I would give up pizza but I am not a quitter neon sign.

New year, new view.

Happy New Year! My friend Stefany and I wanted to do…something…for New Year’s but couldn’t really decide on what. We just didn’t want to stay home. So she came by my neighborhood and we spent New Year’s Eve drinking ciders at my local dive bar. It was pretty low-key but I still drank way too much and have spent most of the day curbing a massive hangover.

Welcome to 2019.

I always like to take a moment to write out my goals for the year, my New Year’s resolutions. I feel like a lot of people put down New Year’s resolutions, saying that January 1 is really just an arbitrary day, or that you don’t need a new year to start new goals, or that they just set you up for failure.

And, sure, maybe those are all true. But, for me, I like the symbolism of the day all the same, that idea of a fresh start. And anything that gives me an extra kick in the butt to step back and reassess my goals is OK in my book. So, New Year’s resolutions it is.

In 2019, I’m choosing to focus on a few main things. I tend to go overboard on my goals and want to work on a million things at once and want to plan for everything and do everything. But last year I made a resolution, one I stuck to, to focus on tings I’ve already been working on before diving into something new. And it worked out well for me. So, this year, I narrowed down my resolutions, my goals, to a few big things, with the hope of not getting bogged down by unnecessary tasks or things that aren’t pushing me in the right direction.

Let’s see how this goes.


Lose 40 pounds.

Goals are better when they are specific and and measurable…right? I mean, usually I just say “I want to lose weight” and call it a resolution. And by “usually” here I mean that “lose weight” is literally on my list of New Year’s resolutions every year and every year I don’t lose that weight. So maybe putting a number to it will help the process?

Or, I don’t know, doom it to fail.

The way I see it, 40 pounds is a realistic, manageable, goal. Really, it’s less than one pound a week.

I’m not looking to do a crazy diet, a Whole30, a juice cleanse, or to spend every waking moment at the gym. What I do want to do, this year, is to change some of my habits. To go to the gym more. To be more active. To eat a healthier, more balanced diet.

It’s not that I think I need to (and definitely don’t want to) give up every delicious thing and starve myself. For me, it’s more about balance and self control. I don’t need to have a sugary coffee for breakfast, a soda at lunch, snacks, treats, a soda at dinner, fried food, dessert, and a cocktail all in one day. Which, often, is what my days look like. I don’t need to eat because I’m bored or because food it there. I don’t need to eat for comfort or for stress. I don’t need to continue eating even after I’m full.

It’s that lack of self control that is my downfall.

I want to lead a healthier life. I want to make changes to do so. And, yes, I also want to lose weight in the process. I’d like to fit into the clothes in my closet that I used to fit into. I’d like to look at myself in pictures and not want to turn away. I’d like to get to my third-floor apartment without losing my breath.

But I also want to eat that cake. So the key here, for me, is to find that line of balance.


Get 25,000 Monthly Sessions on My Blog

Here’s another specific, measurable goal. I want to get at least 25,000 visitors to my blog every month.

Why that number? Simply because that’s the threshold for applying to one of the bigger ad networks.

I never really cared about making money from my blog. I just wanted to write and do it on my terms. So I tend not to play a lot of the blogging “games” to get more traffic or revenue or followers. I just, mostly, write.

But…blogging can be an expensive hobby. You have to buy and renew domain names, hosting, social media scheduling tools. And those can add up. Especially when you’re someone like me who often comes up with a random idea, buys the domain name 10 minutes later, and a week after that has a website set up with an intention to do something with it…someday…

While I hope never to bombard any of you with ads on top of ads, I do want to start making more money with my blog. And, if I want to do so by continuing to write what I want to write, I’m going to try to get more ad revenue.

Of course, I also want more people to read what I write. So more traffic never hurts there either.

I actually have been using strategies lately to intersperse more Pinterest and SEO-optimized content on my website without straying too far from just being me and, in 2018, I had 50% more traffic over the 2017. So I’m going to continue to create new content, promote, and try new things.


Take more time to relax and have fun.

All work and no play makes Val a dull girl. And I feel like I’ve been pretty dull lately. I stay at home. Cuddle my cats. Work on my blog or freelance work or, often, am just so exhausted that I just veg out in front of Netflix.

Sometimes it’s my social anxiety telling me not to be social. Sometimes it’s just general anxiety over money. Sometimes it’s my mile-long to do list telling me I need to stay home and work over going out.

Part of the reason I want to really narrow down and focus on my goals is so that I have more time for other things. Fun things. If I’m not bogging myself down with new ideas and tasks that don’t align with my goals, I’ll have more free time. And as I continue to finish the big set up projects that I’ve been working on for the past year, I’ll have more time.

Plus, you know, the more fun things I do the more fun things I have to write about…

So, in 2019 I hope for more rooftop bars. More fancy cocktail bars. More restaurants I’ve always wanted to go to. More theater and opera and movies and excursions. More time with friends. More leaving my apartment.



I haven’t traveled much over the past few years. And I want that to change. This year I’m hoping to take at least two big trips.

I want to take a road trip. I used to take a lot of road trips and stop off and see all the big weird roadside attractions. Since I sold me car, I don’t get that chance very often anymore. But maybe this summer I can take a big road trip…somewhere. I’m thinking Texas because high on my list of must see US attraction are the Big Texan, the Cadillac Ranch, and the Marfa Prada store. But I also totally think about driving through Maine and eating every lobster roll in the state. And I also, at the very least, still need to take a mini day trip road trip to Casey, Illinois to see all the big things there. I guess I need to rent a car…

I want to leave the country this year. Where? I’m not sure. I keep saying that Morocco or South Africa will be my next trip. But I also keep thinking “beach in Mexico.” And I really just dream about eating all the pintxos in San Sebastian, Spain. So where I’ll end up, I don’t know. I just hope to end up somewhere…


Happy New Year everyone! Did you make New Year’s resolutions this year? What do you want to accomplish? Here’s to us all reaching our goals!

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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Ali
    January 1, 2019at5:30 pm

    I love your goals! I’d love to get Ali’s Adventures to hit 25k sessions a month & put Mediavine on there. I love love love AdThrive, which is what I have on Travel MadeSimple, but they have a 100k pageviews minimum. As for the weight…OMG I need to lose at least 40lbs. I’d love to lose 10 by the Uganda trip with Katie. Maybe you & I can encourage each other to keep on top of things & shed some pounds!

  • Lisa and Robert
    January 1, 2019at9:48 pm

    If you road trip to Texas, you must must must eat all the fried pie (ignore the weight loss resolution that day).

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