The end of the year always excites me beyond measure because I eat up the idea of having a clean slate and time to experience changes externally and internally. The first day of the year always feels like a breath of fresh air for the illusion that I am going to get my life together within the next twelve months, but this year, I have goals on goals on goals pouring in that is going to take hard work and passion to attain and celebrate when I do reach them. I think a lot of my goals are based on productivity and really building confidence and quality in all of my work. I do have some personal fitness and health goals, but I feel like those are more general goals that everyone tends to have, especially after I smashed a whole pumpkin pie to myself this Thanksgiving, so I have omitted those, but know that they’re there and they’re happening. It’s one of my biggest goals to go back through all of my blog posts and improve and add to each one to make it better than before and to prepare them for reformatting *a little bit OCD has entered the chat*, so if you notice some changes happening, well, it’s the new year and tons of changes are on their way, so buckle your seatbelts and let’s dive into some blogging, travel, and personal goals for the new year.
Reach At Least 25,000+ Monthly Viewers
This goal doesn’t feel out of reach or impossible to attain, but I know that it’s going to come with some hard work and that’s what I love most about it. I am already seeing consistent growth month by month for this space, but I plan on optimizing everything for web searches and things to where I am getting organic searches and expanding my reach and audiences. Reaching, or maybe even surpassing this goal, is going to be one of my biggest focuses this next year while maintaining a trusting and loyal relationship with my readers. I would be thankful for even 5,000, so to reach over 25,000 people would end in tears of utter joy and a celebratory pan of walnut brownies.
Reach 1,000 Followers On Instagram
I have yet to perfect the art of growing a following on social media, but I am certain that going MIA every couple months and coming back is not doing me any favors. I don’t shoot photos as much as I would like to while I am home, so I want to start getting out there and really getting creative with my surroundings at home. Recently, I have been making it a point to share more about my life through my Instagram stories to make up for lack of photos, but I really want to share more of my art and see what I can create to share with all of you that I don’t put on this space. So I’ll just pop in a shameless plug right now and say my Instagram handle is @aarenprody if you want to follow my adventures and day-to-day life.
Work My First Brand/Paid Partnership
I am equally nervous and stoked for an opportunity like this. Whether it’s big or small, I want to partner up with a brand that promotes sustainability and ethics as much as I do. Some of the brands on my list are PACIFICA Beauty, Raw Elements, SkyRoam, LifeProof, Xero Shoes, as well as Tourism Boards, and Swimwear Companies. I am not expecting to get every single one of these, especially being a newer blogger, but if I can land at least one next year, I will be just as excited as if I landed three of them. I am working to put together a media kit and various other things for pitching, so it’s for sure in the works and something that I have been thinking about for a while now.
Reach My Ad Payout Minimum + Maximize Revenue Streams
This is one of my financial goals for the new year and hopefully, this hundred-dollar check will be dancing it’s way to my bank account next year. Google Ads aren’t necessarily the greatest income stream to fall on, but really what the underlying goal here is to keep people on my website longer to browse and scroll through my guides and other posts. I have read about other travel bloggers that have been making thousands of dollars off ad revenue and affiliate sales alone, so you already know those are the courses I am going to be diving into ASAP to help me expand mine.
Beat My Daily Viewing Record
This is a bit tricky for me since the first few months of this blog being live was essentially just me clicking through it over and over again to make sure everything looked nice; a little bit of OCD at it’s finest lol. However, April 3rd comes in for the day that my blog was viewed over 150 times, and this also happened to be the day that I shared my whale shark excursion with my family and friends on Facebook. I was surprised at how many people were curious about it and it really filled me with joy to see that people enjoyed my content and my adventures, so I am aiming to publish a record-breaking story next year.
One Blog Post On Google Page One
Whenever I maximize my SEO potential, that is where I am going to flourish in the google search results department. I feel like I have a good rough outline of what SEO is and how it works, but application wise I am riding the struggle bus. When I achieve this, it’s going to be a huge game changer regarding traffic and audience expansion, so it’s really something that I am going to be looking forward to. If I can get it to the first couple search results, that would be the bee’s knees, but I would honestly be stoked for any number result on page one.
Organize + Optimize My Site
Although this is probably the most mundane and lame goal out of this entire list, it’s the one that I am questionably the most excited for? There is something about nitty-gritty details that I just eat right up, and so to have the entire foundation of my blog be set up for success would be like having a weight lifted off my shoulders. I am looking at courses and resources to guide me in this extravaganza that is travel blogging because this girl doesn’t know squat about a lot of it and it’s the backbone to having a website so it’s actually really important and that’s why I am eager to invest in them.
Plan My Work Days & Stick To Them
I was watching a video by Sorelle Amore on Youtube about how she lived like Casey Neistat for a week. So, pretty much waking up at four to maximize her productivity and work/life balance. Now, this girl isn’t about to start waking up at the buttcrack of dawn, but she is going to start getting up early and get shit done. There have been so many mornings that I have slept in too late and missed hours of work and still had the audacity to wonder why I still had so many things on my to-do list at the end of the day. The days of being an unproductive bump on a log are behind me!
Mo’orea, you have stolen my heart these last couple of months with your secluded nature, crystal clear water, and endless rainforest coating your island. French Polynesia was always on my radar for later on in life when I muster up the wad of cash that I would need to go here, but I have found crazy deals that you guys wouldn’t believe. There is no question that the pull I feel to travel here and the low-cost deals, I feel, have gone hand in hand just for me; perhaps we’ll see each other soon?
This photo has been one of my biggest inspirations to get out and explore my home country in the next year. Believe it or not, I have never been legit camping a day in my life and I am dying to get out there in the rugged landscape and find peace in the stillness of the desert. I never knew that Utah was this beautiful until I saw endless photos of it circulating Instagram this year causing it to bump to one of the top spots on my bucket list. I can’t wait to plan this trip next year.
Another state that takes my breath away; Arizona. Sometimes I can’t believe that I have flown across the Pacific multiple times and not been two states over to land on Mars. I could easily spend days and weeks here exploring all the nooks and hidden spots that are nestled between red rock formations. The grand canyon absolutely fascinates me as well, so to be able to witness something unlike anything I have ever seen, on top of one of the greatest landmarks in the United States; priceless.
This is a huge promise I am making myself this year and it’s to not let 2019 pass by without traveling to Iceland. I followed this photographer above on Instagram in the last half of this year and she has fueled this overwhelming sense of wanderlust for this place that I cannot explain. Stepping away from my cheap, Southeast Asia prices are going to be tough, but I have no doubt that it will easily become one of my favorite countries. Iceland, I’m coming for you and your epic volcanic landscapes.
On a real note, how have I not been to mainland Japan yet? Japan is hands down one of my most cherished countries and I need to make it out there this year. Tokyo has always been a must for me, and I would love to backpack out here for a few months and get lost in bamboo, tea breaks, and ramen. There is a huge smile on my face typing this right now as I can’t contain my excitement for this place. I have no doubt that it has some of the best food in the world, and I have been ready to set out here for ages.
I truly believe that Hawaii is in its own little piece of the world, with all things moving slowly. My best friend is actually going here for Christmas, so you already know I am going to be living through her until I get my butt out there to Kuaui and Oahu. I will have an endless fruit supply, and apparently going shoeless at the grocery store is socially acceptable, so I already know I am going to fit right in when I arrive. I am even hoping to conquer one of my biggest fears while I am there…
This country is actually fairly new to my radar, and by new, I mean literally in the last couple days and it’s solely because of this palm forest pictured above. South America has intrigued me from the moment I learned about it in middle school, and I think it would be good for me to completely exit my comfort zone and travel to a new spot in the world that I have always wondered about because I know that’s where I’ll find the biggest amount of growth in myself. I wonder what I’ll learn here.
Bali round two, anyone? Since my computer broke upon my return from the Philippines, I lost 99% of my photos from Bali. If you have been following my journey, you also know that I had to leave here a few weeks early from a scooter accident in the mountains which caused me to miss out on a lot of the things that I was looking forward to; hiking mt. rinjani, swimming with manta rays, island hopping, and this waterfall pictured above. I might be planning a little girl’s summer getaway here..
Maintain A Self Care Routine
Nothing makes me feel quite like I have my life together than having freshly shaven legs, a face mask applied, and a running bubble bath waiting for me to dip into. So, how many times did I do that in 2018? Zero; I wish I was kidding about this one. While I did sporadically do a bentonite clay face mask and shave my legs when needed, I never gave myself a day to just relax and unwind, especially since August. With all of the events, classes, investments, and opportunities I have had to improve myself and my business in the last year, I have drowned in overworking myself for honestly no reason at all. I found myself working all day rather than grinding it out for a span of time and leaving time for my relationship and other things that matter to me. I stopped meditating in the morning since I had lost time due to waking up late. I would work late into the night to make up for the time I lost that morning, etc., etc.. I also never gave myself a day where I wasn’t working on my blog, which actually blew my mind. I was telling myself that if I wasn’t constantly working on something then I wasn’t putting enough effort in and many other things, but now I realize that isn’t healthy for myself or my passion, so I am going to start taking one to two days off where I binge watch Netflix, make some chocolate chip pancakes, and enjoy that bubble bath. 2019 is going to be the year where I get my shit together, discipline myself to get up early and start checking things off my to-do list. I have been telling myself I am going to start waking up early and fix my sleep schedule since April… and it’s currently December. I am starting to do this now since it takes at least a month to form a habit, and while I am still pressing snooze too many times, I am on my way there, and that’s all that matters.
Yoga, Meditate, + Journal Every Morning
There was probably a week or two this year that I actually stuck to this dream of mine, and you guessed it, it was when I was waking up early for those brief moments in time. Journaling, meditating, and yoga are the things that help me ground myself and I really do feel like I am in an entirely different headspace when I am not doing these things; I’m kind of like a hiker with no map without them. There have been a few months now that I have passed over the full and new moons with empty moon journals because I neglected to set aside the time to fill them out and reflect. Why you may ask? Refer to the previous goal where I explained how I overworked myself and woke up late each morning. It sort of becomes like a domino effect in my life and it all starts with how and when I wake up in the morning, so I know that will be the greatest change for me this year. I asked Santa for a new yoga mat, bolster, and towel for Christmas, so I am going to start this new year with a fresh mat and the drive to show up on it each morning. I also brought home the book, “The Heart Of Yoga: Developing A Personal Practice” with me from one of my last visits back home, and I am hoping to learn more about it as I grow through my journey with yoga over the next year. I am really hoping to fill up the three journals that I have lying around by the end of the year and hopefully bring a new one into my life. As for meditation, I want to continue with some of my favorite guided meditations until I can achieve the art of clearing my mind. These are the things that help me stay inspired and motiaved, so I am stoked to see what I can accomplish with the correct headspace. I always consider these things to be a large part of my life, but they are the things that I have neglected the most, so I am really looking forward to starting with a clean slate and enjoying my mornings this way.
Finish Twelve Books
I know all of y’all are laughing at me right now, considering I have finished two books in the last year despite my efforts for more, but hear me out on this one, this is going to happen. I have over forty books that I have yet to read and I told myself that I wouldn’t buy another until I read and pass on my other ones. I loved reading as a kid so much that you could hardly pull me away from them, but now that I have become a bit busier and more invested online, I don’t read as much as I would like to. There is so much about astrology and the mind that I am eager to learn about, and I have resources at the tips of my fingertips. Now all I have to do is reach out and pick them up. The two books that I am the most excited to read in the new year are The Universe In A Single Atom and Women Who Run With The Wolves.
Build Confidence In My Work
So, in the last year, I’ve been dealing with a little thing called perfectionism. I feel like nothing has ever been “good enough” for myself and I am always questioning whether I put enough time into my work. If I didn’t work on it long enough, it’s not good enough. If I finish it the same day I posted it, it’s not good enough. The list goes on. I have had plenty of people tell me that they adore my writing and it’s something that I am trying to come to terms with, or at least affirm to myself. I believe in myself and this journey, but sometimes I feel like I am under constant attack on myself. I am always aiming for something better, which isn’t a bad thing overall, but it’s dropped my confidence a lot and that’s something that will change and is changing as I write this.
Work Towards Zero/Little Waste
Zero waste fascinates me in the way that some people can come up with the coolest ideas for repurposing food, items, and avoiding waste altogether. I wouldn’t say that I contribute a ton to the plastic issue, but I know that I contribute some and I want to make some changes. I avoid plastic for my produce at the grocery store since I have purchased my own produce bags, and I want to purchase in bulk as much as possible and put them in larger, glass containers rather than the little plastic bins that I normally do. I am far from perfect when it comes to making little waste, but I already do a lot and I know that there is still so much I can do to help out the planet. I even want to make a small compost bin that I can toss my organic scraps into and hopefully *fingers crossed* start growing my own herbs!
Push Myself Creatively
Probably the biggest and most notable goal that I have for the new year is to go beyond my comfort zone and find my own style. For someone that is always changing their mind, (I could win an Olympic gold medal in indecisiveness), I really want to buckle down and find who I am through a photo and design perspective. One of the biggest things that I have battled this year would be that of comparison and that can truly ruin self-confidence and drive for your passion. I’m not like everyone else, yet sometimes I don’t feel like I am set apart visually. What sets my information apart from everyone else’s? What sets my photos apart from everyone else’s? I have this hunger to discover myself and what I am capable of and I really want to soar beyond what I thought was possible for myself. So prepare for some new, updated, design-constant, and very “on-brand” content.
What goals are you going to smash in the new year? Share with me in the comments below!