The Year Ahead
It's that time of year when everyone makes a beeline for the gym and vows to quit alcohol for at least a month. January is traditionally the time of year when we all decide to make drastic changes to our lives; changes that most of us will struggle to keep, particularly as they usually involve suddenly giving up things that we love following a month of over indulgence. As always, I'm taking a step back and considering the changes that I'd like to make to my own life, and thinking about goals that I'd like to set - but with a realistic spin, rather than fantasies of running to spinning classes and declaring abstinence.
Before I set those goals, however, I thought I'd take a look back at what I wrote a year ago to see if I stuck to the resolutions that I made at the beginning of 2017. I've definitely seen more of the world over the past twelve months, traveling to six overseas destinations that I'd never before visited: Lisbon, Sao Miguel, Oslo, Mallorca, Puglia and Marrakech. We finally finished decorating our house, only to decide that we are ready to leave the city and to sell within two weeks of putting the house on the market. My plants aren't having too good a time, although they did have a big growth spurt this summer. I camped in tents and in the back of our van several times throughout the year, but my star-gazing opportunity came towards the end of the year when I spent a night admiring the Milky Way and watching shooting stars in the desert outside Marrakech. I spent many weekends walking in the countryside, further igniting my desire to relocate. I worked for new and existing clients, having my work published in some of my favourite magazines and on incredible websites. And I ultimately failed miserably to cut down my screen time. A mixture of successes and failures, from an overwhelming array of resolutions that I honestly stopped actively thinking about in February.
With all this in mind, I'm setting loose goals for 2018, rather than a list of resolutions that I'm likely to forget about.
Create our dream home
If all goes to plan, we will soon be moving out of the house that we have called home for the past eight and a half years. Just the move in itself is a huge challenge with an overwhelming amount of paperwork and packing ahead of us, but the real work will start when we're holding the keys to a massive renovation project. The house that we're hoping to buy is completely bare; it needs a wall knocking down, a kitchen and bathroom putting in, an electric fire replacing with a wood burner, plastering, painting and floors doing throughout, and structural work to the garden walls. And that's just the beginning! We have grand plans which will take years to complete, but I'm hoping to be living in my dream house within the first half of the year.
Take advantage of our surroundings
Our big move will see us relocating to the countryside, something that I've had on my mind for several years now. Although we'll be located within a small town within 25 minutes of Manchester by train, we will be surrounded by open countryside and I couldn't be more excited. The move will be in vain if we don't take advantage of our new surroundings, so I'll be hoping to get outdoors to explore our new home as often as possible. Evenings, lunch breaks and weekends will be consumed by wandering around, getting our bearings and discovering hidden spots for picnics, swimming and hiking.
Use my camera more
I've been participating in Sara Tasker's Gloom + Glow online e-course over the past month (more on that to come soon) and have found that it has really inspired me to pick up my camera more. Not only am I using my DSLR alongside my 'everyday' camera, but I've started to really think about the style of my photography. The three words that I'm using as a guide to help to refine my style are 'soft', 'warm' and 'slow', and keeping these in mind when I shoot definitely help! Over the next year, I want to develop my personal style further, get more creative with my photography and try to carry my camera with me as often as possible.
Grow Field + Nest
I'm also starting to think more about the direction of this website, and to develop more of a niche for the content that I share. I've thought long and hard about the type of content that I most enjoy creating and I'm aiming to write more about slowing down your life and learning to enjoy the little moments. Whether that's travel, outdoor adventures, style, interiors or everyday life, all of my future content will have an element of slowness. There's also going to be a huge influence from the Nordic lands on my future content, as they continue to fascinate and inspire me. I'm hoping to collaborate with more brands that I love this year, as well as nurturing existing relationships, to create meaningful and interesting content that I'm proud of, that reaches as many people as possible.
Launch new ventures
Alongside Field + Nest, I'm hoping to launch a couple of side projects this year. One of these is already in the pipeline, hopefully launching this spring. I'll be releasing more information shortly, but this is going to be a website that I'm launching with a friend that will be combining travel content with an online shop. I've also been brainstorming ideas for other ways to make a living, as I'm going to be needing extra money for all of the work that we're planning on doing to our house. Fingers crossed some of my ideas will make it to reality by the end of the year.
Step outside my comfort zone
Linking in slightly with my previous point, I want to step away from my comfort zone this year and try new things. Last year, I definitely got a head start on this by attending a four-day retreat in Wales on my own, and also by reaching out and connecting with people that I'd met on Instagram. In 2018, I'd like to attend more events, meet more of the wonderful friends that I've made online in real life, and become more confident at doing things on my own (even simple things like sitting in a cafe or watching a film).
Concentrate on growing my freelance work
My career is a big deal for me this year. I'm really happy with my current position, working three days a week in a part-time job that I love and freelancing and blogging in between, but I need to start thinking bigger. I've been making money from my writing for two and a half years now, and I'd like to up my game. I'd like to start making money from this blog and I've also started offering other services such as content creation and Instagram management. With my writing work, I'd like to find new clients that I love working for and to concentrate on writing the content that I most enjoy.
Travel to more new places
Following on from last year's success, I want to make a pact to visit even more new places this year. There are so many destinations that I'd love to return to, and my first overseas trip of the year is actually a return to Norway, but other than that I want to see more of the world. I have my sights set on the other side of the pond (either Canada or America) and hopefully more of the Nordic lands. I've learned to slow down my travels this year, and although I enjoy a road trip over any other form of holiday, I'll also be making the time to spend at least a couple of days somewhere relaxing where I all I do is swim in the sea and eat delicious food.
So there they are, my goals for the next twelve months. I'll be checking back next January to see what I accomplished. In the meantime, feel free to share your own goals and hopes for the year ahead in the comments.