17 in 2017 – setting achievable goals

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New Year’s resolutions are so passé. Goals (or #goals) are the way forward! Last year I teamed up with a group of bloggers/vloggers and we set ourselves 10 achievable tasks for 2016. I actually loved the experience. I didn’t achieve them all, but reflecting on why has given me new focus, and being able to tick so many off the list has definitely given me a boost. Leah XL is leading the way with this year’s version ’17 in 2017′ (because we like to aim high!) Some of us will be writing posts, and some making videos. They will all be linked at the end of this post, so make sure to go and give them some love (and tell them I sent you!)

1. Go to New York

I thought why not start big?! I have wanted to visit the big apple for as long as I can remember, and my husband and me have been planning a theoretical trip there for more than three years! I want this year will be the year we finally get there.

2. Keep going with the fitness

No specific goal. No specific aim for weight/muscle mass/exercise frequency. Just to keep up my motivation and work out often enough to make me feel good.

3. Speak to my sister every week

My ‘baby’ sister is moving to Australia in 6 days time *sobs*. I know how easy it is for time to pass before realising you haven’t been in touch with someone for a while, so I want to make sure I am in touch with her on a regular basis. As with my goals last year, WhatsApp will be my best friend!

4. Eat vegetables with every meal

I got inspiration for this one from my sister in law, Rachel (her blog is linked here). When she signed up to the gym I go to, the personal trainer set her a challenge to eat vegetables with every meal. I eat A LOT of vegetables but rarely with breakfast, especially during the week when I am working. Now is the time to change that!

5. Save for Christmas

Every year I make the same mistake. I get to November and realise I don’t have enough money to buy everybody’s Christmas presents. Cue a mad rush every December payday! I always tell myself that due to all my bills, there is no other way of doing things. But in truth I just need to be more organised. I have opened a new savings account dedicated to Christmas so no more excuses.

6. Reach 1000 subscribers on YouTube

Engagement is what is more important to me so I would rather have more views, lots of comments and a community feel on my channel, but subscriber numbers is the easiest measurement to monitor. I am sitting at 858 as I write this so hope I can get to 1000 by the end of 2017.

7. Read 3 books

Leah set herself this task last year. I thought it was a great one, so I am stealing it! I love reading, but just don’t do it enough. I used to commute on the London Underground for 90 minutes a day, giving me the perfect opportunity to get lost in a book. I drive to work now, but I want to find time to get back into reading so something else will have to give!

8. Invest in a new camera

I film all my videos and take most of my blog photos on an almost 3 year old basic Sony compact camera. It has served it’s purpose but I am now seriously lagging behind the times. I feel I could really improve my content with better quality pictures so 2017 needs to be the year I invest in a new camera. Look out for better quality photos and videos around March time, when I hope to have saved enough money for one!

9. Buy less coffee!

I love coffee. I also work next door (almost) to a Costa. I dread to think how much I spend in there in a year! I cut down for a while, after I bought a Dolce Gusto machine and was taking coffee with me. I got out of this habit, so need to get back into it again. I got an amazing Friends themed travel mug for Christmas, so now is the perfect opportunity.

10. Keep my capsule wardrobe going

It has been over a year since I decided to give the capsule wardrobe a go (and I blogged about it along the way). I have found a way to make the concept work for me which, in a nutshell, is seasonal rotations and a ‘one in, one out’ policy. I want to keep this up.

11. Go to an official blogger/vlogger event

I could pretend I have been invited to countless events but I haven’t! I have been invited to some, but have never been able to attend as they have been during my working hours. I would love to get more involved with the whole blogging scene, network more and see what really goes on at an event!

12. Visit more UK cities

Following on from last year and my successful trip to Bath, I want to explore more UK cities. York is on my list, and I would love to see Edinburgh again. Any other recommendations in the comments please!

13. Donate more

I think most of us could do more when it comes to charity. I regularly donate to charity shops and there are certain things I always do (such as donate to the poppy appeal), but I want to make donating to charity a more regular thing. Even if it means putting a little change in the charity boxes every time I walk past them. It all counts.

14. Complete another ‘fun run’

I loved doing the Pretty Muddy 5K by Race for Life last year, and I would love to do something even more challenging next time.

15. Finish watching Peaky Blinders

We almost got to the end of series one, and absolutely loved it. Then randomly, we just stopped watching. I have no idea why. If you are yet to see it and a 1920’s gangster drama sounds like your thing – watch it! It is worth it just for Cillian Murphy to be honest!

16. Finally sort out contact lenses

I have worn glasses for years and I am not particularly a fan of how I look in them. I keep meaning to sort out contact lenses but never seem to get around to it (because – boring!). I must get them sorted this year.

17. This one is a secret!

It is personal and just for me but something I have been thinking about for ages, and have decided that 2017 will be the year I take the plunge. If I do, I promise to blog about it!

 

The others…

Leah XL

Leahs’ video

The Clare Necessities

Clare’s post

 

 

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10 Achievable Tasks for 2016 – Final Update!

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Happy New Year everyone! I have been a bit absent from the blog for a while, mainly because all my efforts were put into Vlogmas over on my YouTube channel for the last part of the year. What better way to kick off January than by reflecting on the 10 achievable tasks I set myself at the beginning of 2016? I got together with a group of vlogger/bloggers for this challenge (here) and gave you an update in August (here) and I was doing OK! We plan to set ourselves some new challenges for 2017 (all to be revealed very soon!) but for now I am rounding up my progress from 2016.

1. Contact friends and family every day – ACHIEVED!

I was happy in August when I posted an update that I had achieved this, and I am pleased that I have kept it up. I would like to have more old fashioned long phone conversations in 2017 but WhatsApp is definitely a godsend for busy people!

2. Reach 200 followers on Bloglovin – so close!

For me, growth on Bloglovin has been extremely slow and despite setting what I thought was an achievable target, I am still a few followers off 200. But, that’s OK! Like I said in August, this is simply a hobby and I only write when I have both the time and inspiration, so I am not expecting to hit the big numbers. On the plus side, I have seen increase in traffic to my blog month on month. Those numbers may still be minuscule to some, but as long as I am writing content that someone wants to read, I am happy 🙂

3. Start a weekly make up rotation – Still going strong!

I have kept this up all year! It has been a great way to get good use out of my make up, use up some products and re-discover lost gems. I highly recommend it for anyone who has a large make up collection.

4. Renovate our bedroom – NOPE!

We are terrible at spending time and money on our home and despite having lived here for almost nine years we still haven’t renovated our bedroom (as we had planned to when we first moved in!) However, we have bought new furniture, had our plug sockets relocated (thank you Father-in-Law!) and got quotes for plastering so, you know, progress!

5. Make time for Headspace – still a fail!

I explained in August that this was a fail from the start as I haven’t used the app at all this year. I wanted to use it regularly to help me relax, unwind and sleep better. In August I was colouring regularly instead but to be honest I haven’t really kept that up since. Maybe 2017 will be the year I finally learn to relax!

6. Visit a different UK city – ACHIEVED!

I had already achieved this in August, having visited Bath the month before. I fell in love and will definitely be going back. I would love to explore more of the UK in 2017 too.

7. Restart social media free nights – kind of?!

Going ‘unplugged’ for one night a week was my original goal. It hasn’t really been a routine I have gotten into BUT we do make an effort in our house to say “right that’s it, no more screen time tonight” at a certain time to make sure we actually talk to each other. I spend a lot of time on social media, partly due to this blog and my YouTube channel so I find it important to disconnect from it all now and then.

8. Listen to 5 albums – ACHIEVED!

I wanted to do this to rekindle my love for music and it worked! I have actually listened to more than 5 albums in 2016. I have been bought a few by my music-mad friend, and signed up to Spotify which has helped. My favourite of the year is still We Come From the Same Place by Allo Darlin’ (who have since announced they are no longer making music – boo!)

9. Eat less takeaways – ACHIEVED!

I haven’t cut them out completely but am often only having them once a month now, which is a huge improvement from 2015! My diet has had a bit of an overhaul in general and I have seen the benefits. I am no angel – I still love my coffee, chocolate and desserts in most formats, but on the whole am making much better food choices and feel so much better for it.

10. Try a new gym class – ACHIEVED!

By August last year I had tried Boogiebounce and Anti-gravity yoga, and I still go to these every week. I have since tried a couple of new classes at the gym including Bodypump (ouch!) and definitely get the most intense burn when working out in a group.

Check back in on 8th January to see what goals I am setting for 2017…

 

 

10 Achievable Tasks for 2016 – Update

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At the beginning of the year myself and a group of bloggers and vloggers set ourselves 10 achievable tasks for 2016. You can read my original post here. Today at just over halfway through the year I’m bringing you an update. As you’ll see I’ve achieved some, am on my way to achieving  others, and have completely failed in at least one!

1. Contact friends and family every day – ACHIEVED! (But could do better)

In the modern age of technology there is no excuse to not keep in touch. Whether it be by phone calls, texts, WhatsApp message, Twitter, Snapchat or any other medium I am in touch with friends and family every day. So yes, I’ve achieved what I set out to (although of course will keep it up!) However, sitting to write this has enabled me to reflect and realise there are certainly people I need to make more of an effort to speak to on a regular basis so am giving myself a kick up the bum starting with calling one of my best friends for a catch up today.

2. Reach 200 followers on Bloglovin – getting there slowly

I set myself this modest target because (as you might have noticed) I am a bit of a flaky blogger. It’s a hobby and therefore I never want it to feel like a chore. This means I only post when I both have the inspiration and the time, which isn’t that often! I’m sitting at 185 followers at the moment so still have time to reach this target by the end of the year. If you don’t already follow me on Bloglovin it would be great if you click the button on my homepage to help a girl out!

3. Start a weekly make up rotation – ACHIEVED!

Every Sunday I select my makeup products for the week and place them in a basket. These are the products I use all week. It’s become such a habit that I do it without thinking. It has been a great way to discover old favourites and make the most out of my collection.

4. Renovate our bedroom – Not yet!

Eight and a half years down the line our bedroom has still barely been touched. In our defence we have had a new kitchen fitted this year (although that still hasn’t been fully completed!) What can I say, we just aren’t the home renovating kind. There always seems to be something more exciting to spend our time and money on!

5. Make time for Headspace – COMPLETE FAIL! But it’s OK

Having discovered this guided meditation app last December I was determined to use it four times a week to get some relaxing me time. Want to know how many times I’ve used it in total since writing the original post? ZERO! I even deleted the app last week to make space on my iPhone. However, I have taken up colouring as a relaxation method so although I have not technically achieved this task, I have found an alternative way to unwind so I don’t feel bad about it at all.

6. Visit a different UK city – ACHIEVED!

As I write this I am recovering from a busy but amazing hen weekend in Bath. A beautifully unique city that I will definitely return to.

7. Restart social media free nights – not quite

My aim was to have social media banned at home one evening a week and to be honest this hasn’t happened (I blame my discovery of Snapchat!) However, we are still having them occasionally and I highly recommend them – there is nothing like good old fashioned conversation to pass the time!

8. Listen to 5 albums – On track (pun intended!)

I have actually surprised myself with this one! As much as I wanted to listen to more music my lifestyle means I rarely have the time to sit and ‘just be’. But by being inspired by a friend’s passion for music, listening to an album on a long car journey and making use of Spotify I’m on my way to my target. I’ve listened to three different albums so far this year which to many of you probably doesn’t sound much but before that I can’t even remember the last time I did this. Favourite so far? We come from the same place by Allo Darlin’ – beautiful.

9. Eat less takeaways – ACHIEVED!

I’ve kicked the bad habits I slipped into at the end of last year. Takeways are now (almost) exclusively reserved for weekends and even then I’m not having them every weekend. *smug face*

10. Try a new class at the gym – ACHIEVED!

OK, the new classes I’ve tried aren’t technically at my gym but at a fitness centre but that still counts in my book. I now regularly attend a few different classes including Boogie Bounce, Weighted Hula and Anti-gravity and can honestly say they have rekindled my love for exercising. Mission accomplished!

 

 

4 Motivation Tips – to get you to the gym!

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Whether you are going to the gym for weight loss/gain/maintenance, fitness, strength or any other reason the chances are (if you are anything like me) there are times when you really can’t be bothered. For me, on those days I seem to be able to think of 100’s of reasons (or actually excuses) not to get myself to the gym. Having said that I’m pretty impressed with myself as in the past couple of years I have been going consistently so I thought I’d share my motivation tips with you today. I’m not saying a gym membership is the only way to exercise (you can read my post about my favourite at home workouts here) but if you already have a gym membership you are bound to want to get your money’s worth!

1. Timing is everything

I have a 9-5 job (what a way to make a living!) and I find the best way to ensure I get to the gym is to go straight from work. Do not pass go, do not collect £200! I pack a gym bag in the morning (or the night before) and throw it in my car so that I have no need to go home first. If I do, once I’ve kicked off my shoes and sat down that’s it – not much is going to get me off my bum and out the door after that! When I worked shifts, I made sure to go after early shifts or first thing in the morning on days off. Obviously when is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances, but I recommend you find a time that means you are less likely to slack off, and make it part of your routine.

2. Plan meals

I’m one of those people who always seems to be hungry and for me working out when I feel that way is never effective. I know some people like the ‘starved cardio’ technique and to be honest I don’t know much about it but I do know it’s not appealing to me! So as I go to the gym straight from work I now make sure I have a proper breakfast and a more substantial lunch than I used to, or have a healthy snack at work part way through the afternoon. If I leave work without a rumbling tummy I’m definitely more inclined to get in my car and drive to the gym instead of to the nearest shop for food! You can read about my healthier breakfast choices here.

3. Wear ‘feel good’ outfits

I used to wear any old thing to they gym. Usually leggings and baggy t-shirts that I’d had for ages and weren’t ‘good enough’ to wear for anything else any more. I’d heard people say this was a bad idea and you should wear work out clothes that made you feel as good as your other clothes. I dismissed it thinking I’d rather spend money on other things but then I finally realised the error of my ways! I find workout clothes made by proper sports brands not only fit better, feel more comfortable and last longer but actually make me look forward to working out (yes really!). I now put the same effort into selecting my outfits for the gym as I do into any other outfit and I can honestly say this is one of the things that gets me to the gym regularly.

4. Attend classes

Most gyms have a range of classes to chose from. I find taking the plunge and going to my first one is a bit nerve-racking but I have always ended up enjoying them. I find there are a few reasons why going to a class improves my motivation. First of all trying something new and therefore mixing things up at bit definitely spurs me on. The fact that you have to be there at a certain time also means I’m less likely to make excuses or put off going. Finally, once I get to know a few of the regular faces and the instructor I feel guilty for not going so tend to turn up!

If you have any motivation tips to share please comment below 🙂