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My 2015 Annual Review & New Year’s Resolutions

2015 is over already?! Umm… can I have a re-do, please? Seriously, that was the quickest year to date. I know time feels like it’s flying by faster as you get older, but I’m pretty sure there was some witchcraft involved this year. So let’s do a 2015 annual review so that, hopefully, I can see that, though it felt fast, it was actually action-packed.

2015 annual review

My initial instinct is that 2015 was full of challenges. From the KonMari Method to the general day-to-day routine of being a stay-at-home mother, I feel that 2015 was sent to test me. I definitely overcame a lot of it so I’ve come out the other side stronger and much more confident in my abilities, but my over-riding sense is that 2015 was a steep learning curve.

But let’s look over some of the good stuff that happened here, shall we?

2015 annual review — THE GOOD:

  • Family fun

We took Scout to the zoo for the first time. It was February and it was BITTERLY cold and she had very little interest in the animals themselves (she was just happy to be outside) but, all in all, it was a nice family day out and, to be honest, days like those are few and far between.

We also went glamping, and had a 10-day holiday in the Algarve in Portugal where we soaked up some sun and (finally) got Scout to see that water isn’t evil. (She gets that tendency from me.)

2015 annual review -- day trips & holidays

Sam made his debut on American TV. He spent some time there in April recording all manner of shows and interviews, including NBC’s coverage of the NFL Draft. He does a lot of radio interviews, but this was obviously on a different level. It was a big moment for him, and I was a very proud wife.

2015 annual review -- Sam at NBC
Yes, that handsome man is all mine

Thankfully, he made it home for Scout’s 2nd birthday (but he did have to fly back out the following day). You can imagine how excited she was to see him!

And this was the first year that Scout started to understand Santa, so we brought her to see him. She didn’t have much interest in the man himself but was enthralled by the decorations and lights and, obviously, the presents. Lots of her friends have scooters so that’s what she wanted for Christmas. And, of course, Santa delivered. She’s thrilled.

2015 annual review -- Christmas
Not our tree, I hasten to add
  • Personal achievements

Not a tiny morsel of chocolate passed these lips for the entire year. I gave up chocolate, sweets, and sugary drinks for 2015, and I bloody stuck to it! No desserts, no Easter eggs, no selection boxes at Christmas… I’m expecting a medal any day now.

2015 annual review -- chocolate
Finally destashed my stockpile. Yup, I was an addict.

One BIG thing was the KonMari Method. 2015 was a big step towards minimalism for me, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. It was a long process and it would have been very easy to give up (and, believe me, I often felt like it), but it was one of those rare occasions where my stubbornness actually came in handy. 😉 One of the qualities in myself that I admire most is my persistence and, this year, it paid off in spades.

2015 was also the year I decided to really invest in the site. I started a YouTube channel, launched the HowToGYST newsletter, designed and ordered business cards, and spent a lot of time (and money) learning and growing. I attended my first blogging conference, and I signed up for and completed a diploma in digital marketing. And none of it would have been possible without the support from all of you. So THANK YOU.

2015 annual review -- HowToGYST business cards
It’s official!
  • General

On May 23rd, this fabulous little country I call home voted in favour of same-sex marriage. It was an historic moment, and I was very proud of Ireland on that day. We made headlines around the world as being the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote, and it opened the doors for other countries to follow suit. Three cheers for trail-blazing.

2015 annual review — THE BAD:

Scout was born with a blocked tear duct, which meant that her right eye had a tendency to weep a lot and be very sticky, particularly in the morning. Often, she couldn’t open it. It required very regular cleaning, which she wasn’t at all keen on. It also meant that she got a few eye infections so she was on several courses of antibiotic eye drops. Eventually, we managed to get an appointment with a specialist, and she was referred for surgery. Long story short, it was one of the most stressful days of my life and, though the surgery itself was pretty straightforward and, in the end, successful, I hope I never have to bring her to another hospital ever again. I aged about 10 years that day.

2015 annual review -- Scout's surgery

Sam’s aunt’s house was broken into, and her dog beaten to unconsciousness. I can understand that some people find themselves in very desperate circumstances and resort to desperate measures, but to beat a dog with a rock? I shed many tears and despaired for the state of the human race. And that’s not to even mention mass shootings, the attacks in Paris, and the general horror and terror that seems so prevalent around the world.

This is why I don’t watch the news or read the papers, peeps.

2015 annual review -- Sapphire the Weimeraner

After that, it was another doggie disaster. One of my parents’ dogs, Molly, went missing. She’s a pure-breed collie so we assumed she was taken for breeding or to be sold. We spread the word far and wide that she was neutered and also microchipped, but we were incredibly worried, and more tears were shed. Thankfully, 3 very long days later, a Jeep pulled up outside my parents’ house and dumped her out. She was very dirty and scared, but she was home and that’s all we cared about.

2015 annual review -- Molly the Collie

Jaysus, kids and pets are major sources of stress. Do yourself a favour and just become a recluse.

What does 2016 have in store?

  • Out with the old

Hopefully, a lot more fun and a lot less “stuff”. The less I own, the less I’ll have to clean, the less time I’ll have to spend looking for things, the less I’ll have to mend, wash, store…

And the less time I have to spend doing all that, the more time I’ll have to fit in the things that are most important to me. If I want to make room for the good stuff, I have to clear out all the junk. So it’s minimalism and KonMari all the way for me in 2016.

2015 annual review -- KonMari Method -- toys

I’ll be re-doing the KonMari Method, and then setting up a donation box for quick purging throughout the year. Once it’s full, it’s off to the charity shop. My motto? Clean it up and clear it out.

  • In with the new (year’s resolutions)

I’ll finally be setting up a proper editorial calendar so I can plan posts and videos in advance. Sometimes I do it, but often I don’t. So that’s something that needs a little more attention in 2016. I’m going to start working ahead a little so that, when the time inevitably comes when I need a break, I can take a proper one.

I also want to read more. Reading is a big passion of mine, and it’s taken a back seat as of late while I worked on the site and completed the KonMari Method. This coming year, it’s going to be scheduled in. I’ve lots of books downloaded, as well as a fair few physical ones lying around, and I plan on reading at least 2 a month.

2015 annual review -- The BFG
Might even give this a re-read before the new movie comes out in 2016

Another passion is writing (is it obvious?), and it’s always been a dream of mine to have a book published. In 2016, I’m going to start turning that dream into a reality. I’m hoping to have a first draft done, or at least mostly done, by the end of the year, so that’s going to be something I’ll steadily be working away on over the coming months.

I’ll also be taking the site and YouTube channel to the next level. That means 2 things — providing even more awesome content in the form of workshops and vlogs, and monetising to make this little acorn grow into a nice ‘nest egg’ oak tree. 2015 set down strong roots; 2016 is for reaching for the sky.

2015 annual review -- Wonder Woman

And if writing this post has taught me anything it’s that I’d like to be more consistent with marking the major events and milestones in my life. Since starting my Bullet Journal this year, I’ve been journalling regularly, so that’s something I want to keep up. But having a dedicated space just for noting the important stuff? That’s what I need to do. It will show me at a glance how much I can achieve in a year, and cultivate some more gratitude in my life for all its gifts.

2015 annual review -- 16 Before 2016

And, if nothing else, I’ll be able to do next year’s review without relying on Facebook. 😉

And look, I’m sure there’ll be a few challenges along the way, ‘cause that’s how we grow, so I’ll just have to suck it up. As long as I’ve enough good stuff to outweigh the bad, I’ll be happy.

So here’s to 2016. To happiness and minimalism. To good books and proper breaks. To learning and growing, to peace and love, and to family and friends.

Wishing you all a VERY happy New Year. SUBSCRIBE to the HowToGYST newsletter if, like me, you want to ‘level up’ your life in 2016. Together, we can rock the shit out of our resolutions. 😉

Have you done a 2015 annual review? What were some of your highlights?

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