Living Better: 5 Changes I made in 2016 and Why

Living Better: 5 Changes I made in 2016 and Why

Every year we make promises to ourselves.

There are the things we want to start, the things we want to stop, and the million-and-one ways we want to change ourselves for the better. These past few years I have been fiercely focused on work, pushing myself to achieve those goals I’ve set, and clocking up as many hours as were needed to do so. In many ways I sacrificed my downtime, my social life, and often my sleep, to get things done. Looking back, I don’t regret it, but I know that despite being happy at the time, a person can’t live like that forever.

So at the beginning of this year I decided to work on some other areas in my life that were getting a tad neglected. In short, I wanted to live better. It’s almost four months into 2016 (WHERE is the time going?!) and I’m already feeling their benefits in both my work and personal life, so I wanted to share them with you today:

1: I’m pushing my boundaries

I guess this is something that I’ve always done in some way or another, but I come back to it every year. I think it’s really important to get out of your comfort zone, it’s where you learn and grow the most, as as both a professional and a person. It can be a huge change like a career-switch or moving cities, or a small switch-up in your weekly routine. Either way, a step outside your comfort zone can have amazing results. For me, starting my YouTube channel in January was pretty daunting, I knew firsthand just how much work is involved in producing video content regularly, but I am SO happy I made the commitment. It’s allowed me to share not just my beauty and fashion content, but my personal stories, my success, my failures, and everything in between. I often get told in the comments that you can see my personality more, and that makes me so happy. (If you haven’t already, do subscribe to my channel here, so you won’t miss my next video)

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Shop the post:

Faux Sude Biker Jacket: here (similar) | Teeshirt: Missguided (I also have this one) | Trousers: Missguided | Boots: Ego 


2: I’m learning to say NO

I strongly believe that great things come from saying ‘YES’, especially when you’re trying to get a career or a certain project off the ground. It so important to be open to opportunities, even the smallest one could ultimately make all the difference. This year however, I learned to say ‘No’ more, and it has helped me hugely. Truth is, you get to the stage where you can’t say yes to every offer, and if you do, it dilutes your time, your energy and your focus. It’s so important to be selective, and this goes for both your work and your personal life. You can still be completely polite and respectful in saying it, so just remember that when you say ‘No’ to something that isn’t right for you, you’re actually saying ‘Yes’ to yourself.

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3: I’m taking care of my mind and body

Having been exercise-allergic for most of my adult life, starting a fitness routine was probably one of the more daunting ones on my 2016 goal list, I’m not gonna lie. Now that I’ve started, I don’t want to stop. It’s not at all as difficult or as time-consuming as I had feared, if anything it’s actually making me more effective with my time. For more details on how I’ve been getting on you can check out some of my fitness update posts here and here.

Another element to this whole ”living better’ idea is to take more time to switch off and give my mind a break. I’m an over-thinker, always scheming and plotting my next step in life, and it just so happens that all my best ideas come at night when I should be sleeping, which is a pain! I’ve been dabbling with meditation practices for a few years, but only this year have I decided to commit to a nightly practice just before I go to sleep. It’s actually not as bizarre a concept as it might sound, and smartphones have made it easier than ever to get into a routine. I’ll be talking about this more in a separate post, but so far it’s working really well to help switch my mind off before bed.

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4: I’m decluttering my space

Again, this is no secret to those of you who read my blog regularly. I have been doing regular clearouts for the past few years, but this year I rolled up my sleeves and really went for it. I cleared out my wardrobe, bedroom and home office (they’re all technically the same room but hey!) of anything that I wasn’t using, needing or liking anymore, leaving me with just the essentials, and the things that brought me joy. Again, this might sound nuts, but ever since I made this change I’ve felt happier, more relaxed and more motivated in my space than ever before. My unwanted stuff either went to charity or to Siopaella, (my local consignment store) so nothing was wasted and I then wen’t about giving my room a little makeover, which was neither expensive nor difficult and boom, it was a totally new space. I will be showing you the in’s and out’s of my new space soon, but you can see peaks of it on my Instagram here and here, and I also talk about it in more detail in my latest Youtube video, plus I give you a mini-tour of my new closet. Bottom line is, I never realised just how much my surroundings were affecting me until I took the time to make my space as positive a place as I could.

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Shot by Yoseph on an Olympus Pen E-PL7 with a 75mm lens

(Read why I think it’s the ultimate blogging camera here)


5: I’m learning to focus

The final change I made this year is a hard one to explain. Ever since I was in school, I’ve always had problems sitting still and focusing. If the task at hand didn’t grab my attention, I was thinking about something else within seconds. I couldn’t understand why I was always getting in trouble, and in my childish pride I often felt like no one could keep up with me, that I was moving at normal speed, and the rest of the world was too slow. I sound like an absolute plague to teach, I know. I couldn’t help it, I was a hyperactive child. It was nothing to do with my diet, or my parents (they were great) it was just the way I was wired. The good thing is, I was given absolutely no excuses, and I used to get in trouble all the time, but in the end I performed really well in school, because I eventually learned (through constant discipline) to push all that energy into positive, challenging exercises that kept my attention.

As an adult, I’ve naturally slowed down (thank GOD!) and learned to find my own level of chill, but I still have a racing mind that often jumps from one idea to the next without really focusing on any single one of them. Thankfully I think these quirks suit a career path in all it’s multi-tasking and improvising needs (especially broadcasting!) but its on those days when I’m working on my own at home that I can find it challenging. There’s no teacher looking over my shoulder ready to shout at me if I pick up my phone and check snapchat for the 1,482nd time that day, haha! When I’m on my laptop I usually have 10+ tabs open (right now I count 12) two blog posts underway, a few half-written emails, and some product arrangements strewn across my floor mid-shoot. It often takes me twice as long to get a task done as I keep getting distracted by another task/an email/ a bird outside/ heck even some dust floating by my screen. The struggle is real, people! As much as I wished my spirit animal is Amalthea from The Last Unicorn, I’m more like Dory from Finding Nemo.

Don’t get me wrong though guys, I get things done. I produce a sizeable amount of content for my blog and social media each week on top of the freelance work I do for other clients and brands, and that’s no mean feat. The problem is that with so many different tasks to get done, as a one-man-team it’s up to you to cover everything. In my line of work, there’s always a thousand-and-one things to do in a day and my nature is to tackle it all at once, so I am learning, (slowly but surely) to focus on one thing at a time, in the hopes of getting even more accomplished in the mere 24 hours we’re given.

 I hope you guys enjoyed this more personal post, I’d love to know if there are any changes you’ve made this year, and why. Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

Love, 

Ciara x

9 Comments

  1. April 11, 2016 / 16:55

    Amazing post! I love this kind of personal growth topics and I am so happy that you are taking the next step! Being focus is so important if you want to get things done:)
    LOVE your outfit and boots btw!! So stunning!
    xx
    http://putitallonme.com

    • ciara
      April 12, 2016 / 11:09

      Thanks so much for the kind words lovely, I’m delighted you liked it! xx

  2. Marsha
    April 12, 2016 / 03:53

    Loved this post, Ciara! So glad I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago–you’re now one of my new faves to follow!

    • ciara
      April 12, 2016 / 11:10

      Awh that’s so great to hear Marsha, thank you so much for stopping by! C x

  3. Kerrie
    April 12, 2016 / 08:28

    Hi Ciara, can I ask what size you went for in the jacket? Love it!

    • ciara
      April 12, 2016 / 11:11

      Hi Kerrie, no problem! I went for a size M, as I always size up just to be sure when ordering from Shein. I’m a size UK 8 but as you can see the jacket is rather oversized on me, so I could have gone with an S also. Hope that helps! x

  4. April 20, 2016 / 03:25

    Absolutely love this post!

    • ciara
      June 30, 2016 / 13:27

      So glad to hear it doll, thanks for reading! X

  5. Lex MG
    July 17, 2016 / 12:19

    yes i did enjoy this more personal post. it was pleasing to get a peak into that quick mind of yours and other details of the where-you-are-at, or were, back in april. concerning 5a, i suppose that’s why your old blog was named wildchildstories. anyhow, yes you do get a lot done, and the great thing for us is that we see hear and read that you know what you are doing, and are being good at it. As for me, since you ask at the end of the post there, i am not making any changes this year. For the 2nd year in a row i am avoiding all beef meats. Oh yeah, my father passed away in february, from old age. he lived in toronto. Well, i suppose, there might be some changes coming my way, once estate lawyers and bank lawyers stop quibbling. Nothing major but nothing to sneeze at either. My thoughts now wonder back to your post. hmmm maybe i’d like to try yoga again. Greetings from Geneva.

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