We made it – Happy New Year! 🎉
The last 12 months have been insane. ICYMI: You can read 5 main lessons I learnt from 2017 here.
At the start of 2017, I decided to give the year a name, something that was inspired by the Bullet Journalling community. The point was that the word would be the “theme” for the year, a focus, grounding point if you like. My choice of “Potential” was spot on. So, before we dive into the new year, I wanted to quickly look back at 2017…
Jump to sections:
- 2017 “Resolutions” I achieved
- Other 2017 Highlights
- 2018 – Building upon foundations & year goals
2017 “RESOLUTIONS” I ACHIEVED:
1) Let go – Fully and truly. Thank you, space bear.
2) Don’t rush into things – This referred to a lot of things in my life but when I wrote it, I was mainly referring to relationships.
This year I focused on not rushing especially after a tough break up and just embraced being single for a while. Although I had my moments of feeling lonely, I honestly feel like I “have found” and “built” myself up again by just doing what I do and not expecting anything.
The saying that the right people gravitate towards you is SO true.
I am now in a loving relationship that has such a supportive foundation (he’s my biggest fan after myself.) 👫
3) Taking my mental and physical health seriously – I can officially say that I dedicated one hour 5-6 days EVERY WEEK to work out for a whole year. I saw dramatic results in strength and stamina! August marked my 1 year of bringing this positive habit into my life. As always, I thank my dad for being my biggest inspiration and supporter.
If you followed me on Instagram and my kept up with my stories, you’d know quite well that a workout selfie was posted every morning without fail. #Accountability, right? I’ve enjoyed sharing my progress and inspiring others to take control of their health!
- Practice gratitude frequently – Not as consistent as exercising, but I have a few logs each month on things I am grateful for using my Five Minute Journal. I also did this every month with my round-up posts on a section of 3 things that made me happy.
- Continue meditation practice – Still going strong. Thank you, Calm. Honestly, the most life-changing app I have ever used (and no surprise to me that they were crowned App of The Year!) I have learnt so much about myself and my emotions – I’ve gotten a lot better controlling my negative, reactive emotions and my understanding of mindfulness has deepened.
- Keep eating clean, healthy, real food and learn how to cook better – I can now cook enough to not poison myself. Mindfulness has made me more aware of everything I’m putting in my body too. My body has never felt so nourished – I don’t just have chocolate and crisps as my meals for the day anymore!
- Become stronger, lift heavier and become more flexible – I will have to put my hands up and say, I didn’t commit to improving my flexibility because I was so focused on lifting heavier (crushed it! ✅) than spending time to stretch and do yoga slipped away from my priorities. This is something I’m keen to work on this year!
— Pauline P. Narvas ⚡️ (@paulienuh) June 18, 2017
Me after cooking it:
Wow, I can tick off my cook better goal.
Wow, I should write my own cook book.
And start my own show: cook w/ Paw!!! 🤔
— Pauline P. Narvas ⚡️ (@paulienuh) November 5, 2017
4) Fully embrace minimalism – Although I haven’t hit my goal of owning things that only fit into a backpack, I managed to get rid of a lot of the excess stuff.
Surprisingly, I haven’t bought new clothes (this obviously excludes sportswear 😅), shoes or bags (which were my weakness!)
I definitely feel lighter knowing I can fit all my things in my room rather than having storage places scattered around the house. I have massively improved and aim to one day (soon) become like Matt who is a real living and breathing minimalist.
5) Working on my blog –
- ✏️ Consistency: I successfully blogged every single week for a whole year with the only exception being in March when I was travelling. Writing and publishing content every week was challenging to begin with but has become very fun and rewarding – it’s helped improve my written communication skills and allowed me to connect with new bloggers!
- ✨ Spreading positive vibes and inspiration: I wanted to focus on my content not only being my own place to document key events of my life but also for others to see that if I can do something, they can too. I’ve had a lot more people reading my blog in 2017 with a lot of positive comments on how I’ve helped during a tough time or how my blog has helped motivate a lifestyle or mindset change. It’s very encouraging and drives me to continue doing what I do (it’s like a network of positive feedback 🌟), which brings me to…
- 📊 Stats: I’m not one for looking at blogging statistics because I will blog even if no one is reading (it will always be my favourite hobby!) but I’m so pleased with the growth in unique readers in 2017! Thank you for reading and sharing the love!
6) Give more – I gave most of my things away to family in the Philippines. I also started giving any spare pocket money to local businesses that have a great cause at heart, charities and crowdfunding I believe in.
I also continued my work with Code First: Girls and helped run free coding community courses in Sheffield to over 40 female students who had no coding experience. Some of them have gone on to do careers in tech or have used their new knowledge and applied it elsewhere. It’s always so rewarding to see students realise their potential!
Proud to be a part of such a positive community.
Exploration and Discovery
7) Travel – I explaw’ed more than I have ever done in my whole life, my perspectives and outlook on life have changed because of it.
My former self couldn’t get on a bus or a train without having a panic attack at the station. This year, I took several flights, trains, public transport in different places and could not feel anxiety cropping up instead pure excitement to discover and explore.
I went to the Lisbon, Amsterdam, Nice, Monaco, Fuerteventura, Milan and New York in 2017. Yep, the latter really really really did happen. I still can’t believe it. *squeals* In addition to my trips abroad, I did a lot of travelling in the UK – London, Leeds, Nottingham, Manchester, Crewe, Derby. 🇬🇧
I’m so thankful for the opportunities this year to explore beyond my little town.
8) Step out of my comfort zone, more often – Initially wrote this about going to hackathons but not only did I go to a few hackathons, immersed myself in the global community and now organising one myself, I also:
- Started putting myself out there. On a stage. In front of people. I did my first public speaking gig at Sheffield Ruby User Group where I spoke about building inclusive communities, my second talk was about communicating for impact where I spoke about this blog (I never thought I’d be talking about my blog in real life, ever) and then I did a couple of talks at GitHub Field Day. I took this online too. I started “working out loud” and it’s been recognised in numerous ways.
- Attended conferences and events – sometimes alone! I wouldn’t have had the courage to travel and attend events in a room full of strangers in the past. These events involved a lot of networking. *shudders* It’s terrifying but I’ve gotten better at it from working full-time over the 2016/17 academic year (I learnt well from my awesome line manager.) I’ve made a huge number of meaningful connections professionally and life-long friends too.
👩🏻💼 Professional Growth
Early 2016, I worked very hard to secure a placement year and after SO MANY rejections, I managed to get one for the academic year 2016/17 where I worked as a Communications and External Engagement Assistant for the University of Sheffield. You can find my “checkpoint” posts and my overall reflection here.
TL:DR: I got so much from the placement year including transferable skills, friends, connections and grew overall into a well rounded, employable individual. I feel much more confident and ready to take on the graduate world!
Once I completed my placement year in summer 2017, I went on two more placements in the tech industry where I had a varied role from front-end development to digital communications. I even got to feature on a podcast!
Both experiences gave me the chance to explore different industries and roles which has given me an idea of what I want to do once I graduate.
I started doing freelance work this year – for web development and content creation for different groups at the University of Sheffield. I’ve enjoyed fitting these activities which I do anyway for my own work for others, I’ve learnt a lot along the way too!
I wanted to continue working part-time alongside my studies because I think that it is a very valuable part of my university experience (for me anyway.) Thankfully, I secured one at the University that isn’t in retail like I haven’t been the past two years.
The team I’m working with and the environment has loads of learning opportunities; I’ve picked up some things about entrepreneurship since joining!
I’m very grateful for the recognition I’ve received this year! For my placement year, I was nominated then shortlisted for the National Employability Awards 2017 and nominated for two Northern Power Women awards – “One to Watch” and “Person with Purpose” for the work I’ve done in the tech scene.
During my placement year, I led a project on raising awareness of green initiatives at the University and ended up winning 3 awards for it and was on the University’s website for a while… It felt pretty good!
— Pauline ⚡️ready for 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣8️⃣⚡️ (@paulienuh) June 13, 2017
👭Meeting online friends and building better relationships
I met some long-time blogging friends in London and Manchester this year – Chynna, Mutay, Micah, Holly and Amy – and took our friendships away from the screens, we hung out, had Italian, ice cream, the best açai bowl and I now read their blogs in their proper voices and accents 😆
I also met some of my online friends that I initially followed on social media through various events and elsewhere e.g. CFGConf17 at Twitter HQ, at the gym, on the way home after work (Tasneem recognised me, hi!) I’ve met some incredible like-minded people in 2017 and developed friendships that come from genuine connection (interests etc.) rather than the people who are just in the same city! I also met up with long-time friends from school and re-kindled connections. I’m so very grateful.
For my 21st, I was reminded how loved I am.
Matt surprised me with a book that reminds me exactly that every day. I also celebrated my birthday in New York, in the most extra way possible with my first Broadway show and first private plane ride as the sun was setting in NY!
Hands down, THE best day of my life so far.
🎨 Creative Expression
I dipped my toes in filming and video editing in 2017 when words on a blog post just couldn’t cut it. I found this especially when I travelled…
At the end of 2017, I started expanding beyond travelling, including videos on health and well-being, science, tech, my public speaking gigs and daily life. I also did a few video features for example with SheNomads, Women in Tech SnapChat and The University of Sheffield.
- I learnt to be as accepting and loving to myself. I learnt what self-love and care actually mean and discovered how to find happiness in myself, not in others. It’s so freeing 😊
- Claimed “Pawsitivity”
- Launched PaulineNarvas.com
- Created a moment with the collection of all the nice things people have said about me. I also have a folder on my desktop!
- Organised my Instagram posts: #Explaw, #MattLine, #PawDahTravels, #PawGainz.
- Went to Gymshark’s pop-up event in London and met my fitspos!
To my 2017 inspirers, THANK YOU. SO. MUCH.@_mattburman @camerondare @dasilvacontin @levelsio @AJA_Cortes @CodeFirstGirls @tzenszen @nishimurahiroko @woolleygriffin1 @bryonyolney @gymshark @whitneyysimmons @georgiecel @xcarlyboo @Teeisms + Cherry 🍒
Totally incomplete 😉💞 https://t.co/8wLnFilGLz
— Pauline ⚡️ready for 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣8️⃣⚡️ (@paulienuh) December 29, 2017
I couldn’t fit everyone in this tweet, there are SO many people I want to thank for their cheer.
But I quickly want to add to the list: my parents.
Gosh, where do I even start?
Maybe with the glass of green happiness, I’m greeted with every morning made by my mom or my dad’s presence when I get a little too ambitious with weight lifting or their constant guidance and wisdom on my choices in life.
Just over a year ago, I was in my worse state. I lost touch with myself. I was ready to quit everything. My parents refused to let me slip away. They did EVERYTHING to help. They lifted me back up every time I tried to climb and fell. I am so grateful for them for ensuring that I shine as brightly as I can. 🙏🏻
2018 – Building upon the foundations
2017 was quite a year for me. I think a lot of people like to think that things just go your way sometimes but isn’t that far from the truth? I went into the new year last year with an actionable game plan, I held myself accountable, reflected, changed and actioned my goals throughout those 12 months.
2018 is another gift for me to fail, try again and succeed with this game plan. Another year for me to improve and grow, to explore and discover. I’m excited. I’m ready for the significant changes are happening ahead…
- 👩🏻🎓 Graduation – Sometime mid-June, I will have finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Sheffield. It’s only a few months away but hell, it’s going to be a bumpy ride to the end like it has been since I started my final year. But you know what? I’ve gone through tougher months, hit me! 😏
- 💫 Life after Graduation – This is so scary, but at the same time, I’m so excited to see what opportunities are out there in terms of career and life generally (moving? having more responsibility!), for me to explore, be challenged and grow an understanding of myself.
This year’s goals
1) LEVEL 🆙 on Mission: Live Healthiest & Happiest Life 💪🏼
- Lift heavier. I want to beat the numbers of what I’m currently lifting significantly by the end of the year.
- Improve overall strength, stamina and build muscle. – work on reducing lower belly fat and improving abdominal strength.
- I. WILL. BECOME. MORE. FLEXIBLE.
- Continue self-care rituals I’ve built over the last year.
- Focus on getting enough sleep.
- Complete current Grace Fit Guide (I’m on round 2 of the second guide but will be purchasing the new guide after!) during the week, add ab workout at the end of each workout (aim for 3 a week, I know working abs sucks)
- Meal plan. Focus on high-protein, nutritious meals. Reduce sugar intake – still adjusting after Christmas! 😅
- Stop skipping stretches after each workout and add an additional session of yoga – aim for once a week.
- Create an evening routine and STICK TO IT
- Being as kind to myself as possible – it’s OK if I’m not always on top of my game. Nobody always is.🤗
- Remember why I started: for health. Appearance follows. Focus on what is important and that is health! 💙
2) Avoid setting up camp in the comfort zone 🌟
- Continuing to step up to doing more speaking gigs to share my ideas and have my voice heard! Remember you don’t need to be an expert to get up on stage and talk.
- Filming, editing and publishing video content on YouTube.
- Push on the future (career – applications etc. and life – independence)
- Speaking up about how much value I can bring i.e. how work I did at x at one point was awesome, never ever sell yourself short. Working out loud and communicating it well is how you get places.
3) Be in control of 💰
…so that I can travel more and keep exploring because there’s still so much to see!!!! OUR WORLD IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!
- Stop mindlessly eating out. Cooked meals and prepared snacks are so much better!
- At the end of 2017, I was lucky enough to secure various income streams. I want to take advantage of what I’m earning now and putting more into savings and spending less overall.
- Try Hiro’s money saving tips and challenges!
- Before buying something, check if there are deals elsewhere – make good of use being a student to my advantage.
4) Making the most out of time ⏰
I’m sure we feel like this all the time, but how does time go by so fast?! It’s crazy how those 12 months of 2017 passed, although I remember most of it, there were blurs. This year, I want to commit to “living in the moment” more often and making the most of the time I have:
Is what I am doing right now – e.g. scrolling aimlessly on social media – getting me anywhere? How could I make better use of my time? If scrolling through social media is the best way to make use of time at that moment, then cool. But there are most definitely other things! So in 2018, I want to use free time to mindfully as possible:
- Spend more time with my family. They’re my Rocks.
- Have coffee, catch-up and hang out with the cool kids who support me every day💖 (doesn’t have to be a meeting, can be a quick call!)
- Read books! Reading means more knowledge. More knowledge to apply elsewhere = growth.
- Learn something new e.g. new coding tricks!
- Play around my blog, change things, edit things, explore other blogs and connect with other people
5) Declutter ⬛️⬜️
- Donate clothes I just don’t wear anymore – let it go!
- Stop buying gym clothes. Apart from that one, maybe. BUT SERIOUSLY. I HAVE ENOUGH.
- Reduce possessions.
- Tidy online clutter as you go because it can build up quickly!
- Ask yourself this: Would this item go with me when I travel? If not, you can most likely survive without it.
6) Continue what I’ve started 🌌
- Keep going to events and networking
- Pawsitivity in Life 🌟
- Documenting and blogging 🚀
- Do less, but better.
Now I say this all the time, but goals are flexible. You’ve seen in my “Month, For Me” round-up posts, I have goals that change throughout the year, I add new ones when certain things crop up in life. This open, flexible approach has worked very well for me.
Setting goals should never be restricted to the 1st of January. Go crazy. Keep yourself accountable, hit them, build momentum and boom: [Name Chant, Name Chant], you’re so amazingggg!
This time last year, I wrote on Instagram:
One Day or Day One. Your choice.
I chose Day One and now, I’m Day 366 days in. Imagine what could be achieved in the months to come – bring it on 2018!