2016: A Year for Vague Aspirations

Last summer, I decided to set some goals for myself that would span through 3 years, because I thought that they would be more realistic than New Years resolutions. Turns out, I was right, and have done a pretty bomb ass job meeting them. But I didn't anticipate the kind of mediocre feeling that January 1st would bring with no real resolutions. I've watched videos and talked to people about what they're hoping to accomplish this year, some of them responded with a nicety produced list, and others scoffed at the idea of making "unrealistic goals". With other peoples perceptions of what resolutions are supposed to look like in the back of my mind, I decided to sit down and reflect on what I want to do with 2016. I started writing in a new journal I got for Christmas (it's the 52 List Project Journal - you can find it at Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie) and here's what I've come up with so far.

To be completely honest, some of these aren't measurable, but more lifestyle choices that I'd like to make. Others are very concrete and could probably be completed within the month. Some of them stem from my 101 in 1001 goals that I started last summer. It's a huge dump of ideas that will hopefully help me throughout the year. 

The first resolution I don't think can be measured, and that actually scares me. The month of December brought a lot of uncertainty about my life, and to be honest, I felt a bit bound to what societies plan was for me. I had just graduated college and felt that my next mandatory step was to find a permanent teaching job in North Carolina, and slowly morph into a southern housewife in the State I least wanted to be in, North Carolina. I'm not sure why my brain was so quick to think "well, college is done, so your life is now chained to where you are in the next 6 months!" uh, what? I'm 23 years old, I'm (pretty) smart, and there are so many places, people, and experiences out there. In my lifetime, I've only lived in Pennsylvania or North Carolina (I guess New Jersey, but I was quite literally a fetus). This past summer was the first time I had ever traveled to the West Coast. I've only been out of the Country once, and I honestly didn't get a well rounded cultural experience because I was 18 and simply did not care. I want to travel, work in different areas, meet different people, and stop settling for the safe and easy route of life. Sure, I could stay in North Carolina after I finish my temp teaching job, or I could climb another Colorado mountain before catching a flight to South Africa to teach children how to read. 

That one resolution stemmed a few others, like travel to 3 new places. My sorority little sister just moved to Boston and I'd love to go see her. I want to fly to California and attend Vidcon, and discover a completely new area of the United States that I haven't set foot on. If those specifically don't happen this year, that's okay, I just want to experience new places. Along with traveling, I'd like to be a certified teacher in other states. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy North Carolina and I'd be happy to teach in certain areas, but I don't want to live here forever. I don't feel like North Carolina is home - it just seems like a temporary place where I feel mildly comfortable in the moment. Sorry NC, I'm never going to be a southern belle. whoops. 

Shifting from traveling and lifestyle, I've got big goals for myself as a creator. I enjoy the blogging and YouTube community, but I'm not enjoying my own content. It's starting to seem a bit forced, in order to 'get more views' or more Pins on Pinterest. To me, that doesn't involve creativity, that involves following a mold that other people have invented. I want creativity to be at the forefront of Peace & Blessings, as well as on my YouTube channel. Now, to be fair, I love a good Fashion Haul or Morning Routine, but what I don't enjoy is seeing myself just sit in front of a camera and talk aimlessly. I want to incorporate more videography and planning into my videos - so that my content tells a story, or inspires people, or entertains people (don't worry I'll still make videos where I just sit and vent in front of a camera). I think people forget that film and photography are elements or art, and that's what needs to be in my content. For this blog, my favorite posts to write are ones that don't involve lists. This might surprise you, considering 95% of my content starts out with "5 WAYS TO BLAH BLAH BLAH!!%!". Yeah, that'll get me 300 shares on Pinterest and thousands of page views, but is it actually engaging for my reader? Does it show any of my personality? Hardly. I'm willing to trade some page views for a more engaging and interested community that actually wants to read stories and enjoys the creative writing that I'd like to do. 

I think that by bringing creativity back into my content, I'll be more excited about both of my platforms, which will hopefully help with two more resolutions; Attend blogger/YT events, and reach 500 YT subscribers. I wanted to go ahead and set a number for my channel that I felt was reachable by the end of the year (hopefully earlier?), and while I'm at it I'll set a page view for my blog. Right now I'm at *checks Google Analytics* 32,165 page views since I started in September of 2014, and I'd like to hit 50,000 by the end of this year. I'm also a part of the Her Campus Blogger Network as a whole, and we have a Charlotte NC group that will provide some great blogger events. The first one is this month, fingers crossed I can make it! Like I said before, Vidcon is on the list of events to go to, as well as Playlist Live. 

Lastly, these two are simply for fun. I took two of my absolute favorite things - reading and writing - and created fun goals around them. First, I'd like to read two books a month. This will honestly be easy for me. I freakin' fly through books. I contemplated doing the 50 book challenge, but that was a bit too much for me. Although I would love to read one book a week for an entire year, I just don't think I can (mainly because books are hella expensive). So, I settled with two books each month, all of which will be entirely for fun. This month I'm reading You Deserve A Drink by Mamrie Hart and A Step by Step Guide to Getting It Together in Your Twenties by Mary Traina. Leave book suggestions in the comments - I like romance, sci-fi, and memoirs. 

I'd also like to make use of my fancy stationary and have a pen pal! I started the Blogger Pen Pal community last year, but running an entire group dedicated to pen pals didn't actually give me the satisfaction of having a pen pal, I spent more time organizing and answering emails about pen pals ignoring each other than I did actually getting to know my pen pal. I just want the kind of warm fuzzy feeling of getting a letter in the mail, plus it's therapeutic to write. 

Before I published this post, I decided to look through my 101 in 1001 goals and pick a few to really focus on during 2016: 

1. Participate in a DZ Event as an Alumni
2. Invest in business cards
3. Invest in nice kitchenware
4. Make a t-shirt quilt

What goals have you made for 2016? What is one thing you can do this week to get a head start on the biggest goal you have?