First of all, I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year!

Every year since my last year studying, I have set myself a number of goals or challenges for the year ahead. I started this after one of my creative lecturers said people tend to be more successful when they set goals.

This year I’m going to try something new largely because of two interesting articles I’ve read recently. This one about people who set resolutions that almost ruined their lives and this one, which has inspired me to review these goals after six months (June).

How did 2016 go? Well, I set myself these goals:

1. Commit to my very own happiness project and complete it ✖️ – on reflection I’m a bit surprised at myself for not completing this goal.
2. Join a book club and commit ✔️
3. Post a minimum of one blog a month ✖️/✔️ – it probably averages out because I was quite active while I was travelling but it’s been sporadic again.
4. Add a ‘book review’ section and review a book once a month ✖️ – although I did start writing book reviews, it wasn’t a regular thing.
5. Visit five countries I’ve never been to ✖️ – I didn’t quite make this one, although I did visit six new places (Bali, Vienna, Amsterdam, Zadar, Nijmegen, Dublin).


6. Formulate a comprehensive bucket list and tick something off ✔️/ ✖️- I’d call this a work in progress.
7. Maintain health goals throughout the year ✔️/ ✖️ -yes and no – I did and didn’t.
8. Take a beginners yoga course ✔️ – I completed Yoga with Adriene’s 30 day yoga challenge for the first time ever and loved it!
9. Finish writing my New Zealand bucket list and complete it ✖️ – there are still things I want to go back and do.
10. Read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings ✖️ – I did at least start The Hobbit.
11. Read one book a month, every month ✖️-for the third year in a row, I have not completed this goal!

Looking at this list, I haven’t ticked that much off – possibly because I forgot the challenges I set myself? But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a successful year. Overall, I feel I’ve achieved a lot that isn’t on the list: I’m far more settled in my work, which is something I’ve wanted for a while, I’ve explored new places, had a great year of adventure and have many plans for the coming years.

This year, I want to achieve everything on my list – which is perhaps a goal in its own right?

Here are my goals for the year ahead:

1. Get in the best shape of my life – this doesn’t mean going on a diet, it means exercising more, eating better and feeling good.
2. Lead a more natural life (no medicine, no vitamins, no supplements).
3. Read 24 books in 2017 (at least one book per month, which I’m writing for the fourth year in a row – although I read an average of one book per month, it wasn’t every month and that’s the challenge).
4. Say no to consumerism! – perhaps the toughest challenge I’ve ever set myself – don’t buy any clothes, make up, DVDs etc for the entire year. One exception: I can buy one book a month for the #travelbookclub. It’s not about buying new things, it’s about buying things and wanting things in general. I was inspired to set this challenge after reading this blog post by The Travel Hack. To note, I still plan on going away, but I won’t buy ‘things’ while I’m there.
5. Stick to my 2017 fiscal plan.
6. Practice a new language for a minimum of 30 consecutive days.
7. Visit 5 new places in 5 new countries.
8. Commit or quit – I’ve been blogging since 2012 but I still struggle to post consistently. I want to post one blog a month (every month) for the year.
9. Take a course/class – although I did this in 2016, I think I’d like to learn a new skill via a free course / online.
10. TBC

This year began a lot like last year, which surprised me – I was in another country, having another adventure but this time I wasn’t as far away from home (Dublin, Ireland, compared to Gisborne, New Zealand), but I’m starting this year feeling far more settled.

On reflection, 2016 was a mixed year with ups and downs, much like any other I suppose. It didn’t necessarily go how I envisaged when I was contemplating the year ahead back in January 2016, and I’m sure this year will be the same – full of surprises. All in all, I’m happy, I’m healthy and I’m doing what I want.

Have you set any goals for the year ahead? Do you have any suggestions for my missing challenge? Let me know if you do!

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