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How To Set Goals And Actually Achieve Them

how to achieve your goals, tips for 2017

In 2016 I often felt lost, like I didn't know my purpose or where I was going. It sort of felt like a discovery year or a 'floating' year for me because I was constantly questioning what I wanted and where I wanted my life to go. Did that feel good? Most of the time no, so I knew I wanted to make sure 2017 would be different.

I mentioned in my 'Why A New Year Shouldn't Mean A New You' post that I'll probably never be the type of person that sets new year's resolutions, but I have been re-assessing where I am vs. where I want to be and I've realised that half the reason I stalled on my goals in 2016 was because I wasn't going about achieving them the right way. (I also's a downfall. I'm working on it.)

For 2017 I plan on actually achieving my goals and here's my plan of attack for doing that:

how to reach your goals in 2017, tips and tricks

Change your mindset. 
This is more than half the battle, I guarantee you. I tend to be a glass half empty person (yep, I'm one of those people) and it sounds simple but I've realised that if you genuinely don't believe you can achieve something and you keep saying it out loud, you're manifesting all of that negativity and nope, you won't reach any of those goals because your head's not in it. If you think you're going to get your new dream job you won't get it tomorrow just because you thought positively about it, but there's plenty of research out there to prove that if you think very clearly about what it is you want and you actually believe you can get there, you're paving the way to get those things and manifesting that, day by day.

Break them down. 
We all have those huge scary goals that loom over us- they feel unachievable because they're so big but you want to achieve them exactly because of that. To take things down a notch, look at your huge goals and break them down into smaller goals or even tasks that feel a little (or a lot) less scary. If you look at a small task you've made and it intimidates you, it's too big- go smaller!
So say your big goal is to move to America. Make one of your smaller goals to research flights and another goal to research travel visas and different housing options etc. Break it down, it soothes the soul.

Actually write it down. 
Our thoughts change like waves so unless you have a damn good memory the chances are you're going to forget the ins and outs of exactly what you want. Write your goals in a journal, a word document, a scrap piece of paper or in the 'Notes' app on your phone- just take 10 minutes and actually write everything down as clearly and specifically as you can so that you can see them in front of you and look back on them whenever you need to.

Set a time frame for each smaller goal/task.
If it takes you 6 months to achieve a tiny goal then that's probably not too productive, so set yourself a time frame for when to complete each small goal. Remember to be realistic as well, especially if you already struggle reaching a nice work/life balance.

Do something every day. 
What you do can be tiny (and I mean tiny). So going with the example of the goal of wanting to move to America, if one of your small goals is to research flights then maybe one day you pull up some flight websites and another day you look at prices and another day you email a travel agent. There are 365 days in a year so even if you only do something tiny every day, imagine how much you'd get done by the end of the year as opposed to leaving everything to December and then panicking...

Be adaptable and open to change. 
Just because you've written something down or planned a goal in January, don't feel bad if you want to change your goals by March. We change, our perspectives change and our goals change along with it all and I think that's fine. Don't bother working toward goals you don't really want because if you do, you won't care when you reach them anyway.

Do you have any tips for achieving your goals?


Why A New Year Shouldn't Mean A New You

new year, new you, new years resolutions 2017
[Central Park, New York.]

Did you survive the flood? The flood of the "new year, new me" quotes...

I used to hate those quotes with a passion and while I'm still not the biggest fan, if people want to use each coming year as a metaphorical 'refresh' then I'm on board with that, because why not? The only thing that really bothers me about the "new year, new me" quotes is the idea that we should all be striving to be a different person when the clock clicks over from 11.59pm to 12.00am. Am I not progressing if I don't have 20 new years resolutions and don't want to be a new me?

So despite the flood of 'new beginnings' related content currently drowning the internet, here are some things to keep in mind and a few reasons why a new year doesn't have to mean a new you:

new york central park travel blogger melbourne

new years resolutions 2017 advice

 -Feel free to stay the same-
There's a misconception that if you stay 'the same' throughout the years that you're not growing, changing or adapting. I've had people meet me after years and say that I'm the same which used to offend me but now I take it as a compliment. Of course I've changed a ridiculous amount over the years but I am still the same person underneath it all.

If you want to reinvent yourself there's nothing wrong with that and it's quite socially accepted, but just know that your perspective can change, you can grow, evolve and learn things and you can still stay the same at your core and that's completely okay as well. Just don't ever let goals, a new year or other people's perspectives and expectations make you feel like you need to change.

-Don't forget everything you've done throughout the year-
To me, the 'new year, new me' goal implies that there was something wrong with who you were throughout the year. Improve upon yourself in the new year but don't let the thought of wanting to create a 'new' you negate who you were and what you've done this past year. I really believe that there's a reason for everything (or at least there has been in my life so far) so even if 2016 was really awful for you, embrace it as a learning year and don't feel like you need to completely erase 2016 from your memory in order to move on.

new year, new you, lifestyle blog

-Make little changes instead-
Similar to what I was saying before, you don't have to become a different person to make changes, alter deeply engrained habits and improve your life.

I try to live by the quote "Be a better version of yourself yesterday" and I think that applies to the new year as well. Rather than trying to be a whole new person all at once and then burning out by February, space things out, set goals, work toward them and realise that it's really not a race. Try to improve with each passing day and if you did better than yesterday at whatever it is you're aiming to do then you should be damn proud.

-How many of us can there be?-
If with each passing year there was a new me then by now there would be 22 Julia clones walking around (Orphan Black anyone!?). Obviously the 'new year, new me' quote isn't meant literally but you know what I mean. Take this with a pinch of salt, but what if we all just tried to accept ourselves for where we are in life right now, at this very second with our issues and baggage and all, rather than constantly wishing things in our lives were different or 'better'. Too soppy? But seriously, if you're always wanting things to be bigger and better and brighter than you'll never really be happy in the moment.

How do you feel when it comes to the New Year?

Los Angeles: Expectation vs. Reality

L.A is one of those places that we all hear about, read about or see on T.V (or all of the above). So if you've never been there yourself it's pretty common to have a bunch of expectations about what it's actually like.

I've been to Los Angeles once before but I was a lot younger and honestly I barely remember much at all, but this time was different. I'd scrolled through so many Instagram photos, read posts on L.A, watched vlogs from people who lived there....I was ecstatic to go there for myself and it ended up surprising me in more ways than one.

Acai bowl with a load of granola (So good!)

Expectation? The food is going to be sub-par...

Reality: L.A knows their food.

I'm not sure why but I expected the food in Los Angeles to be all around bad or low quality, but I couldn't have been more wrong (granted I didn't go to any dives or super low budget places though).

I'm a bit of a food snob but the food I had in L.A seriously surpassed my expectations.  With the meals I had the ingredients were top notch, flavours were amazing and L.A seems to offer a little bit of something for everything food-wise.

Depending on where you go, prepare for some seriously 'healthy' menu items though. It seemed like all of L.A was carrying around a green juice.

I'd recommend:

Fresh gourmet sandwiches @Mendocino Farms
- Maca/Acai Bowls @Liquid Juice Bar
- Fresh baked cookies @Milk Jar cookies
- Fish and Chips @Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
- Gelato @Amorino Gelato

Expectation? Rodeo Drive is a must-see, so it must be good

Reality: Over-hyped. 

I came, I saw, I wasn't overly thrilled. Granted I'm not Rodeo Drive's kind of clientele (I can afford a Burberry lipstick but that's about it) the whole experience of going there just fell a little flat for me.

It's not that it wasn't beautiful or picturesque or Instagrammable as hell, it's just that the street itself is overhyped. The way some people talk about how you have to stop at Rodeo Drive sort of makes it into this big experience and then when you realise that it's just a shopping street filled with shops you can't afford and you're probably not going to casually run into Leo DiCaprio or any other celebrity, the thrill wears off a little. I feel like Rodeo Drive is one of those places that if you visit L.A, everyone is going to ask if you went there so you go to make sure you avoid the whole "How could you not go to Rodeo Drive?!" speech. But unless you've got money to burn, it's nice there, but don't expect to have your socks blown off.

Expectation? Everyone's going to have a dog....

Reality: Dogs. Dogs everywhere (and I mean everywhere). 

In L.A it felt like everyone had their dog with them...all the time. Out to lunch? People are sitting next to their dog. Grocery shopping? There's a dog cornering the tomatoes. Catching an Uber? The lady before you just jumped out of the car with her dog in the backseat. Walking around? Dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs- everywhere. I really don't think L.A is the place to go if you're either allergic or scared of dogs because it just seems like it's the norm there to bring your dog with you everywhere, which is the complete opposite of Melbourne!

Expectation? Venice Beach is going to be quirky

Reality: Words can't describe Venice Beach. 

I read somewhere that words can't describe Venice Beach and I have to agree with that, it's one of those places that you need to experience for yourself. Walking to Venice Beach from Santa Monica, it was like walking into another country. Compared to Santa Monica, Venice has this eclectic vibe that's a little more unique and a lot less perfect and manicured.

Some of the cafes looked great, others looked a little seedier but overall the mix of people there is unreal and the place always seems to be buzzing with activity. Saying that, I'd recommend visiting during the daylight hours because for me personally once the sun started setting I was ready to leave.
If you're looking for the most picturesque time to explore choose sunset, we walked around just as the sun was setting and everything was looking particularly beautiful, if I do say so myself. 

Expectation? Santa Monica is going to be a postcard come to life

Reality: Santa Monica is like a beautiful little oasis. 

Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Burbank, Malibu, Santa Monica- it seems like there are so many different areas to L.A that it's hard to keep track. Even though I definitely haven't been to them all (or anywhere close) one thing that amazed me was how different Santa Monica felt from everywhere else I'd been. The Pier itself is just how you'd imagine- filled with people, bright signs, people's hopes and dreams and that classic relaxed vibe that comes from living near the beach with a little hint of 'The O.C' vibe creeping in.

Santa Monica felt like a little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of some of the other more central places. Everyone seemed more relaxed (almost a little too relaxed at times) the atmosphere didn't feel as competitive and honestly it was hard to believe that all of this was only about a 20 minute drive away from Beverly Hills...although let's face it in L.A everything takes longer because of the traffic!

If you're visiting L.A and you're not sure where to visit, make sure you add Santa Monica to your list!

Have you been to L.A before? What did you think of it?


Where To Find Confidence When You Have None

confidence boosting tips
[LAMCA, Los Angeles]

I should probably start this post off by saying that I'm still a huge work in progress when it comes to confidence, but if I wait till I'm completely confident to write this post then my god I'll just never write it. For me personally I can't stand it when people preach 'rules' at me, everyone is flawed and I actually enjoy it when people who struggle in areas give some tips and tricks with how they cope. I suppose when I'm struggling with something it's easier for me to take advice from someone else who's been or is going through it, rather than from someone who has never struggled or has everything sorted (do these people exist?).

So from a person who is still working on all of this herself, here are the things I've found that have worked best for me when it comes to improving confidence...

blogger lifestyle and confidence tips
Figure out what makes you different. 

Everyone always says to embrace the things you like about yourself, but starting from the very bottom- what if there's nothing you like about yourself? I've been there, it's a dark place.

Sure, you can look at your waist and think "yeah, I like that" but try and dig deeper. Think about what it is that sets you apart from other people and truly makes you different. What gives you a different viewpoint to the person next to you, what makes you look different than the person next to you, what makes you walk and talk different, think differently, everything. It's funny because often the things we think are odd or 'weird' about ourselves are exactly what other people love and admire.

Realise that it's only up from here. 

J.K. Rowling said that "Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."
Personally I love this quote and I think it can be applied to confidence as well. If you feel like you have zero confidence, take some comfort in the idea that things can only get better from here on out. At the very least, find confidence in the fact that confidence is coming.

Train your thoughts. 

Negative thoughts really suck (there's the understatement of the year) but it's pretty empowering to realise that a thought whether positive or negative is just a thought, and a thought can be changed.
Confidence is hard enough to gain without your brain throwing out insults at you left, right and centre. Every time a negative thought comes into your brain, realise that it's just a negative thought and try and change it to something more positive. If my brain is saying uplifting things to me my entire day gets better. It may sound corny, but it's true.

low confidence tips

Do things that make you feel good. 

You know that feeling when you do something that you know you're not very good at (like me with sports) and you start feeling this sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach like you just want to run off and hide? Well that there's probably the opposite of confidence-boosting so if you're low on self-esteem, find something that you're good at and let that lift your confidence naturally. It feels good to be good at something, it just does.

Do you have any tips for finding and building confidence?


10 Reasons To Make Travelling A Priority

travel blogging tips
You go on a trip and it's great, you have fun, you make memories, you take photos and then it looms on you like no other--you have to go home. So you do, and then the post-travel blues set in. You know the ones, you come back to your own country/home/work and responsibilities and everything just feels so  blah. I've said it once (well, I've tweeted it) but I'll say it again- nothing makes you want to travel more than travelling does.

If you've got the travelling bug like I do or if you just need an extra push to book a trip, here are 10 reasons why you should make travelling a priority:

1. You get a mental break. 
I can get really stressed in my day to day life and maybe it's just the relaxation you get from leaving your same daily routine, but without sounding too dramatic, travelling rejuvenates my soul (yeah, that was too dramatic even for me) and it just makes me feel like I can be whoever I want to be. I don't feel restricted or put in a box, I feel like my responsibilities sort of drift away and I can just let everything go and relax. 

2. You're forced to leave your comfort zone.
In a good way, sometimes it's only when I'm forced to leave my comfort zone that I realise that life's not so scary outside of the bubble I've created for myself.

3. You open your eyes up to other cultures. 
Certain nationalities tend to gravitate toward certain destinations so while you may feel extremely comfortable with your own surroundings and the kinds of people you see day to day, it's not until you leave that comfort zone that you can get fully exposed to all of the other different cultures and beliefs out there. One of my favourite things about travelling is trying the local cuisines, learning about the customs and just in general trying to appreciate the fact that we are all so different. Often when I'm in a completely different environment and immersed in a culture that's not my own, I find I learn the most about myself.

4. You make new connections. 
I'm not super social (introvert) but you know what, there's nothing I love more than when you get a cheery and chatty uber driver and you just spend the whole time talking about everything and anything. Just in general while travelling though, you get so many more opportunities to meet new people, see new faces and introduce yourself to different kinds of people from all walks of life.

5. You realise your world is really quite tiny. 
In the big bad world, with the trillions of people and their stories, all of sudden that final exam or broken arm doesn't really seem too crucial.

6. You get to eat amazing food. 
I'm biased to say that European food takes the cake here, but it's safe to say that there is some amazing food out there, so good in fact that if you're anything like me you'll want to book a trip back to Italy just for the pizza...

7. You get a healthy dose of inspiration. 
At home in the same job with the same routine and the same surroundings everything can get a little stale, but immersing yourself in a new environment definitely gives me the kick I need to get more inspired and motivated.

8. You can take amazing photos. 
The kind of photos that you'll still be looking at 50 years from now (and then a couple of photos of gelato thrown in there for good measure.)

9. You exercise regularly without even knowing it. 
I don't know about you but I sure do walk a hell of a lot more when I'm on a trip. At home I'll drive to the supermarket or to...well anywhere really but when I'm travelling I tend to just walk absolutely everywhere. See ya later elliptical and treadmill, because I'd way rather just travel to get my daily exercise in from now on.

10. It's fun.
That's one of the most important things, don't you think?

What are your favourite things about travelling?


How To Appreciate The Little Things In Life

[Central Park, New York]

If you read that and thought "What do you mean, I'm not worrying about anything?" then congratulations, I envy you (and you're also probably in the minority.) For everyone else out there, I feel your pain.

As a chronic over-worrier, sometimes my life gets overwhelming and it's not even that something bad has happened, it's just that I focus too much on the negatives instead of the positives and it all ends up feeling a bit like life is punching me in the face. Instead of throwing myself a pity party (even though it's tempting) lately to keep myself sane I've been trying to focus on everything and anything positive and I've realised that I have a hell of a lot to be thankful for. It's all about appreciating the little things, you know?

how to focus on positives rather than negatives

I tend to think that if we're all more appreciative of the smaller things in life then it's more difficult for the big bad things to bowl us over, because we always have something to be happy about regardless of anything bad that happens- if that makes sense?

So here are a few small things to be thankful for. Nothing special, nothing ground-breaking, nothing that will necessarily knock your socks off, but teeny little things to be happy about. You add up all those teeny tiny things and all of a sudden they amount to you having a pretty damn good day.

Appreciate good weather. 

Good weather in Melbourne? Does that even exist?! It's rare, but it's there. If you're lucky enough to live somewhere with a perfect climate then relish it, but otherwise soak up those moments when you look outside and the weather makes you smile. Sometimes it's sunny outside and that genuinely makes me excited about the day (partly because I'm always freezing) but sometimes it's pouring rain and I'm inside under blankets with a hot chocolate and nothing makes me happier.

new york big apple travel blogger

Appreciate your space. 

This might be a weird one but appreciate your home, or your bedroom, or wherever it is that you can plant yourself and just relax.

When I'm out and about I find I can get tense really easily but then I just come home, hop into pyjamas (which I live in 99% of the time) and I get a real sense of relief and comfort just being home, safe and warm and in a space where I can virtually do whatever I want to.

Maybe it's because I'm quite introverted but I enjoy my own space so much. Like I said, it's all about the little things for me.
Appreciate the yin and yang. 

I once heard that apparently we're all supposed to strive for a permanent even ground between happy and sad, which means that you're never really upset or depressed but you also wouldn't get ecstatic about anything either, theoretically. Call me crazy, but I'd rather feel really sad (within reason) if it means that I also get to feel really, jumping on the walls happy. I think it's only by going through the bad times that you fully appreciate the good times. I know that in my own life I look back on some of the toughest times I've ever had and it just makes me so so happy with where I'm at right now, all of sudden I appreciate everything I have now and I'm relieved I'm not back in that negative space like I used to be.

So the next time you're feeling down, it sounds a bit twisted but try and appreciate the fact that there's an up-side coming soon and when it does come, you're really going to relish it.

Appreciate a good start to your day. 

Underrated! I'm sorry but I do wake up grumpy sometimes, I just do, that's why I always try to go to sleep in a good mood (to increase my chances of waking up in that same mood).

If you do wake up in a good mood, treat that like a prize because if I wake up in a bad mood it really does throw my entire day off. In a similar vein, appreciate those mornings when you can get a little extra sleep, when you actually have time to slow down and make your breakfast or maybe read a bit of your favourite book or watch your favourite TV show. Those slow, relaxed mornings are few and far between for me but oh how I appreciate them.

Appreciate warm showers and fresh bed sheets. 

There's nothing better.

If I've learned one thing in my 22 years it's that I need to not let life overwhelm me so much. Most of the things I worry about would probably rate a 1 on a 0-100 scale of importance, so I really need to let go, go with the flow a lot little more and just value all of the little things in my life that I have to be happy about and focus on that.

Focus on the positives, forget the negatives (aka my new life mantra). All easier said than done, I know, but I'm working on it.

What are your thoughts on appreciating the little things?


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