25 Before 25 Goals: How Did I Do?

on October 24, 2018

Well, friends, long time no blog! In the grand scheme of things, a three week blogging hiatus is not much, but it felt like it after blogging twice weekly all summer. However this little break was much needed! I’ve got some exciting things planned for this space as we head into November, including a big road trip of Michigan. Over the last three weeks I’ve been recovering from my big (surprise) surgery at the start of the month, and focusing on other areas of my life. 

Which is all to say, it took my birthday for me to return to blogging, and that’s as good a reason as any! Tomorrow is my 25th birthday, which I have to say is the first birthday where I feel a bit shocked at the number. How am I already 25? In a lot of ways, I still feel like I’m pottering about and still don’t have an earnest answer to ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’

25 before 25 goals

Anyway, as you may remember I wrote a list of 25 goals to reach before I turned 25, exactly a year ago. So let’s look through that list and see how I did.

1. Visit 25 countries

✓ Goal status: Achieved!

I actually achieved this by halfway, and actually made it to 26 countries!

  1. USA, 2. Canada, 3. Australia, 4. England, 5. Wales, 6. Scotland, 7. Republic of Ireland, 8. France, 9. Germany, 10. the Netherlands, 11. Italy, 12. Spain, 13. Malta, 14. Monaco, 15. Greece, 16. Norway, 17. Iceland, 18. Slovenia, 19. Belgium, 20. Austria, 21. Morocco, 22. Czech Republic, 23. Denmark, 24. Hungary 25. the Bahamas 26. Portugal

2. Learn to drive manual

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved

And that’s okay, because I don’t live in Europe anymore where all the cars are manual. I looked into getting classes but they were hundreds of dollars, sooo no thanks. Not yet at least. I would still love to learn how to drive manual some day, though!

3. Qualify as an occupational therapist in the USA

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved

This one is honestly a big bummer for me and I’m not afraid to say it. Because I did my Masters in the UK, I can work in Europe but not in my home country. That didn’t happen, but is really down to my own procrastination and prioritizing other things over my exams. I’m even more determined to get qualified this coming year though!

4. Reach 2,500 Instagram followers

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved

I’ve had ups and downs with Instagram this year and even spent a month without touching it at all. I think that if I want to reach 2,500 followers or even more, I will have to put more effort into Instagram. Which, right now, is not worth it to me. I prefer other sides of blogging like the writing and the actual website. I did gain about 800 followers, though, so for that I am grateful!

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No happier place for me. 🌙

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5. Road trip to Florida with my mom

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved

I did go to Florida, but not as a road trip. The timing just didn’t work out! I’m saving that for another time I suppose!

6. Visit my college friends in NYC

✓ Goal status: Achieved!

It was an amazing trip in very cold January.

7. Run another half marathon and raise money for the refugee women’s charity

✓ Goal status: Achieved!

I raised $500 for Refugee Women’s Centre and completed my second half marathon in a personal best time! Super proud of that. And I have a lot of you lovely blog readers to thank for donating.

8. Catch up on my scrapbooks

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved

LOL I didn’t even look at my scrapbooks.

9. Invest in my blog

✓ Goal status: Achieved! (Although this is continual)

I’ve invested in my blog in so many ways over the last year. Time wise, I’ve spent more time writing, researching, and editing posts. I’ve built up an extensive Google Doc file full of spreadsheets that help me with editorial planning, SEO auditing, Pinterest, sharing, pitching etc. I went to a blogging conference and created a separate Facebook page just for my blog. And I’ve even invested $$$ into amazing paid services like Dream of Travel Writing and Keysearch… two things that I am VERY satisfied with and have made huge differences in my blogging and travel writing!

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WHAT. A. WEEKEND. I am bursting from my first ever travel conference #wits18 – with inspiration, new connections & ideas, and SO MUCH INFORMATION. So much. I can’t wait to put it into action on le blog!! 💡😍 Before that, though, I’ll be spending the next couple days exploring Quebec City: a place I fell in love with at age 8, and again at 14, and haven’t been back to since. 🇨🇦 So different to see it through my (slightly) more mature eyes, 25 new countries later. 🌎 This morning you can still catch me on @sheswanderful where I will be sharing a 🌿WELLNESS🌿 tour I’m going on at a monastery-turned-hotel. CANT WAIT!!! . . Oh PS peep dose half marathon calf muscles yaaass 💪

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10. Invest in learning Arabic

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved!

I didn’t make any headway with this but it is something I’d really like to do next year.

11. Sort out my stomach health

✓ Goal status: Achieved

I think a lot of my other goals/areas of my life suffered this year because so much of my focus was on doctors visits and my health. However, I don’t regret that at all because by throwing myself into my health journey like a full time job, I have made so much more progress than I otherwise would have. My stomach health is definitely not ‘sorted’ but I count this as achieved because I’ve made so much progress. The surprise surgery I had earlier this month has actually helped a lot, and I am looking forward to sharing a blog post all about a health update.

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Putting the insta back in Instagram 🤗 As much as I love travel photos, this is a more accurate depiction of my life recently. Maybe not ‘instagrammable’ but honestly that word can suck it! I’m going to try and bring y’all more real & honest content & share what I want to see on Instagram myself. (No this is not the anaesthesia speaking 😂). Shortly going in for a laparoscopy surgery to look for endometriosis and investigate what the heck is going on in my body! I plan on spending my recovery week watching old movies, napping, and trying to avoid Marshall jumping on me and opening my stitches 😂 🐶 See y’all on the other side! (Oh and check the blog today for my September recap + some further deets!)

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12. Become proficient at manual on DSLR cameras

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved

I haven’t even bought a DSLR camera yet!! However I am days away from doing so… I am just waiting for my (first ever!) travel rewards credit card to arrive so I can purchase the camera on that. Stay tuned!

13. Read 25 books

✓ Goal status: Achieved!

SO achieved! I’m on track to read 52 books in 2018.

14. Publish more poetry

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved

I didn’t publish any poetry this year, but I have been published in some travel publications which is exciting!

15. Learn to cook with veggies

✓ Goal status: Achieved!

I’m not a chef by any means, but I’ve definitely gotten better at cooking this year, and have tried out lots of vegan recipes!

16. Develop a meditation routine 

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved

Nope. No meditating for me, but I’m slowing getting back into yoga.

17. Get regular facials/massages/pampering treatments

✓ Goal status: Achieved!

I’ve actually gotten a few facials and massages this year, semi-regularly (every couple months).

18. Purge my closet/belongings

✓ Goal status: Achieved!

I’ve sold a lot of clothes on Poshmark and I have even more to go!

19. Go on a yoga retreat

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved

I didn’t go on a yoga retreat but I would love to go on one next year. I just have to find the right one. Let me know if you have any recommendations!

20. Do aerial yoga

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved

This one is pure laziness because my gym has an aerial yoga class every Wednesday. Maybe I will get around to it next week?!

21. Change my hairstyle

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved

Another thing I’ve been procrastinating. But I’ve chosen the hairstyle I want, and maybe I’ll take the plunge before the year is out…

22. Go camping

✗ Goal status: NOT achieved.

I didn’t have a chance to go camping before it got too chilly.

23. Get all my high school best friends in one room

✓ Goal status: Achieved!

In January we all got together up north for a weekend and it was really lovely. Apart from when the pipes froze and we couldn’t flush the toilet, whoops. Good thing we’ve all been friends for over a decade!!

24. Go on a press trip

✓ Goal status: Achieved!

I’ve been on two amazing press trips this year, with the Lansing tourism board and the Stratford tourism board. Previously I’d worked with individual companies, but I have to say it was incredible to work with a tourism board instead, because I really got a local’s insight into the city. I have three more lined up before the year is out and I’m so excited to share those with you all!!

25. Build up my strength! 

✓ Goal status: Achieved!

I finally started weight lifting this year, and have even been taking a ‘strength training for runners’ class at the gym with my dad, which is fun. I’m not super strong, but it feels good to try a new workout style.

How many goals did I reach?

Okay, so that puts me at… 12 goals reached out of 25! So 48%….not quite a passing score, lol. It may sound cheesy, but NOT reaching goals taught me something, too.

It’s not all about reaching goals, it’s about making sacrifices to focus on what matters, learning how to prioritize, and growing in ways you didn’t expect to. Maybe I didn’t publish a ton of poetry, but I discovered a love of travel writing. And maybe I didn’t roadtrip to Florida with my mom, but we roadtripped through Canada instead and that was equally amazing. I love writing goals, not just because it pushes me to achieve things (although it definitely does), but because it pushes me to consistently evaluate my priorities.

So here’s to 25 years! I’ll definitely be writing a 30 before 30 list, too (maybe five years to complete them instead of one will help haha). So stay tuned for that!

Sarah xx

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