Goals for the Year Ahead.

Goals for the Year Ahead

I wanted to really take my time thinking about goals this year. I spent the break decompressing… thinking strategically about the year ahead was not a priority! And now, with just a week left in January, I finally feel like my goals for the year ahead are clearly defined (and ready to share).

I talked about this on Substack but my word for 2024 is nourish. Eating foods that nourish my body, activities (like long walks, pilates, yoga) that nourish my muscles, reading books that nourish my mind. When I visualize my goals… it’s a fridge full of healthy foods, snacks pre-made… produce chopped up and frozen so that I can easily throw it all in a smoothie. It’s a clean, organized home. It’s quality time with friends. It’s spending time with my family and not looking at my phone. It’s stopping to play with Jaime in the middle of the day. Overall, it’s just slowing down, being more thoughtful, being more intentional about absolutely everything!

Goals for the Year Ahead

Personal Goals

More meal prep.

I am such a cookbook lover. I could spend all day just sitting with my cookbooks. I want to cook at least three recipes a week, ideally all things that can be eaten throughout the week (for example, a soup, a protein, a side). For February specifically, I have the goal of making a different soup every week (at least; the weeks when I am here!). It’s fun trying new recipes.

I have a separate goal of always using my whole CSA. My chef father gets really upset by food waste and so do I. But I always get things I maybe wouldn’t typically gravitate toward (for me it’s things like sweet potatoes, quinoa, squash). Taking a couple hours to just cut everything up, cook it, and store it in containers for the week has been a game changer!

Be better at listening to my body.

Our bodies are amazing. They tell us when they need to move, when they are tired, hungry, want to rest, etc. So often I wait until my body is screaming at me to slow down (or eat and I’ve already crossed the threshold into hangry territory)! I want to do a better job listening to it vs. forcing things.

Be more thoughtful.

I think of my friend Holley here. She but brought me a lemon cupcake for my birthday. I don’t even remember when I mentioned it but she remembered that lemon is my favorite. It was the smallest gesture but it meant a lot to me. I aspire to remember people’s little favorite things and fun little details… to know the names of everyone who works at my favorite restaurants (I keep a notes tab on my phone)… to send hand-written thank you notes.

More domestic projects.

I had so much fun making limoncello (and then bottling it up and giving it as gifts). I want to do more of these things. I’m not sure what, exactly. Maybe homemade candles? Infused tequila? Vanilla extract? Really, I just enjoy making little things that I can give to my friends as a hostess or “just thinking of you” gift.

I am also going to learn how to needlepoint! This weekend, a few of my girlfriends and I were playing Mahjong and I talked about how much I loved having a new hobby that had nothing to do with work. Needlepoint came up and my friend Annika offered to teach me and I am so excited. I ordered my first canvas here. Seems fitting with the new pool project. What sold me (besides making something) is that she said it’s a great thing to do watching TV or a movie (and that it reduces the temptation to look at her phone!).

Be better at saying no.

This is a tough one. This is really in regards to the influencer events. In the spring and fall there will be weeks where there are 5 or 6 things and it’s just too much. I really struggle as I am a supporter and want to say yes, especially if something involves a close friend. I also get FOMO! That being said, it’s too much. I find going to more than one brand event in a week to be very depleting. Plus saying yes to all that means saying no to seeing my family or my other friends.

Small talk exhausts me and if the event is being photographed or filmed, I have a hard time relaxing. I usually need to hibernate the next day/night. I’m not cutting them out, but I am cutting back. My goal is to be really discerning and remember that saying yes means saying no to something else. Even if that something else is just myself!

Be better at initiating plans with my friends.

The thing I do love is cozy dinners and quality time. In the past it had felt like sometimes feel like my social life was either all or nothing: big events OR being home alone by myself reading. What I really crave is the thing that is in between those two things. Cozy dinners. A leisurely Friday or weekend lunch. Staying home to cook with a friend. Mahjong. Going for a long walk. Hosting a dinner party at my house. Those are the sort of things that bring me a lot of joy.

Read more non-fiction

I only read 11 non-fiction books last year. This may sound like a high number but when you consider that I read 88 books (and 37 thrillers), it is a small percentage and kind of feels like “wow, I’ve been on a junk food diet.” I stand by the fact that ALL READING IS GOOD READING. But the thing is: I genuinely enjoy non-fiction and learning something new. So this was just a reminder to read more of it.

Build more community in Charleston.

I have realized that building community is both really hard and really easy; especially if you don’t have kids. You have to make an effort and be proactive. This year, I spread my wings a bit and made a few new friends. I also now have all these neighborhood friends which is the most fun. It feels like I’m really putting down roots and that feels amazing. I do have a tricky time with making new friends. I can be a little closed off until I trust someone but then, I end up missing out! My goal is to be more open and also more involved, especially outside of the influencer bubble. (Not because there is anything bad about the influencer bubble!). A big honor was being asked to be a part of the planning committee for Spoleto Bridge; I am super excited about that.

More art-related adventures with my boyfriend.

We always talk about doing things like a roadtrip through the Southwest to see art; or going to Palm Springs design week; or getting to Paris and seeing the Fondation Louis Vuitton (he played a key role in it when he worked under Frank Gehry!). I want to make sure we have at least one or two adventures this year. Doesn’t have to be anything big!

Professional Goals

Sometimes sustaining is the goal. I love what I am doing! I am happy. There are years where I go hard on growth, partnerships, etc. and there are years where I focus on doing the very best I can at what I’m already doing. That is this year. I work really hard but don’t have anything new that I’m trying to accomplish this year. No big product collaborations, no attempts at TikTok, just focusing on doing what I’m doing and doing it well!

Grow my Substack.

I really enjoy Substack. In a way it reminds me a lot of the old school blogging days. Right now there are about 42,000 subscribers and a 52% open rate. I am super proud of these numbers but my big scary goal is to get to 50,000 (and keep my open rate the same!). I am being careful though; with any platform I have always said that I would rather have the *right* followers vs a lot of followers. I have seen what’s happened to my Facebook group (it’s just gotten too big!) and I don’t want that to happen to my other platforms. So if it happens, great. If not, that’s okay too!

Focus on What Matters.

Someone once told me, “If it doesn’t bring you joy, pay the bills, or teach you something new… why bother?” I try to think about this little checklist when saying yes to anything I do, be it accepting something new or continuing with something I am no longer enjoying. Being ruthless with my time and energy, and really taking a critical look at everything!

Continue to Learn.

There is always so much to learn in this industry. I hear about people putting AI generated keywords into their reels captions to get more views. Or things like Manychat (which has really streamlined my DMs as now people can comment a word to get a link). Or all the latest and greatest with instagram and the algorithm. There is always something new! I try to outsource a lot (like SEO for the blog) but I am always trying to learn and grow as this industry changes daily! Also, writing: I really want to push myself to be a better writer.

Be Mindful About Comparison / Media Consumption.

Blocking snark sites on my browser is probably the best thing I did for my mental health. But still: I’m my own worst critic. It is hard not to compare myself to people who are 5 or 10 years younger than me, or even to compare my current self to myself 5 or 10 years ago. This space is hard as you have a visual diary of everything. You also see the numbers (likes, follower count, etc.). And this is awful because I’m so happy with my actual life, but sometimes I look at old photos and am just like “wow, I used to be much cuter!” Or I will see someone ten years younger wearing an item of clothing I have and just feel bad and frumpy.

In some ways it is good. Comparison can inspire and motivate me to show up as the best possible me. In other ways, it’s toxic! It is a natural thing, I just need to be aware of this and be really careful of what I consume and how I let it make me feel.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

27 Comments

  1. Oh, Substack? Never even heard of it, but I’ll chech it out. I miss the old school blogging! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1.23.24 Reply
  2. I love this post of yours every year, and this one seems especially good. You sound so clear on what is meaningful to you, it’s refreshing to read! I think this will be a very good year ๐Ÿ™‚

    1.23.24 Reply
  3. April Gaskell:

    Thanks for sharing, Grace. Not all goals need to be related yet whether intentional or not, yours seems to flow nicely. As in, being mindful and focused on this goal, will likely have a direct positive impact on that goal. I wish you a year of sincere nourishment! Hereโ€™s to 2024

    1.23.24 Reply
  4. Katie:

    I have a non fiction book rec for you! I’ve been reading a few chapters a week, definitely not a book I’d want to binge but you might feel differently. It’s called Doppelganger by journalist Naomi Klein, who found herself constantly confused with a journalist Naomi Wolf online (they look alike too!), but Wolf has very polarizing views (anti-vax, conspiracy theorist, Covid denier etc.). It is so interesting learning how Klein navigated that, and there is SO much good commentary about what a mind f*ck the last four years have been…highly recommend!

    https://www.amazon.com/Doppelganger-Trip-into-Mirror-World/dp/0374610320

    1.23.24 Reply
  5. So excited to watch you on your journey. Your goals sound really well thought out.

    1.23.24 Reply
  6. Caitlin:

    Another nonfiction rec!

    Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture by Kyle Chayka

    1.23.24 Reply
  7. Sarah M:

    Have you found an AAPI alternative to The Mahjong Line? I appreciate that they’ve popularized mahjong among what appears to be the southern, white crowd, but I don’t love their appropriation or their cost. I’d love to find and support an AAPI alternative and I’ve been a bit off put by seeing them on a number of bloggers/instragram/influencer posts.

    1.23.24 Reply
  8. Lindsey:

    For an art-related adventure in the US, I’d highly recommend Marfa, TX. It is an amazing place to spend a few days. For something farther afield, Naoshima island in Japan is incredible.

    1.24.24 Reply
    • Thank you! Marfa is top of our list but I didn’t know about Naoshima Island! (Japan is also top of the list but more for sushi!)

      1.24.24 Reply
      • m:

        I second Marfa. It feels like a real middle-of-nowhere adventure with art as a bonus.

        I love your resolutions and feel inspired to adopt a few of these myself. Happy New Year!

        1.25.24 Reply
  9. Dana:

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Grace! It was wonderfully relatable and a gentle reminder to me to come up with my goals for the year.

    1.24.24 Reply
  10. Such a good list of goals! Highly recommend trying your hand at Lemon Curd as a gift idea – it’s super easy to make, keeps well in the fridge and is so delicious!

    1.27.24 Reply
  11. Jordan:

    I LOVED the Fondation Louis Vuitton, maybe one of my favorite museums I’ve ever gone to. So cool your boyfriend worked on it, it is stunning.

    1.29.24 Reply
  12. Emm:

    Re: the CSA/general food waste

    When you get it, pull out the items that you really don’t like and donate to a local food pantry or community fridge (if y’all have those). It’s fine to force yourself to try something, but pushing yourself to use something that just isn’t your thing is a ‘recipe’ for failure.

    Also if you have a community fridge, those are great places to donate spices that you bought for a recipe and discovered you didn’t really like what the spice added or didn’t like the recipe at all and don’t see yourself using the rest before it becomes stale/dried out. (Or for the non-cooks, the remaining packs of banana bread-flavored poptarts after you try the first pair and discover that they smell great, but …)

    2.2.24 Reply
  13. Madeline:

    Hi Grace! I love the stripe dress / skirt from the post photo! Looks like missoni! Is there a link? Thanks!

    2.14.24 Reply