At the end of 2018, I created a list of goals with the intent to accomplish them throughout the twelve upcoming months. You can read that original post here.
Overall, 2019 was a year of transition. This year was definitely not my favorite and getting through it was extremely difficult, but I am happy to have made it to the other side; and I’m hoping the low points of this year will serve as a stronger foundation for 2020 and the years to follow.
When I was younger, a year felt like forever. I’m in the final year of my twenties, and the older I become, the faster time goes. This year went by so quickly and the past 365 days seem to have blended into one giant whirlpool of time with sporadic moments of memorable definition.
I visited Mexico and Arizona for the first time, and neither of those events were planned at the beginning of 2019. I hiked the Grand Canyon, swam in the Caribbean, rode a train through the Verde Valley, went on a ghost tour in a mountainous mining town, dove off of a cliff, and went snorkeling for the first time. A lot of really wonderful, unexpected moments occurred this year. I also became an aunt and stood by my best friend as she got married — two moments that were planned for 2019, but magical and momentous all the same.
Without giving away anymore details, here are the results to my seven plans for 2019.
1. Lose Weight
“I would really like to hit my goal weight in 2019. My highest weight ever recorded was 331 pounds and I joined Weight Watchers in order to lose weight. Although I have become healthier and currently sit at a lower weight, I spent 2018 in a weight limbo of sorts and didn’t take any steps forward regarding my weight loss journey. Some may argue that maintaining is successful in itself, and it is, but I want to finally get down to the weight that I initially strived to become. I don’t need to be the skinniest person in the world, but I need to be at a healthy weight so I am able to achieve everything I wish in order to live a fulfilling life.”
I did not hit my goal weight. In fact, I gained a lot of weight this year. I spent too much time beating myself up over it throughout the past several months; but all I can do it try harder and be better with my choices if I want to turn long term weight loss into a reality. I don’t have much else to say about this goal, except I’m getting back on the health train in 2020 and working hard like never before!
2. Pay Off Debt
“I have organized my debt into a “debt pyramid” and I will be spending 2019 paying off my debts starting with the smallest and working my way up to the largest. I have debts from student loans and my car loan — the typical debts that many people my age have. A few older adults have tried to convince me that having debt is normal, but I don’t care. I’ve never quite fit under the definition of normal, and if having no debt classifies me as unusual then just consider me bonkers.”
I paid off a lot of debt this year! I went a little out of order with my debt pyramid and threw a lot of money toward paying down my car, but I was able to break off a major chunk of my debt iceberg and I am proud of myself. I still don’t agree with people who try to normalize debt, because the idea of always owing somebody money gives me anxiety. There’s nothing wrong with having debt, it’s just not something I want for myself. In 2020, I will continue working to pay down my debt pyramid.
3. Add Money into Savings
“My goal is to add $5,000.00 into my savings account this year. There is a chart that I will be referencing throughout the year and adding small amounts of money into my savings throughout the 52 weeks of the new year. The money will add up and the goal is to have $5,000.00 added into my savings by the final week of 2019.”
I was able to add money into my savings this year! I left my job at the newspaper publishing company where I was overworked and tragically underpaid, and I was able to save money after investing my time into a new career path. I also worked a second job.
Putting money into savings while simultaneously paying off debt feels strange because when I have active debt, it feels like none of my money is really mine. However, I continue to save because it is always necessary to have an emergency fund.
4. Minimalist Living Space
“I practice minimalist living in my home and I’d like to continue working on that lifestyle in 2019. In the past, I’ve purchased specific things because other people had them and I thought since the item was so popular that I needed one too! I was wrong. I’ve discovered that I’m the kind of person that doesn’t require a lot of frivolous materials in order to be happy. I never intentionally set out to reject societal norms considering material goods, it’s just who I have become. Experiences make me happiest. My number one minimalist rule is if I don’t have use for an item, it has to go.”
I successfully created the most adorable minimalist living space in Chicago, but I moved at the end of summer since I am relocating abroad to teach at the beginning of 2020. I’m currently living out of two suitcases until I depart, and that’s pretty minimal! I still live by my rule: if I don’t have use for an item, it has to go!
5. Photography Project
“I’m doing a photography project throughout 2019 called “Project Weight Watchers 365”. I will be taking one photo each day of the year, and the photo will have something to do with Weight Watchers. Whether it’s a photo of me, food, an activity, laying on the couch, the weather, where I’m traveling — everything is fair game. The point of the project is that life happens whether we schedule it or not, and Weight Watchers is part of that journey. I noticed a lot of people posting dramatic before and after photos regarding their weight loss, but nobody gets to see the “during” portion of their journey. I want to show people the “during” time frame of a weight loss journey. If you’d like to follow along throughout the year, the hashtag will be #projectWW365 and I will be updating my Instagram (blogbybrosh) with the photography project as well as my account on the Connect app.”
This project ceased sometime around March. I don’t regret ending the photography challenge early because I wasn’t putting out quality content and that is most important to me.
6. Freelance Writing
“I started blogging and freelance writing in 2018, and I’d like to continue working on more freelance projects in 2019. Writing is one of my utmost passions, so any way I’m able to incorporate it into my career path is the greatest!”
I wrote a lot in 2019, but I could always stand to do more. I would really like to make more of a name for my blog, so I’m planning to write even more in 2020 with a goal of one post per week. As for freelance work, my photography work was picked up by several companies like Target and Hilton Hotels for advertisements! I will absolutely be investing more time in creating quality photography content throughout 2020.
7. More Self-Care
“Whether it’s bath bombs, solo trips, or a mental health day, I’m practicing more self-care in 2019. In a society where constant productivity is expected, self-care has essentially become anything in which a person does to take care of themselves. Regardless if it’s a toxic relationship or lack of fulfillment at work, I’m not dealing with anything that causes me foreseen stress in 2019. This is the last year of my twenties so I’m spending it how I want, with who I want, and soaking in as much positive energy as I can.”
I chuckle as I read the short paragraph that was my definition of self-care. The fact that “bath bombs” was included in the list of examples is hilarious, because self-care is so much more than bath bombs.
Self-care is the area that I excelled best in throughout 2019. Roughly half of this year was a dark vortex, and in May I fell into a new low. I went to talk to a professional, something I had never done before, and I was diagnosed with Persistent Major Depression. It’s been going on for over two years, and I just now received a name for what I had been going through for so long because I finally talked to somebody.
Self-care is anything to do with taking care of oneself, and this year wasn’t perfect; but I was better at validating my own health — especially my mental health. I said “no” more. I placed boundaries between myself and toxic relationships. I stopped investing in one-sided friendships. I became less judgmental and more open-minded to new ideas, people, and opportunities. I had conversations that actually mattered. I stopped focusing on what everyone else was doing, and invested more attention into my own circle.
Sixteen more days will bring a wrap on this year and the final curtain call to the decade. I have no idea what 2020 will hold, but that should make for a page-turner journey for next year’s reflection. This year was an odyssey; and I’m happy to have made it to the end.