When I started this year intending to post three times a week, I had NO IDEA how wild this year would become. When Covid hit, I had a moment of fear, not just about the pandemic, which is scary all by itself, but wondering what I would blog about. Plans for parties and travel went out of the window! I didn’t think I’d be able to really complete this year and accomplish my goals of weight loss, blogging more frequently, and building a happier home. Still, as we near the end of this year and stand on the edge of the next, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I can’t wait to tell you about the plans I have for next year!
In THIS post, which was posted on January 1, 2020, I listed out what I wanted to accomplish this year. I wanted to lose weight, blog three times a week and really give it my best effort, and have more fun in my life.
When the pandemic hit about three months later, I was shook like everyone else. How could I lose weight if my gym was closed? How was I going to keep blogging when HALF of my posts needed to be replaced because I was honestly stuck in my home, and lastly, how the hell was I going to have “more fun” when a trip to get groceries was anxiety-provoking? While I didn’t talk about it here (and maybe I should have), I had many nights lying awake wondering what I was going to write about. I wanted to throw the towel in on this blog so much. I actually skipped a few of my “goal updates” because I was ashamed. How could I write about “Having more fun in my life” when honestly, the most fun thing I had done was start playing Animal Crossing? I mean, I was at a loss.
However, as I look back on this year, I find myself grateful. I was able to accomplish all of these goals that I had planned for myself, just in a different way. I learned how to have fun in simple ways. I learned how to lose weight in a more empowering way, and somehow, I managed to keep my blog promise…and not only that, but I have something new planned that I’m really excited about.
1.) Weightloss: Okay, so at my heaviest, according to my Fitbit, my heaviest was 246.2 lbs in August. I’m currently 239.6. Amin and I both had memberships to the Boston Sports Club. However, when the lockdowns started and the gym closed, they started doing some really shady things. Some locations continued to charge their customers even though we couldn’t use our memberships. They also screwed over the personal trainer we were using. Firstly, it wasn’t fun driving to the gym, especially during the winter; secondly, I don’t particularly appreciate how they screwed their people and their trainers, so we canceled our membership and decided to invest that money turning our basement into a home gym. One thing my husband bought that has contributed largely to my weight loss success is a NordicTrack T 8.5 S. It has tons of programs that have really been helping me workout. We also have an exercise bench, Bosu ball, medicine ball, weighted balls, kettlebells, a punching bag, and tension bands. We even went and got a cushioned floor, so working out; we don’t have to worry about doing yoga on concrete. While it doesn’t look pretty, it’s one of my favorite rooms in the house. It’s hard to make excuses when you honestly have the “gym” right under your floor. The winter’s here are horrible, and in the past, it’s been hard to justify going to the gym during a blizzard. Now I can just put on my gym clothes and head to the basement.
If you’re having trouble justifying the cost of a home gym, let me put this into perspective—most people who buy a gym membership DON’T GO. Shocking, I know, but as a regular at my gym, I can tell you that the busiest month is January, and it starts to thin out by February, and then March, the New Year impact is hardly there at all. That’s wasted money. Amin and I did the math, and we realized that by investing the money that it would take for us both to go to a gym and put it towards home workout equipment, it actually saved us money; in the long run, we’d go more.
Second, I don’t know about you, but Covid has made me really sensitive to people sweating on things and not wiping down equipment. I was already wary of the communal stretching area. Having my own at-home gym means I can wear whatever I want, stretch however I want, put whatever I want on TV, and I know that the equipment is wiped down. It’s awesome. I don’t have to worry about being watched by weirdos; I can take as long as I want on the equipment, go whenever I want, and with YouTube, I have a massive choice of workouts to choose from on my mood. I LOVE IT.
I hope to continue working out. I still have a lot to lose to get to my target goal of 150lbs (at which point I’ll reassess a new goal based on what I feel good at), but I feel like I have a pretty good start and I feel really motivated as opposed to previous years.
2.) Blogging Three Times a Week: Guys, I didn’t think I would be able to do this. I really didn’t. I remember in June crying to Amin about my blog because I had all these travel things that I had planned around Boston and New England, and now I had to rethink everything. There were so many posts I had to cancel because there was no way I could do them. I couldn’t spend a weekend in Ptown. I couldn’t invite a massive amount of my friends over for Cinco de Mayo. I couldn’t throw holiday parties, and a lot of that had to be canceled and replaced with more home stuff.
However, I’m pleased to say; I never missed a post day. I consistently posted Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I also started a store and made a few sales from some of the items I’ve made. I made it work. At the same time, this year hasn’t been ideal. I’ve learned a lot about the blogging process and learned how to be flexible in my life plans. Stuff happens, and it’s all about being able to alter your plans to make new ones. While it wasn’t ideal, I learned so much this year, and I’m extremely grateful.
3.) Having More Fun: This was something I remember specifically bringing up to my husband at the beginning of the year. It was during the first Covid lock-downs, and I remember saying, “How am I suppose to have more fun now, Amin? Everyone is stuck in their homes? Restaurants are shut down! I can’t even ride the subway into Boston!”
This pandemic taught me to be more Monk-like. I watched a lot of YouTube videos on how to find joy in the moment, and I think that’s one of the reasons I did so well mentally during the pandemic. I was able to focus on simple things like how my morning coffee tasted or the process of cooking my breakfast. I started meditating most mornings. I started appreciating simple things like the weather, a candle, my cats, the sounds of just life. I started to realize that fun was more of a mindset and something I could create for myself by being in the moment. Just living life in some way could be fun with its little silly moments; however, in the past, I was just too busy to notice. Having fun was cooking a new recipe, or the feeling of freshly washed sheets, or a bath, or listening to the birds, or sitting in a ray of sunshine, or playing with my cats, or watching TV snuggled with my husband.
4.) The Future: While I don’t predict the world-changing much in 2021, I have realized that I control my own destiny. I still plan on losing weight, but there’s something major that’s going to be happening with this blog.
I have been a blogger for two years now, and while it’s been a fun and creative process that has helped me learn a lot of things, it hasn’t been very lucrative, and my audience hasn’t been very large or interactive and I’ve found myself struggling to create fun content in a way that doesn’t make the articles massively long. I did some thinking on this and realized that in the evenings, I don’t happily plop down in bed to read my favorite blog before going to sleep…I watch my favorite YouTube. I have a YouTube channel HERE, but I haven’t really been investing in it the way I could be. I’ve had several people on LinkedIn as well as YouTube asking for more content as well as telling me that YouTube is the future, and I should really put some more effort there. I was determined to give blogging my best effort, but I think I’m ready to really put a serious effort into my YouTube channel.
That said, I’ll still have this blog up. It’s going to be a place where I post, recipes, and DIY’s but they’re going to be supplementary to the videos that I’ll be releasing once a week on Monday. So if there’s a recipe you saw on Youtube, but you want the written version (or to look at the food pictures) it will be on my blog. This will allow me time to make awesome video content that will show you more of my life, recipes, and New England in a way that my blog just can’t.
My YouTube channel will be very much like my blog! It will have nail videos, drink and food recipes, and DIY’s but it will also have a lot of fun new content like Day in the Life videos, cat videos (featuring my own cats, of course), my weight loss journey, holiday antics, as well as some new information about me. I actually finished planning out my editorial calendar for next year for my videos, and I’m extremely excited about it. I hope that instead of dreading Mondays’ you’ll curl up happily at the end of a long day and put my channel on.
So let me be the first to say if you haven’t yet, please check out my channel HERE and like any of my videos and subscribe, being sure to click the little bell button to be notified of future posts. MY FIRST YOUTUBE VIDEO WILL BE FEATURED ON JANUARY 4TH (the first Monday of the year)!
Again, if you’ve read to this point, you’re probably one of the people who actually read this blog. Thank you for being such wonderful support. Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s given me the strength to think BIG. Remember, I will continue to post on this blog! So if you’re new and would like to be notified of future posts, please SIGN UP HERE. My SHOP will also continue to be up and running, so please feel free to check it out. Seriously I can’t thank all of you enough for reading and encouraging me to branch out into something with a bigger audience. I wish you all a wonderful New Year. -Heather Astaneh