Why I'm Prioritising Happiness in 2015

Hi lovelies!

Okay, first things first: Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination is a total sweetheart and included Frozen Hearts in her top 10 most anticipated novels of 2015. *cue internal and maybe not-so-internal screaming* THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I AM FOREVER IN AWE OF THE FACT THAT YOU'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS AS MUCH AS I AM.

Ahem.

So my dad took me to the doctor yesterday. Good news: I'm not dying or anything! Bad news: I am sick. Apparently, among other things, I'm "overexerting myself". (For the uninitiated, that basically translates to: "you're exercising too much. I need you to spend two days lounging around eating chocolate.") So I was pretty much stuck in the house today, but tomorrow I get to go out again, which is lovely!

I was really going back and forth on whether or not I should write this post, but yesterday I pretty much decided screw it, you guys know me better than a lot of people in real life, so why not? As you know, I've already shared my professional goals for 2015, but today I wanted to talk about the other side of things - that is, my personal goals.

2014 was a year of challenges for me - learning how to push myself and do things I never in a million years would have imagined myself doing. I worked up the courage to click the send button and ended up making connections with authors, musicians, and bloggers who I had been fans of for ages. I joined a critique group and learned how to both give and take feedback. I wrote songs that were raw and honest and emotional, songs that pushed the limits of my craft, and then I took that and put it into my poetry and prose. I kept pushing with Frozen Hearts, even though on some days I didn't think I'd be able to publish it. (Hell, some days I still don't think I can, but I'm working on that one!)

In 2014 I grew a lot more than I had expected to, and I'm so glad that I learned how to step out of my comfort zone a little.

But in 2015, I want to shift focus a little.

At the beginning of every year, I buy a new notebook and use it for my planner. (It's kind of the highlight of my New Year, because I am a gigantic nerd who enjoys fangirling over stationary.) At the very beginning of that notebook, I write my professional + personal goals, with the former being a short, concrete, measurable list of what I want to achieve this year, and the latter being... rather different.

Here's my list for this year:

i. Work hard. Play hard. ii. Tell more stories. iii. Doodle. Sketch. Paint. Art harder. iv. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. v. Write more. Write about everything. vi. Have more solo dance parties in your room. vii. Keep your skin moisturised. viii. Appreciate every square inch of your body. ix. Celebrate your small successes. x. Don't treat life like a contest. xi. Pick up the guitar. xii. Stop caring what others think of you. xiii. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. xiv. Always educate yourself. xv. Cry less. Laugh more. xvi. Exercise a lot. Eat chocolate a lot. xvii. Go to sleep earlier. xviii. Learn to unapologetically say no.

2014 was not the best year in terms of happiness for me. I know for sure that I don't regret focusing on pushing my comfort zone, but at the same time, I think I might have lost a little bit of something that I've always treasured - unconditional love for myself. It makes me sad that I'm constantly being so harsh on myself, finding ways to point out faults that, chances are, nobody else is going to see.

So that's why I'm doing my best to prioritise my own happiness this year.

Every year, the list of personal goals I write in my planner consists not necessarily of goals so much as... commandments, so to speak. These are things I want to live by this year; when I'm making a hard decision, this is what I want to fall back on. Last year, most of that list consisted of what I was absolutely terrified to do (i.e. reach out to favourite authors/musicians/bloggers). This year, it's more reminders to give myself a break once in awhile and keep doing little things that make me happy.

You guys know I've always advocated self-love, and I find it slightly sad that I've forgotten what that feels like. Honestly, I'm just really tired of getting embarrassed whenever somebody compliments me and being afraid to say yes to myself every once in awhile.

Because hey, you know what? I'm actually pretty awesome.

In 2015, I'm doing my best to remind myself of that.

love, Topaz