With only one sleep left until the end of this year, I would normally be writing my year-in-review post. I think I’m not just speaking for myself when I say we won’t be looking back on 2020 with fondness. Filled with loss, anxiety, and changed plans, it definitely wasn’t the start to the roaring twenties we’d envisioned it to be. For this reason, I decided to skip my round-up, but I thought it might still be interesting to revisit the goals and resolutions I set myself back in January. How many did I manage to tick off despite COVID-19 wreaking havoc on our lives? Keep reading to find out…
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1. Grow my blog and social media – ❌
Although I did not set myself any numerical goals, it goes without saying I failed miserably at this one. My mental health was all over the place throughout 2020, and I inadvertently took a break from my blog and social media. Home content was never my strong suit, and with my living situation in transition, it became even harder to get creative.
When lockdown was first introduced, I grabbed a bag of my possessions and went to stay with my boyfriend. It’s safe to say flatlay props weren’t my top priority at the time… By the end of May, we both decided it’d be best for me to move there permanently. I never bonded with my flatmates and it just made sense financially. Before I could inform anyone about my decision, I got a call from my landlords saying that they found a buyer for the flat, so I would have to move out anyway. It all worked out perfectly in the end, and two weeks later, my move was complete!
Although I drafted an occasional blog post here and there, my main focus was on simply surviving this year. While it was disheartening to see my follower count drop, I lacked the motivation to do anything about it. When I was writing my original post, I predicted this goal would appear on my list year in, year out… Turns out I was right! I’m ready to go into 2021 with new energy to give it another try – watch this space!
2. Save up for my dream camera – ✅
Now, on to some positive news… I absolutely smashed my next goal! Shortly before this entire mayhem started, I got a bonus at work that covered nearly the whole cost of getting a new camera! I also managed to sell my old one, which was more than enough to cover the rest. Sadly, as I mostly got out of the house to go to work, I didn’t get to test drive my new Canon 5D Mark IV properly. Still, owning one has been a huge dream of mine ever since I developed an interest in photography, so I’m grateful beyond words!
3. Create more varied content – ❌
In my original post, I expressed the desire to explore our local coffee scene. All cafés and restaurants were closed for a good part of the year, which prevented me from seeing it through. We made sure to support local establishments by ordering takeaway, but as a very visual person, a place’s decor is one of the deciding factors for me. It’s no secret that the hospitality industry has been unfairly targeted by the regulators. Once these chaotic restrictions are lifted, many of our favourite eateries are therefore unlikely to return.
Nobody knows what the food scene will look like when all this is over, but I’m not ready to call it a day yet. When we get a green light, I will be back with café and restaurant reviews. One of my New Year’s resolutions will also be going through my current beauty stash before adding to it. Altogether, this should hopefully make for more varied content in 2021!
4. Become more confident in my photography – ❌
I actually don’t think this one is a straight-up fail. I’ve been sourcing new props and tried to give flatlays my best shot. The result isn’t too shabby if I say so myself! I posted my creation to Instagram at the start of last month and the response has been generally positive.
Still, this style of photography isn’t something I feel fully comfortable with just yet. I’m well aware I have a long way to go, but I’m up for the challenge. The moment we stop learning, we stop growing, so I’ll probably always keep trying to raise the bar. I’m excited to see my photography evolve over the years, and you can be sure I’ll bring you along on this journey!
5. Complete a number of online courses – ✅
Although I’ve kept my full-time job throughout the pandemic, I still found myself with more time on my hands as we couldn’t travel or socialise. I used this time productively by taking loads of different courses. Digital marketing, photography, Google Analytics… I’ve done it all. I even got SEO-certified by the Blue Array Academy*! The only thing I haven’t done is find any valuable editing courses / tutorials. I did, however, pick up a useful Photoshop trick from my boyfriend and got slightly better at photo editing. I’ll take it as a win for now, but I’d still love to hear any recommendations you may have!
6. Refine my personal style – ❌
This one didn’t happen for several reasons. First of all, non-essential shops were closed for a couple of months. Even when they opened again, wearing a face mask indoors for a prolonged period of time took away all the joy of shopping for me. I have to wear one in the office (SO jealous of anyone who can work from home), and while I follow all the rules, I genuinely can’t wait for face masks to be a thing of the past.
What about shopping from the comfort of your home, I hear you ask? Although e-commerce has been flourishing lately, I just don’t like shopping for clothes online. Yes, I enjoy looking around and comparing different options, but I prefer to check the fit in person. Ain’t nobody got time for shipping stuff back and forth, and I find it rather wasteful too. And then, of course, there’s the fact that spending money on unnecessary things was one of the last things on my mind.
I did, however, become more reasonable when it comes to the amount of free clothes I take from work. I think twice before bringing a new piece home, and I donate anything I haven’t worn in a while. It’s all about these baby steps, and I believe I’m on the right track to curating my perfect closet. Just need a little more extra time…
7. Read at least 15 books – ✅
Another definite perk of having more free time at my disposal – I read 21 books this year! Something that helped massively was the fact that the weekend we first went into lockdown, a major Polish bookstore chain offered a free 6-month access to their eBook collection. I’m definitely the kind of person who prefers to hold an actual book in their hands, so I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. As a matter of fact, as soon as my free subscription ended, I paid for another 12 months! My list of books to read is as long as my arm, but any recommendations you may have are always welcome!
8. Watch at least 50 films – ✅
When it comes to the next resolution, I barely managed. I can’t help the fact that I find it hard to hold my focus for more than an hour at a time. While I enjoy an occasional movie night as much as the next person, I’m much more likely to binge watch different series on Netflix. It often takes more time than it would to watch a film, but I somehow find it way more manageable when it’s divided into smaller chunks. Still, I ticked it off and expanded my film horizons a little. Out of all the films I watched this year, my favourites are probably Joker, Lost in Translation, Shutter Island, and Bill Cunningham: New York!
9. Go on at least 5 trips – ❌
Well, this is rather self-explanatory, isn’t it? One thing I have to say is – be careful what you wish for, lest it come true! At the beginning of this year, I mentioned wanting to visit places that are practically on our doorstep. My wish was granted in a way, as distant travel became further out of reach.
Back in January, we spent a wonderful weekend visiting our friends in Warsaw. We had our trip to Kiev, including a tour of Chernobyl, planned for the middle of March. Thank goodness we listened to our gut instinct and didn’t get on that plane, as full lockdown was introduced the next day! My boyfriend and I spent the next several months playing tourist in our own city. We also explored places in our respective hometowns, or within short driving distance from them.
When the situation seemed somewhat more under control, we started talking about venturing out of the country again. After careful consideration, we chose to spend 7 days in Vilnius and Riga. However, in true 2020 fashion, our plans fell through 3 weeks before the departure date when Lithuania and Latvia introduced mandatory quarantine for visitors from Poland.
Not letting it discourage us (although I admit I was very close to quitting), we started thinking on our feet and came up with another idea. Finally, we ended up visiting Wrocław, Dresden, and Berlin between August and September, and have stayed put since. Trust me, this experience gave me a newfound appreciation for travel, and I can’t wait to be back on the road again!
If you’re thinking about travelling again, but don’t quite know where to start, I included some useful travel planning tips here:
How I Planned My First Trip Since Lockdown
A few final words…
I realise many people might find it triggering to read about others’ achievements, so I would like to summarise this post by saying that 2020 has been a nightmare of a year. Even if all you did was make it to December, that’s worthy of a celebration alone. It’s a privilege that many don’t have anymore.
But, to end on a positive note, tell me one thing you’re proud of or grateful for this year – no matter how big or small! I’m looking forward to reading all your responses and I’m sending you lots of love and light in these challenging times!