having a 5 year ‘plan’… ish

2020, career, goals, lifestyle, organisation, student

Hello!

With the amount of goals, organisation and planning posts I’ve written on this little blog, I think it’s relatively clear that I’m one of these ‘productivity’ types (even if being organised is actually procrastinating being productive). One of my goals for 2019 was to start a five year plan and get some notes on paper on what I want to achieve over the next 5 years. As I moved into my new bullet journal this New Year, I’ve started my ‘new’ 5 year plan starting in 2020 and ending in 2024 (where I’ll turn ~28~ and that is scarily close to 30).

But calling it a 5 year ‘plan’ feels a little bit more formal than my plan really is – it’s a double page spread in my bullet journal (though it might actually make more sense to make it digitally if you do everything else online!) with a grid split into five columns and three rows for the five years of the plan and three categories I plan my life in.

So I thought today I’d write about how I make my 5 year plan, what I’m learning in my second year of having a 5 year plan and where I think I’ll learn more in the future.

I started by making a grid in my bullet journal – as I said, 5 years across the top and three categories down the side. Three seems to be my magic number and having three categories works for my New Years Goals and I thought it would be useful to have those three categories match up, so mine are Professional, Personal and Home.

They’re pretty self-explanatory – in ‘Professional’ I put my career goals, at this point I am having somewhat of a career crisis and I have no idea what I want to do so this section is a bit quiet at the moment. But as I do more research into what I actually want to do and actually develop a career I can make more solid career goals but this section is probably the simplest.

The next section is ‘Personal’ – this is where I will detail my travel plans, any ‘life’ stuff like when I want to shave my head again etc. I’m still kind of figuring out what I want to put in this category but it’s for things that aren’t career stuff, kind of hobby related, travel goals and stuff.

And then the last category is ‘Home’ – this is where I put my plans for my life with my boyfriend essentially. Where we’ll live, what we’re saving for (house deposit etc), when we’ll get a pet, maybe a wedding or a baby? It’s another one of those that’ll get more specific when I have more of an idea about what my career will look like over the next few years but the baseline and the ideas for what I want to achieve is already set!

And that’s my 5 year plan! It feels like I haven’t described enough but actually, all it takes to make a ‘5 year plan’ (or ideas, which is how I prefer to think about it) is to write down 5 years and write down what you’d like to achieve in that time.

Now going into my second year looking at my 5 year plan, I can see what was a ridiculous idea and what is actually more achievable. I’ve learnt that setting ‘blind goals’ (such as “I want to have made this career progression” when I’m not actually sure what career I want right now) is not going to help anything and filling up space for the sake of it might make it look like I have my life together but it’s just unachievable words. This year, having an emptier plan is something I’m finding reassuring rather than intimidating – it’s a prospect of endless possibilities and not a terrifying emptiness (well, most of the time anyway).

As I continue to fill in my 5 year plan this year and start again in next year’s bullet journal and so on, I can only see that I’ll get better at goal setting and making them S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound, or something like that). It’ll be less ‘get married’ and ‘try for a baby’ and more ‘pay X amount of the mortgage’ and maybe ‘Child A starts school’ – the next 5 years are going to be some of the biggest of my life and that is exciting.

But even talking about 5 year plans sounds daunting – the thought of knowing exactly what I want from the next stage of my life is a lot! But seeing the scope of what I could achieve is really motivating and helps me focus on the steps I need to achieve to be able to get there. 

If you’re wanting to take yearly goals to another level and get some longer term ideas down on paper but don’t know where to start, just start by writing down the years. It’s a lot less daunting than you think when it actually comes to it! Hope that helps.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2020 Goals + January Goals

2020, career, goals, lifestyle, organisation, student

Hello!

really want to start this post with a joke about ‘I’ve not written a post since last decade’ because really I’m the closet King of Dad Jokes but instead I thought I’d just tell you about it. I think that might be worse.

Either way! If you’re a close followed of this blog, you’ll know that I love goal setting, organisation and planning. If you’re new, hello! Join the party – I love goal setting, organisation and planning. To the extent that I lull myself into this false sense of security thinking I’m getting stuff done but I’m actually just writing lots of to do lists and not doing very much.

This is something I actually got better at in 2019 – I really reevaluated how I was productive with my time and I’m still figuring out what works best for me. This time last year I thought I was embarking on this amazing freelance digital media career (which fell through pretty much immediately) and now I’m working towards a masters degree, I have my own place with my boyfriend, I had a job and now I’m looking for a new one, I’m spinning a lot of plates and somehow they’re just about not falling.

Having looked back on my 2019 goals (I was going to write a blog post but I think personal reflection was more appropriate), I’m actually really excited about my 2020 Goals because I was inspired by videos by Doctor Mike and Hannah Witton to make SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals that are actually going to be relevant to me over the whole year.

So let’s try and keep this succinct – please do let me know your thoughts on goal setting! Do you like setting goals as they become relevant? Are you a fan of New Years, Fresh Starts? Do you make SMART goals or more ‘bucket list’ style goals? I’d love to hear all about it.

My goals are split into two different types – I have three categories (Professional, Personal and Home) each with three goals as well as 9 stand-alone ‘bucket list’ style goals. Here goes!

Professional:

  • Finish my Masters in Digital Media Production at Oxford Brookes University
  • Start my career – have a full time job by the end of October
  • Learn website design

I don’t think there’ll be any barriers stopping me from finishing my masters (and the end of 2019 really gave it a good shot!) but this first semester has been a massive learning curve and I want to really make the most of my time in Oxford so next semester is going to be a bit more level headed.

Finishing what will be my third degree (BA Hons Multimedia Journalism, PG Cert Professional Development Planning and MSc Digital Media Production, thank you) should lead to being able to get a job and starting my career journey! I’m a bit nervous about this one, because this is what I anticipated when I graduated from my undergrad and I’m still struggling with incredibly low self-esteem about my worth in the workplace, but by the end of October I want to be working full time, even if it’s not in the industry I want to stay in forever yet.

And I want to learn website design! 2020 is my fifth year of blogging and I still don’t know anything about code, hosting or designing a pretty blog and that’s a skill I think will really benefit me. So if you know of any good courses or online tutorials please do let me know!

Personal:

  • Work on making a savings plan for my personal bank account when I’m in a position to afford to save
  • Develop my knowledge of film photography
  • Learn more about vegetarian cooking and aim to eat veggie 3 nights a week

I made some amazing progress with saving in 2019 and I was so, so proud of myself but moving, starting a masters and a personal crisis of sorts led to me using most of those savings just to pay bills so once I’ve figured out my financial situation, I want to get back on the savings wagon because it’s so satisfying.

Film photography is something that’s intrigued me for a little while – just before Christmas my dad revealed he had a bunch of film cameras that he was willing to let me have and after spending £10 on one roll of film I’ve been studying the manual and experimenting with lenses as much as I can. It’ll take the film being developed for me to know if I’ve actually learnt anything but I’m really excited to take this little camera on adventures this year.

And eating veggie has been on my radar for a while – last year when I was doing really well with healthy eating I was ‘veggie till dinner’ and when my boyfriend and I moved out of my mum’s house and he started being away a lot with work, I tend to eat veggie when I’m on my own because it’s cheaper and I love vegetables. But I want to learn to cook more veggie meals and experiment with more ingredients this year.

Home:

  • Don’t move house! Stay put for a whole year (please)
  • Travel! A European holiday with my boyfriend, also Centre Parcs with family friends and MCM ComicCon
  • Save £500 in Help To Buy ISA account

Pretty simple – I don’t want to move in 2020. It will be the first year since I moved to uni in 2015 that I haven’t put all my stuff in boxes and had to settle somewhere new. But obviously it depends on income, whether they want to put the rent up after the first year and if the location is still relevant to what we need.

Travelling is always a goal and last year I got way too excited and overambitious about where I thought I could go. For Christmas, my boyfriend has said he’ll take me on holiday and I’m thinking a beach holiday in the first week of October just to CHILL after my dissertation is handed in but I’m a little blown away by the whole thing so advice please.

Lastly, I know I said I want to make a plan for my personal savings account but I actually have three (personal, joint with the boyf and a help to buy ISA). I think this amount might be a tiny bit optimistic but smart goals have to be measurable – I currently have £10 in there so only £490 to go? But for real, I really want to start saving for a house this year and any amount is a good amount to start.

And onto…

9 ‘Bucket List’ Goals:

  • Read 12 books
  • Do 6 writing challenges (January, March, May, July, September, November NaNoWriMo)
  • Keep adding to 5 year plan
  • Register at the doctors and dentist and actually go
  • Figure out a fitness routine and reach weight goal (not confident enough to share this on the internet yet, soz lads)
  • Get another tattoo!
  • Listen to new music and podcasts
  • Have monthly date nights with the boy
  • Actually start making my t-shirt blanket

Also maybe figure out a blogging and YouTube schedule but tbh, I want to keep it chill this year so we’ll see how that goes.

And that’s what I’m aiming for this year! I was going to do my January Goals in a separate post but I figured most of it will stem directly from these goals so I’m going to tag them on the end here.

January Goals:

  1. Write 9000 Words for Writing Challenge (I’ll be real, I didn’t twig that I wanted to do a writing challenge this month until the 3rd when writing this so that was a nice realisation)
  2. Register at the doctors – I’ve been collecting my anti-depressants from my home doctors at my mum’s house since I moved nearly four months ago so I really need to get onto this
  3. Find carb-alternatives for lunch food – a sandwich is so easy and what worked for me last year was not eating carbs or meat until dinner and I want to find a way to make this less boring. I don’t really like salads that much, I love couscous and roast veg but I can’t heat it up at uni. Need to do some research!
  4. Launch new blog…
  5. Spending ban – except food, bills and my boyfriend’s birthday

And so I don’t forget my two monthly ‘bucket list’ goals…

  • Read 1 book
  • Have a date night!

Now that is a long ass, self-indulgent post about what I’m hoping to achieve this year! But I find reading and hearing other peoples goals is so inspirational so let me know all about your goals in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2019 Goals – Mid Year Review

2019, goals

Hello!

love goal setting and the end of June is always somewhat momentous for me because I know it marks the halfway point to the year, so it’s the best time to check in on my goals, adapt if necessary and see how much progress I’m making!

Quick context – I have three categories that I set goals in (personal, career, creative) and each of those categories has three goals and then I tried something new this year in setting some ‘bucket list’ style goals.

I’ll try to keep this brief but I do love a ramble about goals and progress so tuck yourself in lads! Grab a cuppa and tell me all about your goals in the comments please!

Personal Goals:

1. work towards my weight goals – eat well, build workout routine

I feel like I mention it in every blog post, YouTube video and Instagram caption but I’ve been trying to lose weird basically forever now. Progress has been slow over the last three months or so but I’m trying to eat much more intuitively and I’ve been running three times a week (or thereabout) for nearly 10 weeks now and I feel like it’s the longest I’ve ever stuck to something and I’m really proud of myself!

2. prioritise tasks and make time for hobbies – stop caring about ‘productivity’ so much

I’ve been refining how I make my to do lists and generally I am finding ways to make the most of every day as much as I can. I definitely haven’t been making time for hobbies but I have been more efficient with my productivity. I still care about productivity much more than I want to, but with how the rest of the year is going to go I think the time for hobbies will come. But in a way writing blog posts and YouTube videos are my hobbies so I guess that counts?

3. self esteem, I need some

This was a way of wording ‘fix my mental health’ whilst being a bit kinder to myself about it. I’ve tried my best to get to know each other and build better habits and I’m much better at recognising the triggers of when I’m not doing so good. I’ve had a bunch of doctors appointments, I’m on anti-depressants now and I’m on a waiting list for computerised CBT, which I’m hesitant about but know it’ll probably be for the best. This is the most progress I’ve made with my mental health in the ten years I’ve been internally battling with myself so whilst I don’t really have any self-esteem yet, the whole process is a work in progress.

Career Goals:

1. build freelance career – make my own work, be my own boss, superhero woman (essentially)

I set this goal in the beginning of the year when I had freelance work and that fell through within a few weeks (which was horrible, ngl) so now this goal is just about working hard for me. How this year has gone so far hasn’t been to plan for me, but I’ve gotten over myself and made my situation work and I’ve earned enough many to make a big purchase recently so it’s going okay! I’m making it all work.

2. build my own media kit (save for a camera/refine my skills)

This one is something I know exactly what I want but I’ve justified that I’m not going to spend the money on something as big as a camera and lenses etc when I’m not certain I’m going to use them or they’re going to be a cost-effective purchase. If I spend the second half of the year glued to a camera, then I can justify it, if I don’t then I’m not going to spend that much money on a camera. All justified!

3. make a future plan with work goals, house/relationship aspirations etc

I’ve done this! Not set in stone kind of 5 year plan because that just doesn’t work for me but I have the framework in my bullet journal and that I add to a change and adapt occasionally. It’s all flexible because I think life is too unpredictable to really make a solid 5 year plan.

Creative Goals:

1. continue towards making the most genuine ‘me’ content on my blog and youtube channel

Actually really pleased with this one – I’m really happy with the attitude I have towards my blog and my channel at the moment and cutting myself some slack when I don’t upload exactly at the right time or anything. I feel more genuine than I’ve felt in a long time and I’m really happy with it.

2. write a book? finish something? write more than I did in 2018 (may be some freelance writing?)

I’ve been planning little writing challenges all through this year in the build up to writing 50,000 words in November for NaNoWriMo and it’s been going semi-decently! I’ve not always hit word counts but I’ve been writing consistently for the first time since before I went to uni. This month I’m hoping to write 35,000 words but I’m significantly behind and it’s day 6 so I’m hoping to get a couple of really good catch up days in before the month is out.

3. work on photography – need to solidify basic knowledge and then work with better equipment

I spent a lot of time at the beginning of this year teaching myself the basics of photography – what all the settings really mean, getting to know my camera, figuring out how the core skills of photography really work. It’s something I want to develop further with more experience when I go back to uni in September but for now I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made so far.

10 ‘bucket list’ goals:

1. have a PT session

This one is centred around driving for me – I can’t walk to a gym locally and I’m moving soon so getting professional help with working out will come when either I can drive or I move. Another work in progress!

2. get another tattoo

Done! Got a series of tattoos to start my travel sleeve this week and I love them so much.

(photos)

3. read a book a month

I’m currently on 7 out of 12 books for the year! I haven’t read for a few weeks but because I was a little bit ahead it was a bit of pressure off and I’m going to get back to it soon, when I’ve fixed my sleeping pattern (lol).

4. do a grid drawing every month

For context – the premise of this is this is that I print off a line drawing, draw a 30 square grid over the top and colour in one square each day of the month. This is something I’m really enjoying – sometimes I find colouring books a bit daunting because I don’t know where to start or they’re so intricate but this one has been really good for my mental health and for my creativity.

5. listen to more music, use Spotify playlists

I’ve been writing my monthly mixtape posts for a few months now and I listen to my discover weekly playlist every week!

6. save for a canon 80d, 50mm lens and a 75-300mm lens

See previous photography goals – if I don’t do this one it’s a financial choice.

7. have a little trip away with my boyfriend every month

I wrote a blog post about how I’ve already broken this one for the year but finances and work have disrupted this one a little, but that’s alright – it was pretty ambitious anyway.

8. take my driving test + upgrade my car

I have taken my driving test once and failed but next one is booked and I feel so much better about it. And I bought a new car at the weekend! I’m genuinely so excited about it all, I can’t wait to see where my little H R Wheels and I will go in the latter half of this year.

9. improve my posture

A silly one, but one I’m trying to integrate into my day to day life.

10. find somewhere to live/get our own place

And following the brief mention of going back to uni, my boyfriend and I will be moving somewhere close to Oxford (probably Aylesbury because there doesn’t seem to property available anywhere else). We’ll be moving in the next couple of months!

And that’s a check in with all of my goals for 2019! I think checking in on goals like this is really important because if you’re on track and making progress it inspires you to keep going and if you feel like you’ve not made as much progress as you’d like it gives you the kick up the bum to focus!! Here’s to the home straight of 2019!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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New Years Resolutions – Mid Year Review

2018, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello!

Considering most of the blog posts I write and publish at the moments are goals related, whether it be monthly mini goals, summer goals, post-uni goals or anything else, it’s not a surprise that at the end of June I wanted to take a look back at my goals from the beginning of the year.

The fact we’re halfway through 2018 is still blowing my mind – I can’t believe it!

This one’s going to be a long one so get yourself a beverage and a snack, let’s just jump right in.

[ PERSONAL ]

  • Find a workout / healthy eating routine : I’d like to say it’s kind of a work in progress but I’m not sure it is. I’m trying my best but it’s something I’m really struggling with. I have lost a little bit of weight and I’m slowly figuring out the ways that work best for me but it’s not the ‘fitness journey’ I wanted. Essentially I’m nowhere near as fit as I want to be but there’s still another six months!
  • Eat three meals a day : I just don’t feel hungry first thing in the morning, I can’t bring myself to eat breakfast unless I’m really in the mood. And maybe this is just my brain being a bit dumb, but whilst I”m trying to loose weight I can’t get to grips with the notion of putting even more food in my body? Probably wrong, but part of the reason I’ve not made more of an effort to include breakfast in my routine!
  • Make a budgeting plan and stick to it : well, this went really well between January and April – my loan came in, I had a plan, it went well, good job me. April onwards however has been a different story – after I finished my degree I went a bit ‘reward spending’ mad. Then the fact that I don’t have a job and I was moving home and I didn’t know how long I’d have to make the money last freaked me out and I clearly my way of coping with that was spending money. I’m not good at money. Will be easier to budget when I have a job.
  • Make sure to stick to bullet journal : definitely going with this one right now! I literally don’t leave the house without it and everything I do gets written in this book, it’s helping me feel a bit more sane in the expanse of being an unemployed graduate.

[ UNIVERSITY / CAREER ]

  • Expand 3 year plan + research career goals : I’ve completely changed my three year plan – I realised it was just a progression that seemed to fit going into a career I didn’t actually want! All a work in progress but I just want to work at this point, so my much more short term plan is find a job.
  • Graduate with at least a 2:1 : when I made this goal I had my heart set on a first but I knew if I set the goal at a first and didn’t get one it would hurt more than not getting a first. And despite working my ass off for it, I just missed out on a first so I’m glad I had that forethought. But I am getting a very high 2:1 and I graduate in a few days!
  • Marketing work experience at Sky + grad scheme : this was part of my three year plan, I don’t really want to go into marketing – I’m creative, I need to make things, particularly making videos and taking photos which I don’t think I’d get from being in marketing (please do correct me if I’m wrong!), so kind of scrapping this goal. Though I do think Sky is a great company and I would like to work for them at some point!
  • Take every opportunity available : I kind of want to adapt this one – to making opportunities for myself. I had to turn down some amazing paid work in the Netherlands earlier this year because it would have meant sacrificing the quality of my FMP and it just wasn’t a sensible option. But I have made the opportunity to make my FMP something that’s relevant to my future and I’ve made some great contacts and friends with the people I’ve interviewed and it’s a project I’m so proud of I can’t describe it. So this year is for making opportunities.

[ CREATIVE ]

  • Maintain blog and YouTube more consistently : though I have criticised myself for not being consistent and not making the content I want to make at the right time, I’m making way more than I did in my previous year’s at university! I’ve really fallen back in love with both platforms and I spend far more time making content that I feel represents me than I have made in the past. In the case of this blog, it’s predominantly lists which I feel is a bit too representative of me!
  • Keep writing : I’ve been trying to do more creative writing this year and I wouldn’t say it’s gone particularly well. However there’s been a slight development in the first few days of July – I’m a big fan of the NaNoWriMo challenge and charity and whilst the main 30 day writing challenge is in November, they do other monthly challenges throughout the year called ‘Camp NaNoWriMo‘. I thought it would be a good idea for me to partake because it makes me dive head first into writing and I don’t have any plans for July – I don’t have a job or uni or anything, I wanted something to keep me focused and productive and so far it has! in 6 days I’ve written over 10,000 words of a silly little idea I had. It’s nothing that I’d ever try and publish or produce, it’s just a silly little personal project to get me back into it but I’m loving it so much. Maybe I’ll stop trying to get a job in social media and try and get a book deal instead but I’m way more on track with this goal than I was before.
  • Keep making new things : I’ve been a bit more experimental with my videos on YouTube than I was earlier in the year – I’m trying new things, taking more time and teaching myself more about post-production too. I’ve always loved making video content and that’s where I want to push myself creatively – blogging is more of a relaxing outlet for me, I love writing and I find writing a post comes quite easily so I’m happy with what I’m making for both platforms at the moment.
  • Take the most unconventional approach : I’m not sure what I meant by this back in January, I don’t know if I was trying to be a bit edgy or what. Either way, I’m giving it a go – it kind of worked out with my FMP video so maybe it’s something I need to incorporate in the rest of this year!

So a lot has changed in 6 months but that’s why I think it’s important to check in on long term goals! But I won’t ramble on anymore.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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resolutions for my graduating year (2018)

2018, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello!

I’m a very big ‘setting goals’ person – lists are my best friend! Just as I was starting my third year, my FMP tutor asked us to fill in a questionaire esque thing to gauge how we were feeling about FMP and third year and he asked us to write a mantra and mine was ‘write a list’.

So I’ve been thinking about my resolutions for about a month now. I really like the three categories I chose last year, so I decided to stick with them again this year.

My personal goals:

  • find a workout and healthy eating routine that works for me
  • make more of an effort to eat three meals a day
  • make long term changes to how I handle money
  • make sure to stick to my bullet journal more closely

I’m so determined to make sustainable life changes this year – I’ve put on a lot of weight and become so unfit and I’ve been trying to find different workouts and different kinds of healthier life adaptations I could make but every app or plan I find that looks like it could help costs about £20 a month, which I just don’t have and I don’t think is worth it! But I want (need) to exercise more and I need to focus more on what I’m eating and plan more, so that’s the first two.

In terms of money, I was so proud that I got out of my overdraft in 2017 but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have a lot to work on – since being made redundant I need to be at lot more cautious with money as I don’t have an income at the end of the month so I’ve had to evaluate how much loan I get, the rent I have to pay, monthly payments, how many weeks there are between loan and next loan and then give myself a weekly budget. I could do a whole other post on that but it might be really boring – let me know if you’d like to read this?

And with my bullet journal – I stick by the fact that it’s completely changed my organisational life but these last couple of months I’ve been writing lists and then not really sticking to them so I think that’ll really help me in 2018.

My university/career goals:

  • graduate with a 2:1 (or higher, that would be nice)
  • expand my three year plan/research certain career goals
  • marketing work experience and apply for 2 year marketing grad scheme at Sky
  • take every opportunity available

I’ve expanded this category from last year because 2018 is the year I graduate with an undergrad degree (scary) and I want a 2:1. I’ve worked really hard this year so far and my FMP tutor things I’m on track which is really reassuring, but that’s a goal for the first half of the year whilst the second and third are more aimed at the second half.

And with graduating in mind, I actually have a three year plan! In 2018 I will begin the first part of that plan but I want to expand on that and focus it, maybe making some more refined smaller goals and extending it to a five year plan. There are certain avenues of my aspirations that I’ve been saying for years I want to research but I just haven’t and it’s something I need to do if I want to get there. I think I want to get my FMP out the way first though.

To progress my three year plan, I’m going to apply for work experience in marketing at Sky and then apply for the two year graduate scheme in marketing that opens at the end of the year for a July 2019 start I believe! I got a week of work experience at Sky Entertainment in 2017 and I loved the company and from what I could tell they were keen to bring people back, so I’m hoping to be able to go back and work with them full time. Maybe plans will change and I think I want to draw a big timeline and map out the next three to five years but I don’t know if I want to do that before or after handing in my FMP – I don’t know if it’ll be too late by then.

But on the other hand – thinking a bit closer to home, Southampton Solent University has offered me a bunch of opportunities that have taught me so much and given me so much experience and I feel ready to take on what happens after I finish my undergrad. There’s a big wide world out there and I feel a little bit more ready to take it on now – I want to have a go at everything that gets thrown my way.

My creative goals:

  • maintain my blog and YouTube channels more consistently
  • keep writing
  • take the most unconventional approach possible
  • find my flare

I made this resolution last year but I find having creative outlets outside of university act as both a distraction and a focus – it gives me something that isn’t stressful uni work and also helps me develop myself more creatively and further my time management skills – I’m so driven and loving my blog so much right and I really hope I can maintain that when I go back to uni at the end of January. I have a plan and hopefully I’ll stick to it.

Writing was one of my challenges last year and I achieved it – I’m not back to writing original fiction (yet) but I’ve been writing and writing all year and it’s been really nice to immerse myself in characters and long form story. There was a point where writing and being an author was a viable option for me whereas now I have more options and it’s more of a backseat hobby and I’m thoroughly enjoying the hobby without the pressure of ‘being a writer’ and I think that’s a summary of my approach to everything that isn’t uni work this year.

The last two points are a bit flimsy but I think that’s kind of what I need a little bit of this year – I’ve had a real crisis of creativity in 2017 and I don’t know if what I’m making is original or good or if it’s representative of who I am. I need to think about what I’m making – how I can take an approach no one else has taken and find what makes it mine. Maybe I should have thought about this earlier than 3 years after I started my blog and 4 years after I started my YouTube channel but here we are. Every creator has a crisis right?

I feel like I need to do some more work but I think there’s a difference between resolutions and a plan for the year. Currently the line is a little blurry but once I make the plan it might be easier to differentiate the two. The conclusion is there still work to be done but I’m excited to do it.

2018 is going to be a big year that might be an indication for the rest of my life, that sounds very melodramatic though. I’m interested to see how the review of this post goes in the end of the year, but let’s not rush it.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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“maybe I grew as a person” – my 2017 resolutions

2017, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello,

I was going to make a New Years Resolution post looking back on my resolutions from last year and talking about my resolutions for 2018 but I know for a fact that a post consisting of both of those things would end up with a blog post that’s about three thousand words long. I’m a very reflective person and I like checking in on my own progress so that’s what this is.

Should I publish this on the internet? Probably not, I don’t know if anyone else is interested in this. But I like being able to hold myself accountable and I don’t know if anyone else would maybe like to see if I’ve stuck to what I said I wanted to do in both my 2017 resolutions post and my mid-year check in post!

For context, I split my goals into three sections – personal, creative and university.

My personal goals:

  • being healthier
  • exercising more
  • focusing on my dental hygiene
  • becoming a morning person
  • be more careful with money

Being healthier and exercising more didn’t go well – I’m the heaviest and unfittest I’ve ever been and it makes me very sad so we won’t dwell on it, but it won’t be a surprise that this appear on my 2018 list too! Dental hygiene was a mixed bag – I’ve come to the conclusion that I just hate brushing my teeth and I will never enjoy it, it will always be a sensation that I just don’t enjoy. But I have got better and I’m still working on my dental hygiene despite hating it so much.

Becoming a morning person has been much more successful though! Having 9am starts for most of this semester at uni has really helped but I naturally wake up between 7am and 9am (depending on what my schedule has been like – during a busy week, I wake up earlier and in the holidays or a quieter week, a bit later). At the moment I’m not pressing myself to be up too early because uni has really taken it out of me, but when I’m properly back in Southampton for uni next year I’m going to get back to working on this. I feel like this is my most sustainable change I made this year.

And the money goal was really successful too – I’ve been lucky enough to come into a couple of fairly large sums of money and my family have recommended to me that I use that to get out of my overdraft and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted that money to go back into something more memorable so I put that into my travel saving fund and worked on getting out of my overdraft on my own. So when loan arrived in September and I paid rent and my bank account was still positive and I’ve never been happier than closing my overdraft and knowing that all the money I had was mine. I was so proud and I’m so glad that the only debt I’ll have leaving university (‘glad’ ish, I guess) will be my loan.

So personal goals, a big ‘ish’ but feeling positive.

My creative goals:

  • keep learning about photography
  • maintaining my blog and YouTube channel
  • make sure to keep trying out new content
  • start writing again
  • find new creative outlets

Taking advanced photography taught me a lot about thinking about photography and how good photos can be much simpler than all the daunting equipment and scary editing software. I’m excited about the prospect of continuing to learn about photography and I’m saving for a camera that I think will really enable me to explore more creatively.

Maintaining my blog and YouTube channel was a mixed bag too – they were okay for a while, I dipped in and out of both throughout the year but these last four months has just been radio silence. I’m working on getting that back – exhibit A is the blog posts and videos I’ve been making in the latter half of December and I’m really hoping to maintain this when I go back to uni but we’ll see, the biggest aim for 2018 is taking the pressure off.

In terms of trying out new content most of it for me was making sure I didn’t feel like I was churning out the same shit that every other blogger desperate for brand deals and pretty instagrams was. I didn’t necessarily ‘try out new content’ but I’ve been particularly thoughtful about what I’ve made and I’m pretty pleased with it to be honest!

In terms of writing again – I actually kind of have! Yes, it’s fanfiction but I’m 16,000 words and 50 pages into it and I’m writing. Right now, where I’m very focused on my degree and making content online, realistically working on a personal work of fiction isn’t something I have the mental capacity for so what I’m writing is 1) much more manageable, 2) keeps me writing creatively and 3) is something that I really enjoy, like a lot. And I haven’t found any new creative outlets other than perhaps interior decorating the house I moved into in July so this project works for me!

My university goals:

  • stay motivated
  • stay organised
  • keep trying new things
  • keep putting yourself out there
  • work experience

I feel like I could write a whole blog post about my university story – the long and short of it is no one in my sixth form believed I was capable of anything and I fought through the battle that was my A Levels on my own whilst being bullied by my maths teacher so to think that I finished second year with a grade I was so happy with and being treated as a ‘High Achiever’ by my university just blows my mind.

So yes – I stayed motivated, I stayed organised and I kept trying new things in the stories I covered and the roles I took on within my course and outside of it. I put myself out there in ways I never thought I was capable of, even taking on editorial roles and too many commitments outside of my course but I got through it. In the end. Ish.

And work experience might be the most successful part of 2017 – two weeks at BBC Three, a week at NASS festival, a week working at Reading festival (one of my first paid freelance jobs!) and a week at Sky Entertainment which actually helped me figure out a three year plan (let me know if you want a whole post about it?) and I feel like my university goals were the most successful part of my 2017.

Just looking back at what I asked of myself a year ago and knowing that that version of me didn’t even imagine what she would have to go through and what she achieved is genuinely making me really emotional. It’s been a huge year and this is the first year that I can remember that I look back and feel proud and I’m excited for next year, it’s a really nice feeling. I’m motivated now to get the same out of 2018!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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progress is a step | new year’s resolutions check in

2017, lifestyle, photography, student, travel

Hello!

I’m a big fan of Hannah Witton – she’s a YouTuber who talks so openly about things that a lot of people don’t and I love the way she presents her ideas and promotes such positivity in a way that isn’t all airy fairy and unrealistic. She wrote a blog post over a month ago looking back on her New Years Resolutions 5 months on and at that point I immediately wrote down that I want to do the same.

I’m someone who relies heavily on goals and focus – 2017 has thrown me some amazing opportunities but also some huge, huge challenges. I’ve been and worked at BBC Three and had to balance my entire family coming together to console each other at the passing of my beloved Nanny, I’ve started a new job and had to handle a lot of difficulty in people quitting and having to do basically full time work whilst still being at uni, I’ve got through my second year at uni! Considering we’re only in the sixth month of the year, it’s been pretty jam packed so far and I know there’s so much more to come.

I split my 2017 resolutions into three categories: personalcreative and university.

My personal goals were:

  • Being healthier
  • Exercising more
  • Focusing on my dental hygiene
  • Becoming a morning person
  • Be more careful with money

Being healthier is a work in progress – I bought diet books and I started doing workouts and I fell of it a little as time went on but I’m trying to focus more now. I made a new Instagram so I could focus more on what I’m eating and document my progress and whilst it hasn’t become particularly apparent yet, I am working on it and that’s what a resolution is – a step, not a conclusion.

My dental hygiene and general hygiene, actually, is something I’ve thought about a lot recently. When I go through moments of bad mental health, my brain’s instinct is to stop looking after itself – to stop looking after my body, not to shower regularly and not to eat or do anything that I would be thankful for later. It’s a little victory but today I showered and washed my hair only three days after I last showered, whereas in my worst moments (i.e. the past couple of months) I’ve left it five or six days, even a week and it’s the little victories we have to celebrate.

I was on track with becoming a morning person – I really fixed my sleep pattern, but then my wonderful boyfriend decided to get a bar job so him coming back at 3am a few nights a week means that I can’t sleep until he gets back safe and then we compensate and sleep late the next day. It’s hard to keep up a routine when his work is so sporadic and unusual and I find it really hard to get out of bed and start my day without him (which sounds really lame and I’m aware of that).

And being more careful with money is going really well too – as described in my ‘no spend’ month blog post, I’m actually getting really close to being out of my overdraft and it’s looking like my payday at the end of June will see me into the positive! I’ll be very glad to close this resolution off soon.

My creative goals were:

  • Keep learning about photography
  • Maintain my blog and YouTube channel
  • Make sure to keep trying out new content
  • Start writing again
  • Find new creative outlets

Photography is something I’m learning to appreciate more – I’ve started less and less to use my phone for blog photos and using my little Canon EOS M10, I care more about my Instagram (I even have a colour theme now!) and I think more about what I take photos of. I’m enjoying photography and I’m excited for the chance to take more photography opportunities in the coming months.

Maintaining my blog and YouTube channel has been mostly consistent, but I’ve been better at not beating myself up if I’m not up to editing a video or I don’t have faith in my idea for a blog post. Making new and creative content is what is currently stopping me from maintaining my blog and YouTube channel but I’m working on balancing the two and making more of what I want and exploring what I want to create, whether that be on the platforms I already use or finding new ways to express myself, which was another resolution anyway.

But that hasn’t led me to start writing again. I planned out a couple of fanfiction story arcs but I can’t bring myself to write them – I’ve not written anything properly for years and that still disappoints me but I have other things I have to prioritise right now and I think that’s okay, or at least coming to terms with it will suffice.

My university goals:

  • Stay motivated
  • Stay organised
  • Keep trying new things
  • Keep putting yourself out there
  • Work experience

Whilst second year has drawn to a close, 2017 wouldn’t be complete without the first half of my third and final year as a multimedia journalism student in Southampton. So far I’ve stayed motivated, organised, I was experimental and tried new things, I put myself out there and how was I do know that a mere few weeks after I wrote these resolutions I was to be offered a two week placement with BBC Three. My university goals are without a shadow of a doubt the most successful of my goals so far (my end of second year mark will be confirmed on Saturday, though if my maths is correct it’s going to be really close).

I’m so proud of myself for what I’ve achieved at university this year and what I’ve achieved in the first five months of the year. Hopefully the following seven will be as promising.

It’s nice to be able to check in on goals and make sure you’re making progress – I wasn’t expecting to find anything completely ticked off but I’ve made a start or am working on pretty much everything on the list. I’m almost excited to check in again later in the year or at the beginning of 2018, though that feels an awfully long way away yet.

Something I’ve struggled a lot with a lot is being able to acknowledge the steps I’ve made and stop looking at the top of the mountain. A goal can’t be reached in one step and each step is worth praising.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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