Hello 2018. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see a new year. I’m going to start with a little recap of my year with you, and then show you how I’m goal setting this year.
2017 In Review:
2017 was very difficult for me… for many reasons. I’m going to share the highs and the lows, because there is always something to be learned from the mistakes you made and the hardships you encountered.
I quickly ended a chapter for the second sector of The Glitter Gospel… the boutique:
I quickly learned that I DID NOT like selling my own merch. For one, I struggled with the demands of keeping up inventory, hosting events, shipping orders, marketing, all of it. Wow. It was not my thing. It was a hard pill to swallow. I honestly think I just wanted to open up to follow through with something people had pushed me to do for years. I’m the worst about this, I go for what someone tells me I should be doing, not what I truly want to do. I think every single thing in your life happens for a reason, and this needed to happen. I needed to learn that I needed to keep my focus on my community and this space. Running a clothing business, running my blog (which yes is a business!), and working full time literally almost drove me to tears on the daily. I had so much anxiety. I hosted 5 events in 2016 and by January… I truly hated the boutique. Just thinking about it drove me into almost a total panic and my husband could barely bring it up in converstaion without me losing it. It had to go. So I decided in May that I would not be ordering any more merch and purged my inventory. I wanted to focus solely on growing this blog… and so I did. Lesson, do what feels right in your gut. Focus on that. Put on your blinders. Dig in deep. When I stopped getting so distracted, my blog grew and I got so many more opportunities! Now I’m so glad that I focused down on one thing and didn’t push myself to do something that wasn’t making me happy.
I partnered with over 50 brands for sponsored content in 2017… my biggest year for partnerships yet:
Thank you for being so supportive as I 100% re-branded my blog. It was the absolute best thing I have done and it really paid off. I invested in my site, learning more about the backend of the business, and upped my content quality. All of those things led to more partnerships and 100% kept me going this year. I can’t thank you enough for continuing to follow along. You are the only reason TGG can even operate and I owe it 100% to you! The feedback you give me helps me make adjustments where needed and I love seeing how my reader base reacts to certain content so I can better create for you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
My heart was so ravaged by the waiting game in 2017:
I don’t share much about this, but I cannot wait to be a mom… grow a family with Luke… and feel settled down. Luke and I are all over the place. We travel at least 20 hours a week, sometimes more… just for his job and creating content for TGG. It takes so much out of us… and 2017 was the year that we really just focused on ourselves. 2016 brought changes among my friend groups… and I became the one who hadn’t started a family yet. When that happens, unless you are on the same page with people… go to the same church… have the same schedule, etc. you just get lost in the mix. It’s really no fault of anyone. It just happens. We focused on growing my brand, getting Luke through school, and trying to start a family. The other things just didn’t fit into my life. I am so grateful for the connections I’ve made in the blogging community, because those girls have gotten me through! Annie, Katie, Victoria, Riley, and so so many more… you have helped me more than you know!
I traveled to over 5 states and did at least one trip a month:
I traveled to Nashville (4x), Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, Philadelphia, Asheville, Ocean City MD, DC… and I know I’m missing a few, but what a year for travel! I get asked all the time… where are you from? Really I’m never in the same place all the time. Even when I’m at “home” I’m traveling all over the area. I am in Knoxville A LOT for blogger events, partnerships, and to shoot content. I also spend time in the Tri Cities and really everywhere in between. We travel to Nashville at least once a quarter and my family lives in the Northeast… so travel is a necessity for us. I’m sure it will slow down a little when we have kids, but we love to be on the go!
I figured out who I was and what I wanted:
“Finding yourself” sounds a little crazy, but I did some self discovery work in 2017. I “trimmed the fat” so to speak (more on that here) and just focused on what I liked, what brought me joy, what helped me learn, and who made me feel the best when I was around them. It’s such a freeing feeling to just be yourself and do what makes you happy. I’m still working on this, but I feel a lot lighter starting this year.
Now for 2018… let’s do this!
My 10 Goals for 2018:
I believe in setting goals, not resolutions. I’m the worst with setting resolutions, because I never follow through. They aren’t measurable… and it’s hard to hold yourself accountable. I’m setting SMART goals for 2018… and you should too!
My last boss in corporate America (who I learned so so much from) really focused on SMART goals. Setting SMART goals allows you to have checkpoints and truly achieve what you have set out to do. The following goals all have a timeline, they can be measured, they are within the realm of what I can do, they will not cause me to go into meltdown mode trying to achieve them, and they have a very specific target for achievement.
- Secure 10 long term brand contracts: What this means is that rather than most partnerships being one-off’s, I want to continue long term relationships that are for 3x or 4x repeats over the course of x months. This means that I will work with a brand over the course of time. I use primarily the same products and mix in a few new ones here and there. You see that over on IG stories all the time… so this makes more sense for me and the brands I work with. Setting a number allows me to track how I’m doing each month. I will check in on this monthly to see how I’m doing overall.
- Social Media Goals: I grew so much in 2017, but for this year I am focused on really growing all my social accounts… not just one! So for this year every platform will have a different focus, not just sharing the same photos from instagram, etc. Stay tuned for that!
- Take a Photography Class: I have been wanting to do this FOREVER! Luke and I are 100% self taught… and while we aren’t pros I do get compliments on our images all the time. I want to learn more about my camera, how it works, and more about lighting/ elements. I do work with a photographer from time to time, but really learning how to use your camera and doing it yourself will take a lot of pressure off and save you some serious money! I hope to do this by May 2017.
- Attend at least one Blogger Conference: Last year I got to attend two conferences. It changed the game for me. I learned so much, but also got to learn how much I already do know! Crazy! It gave me a confidence boost and actually has allowed me to partner with local businesses to help them brand and grow their online presence!
- Travel 1x per month for 12 trips total: Like I said before, travel has become a huge focus for us. We are located in such a great area that we can travel to a lot of great places for weekend trips. Asheville is an hour and a half, Nashville is three and a half, and likewise with Atlanta and Charlotte. I definitely want to get to Chicago again this year because I just fell in love with it when I went last summer. A trip out west is on the agenda too! Hoping we can pack it all in! (I of course need to get up to see my family too! I haven’t seen them since the summer!)
- Continue to stick to our savings plan: If you and I are IRL friends, you know… but if not, Luke is the frugalist of the frugal. For real. He would eat a peanut butter sandwich for every meal, spend the minimal ammount on living expenses, and hoard everything in a savings account if he had it his way. I do think saving is important, but I think living is also important. In 2017 we came up with an amazing savings plan that really started to pay off for us. We plan to continue that with increases in 2018 and I’m really proud of this. Savings are really easy to track by the month… so get on it people!
- Better my communication with those in my life: I’m the worst at turning on the blinders and not reaching out to people. If you and I are friends, you know this. I could go 6 months or more without reaching out to anyone. I think it’s really just the only child in me and the fact that my anxiety really holds me back from putting myself out there. I set a goal of reaching out to at least three people a week I haven’t talked to in a while. I’m terrible about this with family too. So it really needs to get better!
- Continue to focus on battling my anxiety: This is a super personal journey for me, but it includes self care like exercise and therapy sessions. Those are measurable because… you have somewhere to be and someone to answer to. I also plan to start BBG this year bc I am the worst at making excuses for being active. I need a better solution and I think BBG is the ticket for me! Anyone else want to join me? I’m going to keep my gym membership so I can do them there if I want and otherwise I can do them at home. It also comes with a meal plan that I’m excited about!
- Find Balance: This may sound crazy, but I have zero life balance. I work 24/7 whether it be my 9-5(‘ish) job, coming home and working on social media accounts for my own brand and others, and then trying to find somewhere in between to really just spend time with my husband. I do not work out, I do not have social time with friends… it’s really bad. So I’m not the girl who has all her ‘ish together. I’m hoping that 2018 can be that year. Balance means daily quiet and devotional time, a set bedtime, set wakeup tim, workout schedule, and meal prepping for the week. Those can be measured bc you either have them done or not… so I am starting this now! I cannot continue to run on a hamster wheel or I’m going to lose my mind.
- Become rooted in my faith again: Like I said, 2017 tried my faith. I feel much more hard-hearted than I ever have before. I have felt the waiting game wreck havock on me spiritually. I have become really distant from God. I’m so sad to say that, but I’m all about honesty here. I think it’s important to be transparent. I feel like I haven’t heard from God is so long, I don’t feel connected, and I’ve felt angry with him. My goal for 2018 is to find a weekly bible study, find a church I feel truly happy with, and really focus on that quiet time. My faith has always been so important to me, but 2017 really rocked me. I need to find my trust in God again.