Well hello, friends! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted — I took some time during the first half of this dry January (it’s actually been great!) to reflect on the past year, get re-inspired and really put some thought into what I’d like to achieve in 2019. It’s been a very valuable exercise, so thank you for your patience! Today I’m dishing on everything I’ve discovered in this real, raw, lengthy (we’re talking the longest post I’ve ever written!) read recapping 2018 and sharing my intentions, aspirations and goals for the new year — plus exactly how I plan to achieve them!
When I look back on my goals post from last year, I feel grateful to be in a much better head space and place in my life — although it was a long road to get here. Longtime readers will know I’m always very transparent about the staggering amount of work that goes into blogging, content creation and creative entrepreneurship — and from the day I stared this blog in March of 2015 through to the end of 2017, I hustled hard. As a result, I entered 2018 feeling completely burnout, uninspired and unsure of how to proceed. I knew a change was necessary for me to move forward and progress in a way that would allow for more balance and well being in my life (and therefore more inspired work), but I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there. I felt like I needed to slow down and take life as it came, rather than creating an exhaustive list of all the things I felt I needed to accomplish — and I spent 2018 doing just that. I changed course and made chasing my passions for HOME and FASHION based content my first priority, which resulted in a pretty monumental year here at JustineCelina. That said, the largest shifts I made were off of these pages, in my mental and physical health, relationships and life in general. Fast forward to January of 2019 and I’m feeling energized, more inspired and productive than ever — and ready to make 2019 my best year yet! If you’re curious about what what’s to come, my favourite tools and resources to stay organized, inspired and fit, or in need of a healthy dose of motivation, cozy up with me and let’s chat about living and working with confidence and intention this year!
2018 REVIEW + 2019 GOALS
For the first time since starting JustineCelina, I took actual time off during the holidays. Despite December being a very busy month, I set aside the time to preschedule blog posts and social media (for the most part, anyway!) so I could fully enjoy some downtime with friends and family. I actually wore this outfit on Christmas day (one of the few times I got out of my cozies and put on makeup!) and we captured a few photos at sunset. Charlie, the family dog, also made an appearance! If you’re interested in outfit deets, I’ll be sharing more soon in my upcoming Winter 2019 Lookbook.
As always, we split our time between our families homes in rural Alberta over the holidays and it felt amazing to slow down and unwind (I took a nap on the last day I spent at my childhood home and to me that’s the mark feeling truly relaxed — I’ve never been able to nap!). To cap off the year, Adam and I found an incredible, last minute deal on a room in Canmore (that ended up being the penthouse suite with stunning views!) and treated ourselves to massages on New Years Eve, followed by a delicious, late dinner at Crazyweed and champagne toast at midnight back in our room. It was relaxed, cozy and just our speed — we haven’t had time away over the holidays alone in years. I’m so glad we took that little mountain getaway, because it allowed us to start 2019 feeling rested, refreshed and grateful.
One thing I did differently this past holiday season is that I didn’t give my 2019 goals or what I wanted to accomplish this year much thought. Instead, what served me best was to decompress, live in the moment and take a little break. Previously, I would have started jotted notes down or working on this post over the break so that I could publish it during the first week of January.
Instead, I took the first 2 weeks of January to ease into 2019 with intention, review 2018 and envision what I’d like to accomplish this year — hence this post coming to you mid-month (I hope it’s been worth the wait!). Each year, I like to choose an overarching word to theme the year and build my goals and intentions around — and this year, I’ve chosen THRIVE. But before I get into exactly how I plan to get there, I think it’s important to reflect on 2018 and how I got to this invigorated, reenergized place. For the first time in a long time, I’m feeling inspired, confident, organized and ready to take things to the next level in 2019!
2018 was a pretty great year, overall — full of many incredible milestones, peppered with few very hard lessons. I experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows of my life. It was a year of incredible growth. But now, when I look back on it all I can’t help but smile and think of everything we accomplished and the memories we made. It was definitely a year lived to the very fullest! Although there’s a lot that happened, I’ve organized the year into 5 significant categories.
THE BIG SHIFT
“In 2018, there will be less pushing and more openness. Less thought, more action. More instinct. Less consuming, more creating. Less perfection, less pressure, less sacrifice. More grace. Less time in front of a screen, more time in the moment. Spontaneity. More adventures, more creativity, more love, more fun, more laughter, more travel. I want to find new ways of doing things, I want to read, I want to learn, I want to explore.”
I wrote those words in my annual January goals post for 2018, which was radically different than years past. Previously, most of my goals and intentions for the new year had been professionally related. Last year, they were simpler and more personal. I was sick of setting the bar so high I essentially set myself up to fail unless I pushed myself as hard as I possibly could to achieve my goals. This year, I changed my mindset — for once, I’m didn’t set 5 concrete goals for myself like I’ve done every other year since starting JustineCelina. Instead I envisioned what I wanted 2018 to look and feel like and focused on welcoming that into my life, instead of creating a long list of things I felt I needed to accomplish.
A few months into the year, I felt like I really started to get back to working and living in a way that nurtures my passions. I let my life inspire my content and not vice versa. I gave up my rigid publishing publishing schedule to allow content, ideas and life in general to flow more naturally. While it may not have been the best strategy for JustineCelina short term and it actually terrified me to ease up at first, my more relaxed publishing schedule allowed me to recover from burnout and in turn produce my best work — which had a significant impact on my traffic and opportunities (more on that below!).
SELF CARE & PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
You know how during plane crashes, you’re supposed to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others? Well, in 2018, as cliché as it sounds, I put my oxygen mask back on.
Last year, I made self care my highest priority and focused on building strength, mentally and physically. I created more structure in my days and developed habits that help me navigate through life as my highest self. I listened to tons of audio books and podcasts. I taught myself new skills to streamline my workflows. I started working out again regularly and finally found a routine that works for me (more on that below!).
In my 2018 Goals post, I wrote that ‘I wanted to get in the best shape of my life, mentally and physically’. While I don’t know that I’m quite there, I’m in a much better place mentally and physically than I was this time last year and realize that this will always be a work in progress! I’ve learned that a strong, healthy body goes hand-in-hand with a strong, healthy mind — and this is something I’m really excited to continue exploring in 2019.
I also reevaluated my relationships, both personally and professionally. I rediscovered my worth and my time by resetting boundaries and being firm in situations where I would normally default to people-pleasing. Personally, I’ve always had a tenancy to be overly accommodating, even when people flaked or made selfish choices. Basically, I got sick of always being the one that was expected to put the majority of the effort into my relationships and friendships. I’m a very kind-hearted, generous person by nature and last year I realized I have a tendency give too much to others, which at times affects me negatively. In 2018, it finally clicked that I deserve better — and I began to demand it. If my efforts weren’t being reciprocated, I quit enabling and simply let go of emotionally draining or one sided relationships. I also finally became comfortable saying no when others expected too much of me, without guilt. It was a difficult (but incredibly freeing) shift — and one I also practiced in my professional life.
Professionally, I was more selective than ever about the projects I took on for both client work and JustineCelina — and I raised my rates with confidence. In the process, I weeded out opportunities that weren’t a fit and became aware of what was really worth my time and energy. As a result, I ended up taking on less work, but work I was truly passionate about and compensated appropriately for. In my 2018 Goals post I said “I want to enjoy the process of doing less — and doing the things I love very well.” In 2018, I was able to give carefully selected projects my full attention and produce work I’m incredibly proud of.
Something else I said in my 2018 Goals post is that I wanted to create space to simply ‘let life happen’. Looking back on it all, I feel like that’s exactly what I did — although I didn’t realize it at the time. In the process of letting go of a lot of the things, relationships and ways of living and working that were no longer serving me, I made room for new (wonderful!), people, experiences and opportunities, and essentially, space. We went on tons of spontaneous road trips and adventures, had fun, tried lots of new things and really just took life (and work) as it came — rather than trying to plan and control it, which was really challenging for my Type A personality. It was exhilarating — and in the process I learned a lot about myself without the pressure of having to share every detail.
I feel like 2018 was a year of taking a step back and refocusing so that I could move forward with more intention. I eased up, let go of the white knuckle grip I had on my goals and aspirations and trusted the universe more. There have been a lot of small (but significant) shifts that I’ve worked hard to make over the past year of my life — and ironically, most of it has occurred off of these pages. I took all the time and energy I would have usually on things that no longer serve me and channeled it into self care, personal development and exploring what makes me truly happy. I’ve been able to put the pieces back together (although, there are definitely some I left behind!) after a severe bout of blogging burnout and feel like the best version of myself going into 2019.
OUR SPACE REFRESH SERIES GOES VIRAL
Although I entered 2018 feeling pretty burnt out and uninspired, it was in-part due to all the work we had done behind the scenes on our SPACE REFRESH series — which actually commenced in October of 2017.
Come January we were mostly furniture-less in our newly painted space, as I sold the majority of our old furniture to make way for our new arrivals (#apartmentlife). With months left until the project came to fruition due to some unexpected furniture delays and not much I could share towards the tail end as all the final details painstakingly fell into place, I felt increasingly frustrated and started to panic. Was this huge change in focus going to be worth it? What is this doesn’t work? What if people aren’t interested? What if I let my partners down?
It would be an incredible understatement to say it took a lot of time and resources to get our SPACE REFRESH series off the ground — but I’m so glad I listened to my intuition, washed the paint out of my hair, pushed through and poured my heart and soul into it.
It’s been a bit of a blur, but now, just 10 months after original publication, our SPACE REFRESH series is the most popular content on the blog — largely in part to our Apartment Therapy feature, which really put it on the map. Along with a handful of other features and tons of hard work, JustineCelina exploded in 2018 — hitting 1 million views just this week. I remember dreaming about that number when I first started this blog and fantasizing about the day I would get there. Now, nearly 4 years later, it’s completely surreal that I made it — although I can assure you there’s been a lot blood, sweat and tears (literally!) to get here.
Near the end of 2018, my Pinterest views were almost at 1 million monthly alone (this pin in particular garners anywhere from 150K – 500K views per month!). While I’ve always made it clear that I put my focus on my blog rather than social media, in 2018 things just sort of aligned and came together across categories — and I truly believe it was because I was producing work I was passionate about again. I actually met with Pinterest this morning to learn more about how we can work together in 2019 (how cool is that?)!
Even in reviewing my Instagram Top 9 (a platform which isn’t a large focus for JustineCelina), all of my most popular posts were HOME based content, with the exception of the image I shared earlier in this post at Moraine Lake, which included a caption about my big shift. This unanimous trend really solidified my decision to put a large focus on our SPACE REFRESH series once again in 2019 — more on this below!
Of course, a lot of the growth I experienced in 2018 wouldn’t have been possible without a handful of incredible partners — to whom I’m very grateful.
First, our SPACE REFRESH series and subsequent growth simply wouldn’t have happened without my longtime partner, HomeSense Canada. They’re one of the very first brands I ever produced sponsored work for shortly after I started JustineCelina and they were the first brand I signed on as a partner for our SPACE REFRESH series. They put their trust in me and took a chance when I had absolutely no HOME based content in my portfolio to pitch and it was incredibly difficult to conjure up brand support. Together we made the leap into an entirely new category of content here at JustineCelina — and it resulted in my most successful brand collaboration to date.
I was extremely selective about the brands I worked with here at JustineCelina. This allowed me to really elevate my content in the HOME and FASHION categories, which was my focus last year.
Producing content for Tourism Calgary has been such an honour (and a whirlwind!). We connected for the first time at a weekend event in early 2018 and started working together the very next week. Although I typically focus on partnering with larger, international brands, it brings me a great sense of pride to act as an ambassador for our wonderful city. This has been such a serendipitous partnership and one that really strengthened my writing, content creation and photography skills by pushing me outside of my comfort zone! This partnership also connected me with a handful of brands and businesses I’ve gone on to work with directly and form wonderful relationships with.
It wouldn’t be a 2018 recap if I didn’t mention Eau Claire Distillery — an incredible local distillery I discovered in late 2017. I produced 5 cocktails and sangrias with Eau Claire’s spirits in 2018 — the first of which landed me my first Style Me Pretty feature! Having my content featured on SMP was a goal of mine ever since starting JustineCelina and was tremendously beneficial in terms of traffic and opportunities for both Eau Claire and myself this past year. Although this was not a paid partnership (they’re a relatively small operation), we were able to negotiate a scenario that was mutually beneficial. Whenever I had an idea for a cocktail or piece of content that could include their spirits, Eau Claire provided product for testing and giveaways (which is a large expense when you test your recipes 3-7 times!). The people behind the company are lovely, passionate, trusting and so easy to work with.
As a result, I’ve been able to produce some of my most inspired, most featured and highly viewed COCKTAILS to date while supporting a local business I love that’s perfectly aligned with my personal brand and food philosophy. We’ve both benefited from cross promotion and our bar is always fully stocked! While I’m all for knowing your worth and being appropriately compensated for your work, there are also instances when unpaid partnerships can be just as beneficial. This is one of those rare occasions and I’m so glad I trusted my instincts!
I also continued to work with my talented friend and flower designer, Rebecca Dawn Design, to make flower education accessible and produce our wildly popular DIGITAL BLOOMS (free, floral tech wallpapers released on the 1st of each month). I’ve learned so much from Rebecca over the years and am grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside her!
MY FORCED INTERMISSION
Of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There was about a month I didn’t post in 2018 — and it was one of the most difficult times of my life (and trust me, I’ve been down some rough roads).
While I’m not going to rehash everything (read this post for the gritty details), I’ll sum it up by telling you that my computer crashed, my printer broke, I lost 4 months of data, I got in a car accident and I had to shell out for a new set of ties. As a result of diagnostics, research and ordering a new custom computer (then waiting for it to be built and ship), I had to take a month off from producing creative work for the blog and clients as I waded through the chaos. Essentially, my livelihood was taken away. As you can imagine, it was a very stressful time, especially financially. On top of it all, these events occurred over a 5 day period during the tail end of a very busy quarter, riddled with challenging professional situations and we were dealing with some family health issues. It’s like my worlds collided and fell apart — in an instant. It was an unbelievably difficult time where I had to make a lot of very important, life-altering decisions quickly.
At times I honestly felt like I was having a nervous breakdown — but about halfway through the month I put my oxygen mask on and searched for the lessons. I learned that you can only run on empty for so long before you’ll inevitably have to refill your tank — and it took running out of air when I needed it most to spring into action. I used the opportunity to refill my depleted tanks in every area of life — and get backup reserves in place to ensure this never happens again! I slowed right down, spent a lot of time offline, honed in on self care, got organized, made things with my hands, spent time in nature, planned for the future, refocused and realigned. Over the course of that month, I did a lot of soul searching.
Although I’m still getting back on track financially from everything that happened that month and reorganized in terms of all the data, business documents and proposals I lost, it was actually a blessing in disguise. While I didn’t like the way the message was delivered, I truly believe I was being served up a cosmic lesson about finally recognizing my limits, putting boundaries in place and getting my priorities in order. It was one hell of growing experience, but ultimately allowed me to build on all the inner work I started at the beginning of the year in a profound way. I came out of that month with more clarity than I’ve had in a long time about what I need in my life to THRIVE and what I want for my future. It was a lesson in resiliency, strength and perspective.
On the bright side, we also shot my first seasonal, 12 outfit LOOKBOOK over my forced intermission (thankfully, my camera wasn’t affected!) — a concept I’ve wanted to produce for about 2 years, but could simply never find the time. It’s currently one of my highest viewed FASHION posts and has received such positive feedback! That little break really allowed me to see exactly how much time I was spending on things that didn’t matter and really opened my eyes to how I could streamline my processes and workflows to produce the most comprehensive content possible. This is something I’ve taken into 2019!
Ironically, when I reflect on 2018, I realize that in easing up and allowing things to happen more organically, I accomplished quite a lot. But more importantly, I accomplished what was necessary and meaningful. It was a very important year, albeit one gigantic experiment!
Now that we’ve reviewed where I’ve been, let’s get to the fun stuff — what’s next! After some valuable lessons learned, I’m ready to jump into 2019 with intention, energy and enthusiasm.
What I’ve learned over the last 5 years here at JustineCelina in my late 20’s and early 30’s is that it’s a valuable exercise to throw things at the wall and see what sticks. You grow, change and evolve a lot in 5 years — so it’s natural that your life (and therefore your content), evolves with you. Through all my trials and tribulations, I’ve discovered what works and what doesn’t, what I’m truly passionate about and what I need in life to THRIVE. 2019 is all about cultivating a way of living and working that allows me to bloom and experience sustained success.
Since starting JustineCelina I’ve experienced pushing myself to the point of burnout and essentially just letting go to see what happens. Both have had advantages and disadvantages — so in 2019, I’m aiming to meet myself somewhere in the middle! I’ve learned that while it’s important to learn how to slow down, rest and plant seeds so that when you’re ready to bloom you can do it sustainably, I also love setting goals as a framework for direction. It allows me to take the steps I need to get to the place I want to be. It pushes me, drives me and creates momentum while keeping me accountable and inspired. I’ve learned that having a clear vision of what I’m working towards is essential to keep me focused — especially when things get tough.
Instead of setting 5 concrete goals like I did in 2016 and 2017, this year approaching things in a more mindful, flexible way. I’ve categorized everything I’d like to maintain or achieve in the different areas of my life — Personal, Home, Blog and Business. Here’s what I’m focusing on to help me THRIVE in 2019, along with the steps I’m taking to get there!
Essentially in 2018 I was able to develop habits that help me navigate through life as my highest self and keep my body and mind in shape, even when things get tough. Here’s a look at the routine and habits I’m taking into 2019 to be as healthy and productive as possible!
• 1 cup of coffee per day
2 on weekends
• Diffuse essential oils in the morning
While this isn’t always possible, I’m always more energized and motivated when I start the day with essential oils diffusing in the office. My current favourite is Thieves Oil!
• 3 mason jars of water daily
This is a fairly easy one for me because I love my water, but I find by setting this goal I’m more inclined to keep filling my mason jar throughout the day!
• Reduced alcohol consumption
I love my WINE & COCKTAILS and that will never change, but this dry January has been eye opening in terms of how productive and energized I am without alcohol.
• Workout a minimum of 3 times per week
I’ve really come to love my workout routine (which I’ll be sharing in detail in an upcoming blog post!). While some weeks it’s totally doable get a workout in each week day, this year I’m committing to a minimum of 3 workouts per week — no matter how crazy life gets!
• No YouTube / Social Media use unrelated to the blog during the workday
Although social media is a necessary tool for me as my livelihood partially depends on it, I use it with caution. I block time to pre-schedule a lot of my content so I can focus on other tasks that have a greater ROI for my business, so I don’t get sucked down the social media rabbit hole! This makes for more productive workdays and far less screentime overall.
• Listen to inspiring books and podcasts
I’m aiming for 1 book a month in 2019, supplemented with Podcasts. Rather than throwing YouTube on the background while I edit photos or do other fairly mindless tasks (something I stopped doing in 2018), I discovered that get so much more value out of books and podcasts!
• Guard my time and energy fiercely
This year one of my top priorities is being more mindful of how I’m spending my time and energy. I have a few strategies and boundaries in place to ensure I get the most out of my days — including time blocking and daily / weekly / monthly scheduling.
• Earlier bed times and starts
For the most part, I’ve been getting to bed by 11pm and up between 6 – 7am this year. I need 7 – 8 hours of sleep to function optimally and this schedule allows me to be so much more productive!
• Journal regularly
I started journal in the summer of 2018 and it’s the most in tune I’ve ever felt with myself. I like to journal to check in with myself and also to practice The Law of Attraction, which is something I wholeheartedly believe in and have found to be especially powerful last year (if you’re not familiar with LOA and want to learn more, I suggest you start with The Secret!).
• Create a vision board
This ties in the Law of Attraction, but I’m a big believer in vision boards as a powerful manifestation tool. I love to visualize my goals and use vision boards as a tool to attract exactly what I want in life. Although I make mood boards often for client project and for the blog, it’s been a long time since I’ve made one for myself (although I practice visualization mentally all the time!). This is a such a fun exercise and one I’ll be completing before the end of January!
I live and work in 1500 square feet, so creating an organized, inspiring environment is one of my top priorities. Since I’ve chosen to document this process here at JustineCelina, a lot my goals in this category overlap with the blog. Here’s what I’m I’d like to accomplish in our home this year!
• Get on a regular cleaning schedule
When thing get crazy, keeping the apartment spic and span is one of the first things that falls off the radar. This year, I want to get a schedule in place to keep things under control! So far I’ve been experimenting with what will work best (and this may be something we outsource!) but it’s become clear that a schedule is necessary so that we’re able to fully enjoy our home and our limited free time.
• Complete all repairs
We’ve lived in this apartment for 7 years and there are a few small repairs I’d like to take care of this year as we continue to refresh our space. I’ve set a schedule to tackle one every 2 months to stay on track!
• Organize and purge
During my forced intermission I had a chance to get started on purging and organizing, but the office and bedroom still need some love in preparation for their refresh. I want to have these spaces completely organized and clutter free by the end of Q1!
• Continue refreshing our space
Unfortunately this got put on hold last year when I went through my tech catastrophe, but now that I’m almost back on my feet, in 2019, I want to continue to make our SPACE REFRESH a top priority.
Q1 – Q2
By June, I want to have the the main bathroom and the entrance way completed. These projects are already underway — the main bath is about 80% complete and the Entrance Way (now live!) will follow. Check out the mood board to see what I have planned!
By the end of summer, I want to have the rest of our home (office, bedroom, master bath and walk in closet) painted. I’d also like to finish the last of the upgrades in the kitchen, which include replacing the track lighting with pendant lights and possibly installing a new faucet (TBD once the new lighting is in!).
Q3 – Q4
For the last half of the year, I’ll be focusing on refreshing the bedroom and office. This may also include new flooring (the office, master bath and closet are carpeted and I would love to replace that with hardwood!). These are both huge projects and in 2018 they overwhelmed me, so I’m going to start by breaking when down into bite sized tasks. First up, I’m going to create a mood board for each room to help me visualize and plan to help me inspired and excited!
After that, our master bathroom and walk in closet will take shape. While these may not seem like large projects, they account for about a quarter of our overall square footage and I want to make them as beautiful and functional as possible!
I realize this is ambitious. I want this process to be as stress free and enjoyable as possible, but I would love to have our home completely finished by the end of the year. I’ll be working towards that goal diligently by using the momentum I created in 2018 to keep me motivated!
BLOG & CONTENT CREATION
In 2019, there’s a lot I want to accomplish with JustineCelina! Last year, I managed to publish 6 – 8 posts a month and still feel like I had enough time and freedom to create my best work, experiment and stay inspired. This year I’m going to structure things similarly, but I have a lot of other tasks I’m going to focus on to continue to grow my traffic, strengthen my passive revenue streams and secure lucrative partnerships. I really feel like 2019 is going to be the year everything comes together for JustineCelina — and this is exactly what I have my sights set on!
• Create more meaningful, strategic content
With blogging, consistency is key — however, I’ve also learned that it’s important to manage your content creation strategy in a way that allows you to stay inspired and produce great work. For example — I’ve been working on this post (and my upcoming Winter 2019 Lookbook) for the better part of 2 weeks, and as a result, haven’t been able to publish other content. With everything else I have planned, I believe 5+ posts per month will facilitate me being able to significantly grow my blog and business, while not get stuck in a content creation rut or feeling time poor. I’ve also made the decision to produce 1 free desktop wallpaper monthly for our DIGITAL BLOOMS series in 2019, rather than the 3 we offered previously.
With this less rigorous schedule, I’ll be able to explore and execute more lofty ideas (expect lots of informational, educations posts, multi-outfit posts and ROUNDUPS where I integrate archived content with new content in fresh ways!), invest my time and energy into other necessary tasks to grow my blog and business and push myself creatively in other content creation avenues. Basically, I’m going to focus on producing at a lower frequency, but creating more meaningful and strategic content!
• Become an SEO expert
While JustineCelina experienced tremendous growth last year, it was mostly due to features and traffic from external publications and platforms. I have a basic knowledge of SEO, but I’m dedicating Q1 & Q2 to learning everything there is to know about SEO for lifestyle bloggers. Next month, I’m enrolling in an SEO course and plan to spend the first half of the year implementing this new knowledge into my content. I’m anticipating this to have a positive impact on my traffic, and therefore, my passive revenue. An increased understanding of SEO may also dovetail into a redesign for JustineCelina to make it more website (rather than blog) focused, and therefore easier for you to find the content and resources you’re looking for — but we’ll have to wait and see what I discover! A redesign is definitely in the cards in the next 2 years.
• Utilize my mailing list
This is another area I’ve completely neglected over my blogging career, but in 2019 I’m tackling my email list — which is now fairly substantial. Right now I don’t send my mailing list anything but my regular content. This year, getting my email list sorted out (it’s currently divided in 2 different spots!) and integrating a service like MailChimp to help me reach them in a more meaningful way is a priority.
• Explore video
Video is something I’ve wanted to explore for the past 2 years, but I’ve never had the time or resources to tackle it in a way that feels authentic to my personal brand. If I’m able to get to where I want to be in terms of traffic and SEO during the first part of the year, I’m going to dive into video in Q3 – Q4. I have everything I need to produce high quality videos and am actually really excited to tackle something new!
• Explore e-commerce
I’ve spoken previously about wanted to explore e-commerce, but again, could never find the time. I have a lot of ideas about the types of products I’d like to sell, but SEO and traffic have been nagging at me. If I’m able to get to where I want in terms of SEO and traffic in the first half of the year, I’m planning to explore e-commerce and product creation in Q3 – Q4. This is something I started roughly 2.5 years ago before my burnout, but in 2019 I’m in much better position to be able to take e-commerce on. While this will be a lot of work to get off the ground initially, I know the long-term rewards will be be worth it.
Spending a month computerless in 2018 really opened my eyes to the fact that unless I can trade my time and expertise for money, I don’t have enough income coming in through my existing passive revenue streams to live comfortably. Digital e-commerce products are really the final piece of the pie in diversifying my income to become financially free (which I define as having enough income coming in to maintain my desired lifestyle, whether I spend 10+ hours a day behind a computer / camera producing creative work or not!). Financial freedom (a.k.a. millennial retirement!) is a long term (3 – 10 year) goal of mine — and I’m going to spend a significant portion of 2019 setting myself up to get there.
• Attend fewer events
There are only so many hours in a day. While I love my local blogging and creative community here in Calgary and it’s always wonderful to connect with brands and peers in-person, something’s gotta give. In 2019, I’m going to be extremely selective about the events I attend — only doing so if I’m either interested in working with the brand or am being compensated to cover the event. Time is my most valuable resource and I’ve learned over the years that free is actually the most expensive. It’s a much more effective use of my time to work towards tackling the tasks I’ve listed above — and I’m going to spend 2019 doing just that.
• Focus on HOME and FASHION content
In 2019, I’ll be really honing in on HOME and FASHION based content. It’s what I enjoy most, feel most inspired to create and it’s also what you enjoy most, according to my statistics. While JustineCelina will always remain a well-rounded lifestyle blog because I truly love to create and share in every area of my life, this focus is necessary to help guide my partnership selections and determine where I spend the majority of my time and energy. I’ve spoken at length about my plans in the HOME category, but in the FASHION department, I want to continue to produce seasonal LOOKBOOKS as well as produce more comprehensive and varied content overall. I’m so excited about what’s to come!
• Refine my social strategy
Social media is a necessary tool for bloggers and content creators — and over the past nearly 4 years I’ve experimented with different platforms to see what works best for JustineCelina. I’ve found the most success with a blog-first approach, where I prioritize creating content for JustineCelina.com over any of my social platforms. Currently search engines and Pinterest are where the majority of my views and traffic come from — which is why I’m making SEO and Pinterest strategy a priority for 2019.
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have been painfully slow to grow and therefore make up a sliver of my overall audience. I absolutely refuse to follow content creation trends that are inauthentic to my personal brand and engage in sketchy tactics to grow my Instagram following (’nuff said). Instead, would much rather work away quietly behind the scenes and spend my time on tasks that will ensure sustained success for JustineCelina. I have no interest in seeking short term success over longevity. In 2019, I’m going to focus the majority of my efforts on the strategies and platforms that offer me the greatest ROI — despite what the rest of the industry is doing.
• Reintroduce BEAUTY content
I mentioned last year that I was diminishing beauty content in order to get our SPACE REFRESH series off the ground, as it was the most time consuming (and costly) content to produce. But I know you guys miss it — and I also miss producing it! While I envision my BEAUTY content tying in well with video, I’m also going to start publishing exclusive beauty posts again here at JustineCelina this year, just in a more organic way. Stay tuned to see what I have up my sleeve!
• Secure selective partnerships and ambassadorships
Of course, I want to continue focusing my efforts on securing sustained partnerships with my favourite brands and businesses to ensure I’m able to keep this all going! To be completely honest with you, I turn down about 90% of the opportunities that come my way — and I plan to continue to be diligent about only accepting (or seeking) partnership opportunities that align with my personal brand, ethics and content strategy. I have never worked with a brand or promoted a product that I don’t genuinely use, love and believe in — and that will never change!
BUSINESS & FINANCE
My business and financial goals are fairly straightforward, but having this framework in place will support my goals and enable me to THRIVE. I haven’t had concrete goals in this category since I started the blog — but I’m changing things up in 2019 to help me stay focused and accountable.
• Earn $______ monthly
I haven’t set a monthly target income since my first business took off circa 2009 — and I think it’s about time I do it again. Focusing on bringing a certain dollar amount in each month helps me to align my actions and focus while providing a healthy foundation for financial well being. While I won’t share the exact dollar amount, I will share that I was able to bring in (and far exceed!) this amount consistently for years before starting the blog — so it’s time to start that momentum again!
• Track income and expenses monthly
Again, this is something I used to do diligently for my first business — but things kind of fell apart since starting JustineCelina. Because my partner is an accountant I let my bookkeeping slide during the year, but it makes for a very stressful March / April! In 2019 I want to get make to tracking my expenses and income monthly to give me more peace of mind.
• Maintain a debt free lifestyle
Although I need to spend money to make money for JustineCelina and have some expensive plans this year, I’m very mindful with my money and budgets. I’ve always prided myself on being financially wise, maintaining good habits and not living beyond my means. Although things got a bit off track financially last year because of some unforeseen circumstances during my intermission, by the end of 2018 I was able to come out in the black. Living debt free in 2019 is one of my top financial priorities!
• Replace tech and upgrade software
As a result of my tech catastrophe I still few items to replace or upgrade — my printer, USB to Thunderbolt cables /docks and my suite of creative software. These will be necessary spends in Q1 and I’ll need to budget accordingly.
• Stand firm in my worth
Although I’m always pretty good with this, in 2019 I’m focusing on being extremely selective with the projects I choose to accept, my clients and my time. I’m using my confidence in my worth as my compass!
MY FAVOURITE PLANNING & INSPIRATIONAL RESOURCES + FITNESS ESSENTIALS
– PLANNING & SCHEDULING –
Blush Marble Daily Design Love Planner | Fringe Studio This Girl Can 1 Month Planner | Epic Blog: One-Year Editorial Planner | Kate Spade Bella Pantry Recipe Book | Lauren Blue Light Blocking Glasses in Peach | Planoly Visual Instagram Planner
– BOOKS –
– PODCASTS –
Umemployable | The Goal Digger Podcast | Freedom Fastlane | Power. Profit. Pursuit. | The Get Paid Podcast | RISE | The Influencer Podcast | The Creative Empire Podcast | Being Boss | Magic Lessons | Food Blogger Pro | The Chopped Podcast
– PLAYLISTS –
– FITNESS –
REFLECTING ON THE JOURNEY | PREVIOUS NEW YEAR GOALS POSTS
Thanks for stopping by for my 2018 Review + 2019 Goals post today, friends — especially if you made it to the end! I hope you found it interesting, insightful and perhaps even motivational if you’re currently in the process of envisioning what you’d like to cultivate for yourself this year. I would love your feedback and I’d also love to hear about your goals and intentions for 2019 if you feel comfortable sharing!
As always, thank you for your support as I continue to chase my dreams, the woman I want to be and a life I love. There’s so much more to come and I’m grateful everyday for this platform and this beautiful community we’ve created together. Wishing you all a wonderful 2019 — I can’t wait to see what it brings!
Disclaimer: Thank you to BonLook for my blue light blocking glasses and to Pursuit for our trip to Spirit Island. Some items featured in this space were provided by HomeSense and Eau Claire Distillery as part of ongoing partnerships. This post is not sponsored, and contains my genuine thoughts, ideas and recommendations. JustineCelina uses affiliate and referral links, which allow me to receive a small commission when you make a purchase through one of my links. Thank you for supporting the brands and businesses that support JustineCelina!