2016... what a year it's been. I wanted to encourage you today that if you didn't have the best year or you're glad it's finally over– there's a few things you can do to kickstart a great way to dream again and step into 2017 with a successful mindset.
For the past few years, I've grown more intentional than ever in seeing my dreams come true and taking risks in the things I want to see happen in my life. 2016 has put that to the ultimate test for me since it's been a process of going freelance, moving to a new city, and doing a lot of things where (tbh) I had no idea what I was doing. Stepping into your dream career or dreams takes a lot of trial and error, while seeking wisdom from those around you. It's taken courage to believe and faith to go beyond what I could see or think was possible, until I saw that it was possible.
I get asked often about how I started my blog and how I got to where I am today. I believe it's a personal process for each person and it starts with 1. knowing who you are, 2. what you're passionate about 3. and learning how to use fear to your advantage and risk with wisdom. From day 1 to now, I'm still making mistakes and trying things I have no idea how to do, but I'm doing them with the knowing that this is what I love to do and I'm getting that much closer to learning. Instead of a fear of failure, I love the process of continuously learning, growing, and encouraging someone else along the way whether you know it or not.
Below are five keys that have helped me reach goals in my life– in career, relationships, and overall with myself. I hope they can also help you start your new year great.
1. Write Them down
I've always loved journaling, but ever since I got real about what I wanted to see happen in my life, I started making a list before the beginning of each year. (Sounds basic, but it is THE basics for greatness.) I wrote the things I wanted to accomplish and work towards– and I was also challenged to write things that were hard to believe for. This was to stretch myself regarding long term goals, but I do recommend staying within practical goals for that year. Forbes has a great article on why it's important to write your goals here that I love as well. It helped to create focus, vision, and a path. Every year is an opportunity to see just how much you're capable of, and a list can be a trophy piece that helped create that history in your life.
I remember the first time I wrote down "Attend Fashion Week." I knew nothing about FW, how to get involved, or what to expect. I just knew that I wrote it down and no matter what, I was going to go. I only had a few contacts at the time, and I told myself that even if I didn't get to experience much or even attend a show, I was going to be in the city and 'get my feet wet.' I was going to risk meeting new people, attend a few events (alone sometimes), and simply immerse myself in a world I knew I was meant to be a part of and was confident that each year would get better and better.
2. Get Around People Who Are Where You Want To Be
It's so strengthening to have people that are not only ahead of you, but to have people you get to pour into with what you're learning as well. Let people who've walked those hard walks shed wisdom into your process. And be honest about not only your successes but your challenges. Part of stepping into greatness is letting others in and not doing it alone.
3. It Takes Work
It's great to write down the things you want to see happen, but now comes the hard part: working for it. Throughout my blogging career, I had countless nights researching and learning everything from SEO, marketing, photography, various business etiquette in jobs, how to brand myself, etc etc etc. The list never ends and it never will. You have to grow passionate about learning and taking the time to master your craft or skill. This doesn't mean it has to be perfect before you make your debut, but it means the more you're stepping out, the more you need to dedicate time to learning and honing in your skills. I love that I started out when I did because even though I didn't quite know what I was doing, I can look back on those posts and see how far I've come. Not only did this help me see the growth in my life, but I also like to look at what others are doing in my industry– what skills they've learned to adopt and how I can learn from that too.
4. Try something new each month
It's so easy to get into the same routine every day– but it's refreshing for the mind and heart when you try new things, see new places... anything that's not your ordinary. Those very things– those little moments will keep courage active in your life. It'll also prevent the rut of boredom in the midst of doing your every day passions. Let spontaneity be a norm in your life.
5. Give Yourself Grace
Sometimes there's moments where you feel like you're in over your head, you don't know what you're doing, or things aren't going as planned. We all know those waves- but it's how we deal with those waves that allows us to ride smoothly. And just for the record, they're a normal part of it. If you need to feel overwhelmed, feel it. Self-awareness is vital for our health and creativity to flow peacefully. Part of success and happiness is not being afraid to feel the low moments. They're a part of the process and it doesn't mean you've failed. You're simply growing, so give them value and let them be a part of your life.
All in all, I hope that you're just as excited as I am for the new year. I've made my list and I'm joyfully expectant for great things, feeling the anticipation of risking even greater, and yes I've already had moments where I've thought to myself, "I'm dreaming too big! How can I possibly do this?..." But that's what we call a good problem to have. I always want to be stretched and challenged to the next level. I've seen great things happen in 2016, but I don't want to be complacent and stay in 2016. So, cheers and see you in the new year!