I drafted up my January and February goal recaps and realized that this is about to be a really longgggg post, so I’ll spare you too much of an intro — BUT, I do have to say that January was a really productive month from a goal perspective, and I can’t help but feel proud of it. At the risk of being too cliché about the power of New Year’s resolutions, it really was helpful for me to come back from spending time with family over the holidays and recalibrate my daily routine. I’m being a lot more intentional about my time, and I find myself wasting a lot less of it! Another helpful tool has been my Powersheets, which I’ve loved using to break things down and to track them on a monthly and weekly basis. I’m a really visual person, so having a place to actively mark off the steps I’m taking toward completing my goals is a great motivator.

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Monthly, weekly, and daily progress bars from my January Powersheets.

OK, let me tell you more about how it actually went down:

  • Create a list of target outlets for the year. √ YES! Friends, I’m learning that there is very real power in writing. things. down. Back in December, when I sat and thought about some of the bigger writing goals I had for 2018, imposter syndrome set in and I felt pretty intimidated. I couldn’t help but think that I — a relatively new freelancer who feels overextended 99% of the time — have no business trying to write for some of my dreamiest outlets. And you know what? There are a million reasons that those outlets might not end up being the right fit for me and my work. But I have absolutely nothing to lose by physically writing them down and hanging them in my office! Making that list was an entirely reasonable and actionable baby step that has already made me feel like some of those goals are within reach.
  • Work on the book three to four times a week, every week. √ YES! I had a slow start here as I got back into the post-holiday swing of things, but I stuck to it three out of the four full weeks of January. I call it success!
  • No sweets during the week. I’m not giving myself a check mark here because I only did it for the first three weeks, but there’s a good reason for that. First of all, I’m so glad I did this. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I eliminate the unnecessary, mindless, sweet tooth-motivated snacking from my day. My energy is up, my skin is clearer, and I feel generally better. All good, right? Yes! For me, things get a little challenging when I start patting myself on the back a little too much for doing something like this. By the third week of the month, I was positively thriving on that feeling of control, and that’s when I knew that I’d crossed into more negative territory (totally a personal preference!). I started working a small treat in at the end of the day (a spoonful of Nutella, a mug of hot chocolate) and felt like I had the right balance back in check. This goal helped me recalibrate my appetite a bit and purge my kitchen cabinets (and I needed to do both of those things!), but the restrictive element of it stopped serving me at a certain point.
  • Get back on track with weekly pitching.√ YES! Setting Fridays aside as my day to work on bigger pitches has been huge. It’s given me the time and space I need to come up with more creative ideas and to research new writing opportunities.
  • Eat better lunches.√ YES! Figuring out how to “do” lunch will always be tough for me, but I made progress this month. For the first half of the month, I threw a ton of veggies and ground turkey in the Crock Pot on Monday morning and portioned it out for the rest of the week, and in the second half of the month, I made big batches of salad with chicken and quinoa for extra protein. I’m not totally happy with how either of those attempts worked out, but at least I’m getting used to making lunch prep more of a priority.
  • Continue podcast research.√ YES! I bought myself a new notebook (which makes a new project officially official around here), and filled it with tons of notes about how all of this is going to work logistically.
  • Plan weekend trips with Matt. We’re halfway there. Matt and I planned a weekend in Charlotte for the end of February, and while we have an awesome Airbnb booked (seriously, how cute is this place?), we still need to lock down our flights.
  • Read 3-4 books.√ YES! In January, I finished Crazy Rich Asians (fun, frothy — can’t wait to see the movie!), Little Fires Everywhere (one of my favorites of the last few months), and A Wrinkle In Time (which I loved as a kid and was inspired to reread thanks to all of the awesome trailers for the upcoming movie).
  • Stop checking Instagram first thing in the morning.√ YES! YES! YES! YES! I can’t say enough about how great this has been. Life has just been a whole lot better since I stopped starting my day scrolling through my phone in bed.

February is a short month, and even though I’m really anxious to keep up the momentum I have coming out of January, I’m trying to leave a little margin and resist the urge to bite off more than I can chew. The list below looks long, but a lot of the things on it aren’t super labor intensive (well, hopefully).

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  • Dive into brainstorming and planning the podcast. The overall theme for the podcast is already locked down (that’s for me to know and you to find out!), but this month I need to start breaking it down into episodes and figuring out a few more details.
  • Successfully launch next collaboration with Brittney Lynn. Remember when Brittney and I did this free webinar at the end of last year???? Well, we have something else in the works! I’ll share more details soon, but I want to focus on hitting that out of the ballpark this month.
  • Stop checking Instagram first thing in the morning. This was so good for me in January, and while I think it’s almost become a habit, I want to make it an official goal for at least one more month. I’m trying to work on phone boundaries more generally, too, and I think this is a good place to start.
  • Pitch to at least one of the outlets on my target list for 2018. These are my dream sites and publications, so I want to aim to pitch to one or two of them every month.
  • Save Fridays for big pitches and passion projects. Like I mentioned above, I’ve started setting Fridays aside for more creative things, and it’s made all the difference. It’s a great way to ensure that I’m actively developing new outlets for my work and spending time writing more in-depth pieces.

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  • Read three books. I’m working toward reading 40 books in 2018!
  • “Feel-good food.” Instead of shooting for a specific eating plan like I did in January with my “no no sweets during the week” rule, I’m going to focus on balance and moderation. I know that the word “moderation” gets tossed around a lot, but I’d really just like to continue to curb my sweet tooth as much as possible (most of the time) and feel good about what I’ve eaten at the end of each day.
  • Work on the book three to four days a week, every week. I’ve realized that this is an achievable schedule for me, and one that also allows me to be pretty productive — I’m working on Chapter Six right now! — so I’m going to try to stick with it.
  • Take a day off. Like actually off. In my apartment. Relaxing. Doing nothing. Now that I’ve put it here, I have to do it, right? Please help hold me accountable!

What are your goals for February? Tell me more in the comments below!