It’s always nice to reflect on the past year before fully embracing the new one. I enjoy reading old blog posts and articles because it’s a great reminder of how I was feeling at the time and how much I’ve grown. Even though I didn’t write about everything, this year was a mix of highs and lows. But I learned a lot about myself, and the support network I surround myself with, as a result. Here are a few of my favorite things and lessons from 2016.
Friends: I’m grateful to have a great group of friends. This year showed me that it’s not necessarily about the length of time you’ve been friends. I’ve made new friends in the last two or three years that feel as close as some of my oldest friends.
Family: I love living near my parents. Unfortunately, my sister lives in Africa now, but the rest of us are all a short cab, bus, or subway ride away. I have dinner with my dad every Sunday and get breakfast with my mom often.
Elana Lyn: It was difficult to balance Elana Lyn, my writing, my full-time job, and having a social life. I decided to focus on quality over quantity and was more strategic about the type of content I post. My goal is to post one career-focused article, one Career Profile, and one wellness or lifestyle post a week. I also started investing in Elana Lyn more. I made site updates with Chloe Digital, took a Pinterest course with Melyssa Griffen that helped me increase my traffic, and signed up for stock photos from Blogettes. Elana Lyn also became an LLC!
Journalism: Around this time last year, I was writing articles for free, but now I charge. I have regular columns in Monster and Forbes and have also been published in Fortune, TIME, Business Insider, Fast Company, Refinery 29, The Huffington Post, POPSUGAR, Women’s Health, and Brit + Co. I’ve become a lot more confident about my writing and have become faster at writing and coming up with pitches.
Reading: I have a long commute from the Upper West Side to Williamsburg and have a lot of time to read newsletters and books. I started getting library books which meant that I read even more because I have less time to finish each book. My favorite books this year were: The Nightingale, Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice & Build Your Dream Life, The Hopefuls, The Knockoff, The After Party, What She Knew, The Ramblers, The Kind Worth Killing, Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, and Modern Lovers.
Changes: I usually dislike change and this year there was a lot of change. As tough as changes can be beforehand and at the time, they can lead you to be much happier as a result. This year I moved apartments and settled in at my new-ish job.
Bikini Body Guide: I completed BBG round one and am on round two now!I feel stronger, healthier, and empowered. I was in a workout rut and wasn’t seeing results and, instead of being upset about it, I decided to do something about it. It’s a perfect reminder that self-love and self-care are crucial and that it’s important to take “me” time even when you are balancing multiple jobs and responsibilities. There is also a great community of BBG women on Instagram and it’s been fun having people leave encouraging comments on my posts and vice versa. The workouts are tough — really tough— but you feel really accomplished when you finish the 28-minute workout.
Gluten-Free: I saw a nutritionist because I wasn’t feeling well and started being gluten-free. My skin is clearer and I’m a lot less lethargic. If you are in NYC, I really recommend By the Way Bakery because they have the best gluten-free baked goods.
Work: I am lucky to have a great group of kind and talented coworkers who are supportive of my work and my writing. I also got two new clients, took on a lot more responsibility, and got a promotion!
Standing Up for Myself: I try to find the primary theme for every year, and last year was definitely improving my ability to stand up for myself. It’s still a work in progress, but I learned to advocate for myself, put my happiness first more often, and ask for what I deserve both personally and professionally.
What did you learn this year?