Whether you love the start of a shiny new year or January 1 is just another day on the calendar, it’s easy this time of year to get caught up in the excitement around creating a fresh start.
(Totally guilty here. I love me any excuse for new beginnings!)
No matter your approach — call them resolutions, goals or intentions, or perhaps you select one word to guide your year — the sentiment is the same.
Though my opinion on “resolutions” has changed over time, I still look at the new year as an opportunity to re-evaluate, check in and prioritize for the coming year.
My stance on New Year’s resolutions
It’s no secret that for years, I’ve been back and forth on my stance about new year’s resolutions or goals.
Each year, I consider what’s going to work best for me for the coming year. For example:
- Last year in 2018, I selected nine goals that naturally fell into three categories — blog, business and personal life.
- In 2017, I decided there were no rules — I purposely chose not to set any type of goal or intention for the year.
- In 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013, instead of setting goals, I selected three words to guide my year.
And this year? I’m sticking with what I did in 2018 — because it worked! I’m setting nine goals total, falling into those same categories — blog, business and personal.
My 2019 goals
Here’s a little secret about how I create goals: I didn’t think too hard about them.
Over the past week or so, I’ve done some reflecting, and when I sat down at my computer, these are the nine goals that flowed naturally. The nine goals that felt aligned with how I’m feeling at the moment and how I want to feel in 2019.
Let’s get to it!
- Build community. When I launched JessicaLawlor.com back in 2012, I knew I wanted more than just to blog — I wanted to build a community of likeminded people to share stories and support and root for one another. Over the years, I’ve changed, as has my blog and my goals for the blog, especially as I launched my business, JL&Co. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is my desire to create community. While the desire hasn’t changed, my priorities did, and unfortunately, this one took a bit of a backseat as I worked on building my brand and business. In 2019, I want to bring that sense of community back to this space. I’m not sure exactly what this looks like just yet, but I’m excited to see it start to take shape.
- Utilize my redesigned website and blog to the fullest. After completing my 2018 goal of redesigning this very website, one of my major goals for 2019 is to make sure I’m using the rebranded site to the fullest to get the most out of it I possibly can. Since I invested so much time, energy and money into the site last year, I really want to see that work pay off this year. However, I know the saying, “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t apply when it comes to websites. If I want people to find my site and get value from it, I have to put in the effort. This means regular content planning, blogging consistently (I’m aiming for 3-4 posts/month again), spending more time sharing and promoting content on social media, email marketing and diving deeper into the world of affiliate marketing.
- Refocus email marketing efforts. Even though I know email marketing is important (and a great strategy for community building!), it hasn’t always been at the tippy-top of my priority list. For the past several years, I’ve dutifully sent out a newsletter to my email list every two weeks, and while this approach is fantastic and I love the replies I get from the community, I know there’s more I can be doing! In 2019, I plan to develop an email sequence for new subscribers — this is something I’ve wanted to do for awhile, but have pushed to the backburner. I also hope to grow my list by 10 percent and increase my list’s average open rate. (P.S. Are you on the list? You can sign up over in the side bar!)
- Reshape the work I take on to align more closely with the lifestyle I want to achieve. One of the main reasons I quit my 9-5 to start my own business was so that I could choose the type of work I want to do, where I work from and the people I want to work with. I wanted a life filled with more flexibility. In 2018, I found myself saying yes to opportunities that didn’t always align with my overall goals for JL&Co — point blank, I found myself chasing money rather than chasing the right opportunities. In the end, this never turned out well. In 2019, I want to intentionally shape the work the JL&Co team takes on. To do this, I plan to confidently and respectfully decline projects that aren’t a fit and work hard to attract and pursue projects that are. My goal is to bring on another content management client a la current clients Muck Rack and The Write Life, land more short-term PR strategy projects and continue to earn more bylines by writing for sites and outlets I love.
- Earn $100K. Last year I set a very lofty goal to earn six figures from my business. I fell short of this goal in 2018 (more to come on why I failed to achieve this goal in my annual State of JL&Co post in February), but I know I can make this a reality in 2019. The lessons I learned last year have made me a smarter business owner, and I feel confident in once again publicly setting this goal. Take two!
- Grow my team. Bringing on a team member two years ago was the single smartest decision I’ve made since starting JL&Co. Rachel has been an incredibly important part of JL&Co’s growth. Together, we’ve been able to complete more than I ever thought possible, and I’m so excited to grow the team in 2019. My plan is to bring on another contractor for the next few months (and potentially longer). I also plan to grow my extended team by continuing to work with my website designer, and potentially bring on other experts in certain areas (SEO, design, Pinterest) to assist with specific one-off projects to help JL&Co thrive.
- Be more thoughtful and intentional in my relationships. After setting and accomplishing a goal to make new friends in 2018, this year I want to focus on really nurturing those new (and old) friendships and relationships. I want to work on being a better friend, family member and partner. For me, this will look like dedicating time to get birthdays and important dates on my calendar so I can send cards and acknowledge special days. It will look like setting up more phone or in-person dates with friends to stay in touch and continue building relationships. It will include more time spent with my family. This goal was inspired by a few very unfortunate circumstances — after seeing a lot of sadness and loss for those around me in 2018, I want to fully embrace and appreciate the time I have with those I love the most.
- Practice patience. Lately I’ve found myself being very reactive and quick to get annoyed or angered by something someone says, emails or something I read online. I’ve found myself with a shorter fuse than normal. In 2019, I want to focus on taking a step back when something bothers me and thinking before reacting. I want to really ask myself: Is this worth getting worked up over? Can I take another approach? Besides this mindset shift, which will definitely be a work in progress, I plan to get back into a regular yoga practice and choose inspiring books and podcasts that help me achieve this goal. If you have any recommendations, I’m all ears!
- Continue my health/fitness journey. Once again, I’m not setting any type of fitness or weight loss goal, as I find it’s often a recipe for disappointment. However, I am repeating my goal to simply continue on my personal health journey that I started two years ago. Since 2018 began, I started meeting with a nutritionist who has taught me so much about real food — I want to continue my good habit of meal planning and prepping with food that fuels me, limit drinking to weekends only and continue my workout schedule (at least two days of yoga/week and three days of cardio/strength training).
Here’s to 2019! Let’s make it a year to remember.