Review of my 2021 goals: What did I achieve?

Mel sat at the back of an open door blue converted school bus holding a cup of tea wearing a wooly hat and hiking boots

Review of my 2021 goals: What did I achieve? (Or not!)

As any year draws to a close, it’s a natural point of reflection for most of us. I for one love getting to the end of the year and looking back on what goals I’ve smashed. And even the ones I didn’t!

But the end of 2021 is bitter sweet.

At the start of the year, I outlined the top 10 things I wanted to achieve in 2021. I planned hopefully as I think the majority of us did! Expecting 2021 to be a fresh start after the garbage fire of 2020, but this was only partly the case.

As it turned out, lockdown continued into the first half of 2021. But it was actually the perfect time to dream, prepare and plan for what would be at the very least an improvement on 2020. And you know what? It definitely was!

I hope this post inspires you to think about what goals you’d like to set yourself in the upcoming year and what plans you’re going to put in place to make 2022 a great year.  

So, let’s have a review of my 2021 goals. Did I complete them or are they a roll over? Let’s find out…

Goal 1: Health and wellness 

1) Shift my lockdown weight: IT’S A ROLL OVER!

Oh lordy lord. Starting the review of my 2021 goals off strong with an immediate fail…weight loss! 😂

2020 was a heavy year for us all but for me 2020 was quite literally a heavy year.

During the endless months of lockdown sitting on my arse, I went from gaining the “Quarantine 15” to fully letting go and gaining over two stone.  

In 2020, I ate whatever got me through the long work days and months on end being stuck as home.

I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this but with so much going on in the world and bigger things to worry about I just stopped taking care of myself.

After a big break up at the beginning of 2019 I lost 30 pounds in the months that followed. I felt great and was filled with the type of body confidence I hadn’t felt in years.

Like most break ups the first few pounds came off involuntary with a loss of appetite but then I overhauled my diet and the weight just continued to come off.  

Then after a year of long, stress-filled days at work and an ongoing pandemic, the weight just crept on and I simply stopped giving a damn.

But at the start of 2021 I decided it was time to change.

For me it was less about the numbers on the scale and more about dealing with what had led to the weight gain in the first place: bad food choices, no exercise and poor work-life balance.

In 2021, I didn’t follow through with a complete overhaul but I did make small changes a bit at a time that I knew would be more sustainable.

I started exercising more, going for long hikes in the countryside and eating less sugar and processed food. I also trained for a half marathon (more on that next!) and gradually lost 10 pounds over the course of the year.

It’s not the grand transformation I was hoping for but I actually made great progress upon reflection!

They say that slow and steady wins the race so I’m keeping up the running, continuing to work on making healthier food choices and rolling this goal over to finish it in 2022.

Watch this space!

Score: 0.5/1

Mel wearing a pink tshirt, green hiking boots and backpack, hiking over a stream in Dovestones Reservoir between two green peaks
Hiking at Dovestones Reservoir

2) Do another half marathon: SUCCESS!

I’ve always loved running and had already done two half marathons before I set the goal of running another one this year.

However, I was apprehensive due to the amount of weight I had put on and just how unfit I had become over the course of lockdown.

But I wanted to have a solid goal to work towards and keep myself accountable. So I set myself the challenge of completing another half marathon and decreasing my finish time from the last time I ran.

Despite my reservations, I stuck to the training plan (70% of the time!) and came over the finish line proud to have completed the world’s largest half marathon, Newcastle’s Great North Run.

Even better, my love decided to jump on the fitness wagon with me after spending months sat on the couch furloughed.

It was his first half marathon and he out did me by finishing an hour earlier. I was a such a proud girlfriend!

Score: 1/1

Mel and her boyfriend after the Great North Run holding up their medals and smiling
Look at those proud little cheesy grins!

Goal 2: Finances  

3) Max out my LISA allowance before the new tax year: SUCCESS!  

At the time of setting this goal it sounded so grown up. But now that I’ve achieved it, it doesn’t feel like that big a deal at all!

For anyone who doesn’t know, LISA stands for ‘Lifetime ISA’ which is essentially a ‘Help to Buy’ scheme.

You can pay up to £4,000 a year into it and the government will give you a 25% bonus based on what you have put in. It’s specifically designed to help first-time buyers purchase their first home.

If you max out your LISA before the end of each tax year with the full allowance of £4,000, the government gives you £1,000 for free.

And that’s exactly what I did!

In my 20s, I loved my city centre lifestyle and spent most (re: all) of my disposable income on travelling and having a damn good time. Absolutely no regrets there!

I just wish I had opened my LISA sooner and started putting a little away each month so that when I was ready to buy, my nest egg would be there waiting for me. But you know what they say: hindsight in 20/20.

I always associated owning a place with being tied down but I just don’t feel that way anymore. Manchester is home and I want to be able to have the best of both worlds: build a home base that I’m investing in whilst keeping travel at the top of my priority list.

Stay tuned for house updates in 2022!

Score: 1/1

Model of a house with piggy bank in the background and magnifying glass in the foreground on top of architectural drawings

Goal 3: Work  

4) Take the next step in my career: SUCCESS! 

When I came back from travelling at the end of 2019, I managed to snag what I thought would be the perfect job for me. It incorporated the most enjoyable aspects of marketing with international travel. But like most opportunities, if it seems too good to be true…it probably is!  

The experience cost me a lot but led to a lot of personal and professional growth. I’m also very thankful to the wonderfully supportive and tight-knit team of talented people that I worked with. I learned a lot from them and missed them terribly when we first started working from home at the start of lockdown in 2020.

I still miss impromptu drinks in the pub on Friday nights, office banter and team lunches. But now, where I previously felt I missed out, I feel like I have very much gained.

I decided to move on at the end of 2020 and was so pleased to say that I had already achieved this particular goal by the time I wrote my top 10 things I wanted to achieve in 2021 post!

In January 2021, I started a brand new role as a Digital Campaigns and Communications Officer with a global health charity and I still love it!

As the sole marketer I’m able to be so much more hands-on and have more autonomy over the work I’m doing without layers of processes. It feels great to be working with a charity again and be able to contribute to a great cause.

Let’s face it, there’s no better time to join a global health advocacy organisation than during a pandemic!  

What’s also fantastic about my job is that I work four days a week which means I can dedicate a whole day to working towards growing Footsteps on the Globe.

It’s a dream I’ve had for a long time which I thought I’d never have the opportunity to go for and now it’s happened!   

The best part of my role so far has been attending COP26 in November to talk to delegates about the linkages between health and climate change. It was such a rewarding experience alongside my campaign!

I met so many interesting people and organisations that are involved in the fight against climate change and it was fascinating to hear all about the inspiring movements and campaigns going on.

It’s an opportunity I would never have had if I’d not taken the plunge and left the “safe” job that was in fact making me anxious and miserable!

Score: 1/1

Mel at the Climate Change Conference pretending to hold up a large inflatable globe
Insert obvious caption about having the whole world in my hands ;)

Goal 4: Blogging 

5) Update the blog at least once a week: IT’S A ROLL OVER! 

I absolutely hate that this is a roll over goal – I’m sorry folks! I love this blog and it has been my baby and passion project for the last six years. Yet, I’ve spent another year, stopping and starting, stopping and starting.

Granted the “stops” weren’t for an extended period of time like when I took a year off blogging to go travelling, but it’s certainly not conjusive for someone who is serious about growing their blog.

Despite dropping down to four days a week in my new job, my extra “day off” which I intended to treat as my dedicated blogging day, quickly became a free-for-all of sleeping in, training and running errands.

I look back on my editorial calendar for 2021 and I only stuck to updating the blog once a week 36% of the time! But I’ve well and truly had enough of my own excuses.

This is going to change next year and I’ve decided to step it up even more for 2022.

Will life get in the way sometimes? Of course it will. But I don’t want this to be in a perpetual cycle of starting and stopping.

When I promise to deliver new posts, I want you to trust me to deliver those posts when I say I will!

I’ll share more of my blogging goals in my upcoming, “top 10 things I want to achieve in 2022” post.

Score: 0.5/1

Mel smiling sat at her desk using her laptop working on the Footsteps on the Globe blog

6) Restart my YouTube channel: CHANGE OF HEART

My plan for 2021 was to work on video content after sustaining my goal of posting one blog post per week. But as you’ll have already read – this didn’t pan out!

As much as I enjoy creating videos, I want to fully commit to my blogging goals before adding more creative projects to my list.

I’ve not posted any new videos on YouTube for three years now but it’s been purely down to time and lack of direction.

I’ll no doubt add videos to my YouTube channel as I go along on my blogging journey. But I’ve had a change of heart on this goal and decided not to set myself a definitive target.

Score: 0/1

7) Go to a blogger event: SUCCESS!

Before attending Traverse this year, I hadn’t been to a blogger event since Icelolly’s Blog at the Beach event in 2019. I’d missed them so much!

I always have such a good time catching up with old blogger friends who are normally scattered across the UK (but for the most part scattered all across the globe!). This is the only downside of being a travel blogger!  

This year I was thrilled to be able to attend the UK blogger conference, Traverse in November.

Going to conferences like this are such a great way to invest in your skills, boost campaign opportunities and get re-inspired. This year I took classes on SEO, story-telling through video, brand building, affiliate marketing and loads more!

I learned so much whilst I was there and it felt great to finally let off some steam at the daily night parties after being stuck at home.

I’ll definitely be attending more blogger events in 2022!

Score: 1/1

Panel of speakers at Traverse with rows of attendees sat down listening

Goal 5: Travel  

8) Travel internationally: SUCCESS!

This goal seems so obvious considering I’m a travel blogger! But before attending Traverse, I hadn’t travelled outside of the UK since November 2019. Planning to travel internationally whilst we were in the second year of a pandemic felt like a big ask.

Nonetheless, when I was crafting my vision board in the summer of 2020, I had high hopes for the world opening back up again, setting my sights on travelling to the Maldives, Finland and Venice. I admit now, this was very naive of me!

Obviously, these plans were squashed as the pandemic continued into 2021. But as the vaccination programme rolled out and borders began opening again, I was able to take one (that’s right – one!!) international trip to Spain.
⁣It felt AMAZING to be somewhere (anywhere!) new again and I loved exploring Palma’s gorgeous Mediterranean streets and gothic architecture. But visiting Castell de Bellver (Palma’s 13th century Arabic fortress) was by far my favourite thing to do!⁣

As the Omicron variant has spread in recent weeks, it’s unclear what affect this will have on the travel industry. However I’m still hopefully for more international travel in 2022.

Score: 1/1

Mel posing against at the top of Palma Fort with Palma harbour in the background

Goal 6: Relationships  

9) Book time in with friends every week: SUCCESS!

Before the pandemic I used to catch up with friends on a regular basis. Dinners out, nights out, weekends away, you name it, I was there!

This year, I wanted to recommit to these regular catch ups as soon as we were allowed out again. And I did just that!

I’d missed all my friends so much during lockdown. It doesn’t matter how many Zoom chats you arrange; it’s just not the same as being with the people you love in person. Although we did have fun with an online murder mystery for my birthday!

Once full lockdown had finished in the UK, I scheduled catch ups every single week with friends. And despite only being able to travel out of the country once this year, I still managed lots of staycations. With weekends in Bath, London, Liverpool and Newcastle as well as hiking in the peak district with my boys.

Here’s to retaining our normal social lives in 2022!

Score: 1/1

Mel and friends smiling during a hike on a sunny day

10) Move out: SUCCESS! 

When I set the goal to move out of the city centre, I wrote about it being bitter sweet. I loved living in the centre of Manchester. But after a year of lockdowns and tiers (plus actual tears!) living in a small space, I was just ready for something else. 

Fast forward nine months and I don’t even miss it!

My plan was to spend a final year in the city centre and then move in with my boyfriend. Instead, I got fed up sharing a small space 24/7 when we all started working from home. My roommate also deciding to move his girlfriend into our already cramped flat with us rent-free was also a sticking point. Oh the joys of flat sharing!

But I’m a firm believer that sometimes things have to fall a part to fall in the right place. Unknowingly, it led to one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I moved into my very own place just outside the city centre in Chorlton and absolutely love it!

I love having a flat to myself and Chorlton is such a great place to live. It’s the perfect compromise; I get the quiet and green space of the suburbs whilst staying close to the social scene. There’s independent shops, trendy bars and a load of vegan food places on my doorstep.  

Chorlton is also only 15 minutes on a tram to town. So nights out, shopping and meeting up with friends after work are easily accessible, which has worked out amazingly!

I’ll be getting ready to move again shortly. But more on that in my next post!

Score: 1/1

Mel sat on the floor smiling in front of a pile of boxes and personal possessions getting ready to move

Success rate: 8/10

All in all I managed to achieve 8 out of 10 of my goals for 2021; which isn’t bad at all!

Technically I could void my YouTube channel goal after having a change of heart but whose really counting?! 😂

It was really cathartic outlining my top 10 goals for 2021. I found that it kept me accountable as I checked in to remind myself what I was aiming for throughout the year.

I’m definitely going to do the same for 2022 and highly recommend it if you’re thinking about setting goals for 2022 too!

What were some of your goals for 2021? Which ones did you manage to tick off? Let me know in the comments below! 😊

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