My 2018: the wins, failures and life lessons

When I started writing this post, I was under the impression that 2018 was a so-so year for me. There were a few things I wanted to achieve but didn’t, and the feeling of disappointment was overwhelming. However, once I started looking for some small signs of success, I was flooded with plenty of things I actually managed to do. In retrospect, 2018 was actually a damn good year for me! Yet, without doing this little exercise, I would be left feeling that it kind of sucked.

So if your little voice inside your head can’t wait to remind you of your latest failure, I really urge you to pause. Take a breath, and do this exercise with me! Think of all the things that went well. Because despite the growing trend to showcase our ‘highlight reel’ on social media, I find that we very rarely stop to actually appreciate a job well done!

That’s why I wanted to talk today about the things that I didn’t manage to do, what I learned from them, and actually take a minute (or five) to make a list of all the great things I managed to do!

The failures + life lessons

1.I didn’t manage to stick to my low-buy resolution (I wanted to buy only 1 item of clothing per month). I honestly thought I had much better self control, but I’m actually an ‘abstainer’, not a ‘moderator’. For me it’s either all, or nothing!

The lesson: I need to go ‘cold turkey’ into all this! That’s why I’m starting my no-buy year in 2019. The reasons and rules will be on the blog soon, but if you prefer watching a video, I’ve already filmed one

2. I didn’t reach 5000 Instagram followers. It seems like a shallow one, but as a blogger you want your work to feel appreciated. I still reached 1.1k, which is a lot of people! But I know why I didn’t achieve this: I wasn’t consistent, and I lacked motivation, majorly.

The lesson:I need to be consistent if I want consistent growth. I need to find my ‘why’, and decide if Instagram altogether is something I want to do

3. I didn’t take very good care of my body. In 2018 I wasn’t very consistent with using the gym, despite having paid for quite an expensive gym membership. I was also not on top of my food all the time, so there’s definitely room for improvement.

The lesson: Unlike other things, I don’t think for me fitness & health works on the all-or-nothing approach (because I always end up doing ‘nothing’). I need to start small and build my confidence and fitness in 2019.

Aaaand I realised that was it! Honestly, if you asked me, I thought 2018 was just a pretty bad year. Only because I didn’t achieve those 3 little things. Isn’t it amazing how our brains choose to focus on the negative, when there’s so much positive going on? And yes, there was a lot!

The wins

Now, please don’t feel like this list is meant as bragging. It’s really not! It’s rather a reminder to myself, and to you, that a lot of things can change in a year.

Academically, it was an amazing year.

  1. I graduated with a first class degree and won a couple of awards within my School. I am proud of each and every one of them, but the one I value most is the ‘Best design award’ which I won with my groupmates in January.
  2. My final year thesis honestly ‘showcases my best work’
  3. I wrote a paper from my thesis and presented it at a conference in Belfast

Professionally, I also developed a lot.

  1. Becoming a lab demonstrator showed me how much I love teaching and talking to students so, so much! (Marking the 400 reports that came from the labs – not so much!)
  2. I also organised my first ‘lecture’ on how to write a great report. It had all the jazz: a presentation, microphone and a pretty full lecture theatre. And yes, I panicked for a minute, but overall it was exciting!
  3. I got accepted into a PhD programme with a scholarship, so I’m honestly paid to study (which is the dream haha)

I was told by a few people that my blog inspired them in one way or another.

  1. And honestly, this sort of recognition is better than any amount of followers I could have!
  2. After transitioning into a sustainable blogger, I received my first ‘PR mail’ and got to share some amazing sustainable fashion items with you.
  3. I also learned to edit photos in Lightroom and finally hacked how Instagrammers make their feed ‘cohesive’

In terms of my part-time reselling business

  1. I sold items for about £3000, which is pretty decent for a side hustle! Learning a lot about being a good seller taught me how to get that customer satisfaction.
  2. I went on holiday to the Dominican republic, fully-funded by said eBay selling business! Finally I get what ‘work hard, play hard’ means

Finance-wise, I finally have an emergency fund!

Honestly, there’s no better feeling than knowing that pretty much whatever happens, I have some money saved and I’ll be fine!

I travelled quite a bit in 2018. 

  1. In June my boyfriend and I did a month-long road trip, visiting 13 countries in Europe. I probably added quite a few grey hairs to my mom’s head by saying I’m going to Ukraine, but it was honestly one of the best places I’ve been to!
  2. I flew completely on my own to Hong Kong to present my supervisor’s paper at a conference. To say it was nerve-racking would be an understatement! But I did it (dressed in pink, of course!), and I made a few friends along the way.

But most importantly, I think I’ve become a step closer to being who I truly am.

I am comfortable with being vulnerable in front of people, which used to scare me shitless. I shared my thoughts more openly than ever, and the response was overwhelming. In 2018 I was a lot more honest, especially with myself, and that’s what Honestly Mili is and will always be about!

So how was your 2018? What were the things you’re proud of, and what did you learn from the things that didn’t go according to plan? Let me know in the comments!