2018 holds a lot of changes for me ahead. It will not only welcome my third baby and have our family dynamics change from a family of four to five but I feel it’s a big year for myself and Mr P, work wise too. He has huge goals for his own financial company and we have started a separate venture together too. I have also changed the way I do my own blogging business, the end of last year which really benefitted me. I think as I age and do this job longer, I learn more as I go along. You get a bit wiser what works, what doesn’t and you know as we get older where we want to be in five, ten, fifteen years. The changes I have made already and will be implementing this year, I hope (optimistically) that it will be the best year for our family yet, all around.
In terms of blogging, I sat down this Christmas and wrote down goals in time frames. I found making overall goals for the year never work for me. For example, last year, I wanted to hit 10K followers on twitter. This year, I am making smaller time frame goals like gain 20 new followers this month that engage with me on twitter. I have ideas on how to implement each goal in those time frames as well instead of just hoping it happens because it won’t. Social media has changed so much with new algorithms and how people use them since I started. I want to educate myself more on the changes of each instead of just complaining that what I am currently doing isn’t working to my advantage as I have done in the past. I noticed a huge change in the effort I put in, I receive back. Mostly important for me I concentrated only on instagram every day for a whole year and my instagram has doubled. I liked, commenting, interacted, was on it constantly and I got the love in return. It also meant because I didn’t put any effort in facebook or twitter nothing happened. It’s about finding balance between all my channels to get them to work so I have also made a schedule each morning to follow so I don’t get lost and trapped into just on channel.
Along with smaller time frames to achieve my business goals, I am reaching out. I am no longer just waiting for things to fall in my inbox as they have done since I started. I am working on choosing bigger campaigns over smaller ones and making more of an effort to continue working with those big clients. I was happy enough to end the year with a few bigger campaigns that I had worked with already two or three times last year alone. I am building relationships that they will come back to me, in the past, it was always what new, what’s next?
I want to support more bloggers. I think when I first started there was a huge supporting community in the blogosphere. Somewhere along the lines we all are so busy working on our blogs that we have supported other blogs and therefore lost that supportive network. The outside world is our target audience but sometimes it’s only bloggers that understand blogging and what we are sharing and doing on our blogs and it’s those special relationships that you form and bond over when we support each other. I miss that. I love my job but it’s also very much a passion for me too.
I want to go back to weekends away, days out and family traveling. We used to travel a lot even when the kids were newborns. Last year, we probably traveled less than we ever have since I met Mr P. I am not just talking about abroad big trips. I am talking about getting in the car on a long weekend and going camping, going to wales or the beach for a picnic and a walk. I am talking about packing up the car and just being spontaneous and seeing where the road led us. I miss those little adventures. Those times where we never really plan, we just went. I don’t know if it’s being pregnant, and vertigo last year that just grounded me more than I like to admit it. I am trying to go back to that mind set that the world is small and I want to share as much of it with the kids as possible both near and far. I have a few things planned out in the diary to kick start this family plan.
Having said that, I also want to do more baking and crafts with the kids. Not necessarily all at home, we have some amazing pottery and crafty play centers around us that I want to take the kids. They are at an age now where it’s not just dumping glue on the floor or spilling the paint and they love to create. Our gym has a create class that I have never taken them to but I think I will start. Get their creative side flowing more and baking too. I said I wanted to be in the kitchen more this year and I didn’t do it because I didn’t actually put the plans in motion. I just said I wanted to be in the kitchen more. This year, I am making a recipe diary to make with the kids and for my blog. That way I have dates to make that recipe by including around the holidays for fun activities for the kids. I don’t want them to remember me as always working. I want them to remember me being fun and doing fun things with them.
I am awful taking me time. I don’t go away without hubby or the kids often. I think in eleven years I have been here I can count on one hand the amount of times I have left hubby or the kids overnight. I am not one to put house work aside to read a book even though that would be amazing to ignore it sometimes. I do read a lot more in the last few months of the year, last year, but because I had all my other “to do lists” done. I always put “me time” last and I think I was over exhausted and burnt out because I didn’t learn to stop and giving myself time. In October last year, I started making myself go to the gym three times a week, straight from the school drop off to kick start my day before setting in at my desk for work. It helped my body as much as my mind to have that schedule. Eating healthy is always on my list but it used to be what diet plan would I attempt to follow to keep me on track and now it’s more like what small changes in my lifestyle of eating can I make that will benefit me so I don’t fall off the wagon come March time. Let’s face it no one gets passed March on a diet. Or at least I don’t. Tell me, I am not alone.
I can sit here and say I want to be healthier, be fitter, doesn’t everyone? Those are given goals each year for the world population. But this year, I am more focused on my mind health. Being mentally healthy by taking time to pause and enjoy life’s little moments whether that’s reading a book, playing with the kids, or food styling and sharing it online. I used to rush around with my head cut off just to get everything marked off my “to do list”. Like someone was going to give me a sticker at the end of the day because I had all the boxes ticked. But looking back, when I rushed around, I did everything half-assed. Excuse my language but there are no other words for it. My hands were in too many baskets at the same time and everything was just getting thrown together.
What happened when I rushed around? The kids were being dragging, exhausted to far too many sports and activities, here, there and everywhere, the laundry was chucked in and unsorted, unironed and half the time dying wrong colors together or shrinking nice clothes in the dryer. I was writing blog posts, faster than I could actually take photos and edit them and make them stand out amazing. I wasn’t writing the blog posts and doing the videos I really wanted to because I wasn’t making the right time management choices. Every box while it was checked done, it was half-assed. I don’t want to be half-assed anymore it’s stressful, it’s frustrating, and in the end it doesn’t work.
A fresh year ahead of me is always the perfect time to reflect, learn from the previous year and set out simple goals or tasks for the new year and hope it’s a better year. I always start the new year with motivation and a positive attitude which is helpful. I am going to keep rereading this blog post here to remind myself, a healthy mind comes first. A happy, positive family strives better together than a family rushing trying to be apart of everything. Time with my kids at home is special, they don’t need to be in four different sports and activities just to tick a box. I don’t need to be great at all things just focus on the things I love.
LAST YEAR’S GOALS ACHIEVED!
One thing I challenged myself to last year was to not compare myself to others. Stop comparing myself to the school moms that are apart of PTA, every sports, every activity, and at every school event first. Stop comparing myself to the big bloggers that get huge campaigns or new blogs that grow rapidly and have stats that are crazy high. I especially made myself admire those that achieve huge success on various social media platforms instead of comparing what are they doing that I am not. It’s not healthy and it only made me feel bad. Once I got over the comparing (whilst its still a work in progress at times) I felt better about my own work, my own social media channels, my own parenting, my own involvement of the kid’s school. Sometimes we don’t realize how much we do in one day until we stop and look back in from the outside.
I gave myself a healthy eating lifestyle and stuck to it until Christmas hit and pregnancy cravings took over in December, I had a healthy year. I went to the gym and started swimming more as the kids got better at swimming. We now swim as a family every Sunday night together. I learned to put my phone down more at night and enjoy just tv or a book instead of working day and night because with blogging there is always something you can work on. It made me feel like me again. Watching Netflix with hubby and then reading our books in bed became our nightly routine together. I felt closer to him than sitting there on my laptop as I had done for years at night before trying to grow my blog. We can kill ourselves with the hours we put in blogging. I think putting working hours in order really helped me.
I hope for the past five years you have enjoyed following along our family adventures, family recipes, family travel and our forever changing family home. We love sharing a variety of topics on here so there is something for everyone to read and enjoy. I hope you will stick with me for years to come as I grow and change, as my family grows and changes as much as this blog will grow and change forever.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!