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.