Oh 2016, where do I even begin? Despite what many people have been saying about 2016 such as “Can’t wait for it to be over”, “It was a terrible year”, “Can’t wait for 2017”, etc — it has actually been really good to me. I can look back at it and say that it has been one of the best years of my adult life.
I tried to be as reflective as I could on this year and think of the bad things that have happened, but I can mostly only remember the good things. Of course it definitely wasn’t perfect. I had some very hard and sad times, and there are mistakes I have made as well. But the good outweighed the bad and I chose to focus on that instead. I have learned from my trials and mistakes and I am going to use them as a learning experience to make changes in 2017.
One of the major highlights of this year was transitioning into blogging full time. This had been a prayer and desire of mine for the past two years or so. I started blogging in 2013 not exactly knowing where it would take me. I did it because I loved it and I wanted to help other women feel beautiful and confident both inside and out. But I honestly didn’t believe I would be where I am today. It was something I had always thought would be amazing — but I didn’t fully believe in myself. However in the beginning of 2016 I made a conscious decision that it was what I truly wanted to do. I was tired of working my corporate 9-5 job and I hated going into work everyday. I felt trapped and so unhappy because I wasn’t doing what I loved. So once January 1st 2016 came around, I started a 10 day Daniel Fast where I prayed and fasted for God to open the doors for me to be able to blog full time. Sure enough He made it possible June 24th and it was one of the best days of my life.
In addition I also prayed for God to open doors and opportunities to travel more (through both blogging and for pleasure), be in a magazine (I was featured in Glamour’s November 2016 issue), repair friendships, and about 6 other specific things which I won’t list because they’re personal — but literally most of those things I prayed for came into fruition. In terms of traveling, I traveled like crazy this year! I went to Paris and Nice in France, San Andres and Medellin Colombia, Jamaica, and literally all throughout the United States including Miami, New Orleans, Austin, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Francisco, D.C, and more! God really gave me more than I could have asked for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
I say all this as a testimony that God answers prayers and a lot of what you ask for and desire is obtainable when you combine prayer, obedience and hard work. I believe God honors that — because He isn’t just going to give us everything without doing our part. But I was intentional with my actions and time. There were many sleepless and stressful nights working hard on my blog and going to events to network while still working my 9-5 and it was HARD. Sometimes I wasn’t even sure if it was worth it and I wanted to give up. I wondered if I would really see the fruits of my labor. But I am so sure now that it was completely not in vain.
Another thing that made 2016 great was my change in my perspective. I started looking at things in a more positive way. I wouldn’t say I was ever a negative person — but I did used to let things get to me — whether it was something big or small. If something didn’t go my way, I would let it ruin my day or get me in a bad mood for a few hours. As little as it may sound, it really made a big difference in my life. It made me an overall much happier person. Once you realize that everything happens for a reasons and that you are not in control, then you end up spending a lot less time being upset, angry, regretful, and instead using your energy on things that matter — including your happiness, joy and contentment.
I also feel like some people, (not all) can have a lot of self pity and blame 2016 and the bad things in their life that they can change. Of course there’s always the uncontrollable such as deaths, job losses, and many other misfortunes. But sometimes the year is a reflection of things you did or did not do. The year is great for goal setting, resolutions and a “reset”, but January 1st is not going to be any different than December 31st if you don’t make the necessary changes and be intentional.
So on this New Years Eve 2016, I am looking forward to 2017 with great excitement and anticipation. I am going to work even harder towards bigger and better things and strive for greatness. I am going to learn from my mistakes and make practical changes like including waking up earlier, reading more, being selective with the people I surround myself with, and guarding my time. Cheers to an amazing year, and let’s all take 2017 by storm!
Photography: Denisse Benitez Photography
Dress: ABS By Allen Schwartz
Here is a link to more of my blog story and how I transitioned from working my 9-5 to blogging full time: And Then You Graduate – How Do I Make It As a Brand Influencer?
Also here is an amazing podcast that will get you inspired for the New Year: Myleik Teele’s Podcast – Books To Get Your Life Together in 2017