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There’s a huge part of me that’s so glad 2017 is over – it was an insane year. However, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the year and it was very good for me in a lot of respects. I learned a lot about myself in many aspects of my life, from grad school to blogging to my personal life. I’m looking at 2018 with a lot of optimism and setting myself up for realistic goals.
This year, I worked on pushing my blog to a new level. I migrated from Blogger to WordPress and updated my design. Instantly, my blog felt much more “real.”
I shared many of the blogging tips and resources I discovered in a post previously. Overall, I learned a lot about how to automate blogging in a few ways. There is so much to do for blogging, plus, you know, all of the other responsibilities in life.
I started turning my focus to Pinterest this past year and quickly noticed more traffic from Pinterest than Instagram. That was mind-boggling to me, considering I currently have 13,000 Instagram followers and only 500 Pinterest followers! Tailwind is my favorite tool for Pinterest. It allows me to schedule my pins at various times so that I’m always “active” on Pinterest. It makes everything so easy.
One of the things I feel most proud of after 2017 is the evolution of my photography. I switched to shooting RAW in manual mode and began investing in Photoshop to edit my photos. I look at my photos and actually like them now!
Understanding aperture, shutter speed, and ISO was a game-changer. I read so many articles explaining the exposure triangle, but didn’t really get it until I went through trial and error myself.
When I first started using Photoshop, I struggled a lot. All of the time I spent working on it has led me to a streamlined process to give me the photos I want now. The biggest help was the iMac I purchased in August. This was my first big girl purchase and I’m so proud that I managed my money properly to get it. The screen is huge (27″) and allows me to see every single detail. Perfect for obsessive-compulsive me.
I finally found the spot in my house that gives me the best natural light for photos too! The window faces south, so the light comes in for several hours. There’s just one branch I want to chop down from the tree next door that creates a shadow over my window in the afternoon. . .
I hate to admit it, but I allow Instagram to affect me way too much. With the algorithm changes, I struggled horribly with motivation. I would check Instagram and feel so depressed to see my photos performing so horribly, especially when I felt like my photography was improving. There were several PR lists that I was on and then was cut. That hurt!
I’m doing my best to not get so worked up about it anymore. I started Instagram without any expectations and consider myself lucky that I’ve had any success. Though my photos often do not circulate well most of the time, I have some amazing Insta-friends. I am working on instead putting the focus on my blog and what I can control.
I haven’t talked much about my depression and anxiety here, but I struggle a lot with motivation and self-doubt. As with many others, stress contributes a ton to exacerbating depression.
This past year was very stressful for me, from Luke’s unemployment to family drama to back problems to difficult situations in graduate school. I’ve been trying to finish up my PhD, but my experiments just wouldn’t go my way and I was losing motivation.
Towards the end of 2017, I realized I need to do something different because whatever I was doing was not working. I had to ask for help. I see a therapist every week and we thought it might be time to go back on the anti-depressant that had previously worked for me. With that, plus another medication, I’ve been doing so much better.
Previously, I slept in to about 8 AM and got to work around 9 AM, which meant I’d have to stay to at least 7 PM. I’d struggle through the day and come home exhausted, but too restless to sleep.
I am now able to sleep well through the night and I wake up at 6 AM. Luke and I get ready for work together and he drops me off to campus at 6:45. I have energy, motivation, and focus to get my lab work done. Since I get in to the lab so early, I can come home earlier to keep the house clean and work on my blog.
Life is becoming more of what I want. I am more in control of my time and can work on a lot of what I want to get done. I just needed a little help to get there.
I’ve set a few goals that I think will be realistic for me this year:
- Create a weekly newsletter for my blog. I had originally planned on launching this in April of 2017, but it didn’t happen.
- Set a beauty budget. I was successful on a no-buy for a big part of last year, but I want to be more controlled in my spending and allow myself new products with limitations.
- Use up beauty products. This was something I worked on this past year, but I want to be even better about using what I have before I buy more. This should help me stick to a budget too.
- Get back into yoga. With my back problems and constantly being on my feet, stretching is key.
- Finish my PhD! I thought I would be finished in 2017, but it’s looking like it will be the end of 2018.
What are your goals for 2018?