“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
I couldn’t be more ready for a brand new year.
We celebrated at midnight on New Year’s Eve with alcohol-free spirits on the roof of our apartment, watching the fireworks light up the skies around us. A perfect start to 2019!
Since then, life has been busy. Elliott and I launched a new app in early January and have been working flat-out since then, with very little time for fun activities and relaxation. Things seem to be calming down a little now, thankfully!
I’m a little late to the party with this post, but I’ve managed to squeeze it in before the end of January. I wanted to share my goals and ambitions for 2019, both to keep myself accountable and to hopefully inspire anyone who wants to improve themselves with simple, achievable goals.
So, what does the new year have in store for me?
GOAL: Visit a new country.
Of course it goes without saying that Japan is always my ultimate vacation choice, but travelling to a completely new country is one of my major goals this year.
We have plans to visit Italy in September, which has always been on my bucket list. Hopefully we’ll be able to travel around a little during our trip – I’m already dreaming of Rome, Florence and Venice.
I’d love to get back to New Zealand at some point too, so I guess I’m going to have to start saving! Which leads nicely into my next goal…
GOAL: Save a set amount of money by the end of the year.
I’m very lucky to be able to say that money has never been something that I’ve had to worry about. With a little budgeting, my monthly pay covers all my bills and even leaves me with extra spending money.
Unfortunately, I’ve been a little frivolous with this extra spending money in the past. Clothes, shoes, makeup, expensive food… when I think about how much I could have saved, I want to scream!
Luckily, it’s never too late.
Now that I’m turning 30, I’ve decided to be a little smarter about where my money goes. I’ve started saving a set amount each month and have a target that I’m determined to reach by the end of the year. I’ve even begun looking into investing, something I never thought I would be interested in!
This will probably be the most difficult goal for me to achieve, but also the most personally satisfying.
GOAL: Tone up and build some muscle.
Confession – I really don’t enjoy exercise. I do it because I know it’s good for me, but I never look forward to it and don’t push myself as hard as I should.
As a result, while I’m slim and don’t have any issues with my weight (thanks, healthy eating!) I don’t have as much muscle definition as I’d like.
This year, I hope to change that!
I’ve recently started spin classes and find that I quite enjoy those sweaty, exhausting sessions. So, I’ve made a promise to myself to hit the gym at least three times a week with a mixture of spin classes and regular workouts. On the days that I don’t visit the gym, I plan to go for a brisk hour-long walk. So far, so good!
GOAL: Embrace my plant-based diet.
I’ve been fascinated with health and wellness for a few years now, and in that time my diet has improved dramatically. I now eat more vegetables than anyone I know, and spend a lot of my spare time reading books and articles about nutrition.
Since introducing fish into my once-vegan diet (read all about that here!) I decided to take a closer look at what I put into my mouth in an effort to improve my eating habits even further.
I’ve discovered a lot of room for improvement.
Despite my love for cooking, I still eat out (and order in) a little too often. I have a not-so-secret addiction to super-sugary tomato ketchup. I don’t juice as often as I used to. And most of all, I can’t resist the new influx of vegan junk food.
Now, I’m not saying that I won’t be treating myself at all. That would be a miserable life! But if I’m brutally honest, there are a few things that I can tweak to ensure I’m eating a healthier and more sustainable diet.
I’m aiming to cook 85% of my meals at home this year (unless I’m travelling, of course!) I’ll also get back to juicing at least three times a week. But most of all, I want to embrace this amazing plant-based lifestyle. I’m determined to visit more farmers markets, try new recipes and eat as many fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds as possible.
This should be the easiest goal for me to achieve, as I’m so passionate about nutritious food. I can’t wait to learn even more about health this year!
GOAL: Be able to hold a simple conversation in Japanese.
One of my biggest regrets is the fact that I didn’t continue with Japanese classes in high school. Back then, I was more interested in hanging out with my friends and doing as little work as possible.
Now, I’m dying to speak fluent Japanese – particularly after visiting four times! I brushed up on Hiragana and Katakana last year, but gave up after feeling completely stumped by Kanji.
But now I’m back, and more determined than ever.
I’m leaning towards hiring a Japanese tutor, but for now I’ll stick to YouTube videos and workbooks. It helps to have a boyfriend who can speak Japanese, too!
I’d love to be able to hold a conversation next time we visit Japan, and gain an even greater insight into their culture.
GOAL: Be more confident in myself.
One thing that I’ve accepted about myself over the years is that I’m naturally a pretty shy person. I actually don’t see it as a bad thing – it takes me a while to open up to people and feel comfortable around them, but that’s just who I am!
While I’m content with my shyness, there are other aspects of my personality that I would like to improve. Specifically, my self-confidence.
I often find myself staying quiet during discussions, even when I know I have valuable insights to contribute. I refrain from sharing ideas, put off trying new things and unconsciously hold myself back simply because I lack that inner self-belief that is so crucial to living your best life.
So this year, I’m going to work on my self-confidence. It’s time I applied the same love and positivity to myself that I so willingly give to others. I’m not aiming to become the world’s biggest extrovert (so not me!) but instead to possess a quiet inner confidence. I’ve already made huge leaps and bounds over the years, but there is still more work to be done throughout 2019.
GOAL: Spend less time on social media.
Social media inspires and motivates me in so many ways, but I often find myself aimlessly scrolling for hours on end. Sometimes I end up comparing myself and my life to those polished, perfect photographs and feeling as though I don’t quite measure up.
So why haven’t I just cut back? Well, it’s not that simple.
Every time I try to spend less time on Instagram or YouTube, I find myself feeling restless and twitchy. Without fail, I end up sucked back into the digital world. It doesn’t help that a lot of my job is based around social media!
This year, I’m determined that things will be different. I’ve unfollowed and muted a lot of the accounts that I used to follow religiously, and have vowed to spend more time offline. The hours that I used to spend scrolling through strangers’ feeds will be replaced with more productive activities (such as working on my blog!) or just simply relaxing without the need for constant entertainment.
GOAL: Pass my driving test.
Honestly, I won’t be too bothered if I don’t achieve this goal. I already hold a full driver’s licence back in New Zealand, and I passed my UK theory test last year.
So I know how to drive – I just can’t legally drive in England!
I live pretty close to a train station and Elliott has a car, so I don’t particularly need to drive. But it would be nice to have that little extra bit of independence as well as the ability to visit new parts of the UK without needing to rely on trains.
I’ll see how I go with this goal – it’ll be a nice bonus if I do end up achieving it!
GOAL: Focus on quality, not quantity.
I’ve always been a major sucker for fast fashion, and could never wrap my head around the idea of spending more money on just one item when you could buy three or four items for the same price.
Now that I’m getting older, I totally get it. There’s something special about investing in a high-quality coat or pair of jeans, knowing that you’ll wear and love it for years to come.
So, I’ve decided to make 2019 the year of quality.
This way of thinking isn’t just limited to clothing and jewellery. It includes food, work, social media, relationships… pretty much every aspect of my life! I’ve started buying more organic produce, unfollowing people on Facebook and avoiding cheap chain stores such as Primark.
Less is most definitely more, and I’m excited to cultivate a life filled with quality and meaning this year.
I can’t wait to revisit this post in a year’s time, and see just how far I’ve come with these goals. I think they’re all pretty achievable if I work hard enough, which gives me the motivation I need to get started!
It’s going to be a good year. I can just feel it.