Back by popular demand is something I’ve done the last two years and, to my surprise, has actually been requested to make a reappearance this year. It’s definitely starting to become a tradition here at AuburnRoe. So, without further ado, let’s get reflective.

MINDSET IS EVERYTHING

Looking back at what I wrote this time last year, it’s insane to see how far I’ve come in the space of 12 months.

At the end of 2018, I was confused. I was scared.

All because I was starting to figure out the limiting beliefs I had, but I couldn’t figure out why I had them. I was starting to discover all the things in life I wanted to do, but had no bloody clue how to go about them.

I realised how much I was stopping myself from doing purely because I doubted myself. Constantly.

For those of you who keep up to date with my ramblings, you know that in January this year I started seriously working on my mindset with the help of Mel Robbins. It was a period of epiphanies, hard work and determination; one that really helped me get to the bottom of why I had such little self-belief.

Being reasonably academically able from a young age, I’d become a perfectionist in every aspect of my life. This year I realised that this perfectionism is only a defence mechanism.

I’m afraid of criticism and failure, so I criticise myself before anyone has the chance to.

Therefore, I tend to quit a lot of any sort of creative endeavours or ideas I have before they have to chance to be criticised by an actual person. (Which is exactly why this whole blogging thing still shocks me, because I’ve actually kept it up for 3 years!)

This fixed type of mindset is the reason why I don’t put myself out there as much as I’d like to, but I’ve spent this year working on getting better at this. Figuring out the cause and knowing that my low self-esteem isn’t just the result of my history of anxiety and depression, has been reassuring. (If anything, it’s the other way around!)

I’ve started to change my mindset by counteracting these thoughts with new, more positive ones.

“No one’s going to pay any attention to the content you make” is now met with a “F*ck you brain, I’m going to do it anyway.”

I’ve still got a long way to go, but with the help of my mindset mentor, Maggie, I feel like I’m really making some progress.

SO WHAT ELSE DID 2019 HAVE IN STORE?

I finished last year’s reflection with the statement, “I’m not sure where I’ll be in 6 months – hopefully the other side of the world making some incredible memories.”

And it feels SO good to say: I did just that.

In the summer, I spent 2 months solo traveling through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, having the absolute time of my life. I made some incredible friends, had multiple near-death experiences, witnessed some extreme landscapes and pushed myself to limits I didn’t think possible. I overcame one or two episodes of depersonalisation in the space of a few days, which is something I’ve never achieved before.

I swam with glowing plankton at night and with sharks during the day. I got sunburnt and fell off a motorbike more times than I care to admit. But it was the best 2 months of my life.

However, it wasn’t just this trip that has made 2019 so flabbergasting.

For one, I completed my degree! I graduated in July with a First Class Honours as well as an Academic Achievement Award for my dissertation. You guys know I had to take a step back with the blogging whilst I finished my studies, so I’m pleased to report that it paid off in the end! I had a lovely day celebrating with my family and friends.

// Read similar: Why Your Degree Doesn't Have To Be Your Plan A

I graduated with no idea of what life had in store for me.

Unlike most of my fellow graduates, I had no career plan. I just worked hard doing what I loved: travelling and making content.

In October, I had the most incredible opportunity to travel around Colombia with a travel tour agency for free in exchange for promotion on my social media.

This is exactly the type of goals I’d been setting myself at the beginning of the year, and by March I’d already received the email offering me the trip. 2 MONTHS, that took, people. Only 2 MONTHS.

It just goes to show that if you know what you want, work hard and have a positive mindset, the Universe will do the rest.

// Read similar: Backed by Science: How to Start Achieving Your Goals Now

Since returning to the UK, I’ve officially started working as a freelancer, which is as exciting as it is terrifying.

My work involves web design, photography, blog writing, social media management – basically any opportunities I can get my hands on at the minute. It’s still early days, but it makes me excited for what could possibly be in store for me 10 years down the line when I’ve really established a name for myself.

So, a promotional press trip and making money through my blog are the two huge goals I set in January 2019. And due to my pessimistic nature, I’m still quite astounded that I’ve managed to achieve them, to be honest.

Now that I’ve reflected and literally written it out, I’m actually appreciating how amazing it is.

Even after my trip to Colombia and even now that I’m making money through the skills I’ve learnt through my blog, it’s still SO easy for me to think that I’m not achieving much. When, in actual fact, I’ve done all of this and got a degree before turning 22. It’s not bad going, really.

It’s so important to step back and actually give yourself a pat on the back.

Stop comparing yourselves to others. Your only competition is your damn SELF and in that aspect, I think I’m doing alright.

SO WHAT NOW?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still questioning myself on a day to day basis! As I said, I recently invested in a mindset coach in order to keep myself on track if I’m having doubts. Juggling a freelance business, part time job and somewhat of an actual life means it’s easy to think I’m never doing enough, and I still sometimes find myself getting in a spiral of unproductive thoughts.

But it’s a LOT better than it used to be. And as long as I keep working on my mindset, it’s only going to get even better.

After spending this year establishing exactly what it is I want out of life, and figuring out how I want to make a living, I’m ready to make some serious business moves in 2020.

I like to think my blog has helped people over the years, but I’d love to take that further and help people with their ambitions on a more personal, 1-to-1 basis.

I’m also planning on doing another big trip this year. Either to Australia or Canada, I have yet to decide. But after a total of 101 days on the road this year, I’m more than happy to spend the majority of this coming year at home, working on my business, and enjoying the comfort of my own bed!

(Of course, I’m still going skiing with friends in March, and have plans to do a few weekends away in Europe soon, so don’t panic, there’s still plenty more fresh content on its way.)

December has been full of life just getting in the way: I celebrated my 22nd birthday, I’ve been catching up with friends who are back home for the holiday period, and I’ve been helping my mother after her operation. I certainly don’t feel like there’s enough hours in the day right now, but that probably means I should just take a moment to chill and enjoy the festivities before everything settles down and the new year grind starts.

I hope everyone has made some amazing memories this year. I appreciate that for some it will have been the best ever, for others it will have been pretty average, and some of you might be thinking 'thank f*ck 2019 is over'! There are always going to be ups and downs, but we can control how we react to the world around us.

Here’s to starting off a brand new decade, and smashing 2020.

Lois x



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