Setting Realistic Goals For 2021

Hey y’all!

First and foremost — HAPPY NEW YEARS! We’ve finally made it, and 2020 is now nothing more than a memory. I know that realistically, the issues that plagued us (no pun intended) in 2020 don’t magically disappear just because of the calendar change, but it DOES feel nice to have a fresh start.

While I am hoping that 2021 will help bring me out the funk that 2020 left me in, I know I have to be realistic. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and setting colossally large goals for the new year without a plan on how to achieve them often leads to disappointment, or simply forgetting your goals all together. Not that you should avoid dreaming large, of course — it’s important to know what you want and go for it. However, especially when the world is so unpredictable, managing expectations can be a useful skill.

While I did work on breaking down goals last year, I set my sights high with what I wanted to achieve in 2020 — and while some of my goals still pushed me to improve myself (whether I achieved them or not), others were left incomplete by the end of 2020. Whether it was simply a little out of my reach, effected by unseen circumstances, or due directly to COVID — it doesn’t really matter, as they incomplete either way.

So, this year I’m switching it up and taking a different approach. I still want to push myself to move forward and be able to track my progress, so I’ll still be setting goals for myself. But a lofty new years resolution? Not so much.

Breaking It Down

This year, I’m taking a bit of a different approach. I’m setting a couple of “wishes” for the end of the year (things that I’d like to work towards that can be changed or aren’t set in stone). In terms of goals, I’ll be setting them monthly based on what my life looks like. In the past, I used monthly goals as more of a to-do list, but this year I’ll be using them as more of a monthly resolution. For instance, whereas in the past I would list out things such as number of blog views I wanted to achieve or Instagram posts I wanted to make in a month, but this month I’ll be setting more holistic goals, and I’ll be focusing on getting back into a regular workout/yoga schedule and meal prepping.

Letting Life Lead Me

Right now, everything is far too up in the air right now for me to ever even predict what my life may end up looking like by the end of the year. Rather than limiting myself based on my expectations a year out, I’d rather play things by ear and see where life takes me. Considering how many ways my life could go from the point I’m at right now, making set life goals for the end of the year may only end up limiting me or blinding me to new possibilities. So, I’m taking it one month at a time. While this month I’m hoping to perhaps find a job and get back into a regular routine of working out and eating, next month my goals and needs may be totally different — I’ll see when I get there.

Not Playing The Numbers Game

In the past, many of my goals were based on numbers — gaining so many new followers, achieving so many blog views, etc. However, not only does setting number-based goals start to drive you crazy with the constant counting, it isn’t very motivating in the way I need it to be. Not only does it focus on the wrong side of things, but it’s easy to ignore until you start to fall behind — and then you just end up in a cyclical game of catch-up. I’d rather set more holistic goals that help improve my life as a whole, and watch more number-based results materialize as a result.

Not Making Everything About Productivity

This year has really shown me our culture’s toxic obsession with productivity. I know this shouldn’t really be a radical concept, but really — you don’t need to be pushing yourself 24/7!!! In the midst of a global pandemic, in a time that was stressful for all of us, it seemed almost every single piece of media out there seemed to be telling us how to keep busy, start our life-changing project, fix up absolutely every little thing around our homes, and become this theoretical best version of ourselves. Even our self-care had to be cute and perfect. I won’t lie — at the beginning, I kind of fell into this trap too. Everyone else seemed to be out there being to most productive they’d ever been in their lives — I didn’t want to be the only one taking a break. However, I can pretty much guarantee that all the other bloggers and influencers who make their life seem 100% perfectly in order 24/7 are lying to you (or at least enhancing the truth). You don’t need to have it together all the time. I’m honestly experiencing some of the worst burnout I have in years from trying to be perfect during such a stressful year. So next year, no matter what 2021 sends our way, I’m allocating some of my goals to legitimate self-care, hobbies and happiness — just for the hell of it. Not everything needs to be about being productive 24/7.

Using Goals to Check In With Myself

While I want to make sure I’m not pushing myself too hard in 2021, I still want to be checking in with myself to make sure that I’m on the right track. While it was a bit of a necessary break, the last new months of 2020 I kind of found my life falling apart — and it’s taken more effort to get back on track than it would have to simply maintain it. I’m hoping that in 2021, I’ll be able to turn my life around a little and get myself back on track. I’m hoping to build a routine, get ahead on my blog posts, start working out and feeling a little normal again — BEFORE I start a new job. So instead of setting goals with the aim of pushing myself, I’ll be setting goals to check in with myself and make sure that I’m keeping everything on track — no matter what ends up coming in 2021.

Happy new years, everyone! I know it can be kinda scary staring down a whole new year, especially since we really don’t know what this year will hold. I have hope that it’ll be a better year than 2020 was, but I also know that nothing much is going to change without putting in the effort. This time last year, I had a plan that was meant to push me tony limits and help me become my “absolute best self”. I thought I was being realistic — and who knows? Maybe if 2020 hadn’t turned out the way it did it may have been. But it wasn’t, and it’s caused me to reevaluate and hopefully make 2021 a better, more successful year.

So fingers crossed — 2020 was absolutely brutal, but with any luck 2021 will be our year. I’m keeping my expectations small and realistic — maybe I’m just a little jaded, but I don’t want to dream too big and end up disappointed. But hopefully with this plan, a vaccine, and a little luck, 2021 may just be my year.

Are you guys setting resolutions this year? If yes, how are you doing it? Are your goals similar to what they were in the past, or are you taking a whole new approach? Perhaps, even after reading this post, you’re feeling a little inspired to set goals monthly and forgo a resolution this year. Or maybe you’re just over it and not setting goals anymore after 2020 (which is totally fair). No matter what your plans are, drop a comment below and let me know! I’d love to hear all about your goals, and what’s changed for you in 2021. Hopefully, within luck, we’ll all end 2021 on a better note than we started it on.

Much love,

Meredith

20 Lessons I Learned in 2020

Hey y’all!

We’ve finally made it! This post is officially my last of 2020. It’s certainly been one hell of a year. It’s been emotional, scary, stressful, and even boring –but to be fair, there is more to be learned from the hard times than there is from the good.

It’s kind of hard reflecting back on this year — it was a really rough one for me, personally. I lost a couple of people who were very important to me, graduated at a time that the job market is at it’s worst, and put up with many difficult situations at my job, with my roommates, and friends whom I had to let go of and leave in the past. That being said, it wasn’t all bad — I graduated university, got to go to Mexico back in February before COVID lockdowns, made some new friends, rediscovered some old hobbies and got some much-needed time off.

And at the end of of the day, this year may have had some ups and (plenty of) downs, I did learn some important lessons that I’d like to share. My hope is that, at the very least I can save someone out therefrom learning these lessons the hard way by sharing them with you now

  1. Take time to appreciate what you have.
  2. Tell your friends and family how much you love them, honestly and often.
  3. Nothing is certain. Planning is important — but you can’t anticipate everything.
  4. Practice compassion. Everyone has something difficult happening in their lives — big or small. Be kind.
  5. It’s okay to take breaks. Burn out is real, and just because you don’t feel like you’ve worked hard enough to earn it doesn’t mean you don’t need it.
  6. Set goals — but don’t get too down on yourself if they don’t work out. It’s important to keep moving forwards. If you miss the mark on a goal, set some new ones!
  7. Take time to discover what it is that makes you happy.
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others. Nothing you see on social media is real — so don’t get down on yourself because your life doesn’t look like other’s Instagram posts. Odds are, their lives don’t either.
  9. Prioritize your mental health.
  10. Try not to worry about what others expect of you. It’s tough to break expectations at first, but you’ll be happier for it in the long run.
  11. Sometimes it isn’t about you. This applies to so many things — from taking a step back when someone’s in a rough place and needs your support, to following COVID lockdown protocols.
  12. Actions speak louder than words. Telling others how much you care about them is important, but you need to show it, too.
  13. Self-improvement comes from the little things. Working out regularly. Eating healthy. Staying organized. Being productive. Taking breaks and practicing self-care. It all adds up.
  14. Spend time on your hobbies. It’s hard sometimes — there are only so many hours in a day. But try to take time to rediscover things you love — such as writing, reading, drawing, or music — whatever makes your heart happy.
  15. Nothing is forever. Appreciate the things and people you have in life while you can. But alternatively — a bad situation is only temporary.
  16. Be kind to others.
  17. A positive mindset influences everything. Going into a situation with a positive mindset will alter the experience as a whole, as well as the results.
  18. It’s okay to say no. Standing up for yourself can be hard, but boundaries are important.
  19. Don’t worry about what others think of you. There’s always going to be someone who may judge or try to tear you down. Do what you love, regardless.
  20. Always remember to love yourself first. Growth is always uncomfortable. It’s okay — be patient with yourself. You’re getting there. And you’re doing better than you think you are.

Happy New Years, everyone, and here’s to better vibes in 2021! It’s been a tough year but we’ve made it through. Let’s not forget to bring all the lessons we learned this year into the new year, to help improve ourselves, our communities and our world.

Personally, my goals for the new year are to keep my expectations small. I’m setting a couple big goals for the year at large, but I think this next year I’m going to try taking it month by month so I can manage my goals and expectations a little better. (Besides, I’d rather be pleasantly surprised by completely smashing my goals rather than feeling a little down if I don’t manage to achieve them).

Sending you all so much love — I hope that all of you have a better year ahead of you in 2021 than you had in 2020. I’m curious — are you guys still setting goals for the next year? If so, how have they changed from the goals you set for 2020? If you feel like sharing, drop a comment below — I’d love to hear how 2020 has changed your perspective!

Here’s to better days!

Xo,

Meredith

Fifteen Tips To Get Through Social Distancing

Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Hey y’all!

I’m back from my hiatus and given the current situation and my newfound endless free time, I’m on a bit of a blogging kick. I’m sure, especially by the time of posting, I don’t really have to tell you all about the Social Distancing situation at hand — it’s probably a bit of old news by now, but personally I’m finding that the reality of it all is really starting to kick in.

I’m not going to get too deep into it all, as I’m sure you’ve all heard it already. All I’m going to say about the virus is that apart from this, I won’t be mentioning it — it’s a bit of a stressful topic for many people, and the whole point of this post is to generate helpful ideas and reduce your worry about the situation. However, the world is coming to a bit of a stand-still, and it can definitely be a difficult and anxiety-inducing situation. However, it’s important that we all do our parts, and for now that means limiting social contact and staying inside for the time being.

I’m not sure about you guys, but I’m barely into the first few days stuck in my apartment and I can feel myself starting to go a little stir-crazy. All I’ve wanted for the last few months was just the ability to take some time off and catch up on everything in my life, but as soon as it was actually mandated I became a little overwhelmed with anxiety and at first I couldn’t put my finger on why. I’ve come to realize that just because we’re supposed to stay home all day (which really would have sounded so enjoyable back in 2019), doesn’t mean that I, personally, can just kind of ride the wave of it all and just do whatever, whenever. If you’re feeling the same way, I’ve compiled some helpful tips to help you get through this period as easily as possible!

  1. Stick to a routine. It’s so easy just to think of this time as a “mini-vacation” and just wake up and go to sleep whenever your body feels like it. However, I personally found that doing this caused my life to crash pretty quickly into just having no real sleep schedule at all, which was pretty detrimental to my ability to function and my overall mental health. Take a few days to catch up on sleep if you need to, but after that stick to an 8-hour sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. It’ll help you keep on track later on once we’ve been at the whole distancing thing for a while. Plus, if you’re someone who struggles with this normally, hopefully you’ll be so used to it by the time this is over that you’ll stick with it in the long run! This also goes for eating meals at a regular time — it’ll help you not lose all sense of time if you’re keeping your days as routine as possible.
  2. Get some fresh air. Make sure you open your windows at least once a day and let the air in your home circulate. Not only will it help move around stagnant air and keep your place from feeling a little gross, but the fresh air will help you feel more alert and a little less claustrophobic during long days inside.
  3. Catch up on everything you need to get done. While it can be easy to view social distancing as an annoyance, it really can be a precious resource for getting on top of your sh*t. Don’t delay it — start now! We have no idea how long this will last, really, but it’ll feel amazing if you come out on the other side completely on top of all your tasks that you’ve been putting off for a while. I’m sure just a few weeks ago you were thinking about how you wished you had some time off to help you get on top of things — so take advantage! This can mean anything, from getting ahead on blog posts, to catching up on schoolwork and work tasks, to home repairs or decorating or anything else you’ve been putting off lately.
  4. Get moving. Even if you don’t exercise regularly, you probably don’t even realize how much movement you’re missing out on right now. Walking to get around isn’t something you’re probably doing for the time being, and if you live in an apartment like I do, there’s not even much space for moving around inside. A whole lot of companies such as Lululemon (as well as many of your local fitness spots) are holding online Instagram live work out sessions that you can partake in from the comfort of your home. It’s easy to fall into the routine of just sitting on the couch or lying in bed, but keeping active will help improve your physical and mental wellbeing, and will help keep your spirits up.
  5. Pick up an old hobby. I’m honestly someone who can binge-watch Netflix for ridiculous periods of time — name any TV show on their site, and I’ve probably seen it. Given the situation, I’ve gotten back into visual art — I was an art student in high school, and I spent just about all my time filling up my sketchbooks. However, with how hectic university was I ended up rarely having time. (Also, I can’t lie, the pressure of having to complete art on a deadline for a grade in first year along with all the other classes I had to complete kind of sucked the fun out of it for me — but that’s kind of just how I am, I can’t turn hobbies into work). I’ve tried a few times to get back into it over the years, but I finally have the time to put real effort into it and I had honestly forgotten how much I loved it. It really helps the time pass when you’re actively doing stuff!
  6. Take time for self-care. I always try to stress how self-care isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. However, time and time again I hear about how people don’t have the time, and don’t realize how important it is to reduce stress levels and take care of your mental well-being. For the foreseeable future, you have all kinds of time to practice self-care. If it’s something you’re not used to, you have plenty of time to experiment and find out what works best for you. Self-care can (and should!) be both practical and enjoyable, so if taking baths or self-indulging isn’t really something you’re interested in, there’s still plenty of other options. Hopefully, if you make a point of it, you’ll get into the habit of taking around half an hour to an hour a day (or a week) to yourself and will be able to add it into your routine going forward. If you need some ideas, you can check out my post on Fall Self-Care Ideas (and don’t worry, I’ll be coming out with a spring edition soon!).
  7. Keep up your hygiene. This one kind of falls into the category of keeping up a routine. Especially if you live alone, it can be easy to fall into the mindset that it’s okay to kind of let things such as showering, brushing your teeth or washing your face slide when you don’t have to go out into the world. However, you should aim to keep your life as normal as possible — it’ll help you FEEL as normal as possible, even though this is a very strange time.
  8. Spring clean. Now is the perfect time to totally Marie-Kondo your life. I’m going to be posting a spring cleaning guide sometime soon, but for right now, just take this time to tidy, organize, clean and sort through your belongings. Regardless of the benefits a good spring-clean can have, just making sure your space is tidy will make it a lot more livable.
  9. Meditate. Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of being unable to leave my house and having no work or class has sent my anxiety through the roof. Why? I have no idea. Just a few weeks ago the idea of time off would have been heaven, but I guess it’s probably to do with feeling like there’s stuff I’m supposed to be doing and being inside by necessity rather than by choice. I know it sounds a little corny, but meditating has helped to mitigate my anxiety in the past — so I’m trying to make a point to practice it at least once a day. Even if you’re not sure how you feel about meditating or don’t see how it would be beneficial, there’s no harm in giving it a chance!
  10. Generate some Insta content. I mean, why not? If you have time to spare, try out that make up look you’ve been meaning to master or throw on some cute spring clothes you want to show off and take some photos of it! I know for bloggers Instagram is a hugely beneficial platform, but I personally find I never have time to create content to post. Personally, I’m going to take this time to stock up!
  11. Limit how often you check the news. Shout out to my roommate, Beth, for giving me this idea. This one is especially important if you’re already feeling nervous about the situation going on, but it’s a good practice anyway. If you’re stuck inside and feeling bored, it’s tempting to check up on hourly updates about what’s going on in the world. While it’s important to stay updated, consuming every piece of news constantly does a lot more harm than good. At the best, it harms your productivity — and at the worst, just fuels your anxieties (which may about news in parts of the world that don’t really effect you). It’s important to stay educated, but you can accomplish this by checking the news just a few times, if only once a day.
  12. FaceTime family and friends regularly. Social contact is important, especially during such isolating times. Texting is great and all, but the best way to feel connected and socially fulfilled is with FaceTime or a good old-fashioned phone call.
  13. Learn a new skill. Back over the summer when I had more free time, I used Duolingo to help me learn Japanese. I lost track of it as things in my life picked up between work and school, but now’s the perfect tome to pick back up where I left off! Who knows, maybe I’ll have a whole new language under my belt by the time this all blows over. It doesn’t have to be a language — maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new musical instrument, or paint, or sport, or whatever it is you’re feeling.
  14. Take a day off. Again — why not? Don’t feel any pressure to spend every second of this time being productive — not only is that not what life should be about normally, but especially right now. There’s still value to spending time doing nothing. The beauty of productivity in this time is that you can complete tasks stress-free, and it helps you keep your life on track. But apart from whatever your current life demands are (such as homeschooling or #WFH), it isn’t a requirement. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for just taking some time to chill — whether it’s Netflix, scrolling through Insta, or just lying in bed — who cares!
  15. Do whatever makes you stay positive. These are really weird times for all of us. Just try your best to relax and make sure to take care of your mental health — whatever that means for you is whatever you should be doing right now.

I hope you guys are all doing well out there! I know it’s weird and difficult, but do your best to stay inside and minimize contact with others. The more we stick to it now, the sooner this will all blow over and we can all return to our normal lives. Just keep in mind that this “social distancing” isn’t about you — even if you’re absolutely certain you’re going to be fine, it’s about those who may not be. Please try to keep them in mind during this difficult time.

Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow for my all-time favourite post of the season — my FabFitFun Unboxing! I’m already loving my spring box so much, and I can’t wait to share it with you guys! And in the meantime, stay safe, stay indoors and feel free to hit me up for Netflix recommendations (I have plenty!).

Much love,

Meredith

Self Care Tips: Part One

Hey friends!

So to start off, anyone who knows me in real life knows I am a huge advocate of self-care. In this day and age, with burnout becoming increasingly common in the population, taking some time out of your day just for yourself and to relax is super important. While so many people I know claim they don’t have daily time to take for themselves, I find that if you really try, you can always make time. Whether it means finding ways to free up your schedule a bit or maximizing your efficiency throughout the day to leave more spare time for yourself, taking a bit of time every day is important to maintaining good mental health.

Mental health is important, something we all have, and not the same as mental illness. I find this distinction to be super important, as someone who has struggled with mental illness my whole life, as nowadays people advocate a lot for mental health but do not often do the same for mental illness. Often times, people lump the two together while they are really two separate concepts. Everyone has to maintain good mental health; stress is one of the most detrimental things to your health. I won’t get too deeply into it right now, but stress is truly a silent killer. Daily stress can lead to many health issues, both in the short term and in the long run. This is why I find daily self care so important — anything you can do to reduce your daily stress levels, even if just a little, is hugely beneficial for your overall health. The distinction here is not everyone struggles with mental illness, even though it is highly prevalent in the modern day population. However, many people who do not cope with mental illness don’t really seem to see the point in taking care of their mental health, which is something I have seen take a toll on so, so many of my peers. So I’d figure I’d share a little list of some of my favourite self care practices! Some of these are daily activities, while some of them are just things to improve the quality of your day to day life.

I know you’ve probably heard plenty of these before, but if you guys like this list I’ll keep publishing more and hopefully you can all find new techniques that work for you!

  1. Invest in a diffuser. You don’t need an expensive one, you can find them fairly cheap on sites like amazon. They help keep your room smelling nice and fresh and also improve the air quality in your room!
  2. Watch an episode of your favourite TV show. You don’t have to do a whole binge, just taking half an hour for an episode is a great way to take a break.
  3. Go for a walk! Just getting some outside air, exercise, and taking some time away from life’s stresses actually does wonders for your mental health.
  4. Buy some plants! It’s been shown that having plants inside helps lower feelings of depression, as well as improve the air quality of your home. Personally, I love succulents as well as medium sized leafy plants, and always keep a couple of fresh flowers in my room.
  5. Shut off all social media for an hour before bed. Yeah, this one is hard and many people may deny that social media effects your mental health. But think of it this way — so much is always going on with social media, and the constant notifications get hectic. Isn’t it nice before bed to just be able to calm down, relax, and not be distracted while you take some time to read, draw, watch TV, listen to music, etc? The amount of things you can do in this hour are endless.
  6. Pick up an old hobby! I feel the older we get the less hobbies we have. Take some time to do something you love that you haven’t had time for in a while.
  7. Use a face mask! I mean, if you’re into skin care you’re probably doing this anyway, but it’s also a great way to relax and feel refreshed.
  8. Invest in something nice for yourself! In particular, maybe a cute new outfit, makeup product you’ve been dying to try, nice decor for your room or a nice candle. Any of these things can help as a little pick me up. Personally, I’m gonna use this one soon and invest in a good candle. I love Bath and Body Works as much as the next gal, but their candles are actually kinda pricey and for the same amount you can get a nice soy candle with a nice, relaxing scent.
  9. Go on a date with yourself! It can be weird at first, but hanging out by yourself at a cute cafe, at the beach or wherever works best for you can be a great way to relax mid-day and take some time for yourself.
  10. Take a really long shower. I don’t even think I have to explain this one, but nothing really feels better than taking a nice, warm shower before bed and going to bed feeling clean and relaxed (bonus points if you’ve just washed your sheets).

Anyways, I hope everyone can find something on this list that’s new and works well for them! If you guys like these tips I’ll compile another list in the future. Make sure to take care of yourselves, it’s a crazy world out there.

Love you all,

Meredith