2019: The Year of Going Places
Well folks, my sabbatical has officially ended.
I guess the Six Week Sabbatical trip technically ended back at the beginning of December, but since returning from Europe, I haven’t been working. I did some interviewing in early December, then came up against everyone being out of the office for the holidays, so it took until January for me to get into a new full-time finance role.
And that new role started two weeks ago.
Despite my good intentions about this being the year I crack the work life balance code, these past two weeks have been a total loss on the blog and social media front. To say that getting back to sitting at a desk from early morning until evening every day was a shock to my system would be an understatement. I still somehow managed to get three evening workouts in each week, but other than that, most of my hours outside of work have been spent sitting on the couch watching documentaries like a zombie. Or falling asleep on the couch, like a sleepy zombie.
Towards the end of this week I started feeling like I had a bit more energy in the evening after work (we’re up to slowly moving zombie at this point, but at least we’re moving), so things are looking up.
Now that it is the blessed weekend and I’ve slept more than 8 hours, I think it’s about time to write that 2019 New Year’s Resolution post I’ve been thinking about since December.
An Introduction to 2019
I usually choose a word, quote, or phrase for the year, and 2019’s will probably come as a surprise to no one. Since one of my primary goals for this year is to build my blog/ brand/ business, Going Places Media, I’m calling this the year of going places. That description also fits with the fact that I’m starting a new job... and of course also doing some travel. And this site is called Sarah Going.
Look at me with the cohesive life themes.
As far as resolutions themselves are concerned, I’ve learned from past failed resolution attempts that I do best with a maximum of 5 specific, measurable goals. I don’t tend to do as well with vague ideas (which I attempted in 2018) or with more than 5 goals a year (which I attempted in 2016). This year, you’ll see some old classics back on the list. You’ll also see some crazy new goals on the list (so my friends tell me, at least), because that’s just who I am as a person.
I like to keep things interesting.
My Five Resolutions for 2019
1) Build a Blog / Brand / Business
As mentioned in the introduction to this post, balancing my full-time job with my personal projects has historically been a major struggle for me. Finding the time, energy and motivation after work, before work and on the weekends to actually make the type of progress with my blogs and other ideas that I’ve always wanted to make is something I’ve been struggling with since I graduated college in 2013 (and if we’re being honest, I was probably dealing with this particular struggle even before graduating). So I’m making this work-life-blog balance problem my number one priority this year, because frankly, I’m sick of dealing with it.
You’ll notice a lot of the other resolutions on this list either directly or indirectly support this high priority resolution. I gave myself some time to adjust over these past two weeks (after-work zombie status was allowed as long as I was showing up in business attire every day on time), but going forward I’m getting serious about spending my time outside of work productively and making sure it aligns with my goals so I can finally make the progress I want to make on my blogs, brand and business this year.
2) Save 50% of My Income
One of the main categories of resolution hate that I see online is this idea that if you don’t succeed at a goal exactly as it’s written, even one day, you broke your ‘streak’ and you should probably just quit. But if you’ve read through my annual resolution roundups in the past, you’ll know that isn’t how I approach resolutions. Resolutions shouldn't be graded as pass or fail... there is also the opportunity to make progress in a category, even if you don’t succeed 100%. For a lot of things we resolve to do, achieving 80% or 90% of what we set out to do is a lot better than achieving nothing.
This resolution falls into that category, because a 50% savings rate is very aggressive for me based on my historical savings rates. In 2018, I was only able to hit 50% in one month out of twelve. I’m not sure how many months I’ll be able to hit it in 2019, but the point of this goal is that if I'm trying to save 50% of my income, I may save 30% or 40%… and that’s a lot better than if I set the goal at a 15% savings rate and succeed at achieving that 15% every single month.
3) One new city, one new country
Can’t go wrong with the classics. Last year, I wanted to travel more... and even though that didn’t end up looking exactly the way I planned, I succeeded in traveling a lot more than I normally do in the year 2018. Since I’m getting into a new job (and need to aggressively rebuild my savings after living and traveling with that money for the past few months), I know 2019 won't involve as much travel as last year. So I’m bringing it back to my original travel goal of seeing one new city (in a country I’ve already been to) and one new country in the year 2019.
4) Read 52 Books
For the past two years, my reading goal has been one of my favorites, but it has also had an ongoing problem that I want to address this year. I often want or need to reread a book, and for the past two years I haven’t counted anything except new books in my total. This year, I’m increasing my annual book goal to the highest it’s ever been (52 books in 2019: one book a week), but I’m allowing 12 of those books to be rereads. My goal is to read at least 40 new books in 2019, and up to 12 books I’ve already read at some point. I keep track of this goal in Goodreads, and if you also have a goal to read a certain number of books in 2019, I would highly recommend setting up your reading challenge in their system. It’s one of the best ways I’ve found to make sure you stay on track and don't accidentally forget to record a book that you’ve read (it can automatically pull books as you finish them on Kindle straight to your list... genius).
5) No TV Shows
Let’s start with a confession: I have a bit of a binge-watching problem. My default (BAD) habit when I get home from work and don’t have plans, and on weekends (the only two days I actually have to GET STUFF DONE), has historically been to set myself up on the couch and watch back-to-back episodes of shows. Needless to say, this bad binge-watching habit is one of the primary factors in the problem mentioned in my first resolution above: I’m wasting a ton of time watching TV that I need to devote to my blog / brand / business if I ever want it to look the way I’ve envisioned.
So I’m doing something a bit drastic in 2019: I’m not watching any TV shows. My main goal for this resolution is to free up the large chunks of time I may previously have devoted to watching TV, but I’m also canceling my subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu and other premium channels to free up money I can apply to my savings goal (win-win). There are some exceptions to this rule: I’m still allowing movies and documentaries (aka, things that don’t have multiple episodes, because multiple episodes are the biggest time-waster in my own life). In general, I want to choose either content creation or reading over watching anything on the TV as much as I possibly can this year.
Because I’ve got places to go in 2019.
Where are you headed this year? I’d love to hear about your resolutions in the comments.