Around about this time last year I set myself a to-do list (you can read the original post here). Different from a set of resolutions or goals, this was simply a list of actions, both big and small that I wanted to stop putting off and ‘get done’ within the course of the year.
On the whole I felt this method worked for me, the humble to-do list forms such a big part of my day to day life anyway that having a bigger list of yearly tasks seemed a logical way to achieve them. Seeing them written down in black and white in front of me meant I was able to check back on them every few months and evaluate my progress. Plus the act of completing a task and being able to score it off is always insanely gratifying for me. Unlike resolutions which often feel like gigantuar life changes which have to be kept up at all times or else I’ll deem myself a failure, a to-do list is a much more forgiving way of looking at things. After all if a task hasn’t been achieved it’s not a sign of failure, it simply means it gets carried forward in life.
I definitely didn’t complete everything on the list last year, some through circumstance, money or simply time. But overall I think writing one did help me visualise what I needed to do more easily and force me into action. So let’s take a look at the results shall we?
The Original List
1. Re-design my blog
2. Save up for a teeth job
3. Read more books 4. Visit more UK destinations
5. Start using anti-wrinkle cream
6. Improve my photography 7. Learn more SEO tricks 8. Stop taking sugar in my tea 9. Create a proper working space for myself
10. Move into a flat with a garden so we can bring home Colin the dog
Re-design my blog – well I started off with a bang in 2014 and began work on this one pretty much as soon as I’d written it down. Granted it had been on my list for a fair few months beforehand but I knew 2014 was the year to actually do something about it. It wasn’t a quick process – finding a designer, settling on the overall project, working through all of the ideas I had – but by the middle of the year I had achieved it and the blog has been all the better for it. I sometimes forget that only six months ago I was still using blogger – I’ve really never looked back!
Read more books – looking back at this point, I really should have been more specific. Read a book a month or read at least five new books in the year, as in all honesty this has felt more like one of those vague resolutions than an actual to-do. But I was definitely more conscious of sitting down to read those real life, paper back possessions in 2014 and forcing myself away from the computer screen, and I’ve actually began to enjoy reading for enjoyments sake once again. So for that reason I’m giving myself this one. Moving forward I’m aiming to try and read a new book every three months. That might seem slow, but I swear my time for reading has been reduced dramatically as I get older and I’m not even afraid to admit to you that the minute I pick up my book at night I fall asleep somewhere around the three word mark, so three months is actually a do-able time scale for me. Book club people get in touch!
Visit more UK destinations – again this was probably a little too vague to be a real cross off the list action but I believe I’ve achieved this one – I visited many new places south of the border that I’d never laid eyes on before and, thanks to that little thing called wedding planning, I was up and down to Scotland visiting random postcodes much more than previous years.
Improve my photography – I can actually feel really triumphant about this one because looking back at my photos from this time last year, I can see a very visible change for the better. I upgraded my camera in March of last year, bought a new lens and set about properly teaching myself more of what I wanted to know. I’m still no expert but I do actually understand all of the technical jargon now and am no longer phased if you put a fancy DSLR in my hands. I hardly ever use automatic settings anymore and actually enjoy trying to figure out the best settings for any given scenario, plus I’ve really taught myself a lot about styling a photo and creating the best compostitions (especially when it comes to food photography). This year I only want to improve more, and I also have a real hankering to learn more about film photography too.
Learn more SEO tricks – I’ve crossed this one off because all in all I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve, and I think my business and blog are all the better for it. But on the other hand the game is always changing so it’s an ongoing learning curve.
Stop taking sugar in my tea – Hurrah, despite it being such a small change this is one task I’m most proud of. Not only have I stopped adding sugar but I now only drink caffeine free tea, which had done wonders for my stomach. I can’t really tell you what my secret was – one day I just stopped. I thought about my health, my teeth and how silly it was to need a spoonful of sugar in every hot drink I had and just like that I gave it up.
Create a proper working space for myself – this was a hugely important to-do last year and even though it took me until seven months into the year to fully action it, I’m so glad I did. The very small move from working from the dining table to working from my own desk (despite the two being very close to each other) has made a huge difference to my motivation for work, and given me a much more organised space with which to display things, store things and generally call my own. The next step is to decorate the space slightly to make it cleaner, fresher and less cluttered. I’d love to have a space which was seperate from our living area so as to draw a line between work life and home life, but for now we just don’t have the extra space in our flat, and as you’ll see from below – that move hasn’t happened yet.
Save up for a teeth job – technically I did complete this one. I saved up, I inquired, I got the lowdown from the dentist, I gasped at the cost and then I decided against it. For now anyway. I was hopeful that the process might only take a year to 18 months but when I was told two years of fixed braces were needed, at a – pretty scary for a freelancer – cost I couldn’t really justify, I decided to put it on hold for now. The main reason for this is the wedding – having to pause the treatment for the wedding seemed silly and the money was obviously better served elsewhere so for now this task has been bumped to the 2016 to-do list.
Start using anti-wrinkle cream – why oh why haven’t I started? I’m asking myself the same question but overall it’s because of a lack of understanding over which brands I should be using on my skin type. This year, I’m aiming to invest a little more spend and time into my skincare regime, and find the brand and option that’s right for me and my skin.
Move into a flat with a garden – OH we so wanted to do this last year but with one thing or another it just never happened. We were too busy (read lazy) at the start of the year, then towards the end of the year GB was switching jobs and until we knew where he’d be based it didn’t make sense to move. I really really hope we can find a new abode in 2015 as a change of scenery and a bigger and less cluttered space is long overdue, but with a wedding on the horizon I guess I won’t beat myself up if, again, it doesn’t happen.
So, I think 7 out of 10 isn’t bad at all. I think my biggest mistake last year was putting too many things on my list and making some of them too day to day orientated, that’s what daily lists are for after all. I read that those who only set themselves one challenge at a time or one or two resolutions in a year are much more likely to achieve them as it’s easier to focus on the end point when there aren’t too many factors clouding your vision.
So for this year I’m setting myself just two to-do’s. It may seem like I’ve chosen easy and inevitable things, but really I know that they’re the only two things that really matter for 2015, everything else will happen naturally.
1. Organise a kick ass wedding
2. Get married and have a blast
What’s on your to – do list for this year?