger tasks into smaller (smart) goals will make them more achievable in the long run. Sometimes waiting for the long run or seeing ‘the bigger picture’ is the real challenge. Whether it’s your career, health and fitness, personal hobbies or anything else, a year isn’t going to perform miracles – I’m not going to reach my goal weight healthily in a year no matter how hard I try, I’m not going to reach my long-term career goals and I’m not going to be able to grow my hair down to my butt – they’re not achievable and that’s fine. But I can set a smaller healthy weight goal that aligns with long term weight loss, I can work towards certain career aspirations that are steps towards my long term aspirations and I can promise myself I’m not going to drastically cut my hair.

The key for me is writing everything down – whether it’s the big life-time goals or the little tasks to do next week, having a note of it makes it much easier to remember.

With all that said; here are my 2021 goals. Because I’m a little bit of an organisation nerd, I have three categories each with three goals (I also like the number three) and then a list of ‘bucket list’ goals that aren’t category specific.

PROFESSIONAL GOALS:

  • Start my new job!
  • Make a proper portfolio – on my blog, on Instagram and an up-to-date Showreel
  • Adapt a book into a screenplay (to learn about screenwriting from experience)

PERSONAL GOALS:

  • Start a bookstagram and get involved in the book community online
  • Make a cosplay costume – a mix of buying and making things
  • Find a therapist

HOME GOALS:

  • Savings goals – wedding, house and personal
  • Organise wedding – complete 2021 tasks list
  • Travel (pandemic allowing):
    • International Holiday with fiancé (if safe)
    • Centre Parcs with family (if safe)
    • MCM Comic Con London (if the con is even on)

‘BUCKET LIST’ GOALS:

  • Read 25 books
  • Writing challenges – January 30k, April 35k, July 40k, September 45k, November 50k
  • Monthly date nights!
  • Find a dance class (COVID allowing)
  • Knit myself a Weasley inspired jumper
  • 1 Second Everyday 2021 video
  • Limited spending; less personal spending
  • Actually go to the dentist/doctors when necessary
  • Sew more – finish t-shirt blanket, fix clothes, make new things, learn about making clothes!
  • Get another tattoo (COVID and finances allowing… but please I really want one)

To make my goals more specific, I do have savings goals and spending limits on the finance related goals but finances are so personal and these are what are (hopefully) achievable for me and I don’t want to give the impression that my savings goals are ‘normal’, so I’ll keep them private.

But other specific goals like my wedding organisation list – I know exactly what tasks I have to achieve this year to be on track and I have a 2022 list for all the final planning, my writing challenges are assigned to months with word goals, rather than ‘more’ date nights it’s ‘monthly’ date nights – I’m not by any means suggesting I’m an expert on goal setting, but having specific and time-bound tasks make it all feel more achievable to me at least.

Regardless of whether you’re setting goals or not, I hope there are at least some positive aspects of 2020 you can look back on and I wish you the best for 2021, in your goals and aspirations but primarily your health and happiness – Happy New Year!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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New Year, No Plan

2020, goals, mental health

Hello,

Like many of us at this time of year, December often gets my thinking about setting goals for the next year – call them New Years Resolutions, 2021 goals or anything else, a lot of people really like the turn of a new year to be able to adopt a fresh new mindset and try and make lifestyle changes.

If you’ve read any of my goal blog posts, you’ll know I’m a massive goals person and won’t be surprised that I’ve been thinking about and making notes about what I want to achieve in 2021 for a few months now. When inspiration hits I have to write it down, or I will not remember!

And whilst setting goals and the New Year can be a great new start and a chance to refresh, it can also be really intimidating if you don’t know what the year is going to hold. When I planned this post I’d been applying for jobs with no reply (though I’m now in discussion about potential work starting next year… but I don’t want to speak too soon) and not knowing what could fill each day can be daunting, lonely and hopeless.

And after the year we’ve all lived through, lonely and hopeless have a whole new meaning.

People throw around phrases like ‘it has to be better next year!’ but if we’ve learnt anything is that we don’t know what’s coming and we can’t expect it to be better. 2021 can’t be this beacon of hope where we expect everything to return to ‘normal’ – this week, the British Government have announced a lot more places moving into Tier 3 (very high risk) measures and despite a vaccine being given, there’s a whole lot of talk about things getting worse before they ever get better. So putting too much hope on 2021 is the kind of optimism my realism can’t get behind.

So 2021 is a mystery, like every New Year is, but with the experience of 2020 behind us it feels a bit different this year. Thus, going into the New Year with no plan feels impossible.

Granted, there’s always things to be grateful for – having our health, a roof over our head and food in the fridge has meant so much more this year, being with someone who’s not lost their job and is still working is a privilege and even just living with someone and having company feels like a luxury. But that doesn’t make not knowing what could come in 2021 any less scary.

Not knowing is the worst kind of not having control and for the control freaks among us, that’s where a lot of feelings of intimidation come from. But there are ways to make it easier – I’m a huge advocate for to do lists, setting yearly and monthly goals to help with consistent progress, adapting how daily to do lists are made to suit what makes you feel productive and learning to check in with yourself to learn what makes you feel calmer and happier and working on it.

Looking ahead is always scary, whether it’s a year, a decade or a lifetime, but being able to reign it in, take it a week, a day or even an hour at a time feels more achievable. Working on mindfulness to tune into our psychological and physical needs and intuitively get to know our bodies can be hugely beneficial to our wellbeing. Even things like a skincare routine and a healthier diet are short term things that are worth focusing on.

I’m not saying this from a position of someone who’s ‘perfected’ any of this – my to do list today is about 14 tasks long because I’ve been feeling a bit low this week and not sleeping well, I’ve not opened my meditation app in months and I 100% do not regularly use any of my skincare products, but I know that when I feel ready, spending time on these things will be good for me. And I will be okay.

New Year’s is a strange time of year – it can be incredibly sad to end, excited for a new beginning, grief for those we may have lost, anticipation of plans for the coming year; a whole host of emotions, good and bad. When I was younger, I hated New Years because I was so depressed I couldn’t see my life getting better, then when I was at uni I worried that things would get worse and the evidence of the passing of time scared me. But now? The New Year is going to come and go anyway, so I’m learning to accept that the year will bring whatever it brings and I can only control what is in my power.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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December Goals

2020, crafting, goals, mental health

Hello!

Somehow we’re on the last month of the year, even though many of us are still mentally stuck in March! This year really has been a whirlwind hasn’t it? If you’d told anyone last year we’d spend half the year cancelling plans, wearing face masks to the shops and constantly being told to ‘think of the NHS’ while the government chronically under funds them and doesn’t value the true key workers in this pandemic, they’d laugh in your face! No way would we believe anything that drastic.

But here we are! The last month of the year; the home stretch!

Personally, I’m still taking things slow – this year has put a massive strain on everyone’s mental health and I need to take things slow for my own sake right now. I’m applying for jobs since finishing my masters and having had the worst luck after my undergrad in 2018 (hundreds of jobs, rejection emails basically every day for months, not a good time) I’m taking a much more gentle approach this time around. Rather than going all out putting lots of pressure on myself to ‘achieve’ by the end of the year, I’m going to try and achieve a better relationship with myself instead!

But as always, I’m setting five mini goals to focus on in December!

  1. Vlogmas! – I started my YouTube channel on December 1st 2013 doing Vlogmas – the challenge of making a video every single day of advent. Many YouTubers make daily vlogs, some do 24 days of content but either way I decided to give it another go this year – this is where it all began for me and I’ve not been making a lot of YouTube videos recently, so I thought a challenge like this will help me figure out what I want the content on my channel to be and can try to redirect some of my creativity into video making. I just published the first video – a little life update – if you’d like to have a look!
  2. Plan New Year’s Resolutions – I love goals and I’ve learnt a lot this year about being flexible with my goals (looking at 1. travel, 2. putting pressure on myself to save money with no income and 3. developing skills I wanted to make myself have, rather than what I’m actually interested in) and I’ve been trying to make much more realistic goals. An acronym I heard a lot from careers departments is setting SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound – to help set goals that are actually a step in the right direction, and not a mountain that seems impossible to climb.
  3. Read gardening books and prepare for next year’s garden – I really enjoyed growing my own flowers this year and my dad bought me some gardening books in the summer that I said I would learn from in the winter ahead of next year’s gardening season! I want to figure out the best vegetables to grow when you can’t plant anything in the ground and go into it with more of a sense of what I’m doing. I might even start a brand new gardening notebook! I’m actually unironically really enthusiastic about gardening!
  4. Christmas crafts! – and from one granny activity to the next, I’ve loved my chilled afternoons cross stitching, knitting and crafting in the last few weeks – from making Christmas presents to fixing some clothes, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed making crafting part of my daily routine to make more of an effort to switch off and relax. I want to get some paper chains, I want to sew some festive things and I’ve got a stack of cardboard boxes I saved with intent to craft so I better use them!
  5. Read one book – in the first 8 months of the year I couldn’t stop reading, when my mental health declined I didn’t have the energy and I got out of the habit. Sleeping and my bedtime routine has been something I struggle with recently, so I don’t want to put any pressure on myself to get back to reading every night straight away again, but if I can finish one book this month that would be amazing.

And my other monthly goal is to have a date night with my fiancé at some point! He’s really busy with work at the moment, but hopefully we’ll find some time to get take out and watch a movie or something!

I was really excited about Christmas in November and now December’s here I think I’m more intimidated by the end of the year than I thought I would be. But I’m making the most of not working right now to try and look after myself, any tips are more than welcome!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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