Yesterday marked the day I turn 25.
Which is pretty damn scary.
Reaching a quarter century has inevitably provoked some self reflection, especially after a rather difficult couple of years, in which I have had to recover from a breakdown and get back on my feet.
Here is my list of 25 goals I have set myself for my 25th year!
1. Give something back
Despite volunteering for various organisations back in my teenage days, I have never quite been able to carve out the time to really start again, particularly ever since finishing university and starting the businesses.
This coming year, I really want to commit to giving at least a couple of hours every two weeks to a good cause, though hopefully this will end up being more as time goes on!
I want to explore new places/cultures/landscapes as much as possible, whether it's here in the UK or further afield.
I'm extremely lucky to be kicking this off with a trip to Rome at the beginning of January!
3. Write well and write often
I'm not exactly convinced I have a novel in me, however I do think there is something incredibly comforting in carving out a slice of your day to sit down and write.
I have found that my written confidence has taken a real dive since graduating, which is probably down to the fact that I am no longer forced to be an essay factory.
I'm hoping that if I sit down to write something everyday, no matter how long or short, I will get some of my written mojo back!
Whether this will manifest in constant blog posts (as it is at the moment) or something else, I'm not sure.
4. Build up my running stamina to 10km again.
After a rather disastrous episode involving my knees, no strengthening exercises, 40km of running a week, plus minimal warming up and stretching, I have been pretty much unable to run more than 1km for the past year.
Having spent the last year building up my knee strength through weight bearing exercises, I can now safely start to get back out there and build up my running stamina again!
I'm up to a comfortable feeling 5km now, in a reasonably decent time, so the next steps are to work on getting faster and going out for longer.
5. Continue with all the good fitness work of last year - slow and gradual improvements win the race!
Having lost 4 stone over 2 years and then keeping it off for almost 4, I think I am in a position to say that I have generally found the secret to weight loss!
Slow, consistent and gradual improvements are they only thing that has ever worked for me.
6. Finish painting the house
I'm pretty sure this was one of my goals last year? Unfortunately we still have a lot to do on the house, which includes painting the entire downstairs area....
This also includes our office, which was subject to a small water leak last year. This resulted in the entire ceiling being stripped and re-plastered.
The first step in my painting regime will be to sort this out in January, which will hopefully give me the push I need to sort the rest out!
7. Organise my communications
I am a notoriously bad non-texter-backer. This needs to change!
The problem is that I look at the message, take it in, then resolve to reply later on. Unfortunately I also have the memory of a sieve, so the later on bit usually doesn't happen...
With all texts and emails, I want to adopt a 2 minute rule. If it takes less than 2 minutes to reply (which most do!) I have to reply there and then.
8. Only buy clothes that have been worn or used somehow before
Some of my favorite items in my closet have been found in charity shops (a 1950's cashmere couture coat for £20), donated by friends (my prized sheepskin coat) or covertly *borrowed* from family members (probably not a good idea to shout out loud about this...)
When so many gems are available from charity shops, vintage boutiques and online up-cycled clothing stores, I'm starting to realise that there is no need to step into high street stores.
Not only is there a real sustainability issue with buying fast fashion, it is also normally more expensive and of lesser quality than the items I find rummaging through racks of previously worn items!
9. Rely less on supermarkets and focus more on local food
As simple as it sounds - shop local and support independent businesses!
10. Read 100 books in 2016
I used to be the kind of girl to get through a book in a week, especially during my degree! Now I'm lucky if I make it through one a month.
I really need to make the effort to get back into reading regularly, fiction and non fiction, which is why I have set myself the task of reading 100 books next year!
I'm hoping to use the Guardian top 100 English language novels as inspiration, however if you have any recommendations, do pop them in the comments!
11. Start a Masters Course
For the last two years, I have been constantly talking about my desire to go back to university and continue with my education!
The plan is to undertake a part time Masters by Research next October, which will enable me to study and continue to work on my various projects!
12. Try new recipes and diversify my cooking
I'm not a bad cook by any means, but in the last few months I have been churning out a pretty limited repertoire of dishes, as you do when things get comfortable.
I really do love cooking, so it would be nice to expand my culinary range and perhaps learn some new cooking skills!
Trying something new shouldn't be too hard, especially as I have a bookcase full of recipe books and subscribe to lots of amazing food blogs!
13. Stop comparing myself to others
Like most other people who use social media, I am guilty of serious FOMO and Instagram envy.
Not only is it incredibly time consuming to constantly compare yourself to everyone else in the world, it's also extremely damaging to ones self confidence.
I find myself so focused on the successes of others that I forget to think about my successes, which range from the small and personal, to the large and professional!
25 is going to be the year that I focus on celebrating myself and all the unique things that make me stand apart from everyone else.
14. Set up a kitchen garden
This was something that completely slipped through the net last year, despite me doing a huge amount of research!
Next year will be the year for homegrown fresh vegetables to start making their appearance on my plate!
15. Start saving, properly
I really didn't want to include anything money related in this list, as I'm not really interested in having more physical items.
It would however be quite a prudent idea to build up a substantial rainy day / disaster fund, just for my peace of mind.
16. Develop a consistent filing system and stick to it
I am one of those people who has piles of paper strewn around the office, which are vaguely sorted into thematic mounds.
Whilst I can usually find everything I need, it is somewhat time consuming to sift through everything to find that one scrap of paper that you desperately need that minute!
I'm slowly starting to improve and get things into folders, however now is the time to really tackle the mess and have a good old sort out!
A tidy office is a tidy mind after all.
17. Explore the cycle routes outside of our city
York is one of the safer cities I have encountered for cycling (which actually isn't saying much here in the UK...) We aim to deliver all of our York Vincent's Coffee orders via cycle, which helps us to massively cut down on transport costs and our carbon output.
Having hosted both the Tour de France and the Tour de Yorkshire, York has developed a serious cycling culture. As a result, there are some wonderful cycle paths and routes which radiate out from the city centre, taking you out into the Dales or up to the North York Moors.
When the weather improves, I will be out on my bike exploring them for myself!
18. Try and Vlog.
I'm not sure if this will be in a personal capacity, or more focused on doing coffee tutorials for Vincent's, but I've always fancied having a crack at trying to make and edit my own videos!
I'm pretty sure 0 people will be interested in watching me.... However I'm going to take the same approach as I do with this blog and just enjoy the process of creating something, regardless of whether people read it or not!
19. Learn to code
Despite dabbling in a bit of HTML over the years, I've never really made the effort to really get to grips with coding. Not only will it be incredibly useful, I also think it's a good way of challenging myself to learn a new skill.
Codeacademy, here I come!
20. Have a closet clear out
I'm pretty sure I am hoarding clothing from when I was around 5 sizes bigger, so this definitely needs to go!
Everything that still has any wear in will be donated to various charity shops, everything else will go in the clothes recycling bank.
21. Take real time off during the week
In the past year there have been far too many seven day weeks, especially in recent months.
I also have managed to get in a terrible habit of looking at emails last thing at night, around 11pm and feeling the overwhelming urge to reply there and then, which obviously doesn't set me up in the best mindset to go to sleep.
Perhaps I need to record myself and my activities for a week, in some sort of time audit, just to see where I could cut back, or work more efficiently.
If taking real time out means that I have to plan it into my schedule, just like any other meeting, then so be it. It's important to make time for meetings with yourself, AKA Netflix.
22. Set S.M.A.R.T business growth goals for 2016
This will certainly become the subject of another post, as I have a rather large number of plans and ambitions for next year!
A S.M.A.R.T. goal is defined as one that is specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound.
This is a really useful framework to use when setting goals, as it provides a means to monitor your progress, thus making achievements much more measurable and attainable!
23. Network more and often
After writing my post on "Common Networking Mistakes" I realised that I have recently placed going out and meeting new people slightly on the back burner.
Whether it is professional or personal, I really want to dive into opportunities which will allow me to meet interesting people, from all walks of life!
I'm hoping that this will happen through volunteering, but I also need to get myself to more formal networking events in the next year!
24. Find a mentor
This is something which I have been in desperate need of for a while now, especially as I feel I have taught myself as much as I can about the world of entrepreneurship and business.
I really would love to work with someone who shares my passion for ethical and responsible business, as I feel I have a lot of insight to offer in return for some general guidance and advice.