I haven’t exactly jumped into 2017 with both feet. It’s not because I have anything against 2017 or any apprehensions about this upcoming year, it’s more that it just didn’t make sense to really kick off 2017 right away.
You may have noticed, but I took a bit of a holiday in December, a holiday which was spent in Canada, visiting families, and overcoming a cold. We stayed until after New Years, so I’d already decided it didn’t make sense to start working on my goals until we got back (clearly, I am a master procrastinator).
When we returned to Leeds, I gave myself a couple of days to readjust as I feared I would be suffering jet lag, and didn’t really want to feel like a failure just five days into the New Year.
Well, this turned out to be one of the greatest decisions in my life.
Since we’ve been back, I’ve been struck down by the worst case of jet lag in human history (maybe a bit hyperbolic, but it’s the worst case of jet lag in this human’s history), which has only gotten worse as the days wear on.
This is why we’re nearly two weeks into the new year and I’m just now getting my act together, and getting started on this whole new year, new me thing (although, I’d really like to think of it as new year, better me).
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the life and travel goal I’m looking to achieve in 2017.
2017 in a word: Discipline
I didn’t set out to pick one word to sum up my goals for 2017, but the more I thought about what I wanted to achieve this year, the more one word kept popping up: Discipline.
At the beginning of last year, I was really good about sticking to my routine, writing every day and growing my blog, and I was so happy about my progress, but mid-summer while we were in between Madrid and Leeds I let it all slip and have had a really hard time back on track ever since. So, this year I would like to try to be more disciplined–this will apply to my writing, working, eating, exercising, and pretty much every aspect of my life.
1 Jan 2018 Update: I would argue that I sort of achieved this goal in 2017. I was disciplined in some aspects (eating, exercising) but not in others (writing, blogging). So, overall, I’d give myself a pass.
- Drink more water.
- Exercise Regularly.
- Limit Alcohol.
Such a cliche, right? I think pretty much everyone wakes up on January 1 (or January 9 in my case) and strives to be healthier. It’s a goal I’ve had for years and will have for years to come. This year, I’ve decided to focus on three areas to help me live a healthier life. I would like to drink more water, exercise regularly and limit my alcohol intake–I figure these three goals will work together to help me look great and feel my best.
1 Jan 2018 Update: Again, I feel like I’d give myself a pass in this category. Some days were good, some days were not. Some days I remembered to drink a ton of water, others I was a camel. Overall, I did okay – there’s room for improvement, but I also could have done much worse.
Grow Freelance Business
This is carryover goal from 2016. Every few months I’m struck with an energy and put a lot of effort into growing my freelance business. But, as quickly as that lightning strikes, it seems to fade. This year, I would like to be more consistent and really give this whole freelancing thing a go.
1 Jan 2018 Update: Growing my freelance business took a backseat to everything throughout the first few months of 2017 (wel, the first nine months). I was too bogged down in working two jobs in Leeds to be able to devote any time to this endeavour. Since moving to Stockholm, however, I’ve been plugging away and pushing myself towards achieving this goal and slowly, but surely, I’m getting there. [Shamlessplug: you can learn more about the writing and design services I offer at kateslean.com.]
Write Every Day
For the first half of 2016, I was great about carving out time every day to write and I loved it. I felt like I was honing my skills and really growing as a writer. And then, mid-2016 hit and I succumbed to laziness, procrastination and perfectionism, and pretty much stopped writing altogether. For which I felt totally guilty. Well, 2017 is a clean slate, so I’d like to start over and try to again carve out time to write each day–whether it’s 30 minutes or a couple of hours, I’d like to practice my goal of being disciplined and type for at least a little while each and every day.
1 Jan 2018 Update: Huge fail. Not only did I not write every day, but there would be periods of days, weeks, months where I didn’t write more than an email. This year, I will do better.
- #Take12Trips. The #Take12Trips Challenge encourages everyone to take at least one trip a month–whether it’s a longer adventure or a simple day trip to a new or favourite place nearby. I absolutely loved taking part in the #Take12Trips Challenge last year and have decided to take part again. I can’t wait to get out and further explore England, the UK and beyond.
- 1 Jan 2018 Update: Although it felt like I failed at this goal, when I look back on everywhere I went and everything we did, I did end up taking 12 trips. They were clustered rather than spread out, but the goal was 12 and 12 was achieved!
- Visit five new countries. Last year, my goal was to visit 10 new countries, which I am so happy to say I did. 🎉 But, last year was a bit of an anomaly, a splendid, wonderful anomaly. This year, with both Dave and I working, and Dave going to school, I know we won’t have as much time to jet off as we did. That’s why in 2017 I would like to visit just five new countries. While my travel bucket list is long (isn’t everyone’s?!) I’ve decided to set my sights on Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Scotland and Wales for 2017. All of these countries are easily accessible from Leeds, so fingers crossed we can find a reasonably priced flight (or trains, or buses, or horse-drawn carriages) and can take a weekend city break in each of those countries.
- 1 Jan 2018 Update: As hard as I tried and as much as I scanned Skyscanner, I just couldn’t work it into my schedule to visit five new countries in 2017. I did have the chance to visit three new countries (Scotland, Croatia and Norway) and revisit a couple of old faves (Poland, the Netherlands), so it wasn’t a bad year travel-wise at all.
Try Something New
- Rock climbing. If you’ve read this blog at all in the past year, you’ll have noticed that I have a pretty embarrassing fear of heights. It hasn’t held me back that much (it’s only caused me to sweat and shake a tremendous amount), but it’s something I would like to try to overcome. To take the first step, I’ve decided I want to try rock climbing. Nothing extreme, just a little indoor bouldering where I’ll be wearing a safety harness and a helmet (which are two of the things I always ask for when I feel vertically uncomfortable) to get me comfortable with being off the ground. There are a couple of places near our flat, so I’m just looking for the right day to take the leap and scale that wall!
- 1 Jan 2018 Update: Achieved! You can read all about my rock climbing experience (and how I didn’t pee my pants) in my June 2017 roundup.
Read book from countries I’ve visited (26)
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in my What I Read post my goal this year is to read a book set in each of the countries I’ve had the chance to explore so far. This will not only up my goal from 18 books to 26, which I think is completely do-able, but it will force me to look for new authors and genres that I would otherwise ignore. So much bookworm growth!
Given that it might be difficult to find books set in each country, I’m looking for any and all recommendations you can share with me, reader-friends. If you’ve read a great (or even semi-okay but entertaining) book set in one of the countries listed below, please share the title!
Austria • Belgium • Belarus • Canada • Costa Rica • Czech Republic • Denmark • Estonia • Finland • France • Germany • Hungary • Italy • Jamaica • Morocco • Netherlands • Nicaragua • Poland • Portugal • Russia • Slovakia • Spain • Sweden • Switzerland • United Kingdom • United States
1 Jan 2018 Update: I fell just short of my reading goal in 2017, finishing 24 of 26 books. Additionally, I had to abandon my goal of reading books set in each of the countries I’d visited as it was just too hard to find books that met the criteria while also piquing my interest and being available at my local library. While I didn’t meet this goal, I still feel like I did a great job – 24 books is pretty good, so I’m calling this a semi-win. Click here for a full recap of all the books I did read in 2017.
Be A Better Human
- Be more positive. As 2016 wound down, I started to notice that I was getting a bit (a lot) negative with my thinking and some of the comments that were coming out of my mouth. I don’t really know why, maybe it was the stress of everything from the last few months finally getting to me, whatever the reason I didn’t like it. I don’t want to be *that person* and I seriously don’t want to be responsible for putting even more negativity out there (there’s enough already) so I’ve decided to put in a good effort to be a much more positive and less judgmental human this year.
1 Jan 2018 Update: I might be biased, but I think I did a pretty good job of being a pretty good human in 2017. I mean, we all have our days, but I think it’s safe to say in 2017 I had far less bad days than I did good.
We’re only a few days into the new year, but I already have the feeling that it’s going to be a wonderful year full of adventures, travel and so many memories.
What are your goals for 2017?
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