Hey Everyone! Hope you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year with your families! After two weeks off, I feel refreshed and ready to kick my 2018 into high gear. I have so many plans for the blog this year and I’m super excited to get started with them!
But something I always like to do before the start of a new year is to look back and reflect on everything that happened in the previous year, so today I’m sharing some of my honest 2017 Reflections, plus I’m sharing my New Year Goals for 2018!
2017 Reflections + New Year Goals
2017 Recap & Reflections
Blog/Work– This year was really cool for me and my blog because I was finally given the incredible opportunity to work from home and pursue blogging full-time.
In August I left my full-time job of 4 years, and while it was a scary feeling, I now realize how completely necessary that decision was for me at the point I am in my life. After leaving, both my husband and I quickly noticed the dramatic difference it made in my mental health and overall happiness, and it was honestly unreal to me to take note of all of the stress and drama that was no longer present in my life.
I think sometimes we don’t realize how much being in a certain situation (whether it’s a job or relationship) can really weigh you down and have a negative impact on your life, but I’m truly thankful that I was given the opportunity to move forward.
- Related: Moving Forward- a Huge Announcement
In terms of blogging, this year has been full of a lot of trial and error but I think that’s all part of the journey. Although there’s a lot more that I still want to do with my blog and improvements I want to make, I’m learning to just take it a day at a time and trying to remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day. At the end of the day, I’m just super thankful for each and every one of you and so grateful to have you follow along with this little blog of mine.
I’m also grateful for all of the amazing brand partnerships and collaborations I was able to be a part of this year. My goal this time last year was to work with 20 brands in 2017, and I’m happy to report I exceeded that goal in working with 25 brands!
Not only were these paid collaborations, but many of these were collaborations that I acquired through pitching to brands on my own, outside of blogging networks, and through a lot of perseverance and dedication.
I’m telling you this not to brag, but because I want you to know that it’s completely possible to set a goal, go after it wholeheartedly, and exceed it.
If you’re a blogger I want you to know that you’re worth more and good things come to those who work hard. I talk about this a little bit deeper in this post over here, but if any of you bloggers are interested in a more in-depth post on how to work with brands, let me know!
Check out a few of my favorite partnerships this year below:
- 5 Tips for Rocking the Athleisure Trend with T.J. Maxx
- Family Fun in Pigeon Forge TN with Dollywood & The Island
- Skinny Chicken Taco Pinwheels with Save-A-Lot
Social– I have to be honest here and say that 2017 made me realize a few important lessons when it comes to social media. A. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and B. Numbers aren’t everything.
While Instagram used to be my absolute favorite platform, all of the algorithm changes this year made me literally want to avoid the app completely there for awhile. (As I think most bloggers can agree on)
From only being able to see the same accounts over and over in my feed, to not being able to reach + connect with as many people, it really has made me question at times whether or not I wanted to even continue using the platform at all.
Not to mention both small and large accounts alike are using fake engagement methods to boost their numbers, which ends up making those of us who focus on authenticity feel like crap when our numbers don’t measure up. (Just keeping it real here)
[socialrocket-tweet quote=”Stop focusing on the likes/comments/followers you don’t have and focus on the ones you do!” tweet=”Stop focusing on the likes/comments/followers you don’t have and focus on the ones you do!”]
But at the end of the day I realized that instead of sitting around stressing about all the likes/comments/followers I didn’t get, I should be more focused and grateful for the ones I already have and continue to build upon and foster those relationships more. Those 100 awesome people who ALWAYS like/comment on my posts? Those are the ones that deserve my time and attention.
So thank you to all of you who do follow me and are always engaging with me on IG. I appreciate it so much and just know that it makes my day every time you leave me a sweet comment.
Family- This was a big year for our family, as my husband accepted a federal job and in October we moved from Virginia to Georgia. Although it was a big adjustment and we’re still trying to get used to the change in climate (and the fact that we live in a city) it’s been really nice to settle into a home we adore and to be able to spend more time together as a family.
My husband’s job thankfully believes in work-life balance, so it’s been amazing to actually be able to see him on holidays and enjoy days off together. Plus now that I’m my own boss I can create my own schedule according to his, which is nice.
The boys are also both doing great and are loving their new school. My youngest is just starting to learn how to read and they both absolutely love to draw pictures for me all the time. It’s amazing how much they’ve both grown and I love watching them learn something new every day. It’s truly been such a blessing to be more involved now that I’m at home with them more and I know they’re loving ever minute of it too.
Birthday Outfit c/o Modcloth: Dress | Glitter Shoes
New Year Goals
Stop Comparing, More Doing– As a blogger I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the comparison trap, especially when you see others in the same niche land an amazing partnership or post about how they tripled their income doing something, but honestly it’s so counterproductive to spend all your time worrying about what others are doing, when you can be putting that energy towards YOU doing something.
My goal for this year is to spend less time worrying about what so and so is doing compared to what I’ve accomplished and instead focus more solely on my own blogging goals and accomplishments. I’ve always liked the quote, “Don’t Compare Your Chapter 1 to Someone Else’s Chapter 20″ and I think it serves as a great reminder to not get caught up in comparison. We’re all at different points in our journeys, so learning to stay on your own path is important.
[socialrocket-tweet quote=”Don’t Compare Your Chapter 1 to Someone Else’s Chapter 20 #newyeargoal” tweet=”Don’t Compare Your Chapter 1 to Someone Else’s Chapter 20 #newyeargoal”]
Create More Video Content– I finally took the plunge and started my own Youtube channel in October, and I have a lot of goals for what types of videos I want to create and share with you all. Although I want to of course share beauty tutorials and fashion content, I also want to create inspirational type videos that I hope will be helpful to others. Follow my channel over here to keep up! 🙂
I also recently shared in my Instagram stories that another goal of mine this year is to start creating more video content on IG and sharing more real-life moments as they happen. As a private person, this is a struggle for me sometimes because I only want to share the pretty, “perfect-looking” moments, but that ain’t real life ya’ll. So I guess what I’m saying is if you follow me on IG, you’ll probably be seeing more of me in all my everyday gloriousness (no makeup, pajamas, un-brushed hair).
Look for mini beginner makeup tutorials, affordable beauty/fashion finds, and more regular chit-chat to start appearing on my Insta very soon! Follow me over here, if interested.
Grow My E-mail List- Although I unfortunately didn’t see the importance of an e-mail list until mid-way last year, I now know it’s an absolutely crucial part of blogging. I hope to grow my list and really engage with my current subscribers this year and provide helpful and valuable content to them. My current subscribers will be getting a super helpful post today where I talk step-by-step about the method I use in setting goals. Sign up below, if you want in on it! 🙂
- Travel to new places we’ve never been. With moving to a new area there’s so many cool spots within driving distance I want to see and visit! I have a feeling we’ll be hitting up FL and AL very soon!
- Get back into crafting/DIYing this year. It’s something I really love doing and I honestly find it really relaxing.
- Start cooking new recipes. I get in slumps with cooking the same thing over and over again, but I want to venture out and try out new cuisines and recipes this year!
- Continue to focus on being present with my family. It’s something I think we all have to remind ourselves of constantly, but it’s worth striving for. I created this post last year with some helpful tips for anyone interested.
- Push myself to do more things in this life, even if it scares me or makes me uncomfortable. You never know what might happen when you just go for it.
Whew, I know today’s post was a long one, but I hope you found it encouraging! I hope that 2017 was everything you wanted it to be and more, but if not, know that each and every day is a new opportunity to be better than the day before. Wishing each of you an amazing 2018 ahead!
What did you accomplish this year that you’re proud of? What are some goals you’ve set for yourself this year? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by!- Cara
I left a job that had an environment that wasn’t good for me in 2017 too and it was amazing to see after how much that workplace was having a negative impact on my mental, emotional, and physical health. So glad to be out of there! Good luck with your goals for 2018!! You have some really good ones.
That’s great to hear, Crystal! So glad to have you as a follower and best of luck on all your endeavors this year!
First of all, I love your website changes! Your new header logo is so chic! I’ve actually thought about doing something similar myself. I am with you on the comparison stuff. That is one reason I took a 2 week break from Instagram. Plus, It is so hard to gain reach and connection with new people on Instagram and Facebook. After my break, I realized that the people I am connecting with are what matter, and I need to nurture those relationships. The ladies are incredibly sweet and are worth my effort in continuing. However, I did do something drastic and delete my Twitter account! I want to focus on things that push me forward and help me connect. Twitter did not do any of that, so I decided that I cannot be everywhere.
I hope you will share your travels on your blog! I would love to learn more about Georgia, Florida, and the east side of Alabama. I actually have family on the west side of Alabama, but I have not seen much of it. I think vlogging some of your travels would be pretty cool! I enjoyed your makeup tutorial, and am looking forward to see where you go with video this year! Cheers to an intentional and fun 2018!
Thanks Erin! Sorry if anything looked wonky haha I was still trying to work out the kinks last weekend! But I felt it was time to make it look a little more sophisticated- or I hope it does anyways! 🙂 And I completely agree- this year I’m focusing more on the platforms that bring me a good return on investment (time) and just remembering that at the end of the day my blog is what matters the most and I need to foster the relationships of the ones who already follow me because those are the most important. And thanks for the suggestion with a travel vlog – that would be fun! I’m looking forward to exploring the southern part of the US more this year and will be sure and share our journey! Happy New Year! 🙂
I hear you Sometimes it is difficult not to be discouraged. Don’t be. Do your best. Be authntic.
You will glow!
Thanks Deborah! Happy New Year!
Cara! This post was so inspiring and motivating. I’ve been struggling to get back in the swing of things – especially the blogging world – but now you’ve given me some things to think about! I’m with you that the comparison game needs to end and the focus should just be on doing you. I can’t wait for more YouTube videos from you and to follow everything 2018 has in store for you!
Thanks so much Karly! I’m truly glad that you and others have found this post to be inspiring. I definitely can’t wait to see more posts from you this year too! Cheers to an amazing 2018!
It is so exciting that you got to pursue blogging full-time. I know that must have been so scary to leave a job after 4 years but I hope this brings you all the happiness.
Thank-you! It definitely was and still is a scary feeling some days, but life’s too short to spend it doing something you don’t love. Cheers to a great 2018!
You are doing so great, can’t wait to see what next year has in store for you! I can’t wait to see your tutorials on make up. It’s always spot on! Happy New Year, I know this will be your best year yet!
Thank-you so much Sarah! So glad to have you as a reader on my blog and I always enjoy all your fashion and family posts too! Happy New Year girl!
Letting go of comparison is always a good idea. You’ll do amazing things this year! Good luck!
Awesome goals girl! And CONGRATS on not just meeting, but exceeding your brand partnership goals for last year. And can I just co-sign everything you said about Instagram!? It will never cease to amaze me how they keep making the platform worse, and won’t listen to their users complaints? Ugh.. vent over. Happy New Year sweet friend <3
Thanks so much!! And yes to everything you just said. Smart brands typically listen to what their customers/users say, so not sure why FB/Insta are not following suit. lol Happy New Year Kate! 🙂
Wow Cara! You had an incredible year. Your blogging achievements in 2017 have me totally inspired.
Thanks girl! I’m definitely motivated to keep pushing forward and going after my goals this year too. Happy New Year, Helen! Hope you are able to reach all your goals this year as well. 🙂
YAAAAS GIRL, so happy to hear pitching brands has been so successful for you. You are slaying the game, girlfriend!
Thank-you! So glad to have had your’s and other Boss-Pitcher’s help/support along the way! Happy New Year, Erica!
2017 was full of wonderful changes for you and your family. I also left a job in 2017 that was wrecking havoc on my mental health and I’ve honestly never been happier. I also got engaged last year and we bought our first home! This year I’m focusing on personal growth & getting back into my blog. I would love an in-depth post about pitching to brands!!
Sounds like a year full of great milestones for you and your family! & thanks I’ll definitely be creating a post on that very soon! Happy New Year, Roxy!
Congratulations on all of the accomplishments and family milestones in 2017!! Exciting to see what the new year has in store for you as you settle into your new normal.
Thanks Whitney! I’m excited too! Happy New Year, friend!
These are some great goals, Cara! I love how you split them up into categories like family and social. That’s such a great idea. 🙂
Thank-you! That’s my Type A style kicking in! 😉 Happy New Year!
That’s amazing to hear about your success with working with brands this year, especially since you have been able to pitch to them rather than going through a network! I would love to see what you come up with for video content in the new year, so I’ll be on the look out in 2018!
Thanks Kiara! Looking forward to creating some great content this year. Happy New Year! 🙂
Love reading your reflections and growth. So happy Georgia is working out for you guys. Love your gold shoes birthday outfit! I think 2018 is going to bring you so much goodness and joy.
Thank-you so much Andrea! I know you’d just love those gold shoes too! They add such a fun sparkle to any look! Happy New Year, friend! 🙂
Good luck with this year’s goals! It’s always nice to see how far we’ve come 🙂
Thank-you! Sometimes if we don’t look back and reflect and give ourselves a pat on the back, we lose motivation to keep moving forward. Happy New Year, Jenny!
Looks like last year was a good one for you! I kind of let my blog fall on to the back burner last year, so I’m aiming to focus more on that and my Instagram presence (despite the algorithm). You’ve inspired me even more-so with your success and growth in 2017. Good luck with all that you hope to get out of the new year! x
Thank-you Christie! Best of luck with your goals this year! I know you can do it!
Definitely yes to stop comparing which has held me back so much in blogging! I really enjoyed reading your list!
Thanks Vivian! I think it’s great to look at what other bloggers are doing sometimes, as sort of goals of what you want to accomplish, but when it starts making you question your own abilities and achievements, it’s just not healthy. Cheers to an amazing 2018!
We have a lot of the same blogging goals! A lot of my readers want me to start filming tutorials, but I’m SO awk on camera so I’ve been putting it off haha! But for me as well, I’m really focusing on growing my blog and not social media followers. I think of it as, I own my blog, not my social media channels. They could disappear, but my blog I’ll always have.
With video, I think it really does get easier with time and it’s all about just getting more comfortable in front of the camera. You’d do great at it, I think! And yes I completely agree with you on social media! That’s why I want to focus on building an e-mail list and growing loyal followers on my blog, rather than worry about social media which may or may not disappear over night. Happy New Year!
good luck with all of your goals this year! love the stop comparing, start doing one! it’s so important, and like you said it’s all about trial and error. Something that worked for one person may not work for another!
Thanks! Absolutely- it’s all about what works for YOUR audience, not someone else’s.
Good Job with your Blog. Always love reading it. Dad and Mom
Thanks Dad, love you all!
So glad you were about to exceed your your collaboration goals! That is amazing and it’s always nice to work towards something. I agree, I have such a love hate with insta. I love that your husband’s company promotes a work life balance, that is so important. I hope 2018 is a great year for you!! Sierra~Beautifully Candid
Thanks so much Sierra! Working in law enforcement can sometimes be treacherous on family life, so I’m happy that he’s able to be with us more now. Happy New Year, friend!
You had an amazing 2017 and I loved Watching you dominate the blogging world. Here’s to an even better 2018!
Aw girl you’re too sweet. Thanks so much! Happy New Year friend!
I can totally relate to a lot of your frustrations with social media and your goals towards blogging, as well. I hope 2018 is just as good, or better than the last!
Thanks Lily! I know you feel me on the IG frustration! lol I just wish they would change it back to the way it used to be, but oh well!
I love your reflections, Cara! I agree on the frustrations of IG. Now, I like to just go on for fun. I pretty much know that my numbers aren’t going to grow anymore. lol
Thank-you! Same here. Life’s too short to spend our time worrying about things we can’t change (like the super annoying IG algorithm) lol. Happy New Year!
So proud of you for blowing your goals out of the water in 2017! I hope 2018 has even more good things in store for you.
Thanks Lindsay! So happy to have met you through blogging, friend! Cheers to an amazing 2018 for you as well! 🙂
I remember the scary yet overwhelmingly amazing feeling that I experienced when I quit my job to follow what I really loved. I’ve been seeing a lot of Facebook memories pop up from around that time lately (it was 6 years ago!), and I’ve been wanting to recapture that excitement. I think part of the way to do that is to know when you need to step back and take a break, and if you’re in a position to do so, actually do it! (easier said than done, lol) Excited to see what 2018 has in store for you as you further settle in to your new location!
Thanks so much Sara! So glad you were able to pursue your dreams as well! It’s so incredible that you get the opportunity to travel the world. 🙂 Happy New Year!
Perfect goals for 2018. All about making strides in all areas.
& side note. I hate Instagram changed their ways of posting.,irks me every day When I see posts from 3 days before just popping up
Thank-you! It’s ridiculous. I’m trying to just not care anymore lol because clearly they’re not changing it anytime soon…but I still wish they would. Everyone I know hates it too.
i have a sabbatical every 2 yrs or so and it’s the BEST thing for mental health. i’m glad that you decided to take the plunge and leave your job in favour of pursuing your dreams….life is too short to look back with regret.
Thank-you! It was so crazy to realize the other night with my husband that it was the first end of Christmas break I wasn’t going back to a job I dreaded. That’s a GREAT feeling, for sure.