2021: First Quarter Goals

I started setting quarterly goals in 2017 instead of a “New Years Resolution” and I’ve really loved it! Instead of setting goals for the whole year in January I set goals every quarter. This keeps me motivated to get things done and also feels more realistic for my lifestyle.

2021 is the first year that I don’t have all planned out. We don’t have any travel plans due to Covid and I’m not really sure what else will happen this year. So setting my goals for the first quarter feels a bit strange but I’m hoping that this will be a nice challenge and will be good to look back on for years to come.

Here are my 2021 Q1 goals:

  • Work-Life Balance: The end of 2020 was killer for me at work. I worked 50+ hours per week and had zero boundaries when it came to phone calls, e-mails, and meetings. I am in the middle of training two new hires and I get a new intern to mentor in a couple of weeks so I know that things won’t slow down but I need to be better about creating a balance and not over-extending myself. Right now my work-life balance isn’t healthy and I can’t continue working this way.
  • House Projects: Probably the most exciting thing that we have planned for 2021 are some house projects. Our main goal is to see if it’s possible to add a bathroom and walk-in closet to our second story. We live in a Cape Cod style house so the second floor is a converted attic with sloped ceilings. It’s a huge space but right now it’s just a guest room. We’d love to turn the second floor into a master suite so we will see what the contractor quotes us. We’d also like to re-do our kitchen and mud room floors and maybe splurge on new kitchen appliances.
  • Blogging: I took another blogging break at the end of 2021 because work was killing me and I couldn’t spend anymore time on my computer to write a blog post. I’d love to be able to post 2-3 times per week but we will see how realistic that becomes with my work schedule. I also failed at reading and commenting on posts so I want to be better about that because one of my favorite things about blogging is reading other blogger’s posts and it’s just not the same without that.
  • Monthly Date Nights: My husband, Brett, works nights Tuesday-Saturday so we don’t see each other that much and it’s been hard to schedule quality time together. One of my favorite things that came from being quarantined was our monthly date nights and I want to keep that up. I genuinely enjoy spending time with Brett and it’s really great for our marriage to have that time scheduled each month.
  • Health: There are so many things I want to say about this goal but I’ll keep it pretty generic. This is the first year that I can remember where I’m not setting a goal to lose weight or am starting a new diet. I’ve struggled with body image forever it seems and restricting myself to a specific diet has been really unhealthly. This year I want to focus on taking care of myself which means eating healthy most of the time, practicing self-care, and prioritizing the things that make me happy. Hopefully keeping this simple will work better for me and I won’t feel so bad when I “fail”.

2021 feels different for a number of reasons. I want to take the time this year to work on myself and stop putting my job before anything else in my life. I have to start setting some boundaries or I’ll be completely burnt out before I even turn 30.

2020 taught me some valuable lessons and I hope that I learned enough to make this year different.

Are you setting any goals for 2021?

Photo by Andreea-Maria Juganaru on Unsplash

Seven Years of Blogging!

November 21st, 2020 marked 7 years of Life of Hayley! I’ve told the story of how this blog started many times before but basically I turned 20 and had a life crisis where I didn’t feel like I had accomplished enough in the previous 19 years. I wanted to use this space to document all of the things that I would do in my twenties. I’m an introvert so sharing my story can be difficult for me so this was also a way to push me outside of my comfort zone.

Fast forward 7 years and I’ve accomplished quite a bit. Over 800 people subscribe to this blog and read what I write. I didn’t do this for followers but I have really enjoyed sharing my life and making blogging friends. I’ve taken quite a few breaks from blogging and learned that it was okay to need a break.

I don’t know what this next year of blogging will bring. I can’t tell you how much I’ll post or share. But I do hope to be around for the foreseeable future.

So much has changed in the past 7 years. I’m now 27 and I’m married, with a dog and cat, working a full time job in finance, and I own a cute little house in a cute little neighborhood. My life isn’t perfect but I hope that 20 year old Hayley would be happy with how far I’ve come.

Even though so many things have changed, one thing remains the same. This blog has been my safe space and you’ve been my friends. I’ve shared my health journey and hopefully spread awareness about invisible illnesses. I’ve opened up about struggling with being an introvert. I’ve shared my wedding, anniversaries, funerals, and everything in between.

Thank you for an incredible 7 years! I am looking forward to many, many more to come.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Five Facts Friday

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Happy Friday!

How was your week? Mine was okay. I was feeling really burnt-out during the first half of the week but I had a couple of good conversations with co-workers and I’m feeling better. I think my main problem was that I didn’t sleep very well Monday-Wednesday so I was running on less sleep than I’m used to.

I had the inspiration to share five facts about myself today.

  1. I am terrified of driving. If I won the lottery the first thing I would do would be to hire a driver.
  2. When I was growing up my mom wanted us to be able to form our own opinions so she never really preached her beliefs at us. I don’t even really think I knew her political preferences until I was in high school and I started asking questions. I am really grateful that I was able to form my own opinions! Also, this is the first year that my dad has ever been really involved in our political conversations. He has formed his own opinions and is encouraging everyone to get out and vote!
  3. When I have bad anxiety the only thing that calms me down is getting outside. This is a more recent thing that I’ve discovered about myself since working from home. When I start to feel anxious I grab Oscar and we take a quick walk around the block to clear my head. It works every time!
  4. I love going to the dentist! I had really bad teeth growing up so once my braces finally came off I started to appreciate all of the time and money my parents spent trying to fix my smile. Now I like going to the dentist because I overcame most of my dental obstacles!
  5. When I was in high school I decided that I wanted a dachshund named Oscar when I grew up. Now I have a little dachshund mix named Oscar and he’s the best little pup!

Do you have any plans for this weekend?

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July 2020 According to my iPhone

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Another month flew by! July was a pretty great month, all things considered. We spent the 4th at my grandparent’s lake house, flew to New Hampshire, road-tripped from New Hampshire to Michigan with my sister, celebrated our Niece’s first birthdays, and I finally completed my class.

All in all, not a bad month!

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How was your month?

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Sunshine Blogger Award

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A huge thank you to Becky for the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination! If you haven’t already, make sure you check out Becky’s blog!

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so that others can find them.
  • List the rules.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers for the award and ask them 11 new questions.

Becky’s Questions:

What’s your favorite outfit to wear?

  • My favorite outfit to wear is anything that’s super comfortable. I am a shorts and t-shirt kind of gal. I will for sure never be a fashion blogger!

If you could meet anyone from the past, who would it be and why?

  • This may sound crazy but I’d love to meet my great-grandparents. I’ve heard so many stories from my parents and grandparents but I don’t have any memories of them and I have questions that I’d love to ask.

What skill would you like to master?

  •  I would love to master hand lettering. I love watching videos of other people writing and I find it so peaceful. If I’m stressed at work I usually doodle something on a sticky note and feel much better. I think hand lettering is super cool but much harder than it looks!

What’s your favorite quote?

  • My current favorite quote is “I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now.” As a teenager I just wanted a partner. I craved the stability of having a set person that I could always rely on. I wanted a husband, a house, a dog, all of that. It’s not that I can’t be an independent woman, I just really wanted a stable, lasting relationship and this quote comes to mind so often when I think about my life right now.

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

  • I could watch any of the Harry Potter movies a million times and never get sick of them!

What “old person” things do you do?

  • So many! I really love staying in on a Friday night to read a book on the couch even when everyone my age is going out.

If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator?

  • This is a hard one! I think I’d pick Emma Stone. She’s funny and reminds me of my sister.

What artist or band do you always recommend when someone asks for a music recommendation?

  • Green Day has, and forever will be, my favorite band. I also love Tom Petty!

What’s one song that you can’t stand hearing?

  • My least favorite/hated song is “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy. I don’t like it at all and will turn off the radio if it ever comes on.

What do you do for fun?

  • Recently my favorite thing to do for fun is to play badminton in our backyard! I also love reading, walking my dog, and watching YouTube.

What’s your second favorite color?

  • My second favorite color is probably a light blue. I also really love grey but that’s too boring!

My Questions

  1. What’s the story behind your blog title?
  2. Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
  3. What’s your dream job?
  4. Why did you start blogging?
  5. What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
  6. What’s your all time favorite book?
  7. What are three things that you can’t live without?
  8. What’s your favorite meal?
  9. What book/TV/movie character do you relate to most? Why?
  10. What quote do you live by?
  11. What’s the best thing that you’ve learned this year?

My Nominations

(That’s close enough to 11)

Thanks again to Becky for the nomination!

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It’s Okay to Take a Break

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4 years ago I quit blogging. I was a senior in college and the pressure felt overwhelming. I had been blogging for 3 years and nothing really came from it so I closed up shop and moved on with my life. I never forgot about blogging and constantly had the urge to write but I didn’t think I’d ever be here posting again.

I eventually forced myself out of blogging “retirement” because I needed a creative outlet. I realized that I was blogging for me, not for anyone else. It didn’t matter about stats or staying committed to my blogging schedule. All that mattered was that I enjoyed it.

The majority of us are maintaining a blog while holding down a full-time job. Blogging is a commitment but it’s also okay to take a break when you need it. I have found that stepping away from my blog and actually missing it gives me the inspiration to keep writing.

The urge to quit blogging still hits me every once in awhile when I have zero inspiration to write and feel like a complete failure. I want to give up when my life is too busy and putting my thoughts on the internet just makes me feel silly.

I’ve learned from being a “retired blogger” that it’s okay to take a break. Take a week, a month, or a year to gather your thoughts. Take some time for yourself and when you are ready to return your readers will still be here.

Have you ever quit or thought about quitting blogging?

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Photo by Harry Sandhu on Unsplash

July Blog Schedule

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July is a super busy month for me and I think blogging will have to take more of a backseat in my life for awhile. I’ll still be reading but I don’t know how much time I’ll have to create content.

Brett and I flew into Maine on Monday to see my sister in New Hampshire. On Tuesday we drove from New Hampshire to Michigan. On Wednesday we got her settled in Michigan and today I returned to work after 6 days off. I am exhausted.

Work has been rough this year. When I originally started writing this post I wrote that things were finally starting to look up. I spoke too soon. I don’t want to go into details because I know I am extremely lucky to have a job right now. I’m feeling really burnt out and I can’t imagine doing this for the rest of my life but I have no idea what else I’d want to do. I’m just feeling very unsure about work at the moment.

Speaking of work, I am taking a class for work the last week of July. I started a 3 year designation course which is usually held at Notre Dame. This year it will be online and I have been studying hard but still feel really unprepared. I will be spending most of the rest of this month studying and preparing for the class and the exam.

My anxiety is really high right now as I figure out how to deal with all of the things that are going on in my life. I’m nervous for all of the changes that are taking place at work and I’m extremely anxious about my class/exam.

Hopefully I will be back in action in August but July will most likely be pretty quiet.

Do you have any plans in July?

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2020: Second Quarter Goals Recap

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Holy cow! Q2 flew by so fast. I can’t believe we are over halfway done with 2020. I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a total shit show. Second quarter was not my favorite and I’m glad it’s over. In fact, I’m ready for 2020 to be over completely.

Here’s a quick recap of my goals for Q2. So many things happened and I don’t feel like I accomplished much looking back. But I’m giving myself grace and I know that everything is a challenge right now so I will try to not be so hard on myself.

  1. Finish some house projects. Brett and I aren’t great at doing house projects. I always have big plans and this was the perfect time to get stuff done but we didn’t get a ton of things checked off of our to do list.
  2. Learn 2 new recipes. I cooked a lot this quarter and even started my own garden! I am growing tons of herbs so I’ve been using those for recipes. I even perfected guacamole which is my favorite. I was able to learn more than 2 new recipes so I’m counting this as a win.
  3. Read 3 books and write reviews. I read more then 3 books but only wrote 1 review. I mostly read the textbook for the class I’m taking in July and didn’t have a ton of time for leisure reading. I did start reading the Harry Potter series again though!
  4. Stay home and stay safe. Staying home was really easy for me. 100% on this one.
  5. Spend at least 30 minutes outside everyday. Yes! I’m so glad I set this goal for myself. I spent a ton of time outside gardening, playing badminton, and walking the dog. Spending time outside was especially helpful for my mental health.

Even though Q2 was rough and the beginning of Q3 has been even harder I still want to be optimistic.

How has your year been so far? Are you finding it hard to accomplish your goals too?

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Does Hard Work Really Payoff?

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I have almost a decade of work experience under my belt which feels impressive since I’m only 26. I feel like I’ve been working hard for so long, always trying to be the best at what I do and trying to lead others to success too.

I started working my junior year of high school and it seemed like most of my classmates didn’t have jobs yet. I got my job because I had been invited to go to Europe that summer with other high school musicians and I needed to be able to help pay for the trip. It was hard working nights and weekends when my friends were hanging out but it was all worth it because I was saving for something I really wanted.

I ended up loving that job and working there for nearly 6 years. I was hired as a high school junior and left as a college graduate ready to move onto my first post-grad job. My first job taught me time management and leadership skills that are incredibly valuable. I also already had 6 years of work experience which set me apart from my peers.

My current job has been a roller-coaster since day one (in the best way possible). At first, I was so miserable and I was just trying to make it a year. I loved my co-workers but I hated the job. Then my boss moved me to a different role and I loved it! I was making a difference and was passionate about it. My team is amazing and even if the work is tedious I still get so much joy out of being part of this team.

All of that to say that I feel like I have been working so hard and sometimes I wonder why. When I first got a job I was working to save for a big trip. Now I feel like I go the extra mile everyday and I am working hard to keep moving up just for personal satisfaction. Yes, I have to have a job to pay my bills but work doesn’t have to be my whole life.

Some part of me always has to be the best at whatever I’m doing. I had to take flute lessons so I could have first part. I had to be a manager at my last job because I wanted to master all of the jobs. In my current role I keep cross-training so I can be as helpful as possible and keep moving up. My current role never seems to be good enough because I know that I can always improve.

Does hard work really payoff? I’d say it does.

These days I’m grateful that I’m able to have an emergency fund for the things in life that I just can’t plan for. I’m grateful that I can afford the beautiful house that we fell in love with. I’m grateful that I can save for trips I want to take in the future. Most of all, I have a sense of pride in my work and I’m grateful for that.

In a world that makes it seem like we need to work 24/7 to be successful, I’m here to remind you that success comes in all shapes and sizes. Don’t compare where you are at to where somewhere else is.

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Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

 

Five on Friday #21

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It’s finally Friday, friends!

It’s been a sad week but I’m going to continue to work on educating myself to be a better ally. I’ve ordered books, listened to podcasts, and have tried to be as educated as possible. History is happening right before our eyes and it’s easy to stay quiet and let it happen but it’s important to stay involved. Right now I am trying to listen and learn as much as possible.

Here are five random things for this Friday:

  1. Our stay at home order was lifted early this week. It was supposed to last until mid June so I was really surprised when it was lifted. We did have a 7 pm curfew for a few days because of the riots and looting. The protests in my city were mostly peaceful though. Were you able to attend any protests this week?
  2. I have a certification class and exam in July that I’ve been studying for. I’m really excited for the class even though it’s been moved to a virtual class format. Like I’ve said before, my background is not in finance so I feel like I still have a lot of catching up to do in terms of my knowledge of the financial industry. This is a huge step for me but I really need to focus!
  3. We actually have plans this weekend! We are going to hang out with some of Brett’s friends (while social distancing) in our backyard. The weather is supposed to be really nice and it’ll be good for my extrovert husband to spend some time with his friends. I think it’s been hard for him to not see his friends as much as he was used to.
  4. When I was planning our wedding I got really into hand-lettering as a hobby and stress relief. I still have so many pens and brush markers but haven’t really touched them in a couple of years. I started hand-lettering again last week and have been loving it! I keep extra paper in my desk drawer and whenever work is feeling too stressful I sketch something and it makes me feel much better. I used Creative Lettering and Beyond with these Sakura brush pens when I was learning.
  5. The mosquitoes are so bad this year! We are thinking about getting our backyard sprayed just so we are able to sit out. Have you ever had your yard sprayed for mosquitoes? Did you think it was worth it?

How was your week? What are your plans for this weekend?

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Photo by Niklas Veenhuis on Unsplash