Hey friends! Happy 2019! I hope y’all had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve celebration!
The other night, I asked what y’all wanted to see as the first post on AlysonHaley.com and y’all seemed to like both options [the other being 5 Gifts That 2018 Gave Me That Weren’t Under The Tree; read 2017’s & 2016’s] but, overall, 2019 New Years’ Resolutions won out! I always love setting goals and resolutions for the new year as well as choosing a word that you want to focus on when making decisions throughout the year [I talk about my word for 2016 in this post]. I can be pretty scatterbrained so these lists and my focus word really help me stay on track with what I want to accomplish.
The last time I shared my New Years’ Resolutions was in 2017. As I read them over before starting this post, I kind of scoffed, knowing all that I have ahead of me. I kind of wish my resolutions for 2019 were that ‘simple’ or ‘easy’. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have caught my 2018 Year In Review. It culminated the years’ highlights and while there were so many, it lacked the disclosure of the many frustrations I wrestled with internally and the lightbulb realizations that came to a front toward the end of the year. This year, it looks like I’m aiming to tackle some potentially heavy and hard things.
So, without any further delay, here are the things I want to focus on and resolve to see through in 2019!
Prioritize my happiness + living a healthy life ahead of what will make me “successful”.
It’s no secret that the industry I work in is fueled by passionate men and women who want to make a positive impact on the people who choose to follow them by sharing their personal lives and interests on their blog and social channels. That’s definitely how things started around here! And, don’t get me wrong, I’m still passionate about what I do. However, I’d be lying if I said that my mentality toward the blogging world hasn’t changed. I used to live and breathe work. I didn’t truly nurture any other aspect of my life. I was striving for professional growth and ‘success’ all the time. While it was satisfying in a lot of ways, it also made me feel empty in so many others. Living abroad in London in 2016 was responsible for teaching me that you will miss so much of life if you are ALWAYS prioritizing your job. I talked a little bit about this in THIS post from last year. It was really hard to take a bit of a step back and not ‘produce’ as many blog posts as I had in the past. I felt like I was falling behind but what I realized later was that it helped me wake up to how important it is to work to live, not live to work.
When you start to attract an audience in the social media world, people who cheer you on and sing your praises, you get really excited about it and want to produce and share more and more. To be honest, you can get a little carried away with it all, almost obsessed, and you start living to work, work, work because work gives you all of this amazing positive reinforcement and you want to see it continue and how far you can go with it. This can happen in, literally, every line of work … not just blogging and, honestly, every entrepreneur has gone through seasons of serious hustle … where it took working all the time to get their side hustle off the ground. So, please don’t get me wrong. There’s absolutely no hate or judgement here. This is just where I think I was before and while I was in London.
Since then, the industry has changed to now include video content on IG stories outside of curated photography content on Instagram and long-form content on our blogs and, if I’m honest, I have started feeling like you have to be a master at them all to be successful. And, knowing how much time it takes to produce blog posts, Insta-stories, newsletters, Instagram content in addition to all of the back-end responsibilities of running a business and managing a team, I sometimes wonder if [by never taking a day off, sharing multiple Instagram’s a day, 4-5 blog posts a week and engaging consistently throughout each and every day on stories every single week] this industry encourages us to operate and produce on an unhealthy level and, therefore, live a very one-dimensional life. I am, of course, not able to say whether this is or is not the case about anyone other than myself. We all operate differently so maybe this is super easy for some, but I’ve found that when I try to be ‘ON’ in all arenas, giving my all to keep all plates spinning simultaneously without letting any of them fall, it is difficult to live out the ‘work to live, not live to work’ mentality and maintain a healthier, more balanced life. And, also, maybe this is a false idea of what it takes to be ‘successful’ and that’s something I need to work on, too. Maybe success involves less hustle and less trying to prove you have the ability to tackle and DO it all. Maybe success involves doing a smaller number of things better. I’m just brain-dumping here but I want to believe those last two sentences are more true than what we typically let ourselves, or I let myself, believe.
SIDE NOTE: Balance, in my opinion, is an impossible concept to achieve, but I do think it’s important to identify areas in your life that are causing you stress or make you feel bad about yourself and brainstorm ways to adjust.
Chasing anything … whether it’s a dream or success … always comes at a cost. So, you may be an influencer reading this and thinking this is all a bit ridiculous and that’s fine. The price you pay in your life to achieve all the things [you choose to partake in] might be worth it to you and I’m not in a position to tell you that’s right or wrong. We all go through seasons where we want to hustle for something and maybe that season lasts years for some and months for others. I think I’m just in a season where I think it’s all a bit too much and I want to find a way to do well in all arenas without being unrealistic about what can and can’t get done. And maybe that will mean I won’t be able to get everyone’s post requests out. Again, it comes at a cost. Overall, this year, I want to work hard, continue to connect and share my life with you guys, curate and share content I’m proud of & you’ve asked me for but I want to also let go of this mindset that I have to do it all to continue to stay relevant. I want to inspire, motivate and encourage women who opt to follow me but I don’t want it to be at the expense of my ability to invest in and nurture other areas of my life. And, I don’t want it to always be a message of ‘hustle hard!!’, ‘do all the things!!’, ‘get out there!!’, etc. etc. I am someone who RE-QUIRES rest. As an Enneagram Nine, I am easily bogged down by life, feel things deeply and, while I also consider myself a very motivated person, I do need that recharge time so I want the message sometimes to be ‘hey, if you need to take some time to yourself, go for it. that’s valid, too’.
Loving the life you’re living outside of work is just as important as doing a good job at what you do for a living and I really want that to be something that I remember and live out day to day. So, this year, honestly … my content on Instagram, Instagram Stories and the blog will likely not change in your eyes. The only change will just be my mentality about what I am and am not able to get done, which leads me to my next resolution …
Be realistic about weekly goals + stop shaming myself for what I don’t get done.
This year, I really need to be honest with myself when I’m planning my month, weeks, and days about what I CAN get done based on whatever I have on the calendar in order to prevent me from feeling like I’m constantly falling short. For example: I write long blog posts so, if I’m traveling, only plan for one or two blog posts that week and prioritize sharing more content on Instagram. Schedule longer blog posts that y’all want from me during longer stretches of time that I’ll be home and not traveling. I’m a perfectionist, so I want to work on allowing myself to fulfill content requests on Instastories and letting it live in a highlight on my profile vs. adding another blog post to my list of blog posts to put together.
Focus on quality over quantity.
This past year, my team and I tried to remember to focus on quality over quantity. In my first resolution, I shared what I tell myself is required to be successful in this industry but I didn’t come close to ticking the boxes to those requirements week after week. I let it really bother me throughout the year even though I do feel like I did truly focus on quality posts over quantity. This year, as I mentioned, I want to truly work on letting go of that checklist and be selective about the posts I share here on the blog so that the ones that are the most requested and can serve the most people make it here. This will allow me to have more time to produce more quality content on IG stories and Instagram.
Challenge myself creatively.
Over the past year, most specifically the last few months, I’ve felt a little thirsty for a change and to do things a bit different. While I love what I do, as I’ve said before, I think it’s totally normal to get a little bored with it when every year it looks similar to the last. Travel has helped me feel inspired when it comes to creating different content from other influencers [not that other influencers don’t travel; but I feel like mine is a bit different] but now I’m wanting to change it up even more. I have a feeling London will help fulfill this desire. I’ll still cover style and travel – always – but I think life there will give me a lot more to talk about.
Prioritize my mental health.
Finding a therapist is something I’ve felt led to do for the last year. I have always been someone who feels things very deeply and has a hard time pinning down what exactly those feelings are, sometimes. We typically talk about, prioritize and are motivated to improve our physical health but our mental health is just as important. Therapy used to be a taboo topic but I actually think it’s a really respectable thing to do to go to therapy and be honest about it. Not that you need to shout it from the rooftops but you get what I mean. I’ve had a hard time sifting through some things behind the scenes recently and I really want to talk with someone who can help me become a healthier, more well-rounded individual. I want to become more self-aware and be equipped with tools to help me overcome some of the things I struggle with. Sometimes our family and friends just aren’t able to equip us with those tools so I am looking forward to prioritizing my mental health this year. I have already made an appointment with a therapist for next week!
Don’t talk about it, be about it.
In college, my first love always used to say ‘don’t talk about it, be about it’. It was his life quote and it ended up being a quote that stuck with me after we split. So much so that it’s been the answer to the first question on my FAQ for years. In 2018, I told myself I’d look into whether living in London was even a possibility for me being that I work for myself. However, I’d be lying if I said I jumped at making moves after finding out that I do, in fact, have a visa option that works for me. For months after, I was still letting fear lead and allowing myself to be okay with living a life I wasn’t fully content and satisfied with in different ways.
And then, in the beginning of November, I kind of reached a breaking point and a lightbulb go off. If I don’t do this, and get the fire lit underneath me, I am robbing myself of the life that I want so desperately. I sit here and talk all day long about how I love London and want to live there, but I am NOT being about it the way I preach people should if they want something. So … this is the year I stop talking about, and start being about it, which leads me to my next resolution …
Move to London.
Ever since leaving London in 2016, my desire to get back there has been present. In 2017, it lay dormant. At the beginning of 2018, as I walked through my old neighborhood and reminisced over the best time of my life, I made a promise to myself that in 2018 I would look how realistic it would be for me to move to London. I owed it to myself to at least see if it was a possibility. As I’ve already shard, there is a visa option that works for me. I will be going into more detail in an upcoming post answering ALL of your questions about London so stay tuned!
Spend less time on my phone. Read more.
I failed miserably at my resolution last year to read one book a month for the entire year. I’m going to try to spend less time on my phone to make room for reading. I have a ton of books on my list so I’ll try and keep y’all updated on stories with this one. I read “Braving The Wilderness” by Brene Brown in December on Audible. I’ve quickly learned that all Audible books are not created equal. Some books, while they’re great, I want to go back and underline certain lessons and quotes and concepts. This was one of them. Also, I can’t listen to certain peoples’ voices for long periods of time. I started a book and the author who was reading was so monotone. I couldn’t keep listening to it. Anyone else have a love / hate relationship with Audible?
January’s book is a book I started in October and didn’t finish. It’s called “To Shake The Sleeping Self” by Jedidiah Jenkins. Have you read it?
Share more real life, non-curated content.
This was something you guys really wanted from me. Y’all seem to love when I chat with y’all when I’m cooking or share what I’m wearing each day and it not be in a curated story. To be fair, though, I put together the curated content to make posting everything at ONE time with ALL the information y’all will need to make an informed decision when shopping [i.e. try-on hauls] so, I may talk a little bit about that on stories. It takes a bit to put together but it’s more organized and time efficient in the long run. BUT, with less long form blog posts going up each week, I will have less stress about having my nose in front of my laptop at a coffee shop. I will try and do a better job of just being present with you guys!
And that does it!
What are some of your resolutions for 2019? I’m all ears and would love to hear what you’re striving and hopeful for! Leave them in the comments below! Be sure to tune in next week for my word of 2019 and a review of all of your favorites from 2018! xo.
Love this! And can’t wait to follow you along during your big year!
Therapy can be a great place to talk things out with a professional trained to help you. They aren’t related to you, they don’t have any stake in your decisions, they don’t personally know the people you mention…they can just listen and ask questions that help you work through whatever you need help with. They also can’t immediately “fix” you, so going in with the mindset that it will take time to work through everything is a good idea. I’ve worked with a therapist two different times in my life and have found them really helpful, so I hope you have a good experience!
Love this post so incredibly much Haley. It is incredibly refreshing and vulnerable and I wish more bloggers were as open as you are! Don’t get me wrong, I totally started following you for style and then was hooked with your travel posts, but ultimately I have kept coming back to your blog to read posts like these! As a young female anesthesiologist, I share some of the same sentiments regarding working – it can be incredibly motivating and a little bit all consuming especially given the financial freedom and life that working in this field ultimately affords me, but I often wonder, at what (excuse the pun) cost? It is so comforting to hear other women discuss these feelings about work life balance and the fact that complete balance is relatively unattainable! I also think that your statement reminds us all to limit our social media time and remember to live our own lives in whatever format we choose. I have a similar set of resolutions for 2019, but you articulated them so much better 🙂 Cheers to following you on your London adventure and wherever else life takes you!
Love your resolutions!
My resolutions are to stay on top of our laundry, drink more water, exercise even if its just something small, less time on my phone and more books, started a small book club with my sister and best friend for accountability!
I think it’s important for you to be true to yourself and what you want to produce. While it’s admirable that you want to be the absolute best resource for your readers, you’re only one person, and it seems a very heavy burden to bear to try to be that for so many different people on a regular basis. For me personally, I’ve found that I’m far more interested in following others who just share themselves. Whether it’s their life, their ideas, their interests, or just something they picked up that they wanted to try. In all honesty, I actually find the constant reminders of sales, items purchased, items you could purchase, and so on, to be a bit overwhelming. With everyone sharing (more or less) the exact same content, and (seemingly always) plugging an item that is under X dollars, it’s just too much. I (personally) feel that I would much rather see you wear the things you love and go back to week after week, and if it’s not available anymore, that’s okay! I think influencers are afraid to share things that aren’t in stock for fear they wont be helpful, but honestly I’d rather see you sporting the things you love and showing them love, rather than a heavy rotation of things you find interesting for a minute and then have to sell. If I REALLY want that thing that isn’t available, I’ll look for an alternative! We don’t all need the exact same thing, and I think it’s okay for you to have and wear things I don’t have or can’t get. I think that’s why we love following people, because they have something different from ourselves, and it challenges us to be creative.
Yes!!! You said it Katie! I completely agree.
I appreciate y’alls insight and encouragement. Y’all are so sweet. It’s an unrealistic idea to keep telling myself, I know. This is part of why I want to prioritize mental health. I’d love someone on the outside of what I do help me keep my perspective in check. It’s refreshing to hear what you gravitate toward! xo.
I so appreciate your honesty. I only recently launched my blog and I have SO MUCH FUN with it. I absolutely love it. But the expectations are insane. I miss a day of posting/stories on Instagram and I lose 20 followers. Not that the numbers matter or that the numbers are why I do what I do, but it can still be an emotional roller coaster. Which causes me to lose site a little bit of my “why”. My goal for 2019 is to put as much energy as I can into doing things that make me genuinely happy and be better about saying NO. I’m so bad about saying yes to evvvverrrryyything just to make the people around me happy even if it makes me miserable. Well December 31, 2018 was the last day of that nonsense!
This is spot on! Please do prioritize your life and not just success. I think it sets a great example for the rest of us as well. I can’t wait to see what you do next and I hope London works out!
I LOVE audible, but it’s not the best format for everything- some books you need to physically interact with, some are better as stories you listen to— and a select few are best as a combo (Ex for me: Girl, Wash your face- I love listening to Rachel talk to me, but I’m taking notes & need to see the words- one chapter at a time, it’s like a one woman book club!)
Love and identify with this so much! I work full-time and have my blog on the side, and I feel like it’s been extra hard to keep up with so many full-time bloggers and all of the changes in the industry. I think the part about not shaming yourself for what you don’t get to is so important. We are only human after all!
Oh my god!!! Haley I’m literally so happy for u!!! I mean I read every resolution that you wrote and they’re all awesome but when I read the one about London I screamed!!! Finally you have made the decision that your heart wanted for so long. I’m so happy for you and hope God continues to guide you in this big step/life changing decision you’ve made. I’ll continue to be your fan because you truly are one of a kind blogger. You’re true, down to earth, sensible and caring towards your fans. I love these things about you and truly wish you the best! Sending all positive vibes, Arlene ❣️
Loved reading this, and so happy for you! My resolution this year is to find greater joy at work, whether that’s standing out more/getting a raise or just finding something new.
loved reading this. and i definitely agree with ‘work to live not live to work’… i get caught up in the same as well!…so thanks for sharing your thoughts …. i look forward to following you on your move to london.. 🙂
You hit home on so many of things here. It is so hard to balance it all especially when we place constant pressure on ourselves to get it all done. Taking a step back and reevaluating always helps me get grounded, refocused and inspired again.
I love this, cant wait to see what this year brings for you girl !! keep on going !!
I don’t really make resolutions but I definitely want to read more too. I can only sing praises for therapy, it is so healthy!
I am so happy you will be moving to London! I think it will be wonderful to see the life you and Fish and Chips make for yourselves there. It will also be fun to experience travel in the UK and other areas as you continue to travel. I think it great that you have decided to “be about it!” Praying for peace with your decision and a blessed life from being brave and finding “your place”. Can’t wait to follow along. ??
Wonderful thoughts as always. Merci for sharing your tips and ideas.
??ROSES FOR FRIDAYS ??| by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog
I really enjoy your travel posts! Im 51 and took my first trip to London and Paris last October. Your information on the VAT process and apps were so helpful!! Got the bug now and have Italy booked in April. Thanks for all the effort on the travel posts!!! Have a great 2019!
Great resolutions and always appreciate how open and honest you are. My favorite one – Move to London! I’m 100% on board and would love for this to happen for you!
I have to say you are THE most detailed blogger. Your posts are so in-depth and personal. It’s obvious the time you take in each one. You stand out from the pack by a long shot. Thank you for all your hard work. It doesn’t go unnoticed or appreciated.
THIS is why I come back to your blog day after day. Your vulnerability, honesty, & ability to be so open with your readers is amazing. I don’t know of any other blogger that puts this much effort into their posts like you do. Lately, in my opinion, it seems like the blogger world puts most of their attention on their Instagram content and have put their blog on the back burner but I am so glad you continue to create amazing blog content. You are a very skilled writer and I hope you realize how much I appreciate what you do!
Happy New Year! These are the great resolutions. I could relate to some of them too 🙂 Especially the “Spend less time on my phone. Read more.” I’ve noticed that the reason why time disappears so fast is simply because I’m way too much drawn in my mobile. P.S. Love the photo!
Please keep the blog posts coming, even if it’s less often! I just LOVE your extended blog posts because that’s where your voice shines. There is so much wonderful content throughout instagram, and I feel like what distinguishes you from other bloggers is your authentic and thoughtful personality in blog posts in particular.
London is extremely exciting!!! I can’t wait to see what happens. 🙂
I too have struggled over the last few years between my desire to climb the corporate ladder and my desire to truly enjoy my LIFE. I was raised to believe that excelling in school and in your career were the most important things in life and should be the priority. That fun, rest and relaxation were things that you should only allow yourself to enjoy once you’ve accomplished EVERYTHING. The older I get, the more I realize that life is SO short! And what is this all worth if you look back and YOUR happiness was always the last priority?! I love this quote: “At the end of one’s life, no one ever looks back and thinks, I wish I would have worked more”. This is your year Alyson. Your year to finally do what your heart yearns for and what you DESERVE. I can’t wait to see you give yourself the gift of happiness by moving to LONDON!!! Life changing moments and events are rare. I’m so excited for you to know that soon, your life is going to change forever. It’s going to be the most magical and fulfilling thing you’ve done yet!
Good for you! You only live once, so live it up!!
LOVE this! Thank you!
As you plan your move to London (congratulations, I’m so happy and excited for you!) will you PLEASE share your process moving with Fish & Chips?!?! I would love to move internationally but have never taken action because I too have a dog and I know the process with be a little more complicated. I know people move with their pets all the time but there are just so many more things to consider. I mean even just finding a place to live, do they have similar rental restrictions? lol it seems so elementary but so important. It would be AMAZING to know the steps you’re taking with them now. (Thanks for the info you shared last time!)
Love and thank you for everything you do!
This is so good! I struggle with the same things as I run my own real estate business and have the same thoughts going into 2019!
wishing you a wonderful start of 2019 dear!
Cate ღ 35mm in Style
Great post. My resolution is to continue to release control. The closer I grow to God the more I realize that my life runs on his timeline. Releasing control and continuing to be active in prayer putting my faith in Him and His plan for my life will lead to more of the happiness I’ve been feeling as I realize fully that I am His creation, His daughter.
We all so desperately want things and feel like if they aren’t happening then we are failing or falling short. But it isn’t about our timeline. It’s about His.
Happy New Year to you and your team thanks for all the wonderful content in 2018, you’re my favorite blog ever!
Haley – I love how honest you are in this blog post. I hope all your resolutions guide you in a few steps forward whether or not you achieve them fully. I am the same age as you, your blog posts this year have definitely reached out to me, although our situations are different, I think at certain points in your life things that you expected to have that you do not weigh hard on your emotional/mental health.
2017/2018 were rough and dare I say excruciating years for me. I don’t think I have ever felt so lost, vulnerable and depressed than in 2018.
I’ve never been one to speak or reach out to a therapist I think because I talk myself through all my situations and in the end I know the answer just need to give myself time to heal. But I think there can only be positive outcomes from speaking to others even if it only provides you with different perspectives.
My new years resolutions for 2019 are…
#1 – To start my ‘New Year’ on February 16th; mainly because February 15th will be the one year anniversary of my fathers passing. I know I need a full year to heal from this and so I thought the best way to do this was make my own ‘New Year’ date. I do not want to hold myself to ‘new year resolutions’ when I know I’m not fully accepting or over the prior year.
#2 – Make changes to be happy in all aspects of my life. Similar to the quote above ‘Don’t talk about it, Be About It’. For years, I have known what would give me a happy balance in life and I’ve avoided them because it would mean change and lets face it changes can be overwhelming and scary. I have already started some of these and hope to make it at least half way down my list before 2019 is over but I also need to be realistic about too much change.
#3 – Realize and focus on the things I have control over. If I do not have control than I should not pay attention to it and instead figure out how to remove those things from my life if they are not serving me in a good way. This is huge when it comes to people in my life, mostly friends. I am at an age where I think quality over quantity with friends is extremely important for happiness and health.
Well good luck to you! I hope you make it to London; I studied abroad there and fell in love too.
Note: You need to add Asia (Hong Kong/Tokyo) and Australia/New Zealand to your travel itineraries! Just my personal opinion 🙂
I super identify with so much of what you’re saying. I gave myself one year (2018) to move to London and it has been a full year of ups and downs, wins and losses. I lived by that “be about it” mantra and deprioritized everything else in my life (aka quit online dating) and only worked on this. While it seems like it will happen, there are still so many things that need to fall into place. That visa process is truly a killer.
And I talked about this with my therapist every time, because making a life change like this is simultaneously terrifying and exciting. So I think this a major step in the right direction for you. Finding the right therapist fit is life-changing.
Here’s to 2019 when hopefully both of us live there (and can meet 🙂 )
(also love your blog obvi)
I might be moving to London in two weeks. Big year for me, I am excited and scared at the same time. I think it is amazing to change up your life: move somewhere new, meet new people, explore new areas and my favorite WALK (most of US is unworkable)! But at the same time it is scary to move to a city/country where you do not know anyone. I also really want to start my own fashion blog but I see that it takes a lot of time and money. First I need to focus on getting a day job and hopefully everything else will fall into places.
This great and sounds almost to my own resolution except that your move to London for me is move to Canada ..haa
I have talked about things for a long time never get to start so this year, I will never say anything but be about doing them..