Reflecting on 2016

Reflecting on 2016

I mentioned that I’ve found that reflection is a really important part to growth in life and in my business. Every year I look back at the year for a multitude of reasons. A lot of times we forget all the amazing things that have happened and what we’ve accomplished in a year.

I’m one of those people (which is probably why I’m an entrepreneur) who is always thinking about the next thing. I have high expectations (for myself and others) and while I’m always trying to challenge myself to work harder, work smarter, be more strategic, and be more creative, I also need to celebrate the successes and look back at my accomplishments and opportunities with pride and happiness.

I like to break my reflection up into sections (the 6 sections in my Your Ideal Year online course). Obviously I’m not going to share everything from every section here, but thought I’d pull out some of the things that are more relevant to what I cover on this website.

personal goals

+ My Mr. and I wanted to get a dog.

Check! His name is Hemingway.

Travel more.

Specific trips I wanted to go on in the US were: a beach trip alone, a health/active/spa/wellness trip alone or with a few friends, a ski trip, southwest (Arizona/New Mexico), Joshua Tree, and northwest (Montana/Idaho/Nevada/Wyoming). None of these actually happened but a lot of others did.

Internationally, I want to go pretty much everywhere, so making a list would just be almost every country in the world.

Since I travel for work, I don’t necessarily plan out my travel for the year as a lot of my travel work comes up rather last minute. Also my husband and I prefer to not plan things too far in advance so we typically go on last minute trips anyway.

+ Travel to Spain.

This year we did go to Spain, Gibraltar, and Morocco with my brother and his wife. We were there for 16 days. #BloggerFail because I haven’t posted the majority of the content I have from that trip. Still working on editing all the photos. Honestly, my client work always comes first so unfortunately content like this gets the back burner! But I’m working on getting it all up soon because the photos are UNREAL!

+ Travel to Iceland.

My husband and I really wanted to go to Iceland at some point so when a work collaboration came up for me to go we were ecstatic. It was short but sweet and we LOVED Iceland. I cannot wait to go back! And I also have a lot more posts from that trip as well, also check out the videos I’ve created so far from it on my YouTube channel.

+ Read more. 

I read 24 books in 2016, which actually isn’t more than I read in 2015 which was 27, but close. Both years it was around 1 book every 2 weeks. This year I hope to read a lot more than that. I don’t really like to put a number on this because I feel like reading books to hit a number is stupid. I prefer to just read as much as I can and then whatever that number is, great! There were definitely a lot of nights that I would scroll through Instagram for an hour before starting to read which was just unnecessary, so there’s room for improvement in 2017.

I also started a book club in 2016. The Serious Book Club. You can participate digitally if you want! The first month we read A House in the Sky. My post on that book is coming out soon. And right now we are reading Before The Fall.

+ Be more thoughtful. 

I feel like over the years I’ve become less and less thoughtful. Mostly in gift-giving. I’m so much more forgetful and busier now than I was, and I also have to ship everything so it’s just a little extra effort. I don’t think I did a very good job of it in 2016, so LOTS of room for improvement in 2017.

+ Go hiking more often.

I think this happened exactly twice, and both on work trips. Once in Hong Kong and once here in the DC area. So major fail on my part because I really love being outside and hiking. There is some great hiking around DC. Maybe now that we have the dog we might go on more hikes this summer…

health goals

Overall, my health and body was a huge focus for me in 2016. I had the naive notion that I could get my body to where I wanted it to be in one year with the small change of regular workouts. I did that, but kept my diet similar to what it was and while I got a lot stronger, I’m not where I was hoping to be.

My health/body goals don’t have anything to do with numbers or weight. To me it’s more about how I feel — having energy, sleeping well, how I look (vain but true), no health problems, disease prevention, etc.

+ Workout 5x a week.

In 2016 I really focused on regular workouts. I put them into my schedule and said no to a lot of things that would interfere with them. I stopped working even if I wasn’t done, to go workout, and then would pick back up work afterward. I didn’t take it to a crazy person level of every single day or 2x a day, but regularly as in 5 times a week.

In February we moved very close to the CrossFit gym that my husband coaches at, so I started going there. I didn’t go very regularly until the end of March. Also since I travel a lot that can throw me off a little. Usually when I’m traveling for work there isn’t much time to workout, and I’m exhausted anyway, and typically there is a lot of walking involved. I should get better about doing workouts when I travel.

Anyway, since CrossFit is so close to where I live, it’s easy for me to go all the time. Really there’s not much of an excuse for me not to go. After a few months I felt great but I could tell that I was losing flexibility and that I wasn’t working my core as much as I wanted to, so I also started going back to CorePower Yoga (I used to be a member and went all the time) and to solidcore. I try to go to both yoga and solidcore once a week (usually on the weekends) but that doesn’t always happen. I will also do some running sometimes, but it’s seldom.

Overall I can say that I did pretty good on this goal in 2016.

+ Be stronger.

This was a definite success! I am SO MUCH STRONGER than I ever have been due to CrossFit. I always grew up doing cardio sports. The first time I lifted weights was in high school. I took one day of the aerobics class and was like, nope. I switched to weight lifting where it was just me and a few other girls who couldn’t stand the aerobics class, and realized that all the boys were in weight lifting. Duh! Our teacher was a former player for the Chiefs and was the football coach so he really didn’t care much about us girls. We just hung out in the hallway and would see how many crunches we could do.

Where I was going with that is that I had little to no muscle growing up. None of the sports I played really helped me develop muscles (basketball, volleyball, softball) so I had to start from scratch as adult which lemmetellya is NOT fun.

I can definitely say that I got stronger and this goal was a success in 2016.

+ Eat healthy but with balance.

I mean, I like pizza, ice cream, and alcohol sooooo ya. I’d say that I’ve eaten healthier the past 7 years than ever in my life, but I definitely have a long way to go. I don’t have very good self control when it comes to sweets and wine. I also don’t love cooking, so eating super healthy always a bit of a challenge. I always say that the only way I could do Whole 30 is if someone cooked everything for me and delivered it to me. I am super curious about how it could change my body and how I feel but I know my willpower is not enough to do it unless I had a personal chef or something.

The way that I do my best to eat healthy is I try to eat Sweetgreen (a big salad) for lunch every day. Drink tons of water (I love water so that’s never been a problem). And I get Power Supply (precooked paleo dinners) delivered for 3 of my weekly dinners. Sometimes I’ll eat Sweetgreen for dinner if I didn’t have it for lunch. I also try to eat healthy things for breakfast, like smoothies or a granola bar that is low in sugar. By trying to eat healthy for breakfast, lunch, and at least 3 dinners a week, I can feel much less guilty about being a little indulgent a few nights a week.

But I read an article recently that made me think that my regular alcohol intake was sabotaging my goal to get rid of fat while I also gain muscle. Because while I’ve definitely gained muscle, I haven’t lost the fat that I want to. I know it has to do with my sugar and carb intake (which is definitely too high, sugar for sure), but I didn’t really think the alcohol had such a huge effect. Now I think it probably does.

So in 2017 I have a new approach. First off, drink less. I was drinking 2 glasses of wine almost every night in November/December — which let me clarify — I don’t think is terrible by any means (no judging here!). But I DO think it’s hindering my personal goals. So now I think in addition to just drinking less, I should try to only indulge in one thing each day — sugar or alcohol. I mean, neither would be best, but that’s no fun and again, remember when I mentioned my self-control is no bueno.

I also think I need to check myself on portion sizes. So overall I think I did OK on this in 2016. Not great, but not terrible.

+ Active travel.

This didn’t really happen the way I was thinking/hoping. I was thinking active travel as in lots of hiking, skiing, a yoga retreat — most of which didn’t happen in 2016. Hopefully it can in 2017!

+ Be more active in my daily life.

While I think there’s room for improvement here too, I think I did better than any other year. We didn’t have a car for a while and during that time I would ride my bike to work every day. Then in the summer we got a puppy and with that comes a lot of walks. Which, while that can be annoying, it gets me up and moving around every few hours which is good.

While we do a pretty good job of getting the dog a lot of exercise with dog parks and doggie daycare where he plays with other dogs all day, I could do better on taking him for long walks. I enjoy them too, and I usually listen to a book or podcast, so it’s a place I can improve.

work goals

I had A LOT of work-related goals in 2016, but I won’t bore you with all of them! Here are a few:

+ Start working on & launch the new

I wanted to actually launch my new website in 2016, but I didn’t get it started in time. My designer/developer had a few month waiting list that I had to get on, then wait 3-4 months to actually get started, then the design process was 4 months, and now we are in development, and the site should be live in around 6 weeks! So I definitely got the ball rolling on this and it’s OK that it is launching in 2017. Not much I could do about it after I got on the list.

+ Paint consistently.

Unfortunately this didn’t happen. When we moved in February I lost my painting studio at my last building. Now I don’t have one. My Georgetown studio is a shared space not really conducive to painting. My apartment, definitely not any large paintings, and doing small paintings here would be a pain in the ass. So I’m looking for studio space in DC which is next to impossible to find anything somewhat affordable that you can get paint on the floor. Please, if you know of something email me! I know two other painters looking for space as well.

+ Launch online course.

This goal started off as finish and launch my GSD Book, but it turned into launching my online course Your Ideal Year. Which I did and it’s currently open for you to sign up (it closes in mid-January)!

Learn more about the course HERE, why I created it HERE, and all the course details HERE.

+ Growing my following on social, my site, and my email list.

This is always a goal. And I have more specific numbers than this but I definitely didn’t hit them this year. What I DID do was gain the knowledge I need (through a few online courses and research) to grow. Now I just need to put those things into practice.

+ Get ahead on content creation. 

I’ve done much better with planning out content, but being just one person and having an intern it’s just more work than I am physically able to do. I’d love to be 1-2 weeks out as in having posts finished and scheduled that far in advance. I do have an editorial calendar and will have some posts planned out, done, and scheduled in advance, but it’s rare that I have 2 straight weeks in a row completed. So this was a fail in 2016.


So there you have it! A ton of my 2016 goals, some of which I consider a success and a lot of which I didn’t even come close to accomplishing! I don’t look back at the year as a failure by any means. I worked with some amazing brands, went to some amazing places around the world, I have great memories, did a lot of work, was constantly inspired! I’m excited for 2017 and things to come this year. I’ve got a good feeling about it! 😉

Please share with me a few of your successes and failures from 2016 in the comments!

We’ll get to 2017 later this week!


Photo via Unsplash by Caleb Jones