Well, hello there 33, how you doin’? Yes, today folks I turned 33. And it’s been a long-ass year in the lead up to it. But now I have joined the “lockdown birthday club” I’ve never felt more like we’re all in this together!
There I was last year on the first and only flight I would take in 2020. About to enjoy a weekend in Devon glamping and sipping champagne in a hot tub not knowing that just one month later we would go into lockdown. I was grateful I had the chance to properly celebrate my birthday and I wondered whether I should let 33 pass me by as a year later…we’re still in lockdown!
But then I got thinking, this is exactly why I should celebrate. It’s a privilege to grow older and after this pandemic is over we’ve all got a lot of life to live! From there my whole perspective changed and I embraced 33 with a knowing nod and decided to focus on everything I wanted to achieve this year.
I know many of us were hoping that 2021 was going to be a fresh start after the garbage fire of 2020 (and no one more than me!). But as lockdown is set to continue until the end of the month at least, this is the perfect time to dream, prepare and plan for what will at the very least be an improvement on last year, not just for those celebrating a birthday but for everyone looking forward to life on the other side.
I hope this post inspires you to think of what goals you’d like to set yourself this year and what plans you’re going to put in place to make 2021 a great year.
Goal 1: Health and wellness
1) Shift my lockdown weight
2020 has been a heavy year but for me in a very literal sense, 2020 was the year I got hea-vy! During lockdown and the endless months of sitting on one’s arse I went from gaining the “Quarantine 15” to just fully letting go and gaining over two stone.
Last year I ate whatever got me through the long work days and months on end 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.
After a year of long, stress-filled days at work and an ongoing pandemic, the weight just kept creeping on. But now it’s time to change. I do want to stress though that I feel like this is less about the numbers on the scale and more about dealing with what led to this weight gain in the first place: bad food choices, no exercise and poor work-life balance.
These are all things that I’ve already begun trouble shooting, starting with small things like exercising more and taking the dogs out for longer walks, which brings me to my next goal…
2) Do another half marathon
I’ve always loved running and done two half marathons before. I even managed to knock half an hour off my first time with minimal training for the second one after losing all that weight in 2019. However, as outlined in part une of this post, I’m not going to be as lucky this time round!
A part from finding a new love of hiking (at points when it was permitted) and taking my dogs for a walk in the local park I did NO exercise in 2020. My hat goes off to all those who followed Joe Wicks’ home workouts during the first lockdown, I was just not there for it!
To help give me a goal towards better fitness whilst keeping myself accountable I’d like to do another half marathon this year and decrease my finish time even further.
If you’re interested in running your own first half marathon, I highly recommend it. It’s such a buzz and gives you a tremendous feeling of accomplishment!
Goal 2: Finances
3) Max out my LISA allowance before the new tax year
Gosh this sounds SO adulty. I feel you yawning through the screen! But at 33 I’m finally fed up of renting now and want to save up for my own place.
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 off of what you have put in and is 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!
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! My only regret is that I didn’t open my LISA sooner and just start putting a little away each month so that when I was ready to buy, my nest egg would be there waiting for me.
I always associated owning a place with being tied down and I was never sure what I wanted to do or where I would go next. Buying property for me to potentially change my mind shortly afterwards just didn’t make sense. Now I just see it for the investment it is. I can still travel the world but have a base that is all my own…and increasing in value whilst it’s sat there!
Goal 3: Work
4) Take the next step in my career
When I came back from travelling towards the end of 2019, I managed to snag what I thought would be the perfect job for me which 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 personally 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 started working from home. I still miss impromptu drinks in the pub on Friday nights, office banter and team lunches. But now, where I felt I missed out before, I feel like I have very much gained.
I decided to move on and I’m so pleased to say that I have already achieved this goal! Last month I started a brand-new role as a Digital Campaigns and Communications Officer with a global health advocacy charity based in London and I’m loving 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 even in a small way. And there’s no better time to join a global health advocacy organisation than in the middle of a pandemic!
What’s also fantastic about my new 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!
I also feel so mentally refreshed from this new professional challenge and I’m so grateful for it because it’s really helped me to keep me focussed and motivated through this last lockdown.
Goal 4: Blogging
5) Update the blog at least once a week
In my post, ‘Why I took a year off break ups, backpacking and beginning again’ I talked open and honestly as to why I had taken a year off blogging (it’s a juicy one, I would definitely go check it out after this!). The post was written during the first lockdown, which was the perfect time to return to blogging because with no social life or commute to work I had evenings and weekends free to work on the blog.
Through the first lockdown I managed to post every Monday until the stresses of work began to take their toll and the UK spent the next year in and out of tier systems and further lockdowns. It just got too much.
But now with a new job that which allows me to have a designated blogging day every week, I have rekindled this goal and plan to build from one blog post a week to two. From there I hope to start adding in video content. Which leads me onto my next goal…
6) Restart my YouTube channel
I’ve not posted any videos on YouTube for almost two years now and it’s purely been down to time. This year after I have built on my goal of posting one to two posts per week, I want to start producing a new video every week.
Even though I’ve not been posting any videos, I’ve filmed every trip I’ve been on over the last two years, including the six months I took to do nothing but travel! I have so much content to share with you and can’t wait to revive my channel. If you give me a cheeky sub in the meantime that would be awesome 😉
7) Go to a blogger event
I haven’t attended a blogger event since Icelolly’s Blog at the Beach event in 2019 and I miss them so much! I always have such a good time catching up with old blogger friends who are normally scattered across the UK when they’re at home but for the most part scattered all across the globe. This is the only downside of being a travel blogger!
I’m planning to attend the UK blogger conference, Traverse this year which will be taking place in November in Mallorca. I have everything crossed it will go ahead! It’s a great way to invest in your skills, boost campaign opportunities and get re-inspired. Plus, there’s always a cracking night out and fun local activities outside of the conference to get involved in with your blogger pals too!
Goal 5: Travel
8) Travel internationally!
Oh, to travel internationally again. This one seems so obvious considering I’m a travel blogger but I’ve not travelled outside of the UK since November 2019 so the thought of travelling internationally again sounds like a huge ask.
Nonetheless when I was crafting my vision board last summer, I had high hopes for the world opening back up again and planned the following top three experience for 2021:
1) Stay in a water villa in the Maldives – I’ve always wanted to stay in one of those super cool huts where you can jump right into the sea from the edge of your hut. Just sun, sand and nothing but clear blue waters for miles. The Maldives has been a long-time dream destination for me and I was hoping (and still am!) 2021 is the year.
2) Stay in an igloo in Finland – I was lucky to see the Northern Lights when I visited Iceland a few years ago but I would love to see them from beneath a warm fuzzy blanket in my own igloo whilst looking up at the stars. Whilst I’m there I would also love to go dog sledding, have an authentic sauna experience and meet Father Christmas too!
3) Spend a romantic weekend in Venice – My boyfriend booked Venice for our first anniversary which was eventually cancelled due to the pandemic last August. Now it just seems comical we held out hope from the time he booked it in February until the August that we’d still be able to go but it just wasn’t possible. Let’s hold out hope for our second anniversary!
Obviously, these plans have been put on hold again but as the vaccine is being rolled out as I type I hope we can take just one of these trips before the end of the year.
Goal 6: Relationships
9) Book time in with friends every week
A mid-week dinner catch-up, a few drinks in the pub after work on Friday or a weekend away…anything and everything! This was something I did before the pandemic but I want to recommit to it this year as soon as we’re allowed out again.
I’ve missed all my friends so much the last year and it doesn’t matter how many Zoom chats, quizzes or murder mysteries you arrange, it’s just not the same as being with the people you love in person.
I will say I’ve been quite good at keeping in touch with my nearest and dearest during the last year. Especially as we’ve been forced to stay at home, we’ve had even more time spare to ring and catch up with friends or arrange a Zoom call.
Warning to all my mates: You can all expect to be squeezed extra tight and not to be let go of during our first meeting. I don’t care if your food is going cold or you need to take a swig of your pint…you can do it whilst hugging me.
10) Move out
This goal is so bitter sweet. I love the centre of Manchester and have lived amongst the hustle and bustle of the city since I was a student. But after a year of lockdowns and tiers (and factoring in actual tears!) in a very small space, I’m just ready for something bigger.
My boyfriend and I moved in together for the first lockdown when support bubbles weren’t allowed and I really enjoyed it. But at this point we had only been together a few months and neither of us were ready to make the leap that soon in. Fast forwarding a year, talks are now in full swing and we’re hoping to move in together within the next year.
As a precursor to us moving in together, Joe cleared out the back bedroom (which I’ve had my eye on making my own for months!) and began decorating it into a blogging office for me as a birthday surprise. Before its’ makeover it housed unused gym equipment, dog crates and junk from yesteryear and was such a waste of a room.
Amongst the random items though was an old fashioned door that originally came with the house which I wanted to repurpose into something cool. Well as part of my birthday surprise Joe built me a desk with the the old door and I love it! It’s so unique and different and fits perfectly in the new office.
I can’t wait to start buying furniture and putting all my travel prints up, stay tuned friends!
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to a final year of city centre living and hopefully the lifestyle I’ve signed up to go with it once the pandemic is over!
What are some of your goals for 2021? 😊