The New Year always seems like the best time to set goals, but making promises to yourself based on a 'new year, fresh start' mentality rarely works out how you envision it.
I'm not the kind of girl who resolves to go to the gym everyday or to cut out all refined sugar from my diet. Yes, I'd like to exercise more and eat better, but everything in moderation is fine by me. I don't want to be miserable in order to feel better about myself.
Last year, I made a series of resolutions predominantly based around spending more time outdoors and exploring the world. After writing them down, I barely gave any of them a second glance. For 2017, I'm setting myself goals, but not giving myself a time limit. These are all things that I want to do or achieve, but I'm not going to obsess over.
SEE MORE OF THE WORLD
I can use the excuse that I write about travel, so I should visit more countries to get more first hand knowledge of the places that I write about - but, really, I just want to see more of the world. I want to step outside how tourists typically perceive a city and try to unearth the hidden nooks and crannies that the locals enjoy. I want to drive down roads, on the way to nowhere in particular, pulling over whenever something catches my eye. Yes, I'd love to travel to the farthest flung corners of the world, but I also want to explore closer to home. There's an upcoming post in the works detailing the destinations that are next on my agenda (and my fantasy wish-list that will only happen in the next twelve months if I win the lottery).
FINISH DECORATING OUR HOUSE
We spent the last few months of 2016 painting, planning and purchasing new furniture as we transformed our bedroom and kitchen. Both rooms are almost there, they just need a few prints for the walls and a few other finishing touches. The hallways are next on my list - we got bored halfway through painting and decided to put it off until we had more time in the new year. I have our lamp shade, mirrors and prints for the walls all ready to go up; we just need to give the halls the final lick of paint and purchase a carpet for upstairs. Once that's out of the way, the dining room and spare bedroom are two huge projects that beckon.
NURTURE MY PLANTS
I love how plants bring life and colour into a room, and have slowly built up a generous collection predominantly in our bedroom and living room. Unfortunately, I'm not particularly green-fingered and subsequently, I'm quite good at killing plants, even cacti. I'm going to try my very best to nurture my plants and grow my collection. I need some sort of tall palm to fill the gap where the Christmas tree was, and I'm desperately seeking a few trailing plants to hang from the ceiling in our bedroom but my priority will lie with keeping the plants that I already have alive.
SLEEP UNDER THE STARS
One of my absolute favourite things to do is camp outdoors and spend my evenings horizontal gazing at the night sky and spotting meteors. Last year, I can count on one hand the amount of times this happened, so I've decided it needs to be a more regular occurrence once the temperature rises. At least one of these trips will involve visiting a Dark Skies National Park, and spending my birthday watching the Perseid meteor shower has become an annual treat.
GO ON MORE HIKES
I got on lots of walks, but not as many day long hikes as I would like. After spending the second of January hiking for nine miles in the Peaks, culminating in a steep climb up Chrome Hill, I made a pact with my friends that we'd go for a long walk in the hills at least once a month. Let walking club commence!
GET MY WORK PUBLISHED IN MORE MAGAZINES & ON MORE WEBSITES
Some of my proudest moments of last year involved watching my freelance career take off. I've still got a while to go before I'm where I want to be, but I feel like I've come a long way since I started. I had articles published in print in 91 magazine and In Clover magazine, and was commissioned to write a piece for Stylist's website! Going forward, I'll be concentrating more on putting together well thought out pitches and aiming to get more of my work published.
SPEND LESS TIME LOOKING AT SCREENS
This is a hard one, because I really am addicted to my iPhone. But I want to make a conscious effort to spend less time looking at my phone, my laptop and the TV, and to spend time actually living. I'm scared to think of how much time I waste staring at screens. Thirty years ago, the suggestion of most of the population spending the majority of their lives staring at electronic devices would have been the script for a dystopian sci-fi film; now it's reality. I use my phone and laptop for work, so I can't completely shut down, but I am aiming to spend more time switched off. Whether that means leaving my phone in my bag when I get home from work, resolving to turn off all screens an hour before I go to bed or having dedicated days when I don't turn on my laptop, I'm going to try.