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Between a burgeoning relationship I realised I didn’t want, Marina announcing her leaving the company we both work for, my counterpart colleague across the pond being promoted while I got nothing and the stray cats once again using our garden as a shitter, I thought I needed to work on what my game plan is for the rest of the year.

At the end of lastyear 1000 thoughts, dreams and goals were swirling in my mind. Happily, they have since become a little more condensed and focused in where I want to go and who I want to be. So here they are.

1: Move. I need to be living in a new environment, in Central London, with people my own age who are still full of optimism. People who inspire me. People I could actually be real friends with. People who see London the way I see it. I need to be coming home to somewhere that feels more like  a home.

2: Google exams. The next step in my career is a mastery of the digital landscape, beyond just social media and penning blog articles. I think a knowledge of social media marketing will only get you so far. I want to be a fully equipped digital strategist. With Google exams in Analytics, AdWords, video etc and a solid knowledge of SEO, PPC and digital advertising behind me, I’ll be in a much stronger position.

3: Journalism. I need more writing credits to my name. Articles published on big name, well-respected outlets where I can be seen. Of course, the dream is always a regular column. A public place I can show my wit and the power of my writing.

4: Personal blog. I need to re-create my own blog as a hub for social media and digital, a place to (gracefully) flaunt my knowledge so I can move on to a bigger and better position. You’d be amazed at how much more seriously people take you when there’s even the smallest shred of evidence that you know what you’re talking about.

5: Novel. I need to finish a first draft by the end of the year. You never know!

Of course, I want to continue with my gym classes, get leaner, make new friends, network, all of that. But I think these are my “Big 5”. They’re what I really need to push my career and my life to the next level.

There’s something so wonderfully liberating about setting goals. It helps me to feel as though I really have something to work towards. An end point. There’s something almost quasi-sacred about writing them down too. As though you’re making a promise to yourself that must be fulfilled. I look at the list above and imagine my life in London with all those things fulfilled. How much better it would be, how happy it would make me.

I worry that I can be such a passive person. I can sometimes lose the will and simply let life drift by. Other times, no matter how hard I strive, there simply doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. I look at other people, sometimes, and just wonder how they do it all. How they manage to be so brilliant in seemingly every facet of life. Do people ever look at me and wonder that?

One of the things I admire most about Marina is the standards to which she holds herself. Nobody can ever surprise her by what they expect, because she inevitably expects much more. Perhaps at the end of it, that’s truly my biggest goal for 2016: to hold myself to the standards that I want to be.

Because what in life is ever more liberating than setting your own rules?

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