And just like that, we’re nearing the end of 2021! Although for me personally, it was another gloomy year tainted by uncertainty and a string of emotional lows, I still can’t help but feel somewhat nostalgic and reflective as it draws to a close.
After careful consideration, I chose not to write a proper ‘year in review’ post for the second time in a row. As I delved back into the past twelve months on my camera roll, I quickly observed that my 2021 was mostly made up of little snippets of joy that helped me keep my head above water and get through this mess of a year.
It wasn’t all bad though. I became more financially stable than ever, my long-term blogging goals – slightly clearer, and I’ve had one of the most successful years in terms of travel (more on that later…). Despite all the hardships, the point I’m currently at I could only dream of just a couple of years ago. As I’m preparing to ring in 2022 with a bottle (or two) of bubbly at the ready, it’s time to revisit the things I was hoping to achieve in 2021. How well did I do? Let’s find out…
1. Grow my blog and social media – ❌
While I’m not at the level I was hoping to be by now, I’m not writing it down as a complete failure. Remember that mysterious number I teased in my 2020 goals and resolutions post? Well, I passed the 70% mark despite not doing much promotion or regular posting on my part! I’m learning that every single thing I do lays the foundation for where I ultimately want to be. As I look to other successful bloggers in the field, it’s clear there is no such thing as an overnight success. Rather, it takes years of showing up, putting in the work, and accepting that you may not be able to reap benefits until several years down the line.
In the second half of 2021, my work-life balance became muddled. In 2022, I don’t want to lose sight of what’s truly important to me – this blog and being able to create valuable content for you. I’m ready to put in more effort in the next 12 months. Hopefully, growth will eventually come with it.
2. Purchase a new lens for my camera – ❌
This next goal shifted and evolved as the year went on. It all began when I struck up a conversation with a really talented photographer. As we were exchanging experiences, they commented on how professional and ambitious my gear was. This one sentence, probably meant as a compliment, actually ended up shaking my belief in myself. What if they were right? I never wanted to be that all the gear, no idea person! What was I doing with that expensive equipment as an amateur who’s only shooting for the purpose of this blog? Shouldn’t I downgrade to something cheaper and more suited to my needs instead?
I nearly ended up selling my DSLR – the very same one that was one of my biggest goals for 2020. Thankfully, as I took my camera to new countries, it reminded me of how much joy photography brings me, which is all that should matter. To summarise, I’m not throwing in the towel just yet, but I’ve decided that a new lens will have to wait a little bit longer.
3. Go through my beauty stash – ✅
Now, finally something that I can tick off my list! Considering how frivolous I was with my beauty spending in the past, I’m really proud of myself this year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still partial to beauty hauls and an odd new release, but my beauty stash is finally becoming more manageable. What’s the point in having 20+ (yes, that is the actual number) body lotions at once? And do I really need to own most of the Soap & Glory range? (I really want to answer yes here, but I know using up what I already have is more reasonable!)
I still treated myself to a bunch of beauty products this year, but they were either items I ran out of, or genuinely have been wanting to try out for a while. If I can keep this up throughout 2022, I should finally narrow it down to the right size for me!
4. Lose that lockdown weight – ❌
When I got promoted to Junior Fashion Buyer in a ‘dynamically growing, prosperous’ department back in July, I had no idea this would mean working myself into the ground and compromising other aspects of my life just to stay on top of the workload. It completely wiped me out – I would come back home and spend whatever was left of my day either napping or watching Netflix. I felt lucky if I could squeeze in an occasional workout here and there, but it was nowhere near enough to get rid of that lockdown weight. I’m trying to be more compassionate towards my body after everything it has carried me through, but anyone who’s also struggling with body issues knows just how bumpy this journey can be!
5. Travel somewhere I’ve never been – ✅
Now on to the absolute highlight of 2021… After a year of changed plans and cancelled trips, I was very cautious about choosing any travel-related goals. I said I would be happy to visit at least one place I’d never been. Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed how many amazing new locations I would get to explore in 2021!
After nearly 2 years of not flying, at the end of August my work took me to Amsterdam. Getting paid to go shopping in a foreign country is a definite perk of the job, even more so in a place that’s been on my bucket list for ages! Understandably, I didn’t cover much ground when it comes to sightseeing, but my boyfriend and I are already planning a return trip in 2022.
At the beginning of September, we spent 10 days exploring Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. As we decided on both countries rather spontaneously, I had virtually no expectations from the trip. Well, it’s safe to say Bosnia completely won me over! From delicious food and a slower pace of life to the incredibly warm people everywhere we went, it was certainly one of my most memorable trips to date.
A month later, I got to tick another European capital off my bucket list – Budapest! I’ve always had a feeling I would love the city and this trip confirmed it, as Budapest instantly earned a spot on my top European destinations list. Finally, in mid-December we were up in the air again to continue our tradition of visiting German Christmas markets – this time in Düsseldorf and Cologne. If 2022 is even half as successful travel-wise, I’m going to be very happy indeed!
6. Improve my German language skills – ❌
When it comes to my final goal for the year, I sadly have to admit defeat. Getting a German coursebook is as far as I got – it has since been collecting dust on our desk. I still want to improve my language skills, so I will try to carve out some time for it in 2022. Hopefully by the time of our next Germany trip, I will pick up some more phrases I can then practise!
So, there you have it – all the things I was hoping to achieve in 2021! At first I genuinely feared writing this post, as I was worried I didn’t achieve that much. When I look at it now, I see just how challenging these past 12 months were and I’m proud of everyone that made it through the year, including myself. We live in scary and unprecedented times, and we’ve all had to navigate the ever-changing landscape and figure out our next steps as we went. So tonight, I’m raising a glass to that – may 2022 treat us with kindness and compassion, and finally be the year we’ve all been waiting for!