I like change.
Not too much that it's overwhelming, leaving you feeling slightly out of control. But just enough to mix things up a bit. Enough to make you reconsider routines and to keep you leaping out of bed in the morning excited at what the day will hold.
Don't get me wrong, I'm well aware of the comfort of familiarity. It's good for the soul. And come December, after an incredibly busy year, my thoughts rarely revolve around Christmas shopping, nights out and tackling new things, but instead how soon I can find a way to spend a day or two under the comfort of blankets with only a TV remote and a massive bar of chocolate for company.
I really do relish this season of slowing down slightly ... of twinkly lights, family films on repeat, beige buffets and bizarrely large glasses of Baileys. But then I replace our annual calendar and see twelve blank pages ahead of me, and I'm excited again at the potential. So much potential.
The first thing that crosses my mind?
Yes. You guessed it. What can I change this year?
Because it appears that corporate methodology somehow stays with you many years after you've resigned, I still like to use the good ol' 'stop start continue change' management model to get all of my thoughts down on paper in a cohesive manner. Or type them on here. Which is no bad thing as my handwriting is illegible for the most part. Plus, this way I can trust you guys to hold me accountable in the coming months, right?
Stop - what am I doing that's not working?
Once upon a time, all bloggers were fed the line that they had to be pushing out content on every available social media channel at all times of day and night in order to have some modicum of success. Admittedly, I was never entirely convinced of this and last year, I ditched a few social media channels that I personally don't spend anytime interacting on or find enjoyable. And did I see a dip in people reading my blog? Nope. Probably because those channels weren't right for me and didn't fit with what I like to write about. The key word there is 'write'. YouTube? Not for me. Really not for me.
This year, my aim is to stop feeling burdened by Instagram. The word on the street is that it's a platform where you've got to have a niche to do well. Last year, I listened to the advice out there and tried to stick solely to sharing interiors-related images. And? It sucked all the joy out of it for me. It bored me to tears. So that niche-business is over for me now. No one puts baby in the corner ... I'm breaking out and going to post what I like when I like. It has to be fun and enjoyable otherwise, why do it?
Embracing a more relaxed pace of life in December with the boys having chicken pox and having to throw all to-do lists out of the window, made me realise that I don't have to fill every minute of the day. Left with half an hour of free time, I fall in to the trap of thinking that I obviously don't have enough to do and jump on the laptop and book a million different things. Twenty minutes of unfilled time on a Wednesday doesn't mean that I should sign up for a floristry course at the local college. And one quiet evening in a million isn't a nudge to start a monthly supper club. I will stop this. And please feel free to give me a pinch if you hear or spot me doing otherwise.
Start - what can I put in place to improve my life?
The online world never sleeps, which is both a joy and a curse. It means that I can work hours that suit me rather than the traditional 9-5. But it also means that I have a tendency to work ALL the hours way beyond the traditional 9-5. When my youngest son started school in September, it was an opportunity for me to work through the day again, rather than in the evening. But then, under the illusion of having so much extra time, I took on enough work to fill the hours in the day AND the evening. I need to start defining clearer working hours and being more realistic about what I can fit in and when.
I want to start running again. Not so much to lose weight but to be a bit healthier and rid myself of the guilt for the sheer amount of biscuits I eat each day. I need to ignore my to-do list and the urge to tick things off it the moment I wake up, and head outdoors in the morning. When I'm busy, I always want to tackle things as soon as I've dropped the boys off at school but a half hour run/jog/skip/walk/crawl will not eat in to my day and mean that I don't get everything done.
Continue - what's working well that I should carry on with?
The type of posts that I write on here and the photos I take to accompany them really make me happy. I like the mix of family, lifestyle and interiors and I love telling little stories and sharing favourite finds from cool brands. I think I get the balance right between organic content and sponsored posts ... and the fact my sponsored posts receive such a positive reaction tells me that I collaborate with companies that you're genuinely interested in and that really fit both my and your lifestyle.
I had a couple of discussions last year about taking on a similar work role, with a different company, to the one that I had before the boys were born. And I dithered over it. It could have been an amazing opportunity. But, right now, when the the boys are sick, I get to stay at home with them. They have various concerts and sports matches throughout the year, and I get to go to them all. When Paul works away, there's very little juggling needed. And if something crops up unexpectedly during the day, I can catch up with my work during the evening. Working at home works for all of us. I'm exactly where I want and need to be. But yes, I do occasionally miss a frantic corporate environment.
Change - what's working but would work better with a few tweaks?
Late last year, because working in isolation can be hard sometimes ... no feedback, no discussion, no chit chat ... I started having Skype calls every couple of weeks with my friend and fellow blogger, Jess - you can find her amazing blog here. Being able to talk through things and run my ideas past someone who 100 percent gets where I'm coming from and knows what I want to achieve made a massive, positive change for me. It's something that we're going to continue with this year, and hopefully add in a couple of face to face meet ups, too.
I struggle with the concept of 'forever', particularly when it relates to a house or a location to live in. North Wales will always be my home, and the place where I return to, but I'd never say never to another stint abroad. However, we're days away from exchanging contracts on a place that I'd say is a promising 'ten years' home. And that's as good a commitment as you'll get from me about staying in the same four walls for any length of time. It's already an amazing house and garden for the children but with a few tweaks, it will be absolute perfection. I'll share more when the signatures are dry as I don't want to tempt fate. I'm so nervous that it all goes through without a hitch. Argh!
And that's enough about me. How are you? Do you have any goals for the coming year? Anything that you'd like to achieve? Let me know!