Lifestyle self-growth

Things to do Before the End of Year + Lessons Learned From Failure

Last night I sat down at my desk, my journal in hand. I looked down at the list of goals I wrote down for myself around this time last year.

How many things was I able to cross off from my list?


Yup. To be quite honest, my first instinct was to feel like a complete failure.

Strange enough though, I still smiled as I closed my journal and got up from my desk.


Well, perhaps it’s because while I wasn’t able to accomplish any specific goals I set for myself, I still learned a few very valuable lessons. I still experienced growth.

And, if you’re in the same boat, for whatever reason, remember that the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for success is… well to prepare yourself.

As in, make a plan.

There are exactly 21 days left in 2017. That is 3 weeks. You can still get things done, so don’t get too lazy. Don’t use the “I’ll start on the 1st” excuse. Change starts now.



This is the best time to get rid of all the clutter, anything that you no longer need, use or want.

Your closet, garage, basement, kitchen cabinets, makeup stash.

Throw away any makeup or skincare products that have expired or you haven’t used in a long time, any clothes that you haven’t worn in a year, etc. This will feel amazing come January, you will feel like you really are getting that fresh start.


When was the last time you backed up your laptop? Do it before it’s too late. Delete those thousands of emails, old documents, pictures, and videos. Move your photos, videos, and documents or other digital bits you want to save, onto an external drive and delete the rest.


My sister and I love going through my photo albums and looking at pictures of our childhood and teenage years. This involves wine, a lot of laughs and also… a ton of cringing. It’s just something that we don’t really get to do too often anymore. Back in the day, that’s what we’d do for fun. Whenever my grandma brought out the big photo album after our Sunday dinner, we always got excited. I loved hearing stories from my grandparents’ childhood and them telling me about their younger years, their struggles, their happy times. I loved hearing it all. I would never have believed that my grandma rode a motorcycle unless I had those pictures to prove it (I meancan you imagine McGonagall riding a motorcycle? I swear her and my grandma were the same person).

I have so many pictures that I haven’t printed out yet, I have a bunch of empty albums waiting to be filled and I always tell myself that I’ll do it when I have more time. The time between Christmas and New Year is the best time to get it done. Putting those photos in an album can also be a fun thing to do with someone you love. Also, an album like that can be an amazing gift for someone close.


Most of us are very lucky. Even if you think you don’t have a lot, there are people who would trade places with you in a heartbeat. We’re approaching this magical time of year and while it’s fun to give and buy gifts for our loved ones, giving to someone in need, or someone who can’t return the favor is even more rewarding. Not to mention that it can potentially change someone’s day, or even life. Don’t ever underestimate your power.

If you want to help someone in need, you don’t have to look further than your community. Participate in holiday food drives, donate books or clothes, support the small local businesses that are so often family-owned. If you have a lot of free time, try volunteering. Buying a coffee through a drive-thru? Pay for the order of the person who’s right behind you. This magic, that we feel this time of year isn’t something that just “happens”. WE, are the ones who make it happen.


Don’t call them resolutions. Call them goals. Write them down and make a plan. Majority of us fail miserably at our New Year resolutions (*raises hand*) and that’s because we expect too much from ourselves. We want to lose weight, get a six-pack, get a promotion, find the love of our lives, get a house, a new car- all in a year.

Set small, but realistic goals for yourself, like getting up an hour early every day, or going for a 15-minute walk before work, reading before bed instead of watching TV at least twice a week. Changing life-long habits is hard, so you have to start small when working on developing new ones.


Whether it’s an overdue bill, an application you have to make for something or a relationship that fell apart where you didn’t get closure- you need to take care of it now. We often put those things off, the things that we dread, the things that we don’t feel like doing.

Guess what?

You’re not doing yourself any favors- because every night as you go to sleep, that little problem sits there somewhere in the back of your head, and it bothers you. You keep pushing it away and pushing it away, but it somehow finds its way in. Coincidently, this usually happens at 11 pm, as you’re trying to fall asleep…

Tie up those loose ends. This is the only way you can truly get a fresh start, come January.

Are there some things you know you have to take care of?

Why wait until last-minute?

My mom always tells me that there are no problems that can’t be solved. It didn’t matter if I called her crying about a college application being prematurely submitted, my car breaking down in the middle of a highway, my blog crashing, a business deal going wrong- she always told me the same thing: there are no problems that can’t be solved, there is a solution for everything.

If, you know for a fact, that you cannot take care of some of those loose ends in time, make a plan. Sit down with a piece of paper, and ask yourself: how can I get closer to taking care of this?


Most of you know, just how much of a shitty year I’ve had. First, last December, two days before Christmas, I lost my beloved Grandma, Alinka.

My role model, someone who always guided me; my best friend and one of the closest people I had in my life.

I’ve never experienced loss before and I never realized just how much it hurts, and how deeply it carves you. I remember losing my voice from screaming in pain, I remember crying at night, begging God, the Universe, anyone and anything to let me know that she knew how much she meant to me.

I couldn’t understand how life can just go on, while my heart was still bleeding.

It took months for the reality to sink in, and when I finally got the courage to grow, learn, and “live” once again, I got into a car accident.

A lot of the goals that I’ve set for myself seemed impossible to achieve post my injury. Not only did I feel weak, I also felt lost.

I had so many days, nights when I couldn’t sleep, times when I’d question, overanalyze everything and cry out loud: WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME? HOW DID I DESERVE THIS?

All of a sudden, I had all these things I had to deal with: visiting 10 different doctors, getting different procedures done on my back, dealing with the insurance, fixing my car, not being able to work. Every time my knees buckled and I fell to the floor, I reminded myself that my pain is nothing compared to the pain my Gran felt when battling cancer.

I’d feel guilty for feeling weak and undeserving of “taking it easy” or letting my body just rest.

And then, there was the injury itself, which stopped me from doing pretty much everything I loved to do: working out, working on this blog, taking photos, cleaning, cooking; even taking my dog for a walk is a struggle.

Well, one of the lessons I’ve learned is that things happen. Accidents happen. For no reason- it’s why they’re called “accidents” after all. Some other things I’ve learned?

-forgiving yourself, and others, is more important than you realize;

-all those little things we often complain and get angry about, are not that important;

-your life can change in a matter of seconds;

-the more time you spend looking for things to be grateful for, the more you realize just how amazing your life is;

-people who truly love you, show up for you in those difficult times, in ways you can’t even imagine.

So, while I wasn’t able to cross anything off my list of my “2017 Goals” list, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve learned a lot. Despite the fact that I felt like a complete failure, most of the time.

My body still refuses to “work” with me. I still feel devastated by the loss of my Gran, I still wake up in the middle of the night, crying.  If there is anything that 2017 has taught me, it’s that gratitude is one of the most important things in life. We all have some kind of struggles. Relationships, family, career, health, mental wellbeing. All of us go through things that we don’t always share with others. Some things and goals we set for ourselves, seem impossible. Until you actually do and achieve them. Then you can look back and say: yes, I did that. Yes, I survived that, I got through it. Yes, I accomplished that.  

No matter how small, do not forget to give yourself credit for the things you’ve accomplished. 

So what if it takes a bit longer than planned? So what, if you fail miserably, time and time again? Every single time you fail, you learn something new about yourself. Every single time you fail, you still get closer to getting where you want to be, because you get to carry those lessons with you.


  • Reply
    Naya //
    December 11, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Amen, Paula! This is such a great post. I kept nodding all along while reading this. I actually stopped composing “goals/resolutions” lists, instead I stick to my gut instict and try to achieve smaller goals first. Be it becoming a morning person or maybe even not forgetting to meditate; small things like this that truly make all the difference. And I have to thank you for giving me a virtual kick in the A because I truly needed it. Can you believe that I now wake up at 6 am and find time to listen to some morning meditations? It is emotional growth that matters most and I am glad that we are able to share our journeys through wonderful blogposts like this one. Hugs xx

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 12, 2017 at 9:08 am

      Thank you so much, Naya! I love the idea of trying to achieve smaller goals, it makes so much more sense. I feel like we always want to go after those huge, big things, without realizing that it’s small changes that can help make a big difference. Aww that is awesome! I totally agree that emotional growth is the one that matters most. Thank you so much, my Love!! xxx

  • Reply
    Aleksandra // bunniesaremagic
    December 11, 2017 at 2:45 am

    2017 was a weird and tough year, and somehow it seems like most people felt this way. Maybe it’s our age? We reach a stage in our lives when chances of us experiencing death of loved ones for the first time are very high (although I ticked that box few years ago), we start finding out what paying taxes is really about, now that we are mostly off graduate salaries, expectations of building a family build up and our bodies are hitting prime – which means it is all downfall from there on. I don’t know. Personally I am glad to say goodbye to 2017 and see what is there on the table for the future.
    Sending hugs and kisses <3

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 12, 2017 at 10:02 am

      You know what, there is definitely something to that. I know so many people who also just want this year to end. Age must have something to do with that, too. I am excited for the new year to start, I really hope that it will be a bit of a turning point for me (and all of us!) because even though I feel incredibly grateful and lucky, I just want to really start living as authentically as possible- if that makes ANY sense, haha :)

  • Reply
    Janah Jay
    December 11, 2017 at 4:50 am

    Lovely, Paula! I don’t like to set goals (I prefer to set intentions, they feel slightly different to me) because I feel with goals you end up beating yourself up and feeling bad if you don’t achieve them. What I love about this post is the fact that instead of doing that, you took the time to focus on what you had accomplished and the growth you’ve achieved, which is just as important. It’s so easy to forget to do that!

    You’ve been through an awful lot this year so it’s good to hear that you’re still leaving 2017 with a positive mindset. With your attitude there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll have a beautiful 2018! xxx

    Janah |

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 12, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Intentions is definitely another great way to think of it. Beating yourself up definitely does not help, although it has become almost like an instinct to us, where it’s the first thing we want to do.

      Thank you so much, Janah, I hope 2018 is a wonderful year for you as well! Sending Love!

  • Reply
    Linda Libra Loca
    December 11, 2017 at 6:41 am

    I never was one to set goals, I usually feel like I know my path in life and know what I need to work towards without writing it down, but lately life has been so hectic that I think I lost focus. Maybe it is time to bring pen to paper after all.
    You have been through a lot, and it seems to be enough to break a person. Reading your words and seeing your strength shine through them is very inspiring.

    Anne – Linda, Libra, Loca

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 12, 2017 at 10:28 am

      I love writing them down and keeping track- I think for anyone who is easily distracted (like me! hehe) It’s a great way to keep yourself in check.

      Thank you so much Anne, and then you for your constant support! Your blog is definitely one of my favorites, your vlogs always put a smile on your face!

      • Reply
        Linda Libra Loca
        December 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        Aw, Paula, thank you. That is so nice of you to say.

  • Reply
    Hayley //
    December 11, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I seriously love reading your blog. It always puts me in a positive mood. I can always relate to things you have spoken to in context to my own life and it makes me think what has happened, happened. It is now time to move forward and move on. What am I going to do from here. Which is how I feel alot at the moment. I have felt lost for quite a long time and I don’t quite know what it is that is making me feel that way.

    I really like the advice of starting now and not waiting for the new year. I completely agree, I don’t know why people put things off for the new year. They are then sad when they fail, when they could have started way before and already changed their habits/routine.

    I also liked the section where you talk about all problems are able to solved. It makes me remember how small my problems are in reality. I have just made them much bigger in my head. When I think logically, there is a very simple solution to them.

    I wish you all the best for 2018!

    Hayley || hayleyxmartin

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 12, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Aww Hayley my Love, thank you so much! I think we all need to get lost sometimes so that we can learn how to find ourselves all over again. It’s funny, how usually it happens for no reason, isn’t it!

      I think that the new year has always symbolized a bit of a “fresh start” for us, but the more you prep yourself and actually make it clear what it is you want to accomplish, set your intentions for the new year- it all becomes much simpler. It’s those little changes that truly make a difference.

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Hayley and for reading this post! I wish you the same and I’m sending love your way!x

  • Reply
    The Sunday Mode
    December 12, 2017 at 3:55 am

    My god reading this post has put me in a positive mood. I’m 100% guilty of not regularly acknowledging where I do well and what I’ve overcome, I tend to just dwell on what I haven’t done yet etc etc and it’s bloody depressing. I think for 2018 I just want to try a lot of things (even if I fail), put myself out there more and be more grateful daily.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

  • Reply
    December 12, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Love this post.

  • Reply
    Natalie Redman
    December 12, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Great post! All very relevant and honest.

  • Reply
    Danielle Alexa
    December 13, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    I think it is a great idea to print out some photos, I may even create a little 2017 photo album!

    Danielle xx

  • Reply
    Abi Street
    December 14, 2017 at 5:16 am

    Despite achieving all the goals I set for myself this year, it has been a particularly different one in which I’ve had serious struggles. I’m now ending the year feeling extremely lost and not really sure what the next step should be.

    Your advice at the end of this post is so so helpful to me right now

    Abi | abistreetx

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 22, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Aww so sorry to hear that, Abi! I think that for some reason, 2017 has been a strange year for many of us. I wish you all the best in 2018!!

  • Reply
    Demilade Aina
    December 14, 2017 at 10:00 am

    What a beautifully written post Paula! Before I address the points you made, I just want to let you know that I love your blog. I always feel so motivated whenever I read one of your posts and I’m sure a lot of others feel the same way. In essence, I’m saying you’re not a failure. Not at all, not even a little bit.

    And I can so relate to not achieving any ‘huge’ goals this year. Just like you, I’m okay with that because a lot of self-growth occurred and I know the things I’ve learned this year will help me be better next year. I’m so glad you mentioned a digital declutter, I need one so badly haha.

    I also agree with what you said about setting goals. I’ve decided to focus on setting small,build-able goals in the new year. Instead of saying I want to learn French for example, I’ve decided to focus on finishing my Duolingo French and then I’ll take it from there. In essence achieving little goals until they all tie in to form the big picture.

    Great post once again Paula :)
    Coco Bella Blog

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 22, 2017 at 10:13 am

      Thank you SO much, Love, for your kind words, it means the world to me!

      Haha I am tackling my digital clutter over the holiday break-not really looking forward to that, but it needs to be done hehe :)

      That is such a great perspective regarding goals, I love that! Thank you again for your lovely comment and for reading!

  • Reply
    Maja Harder Thygesen
    December 16, 2017 at 5:56 am

    Can really recognize the thought of cleaning up in the digital space. I am always so organized in my physical space, but the digital is starting to become a mess. For me that is a nice resolution. I

  • Reply
    December 17, 2017 at 8:26 am

    This post was written beautifully. I’m so sorry about the loss of your gran but I love how you’ve come out a stronger person out of all of it. Just remember she will be proud! Also, great tips to start the new year! I need a huuuuge declutter tomorrow, it’s ridiculous how much rubbish I own, haha!
    Cloe X

  • Reply
    Eire Pollard
    December 18, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Oh Paula, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise you were going through all of this. I actually lost my role model, best friend, woman who helped raise me Grandma 2 days after Christmas a few years ago. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. And I can’t imagine coupling that with something as devastating as a car accident, too. I am inspired by your courage and your ability to smile, despite all that. Your friends near and far are with you. You’ve really spoken to a lot of us with this post. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Eire | Wolf & Stag

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 22, 2017 at 10:17 am

      Eire, so sorry you had to go through the loss of your Grandma, too :( My Gran was my role model too and the closest person I had, but I try to take comfort in the thought that she is no longer in pain. Thank you so much for your kind words, they mean so much to me. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and I’m sending all my love your way!!

  • Reply
    Holly Emma
    December 19, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    This was something I really needed to hear at the moment. It’s easy to feel like your failing and forget to praise yourself for the accomplishments you’ve made, however big or small they are. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Have a merry christmas and I wish you all the best for the new year ahead,


  • Reply
    December 22, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Hey it’s Hannah (from Floraful) and I just launched my new blog since I was getting tired of the old one, and I was going to do it in 2018 but I figured, why wait? It’s best to start on your goals NOW.

    I can relate about how you said your body refuses to work with you. I was going on remission with lupus last year, and I flared up this year, the protein in my kidney went back and now I’m back on prednisone. It really sucks because I was starting to work out (Pure Barre) and show amazing results on my body but now it’s taken away from me because prednisone makes you gain weight, and my clothes are already tight. I still signed up for a 12-month contract with them though because I still want to work out even if I feel like I’m at war with my body with lupus. I had a little outburst about it on Facebook, posting a status saying,”You know, it’s easy for Christians to say to have faith, God is with you, but my sister and I do our very best to manage our lupus and we still flare up. We need other people to come out and say that they are struggling with their faith in God too” and my mom responded, telling me that there are other people that may be completely healthy but don’t have the love I have (husband, parents, family, friends).” It made me think. I’m still bitter about my lupus, kidney and having to take prednisone and it’s still hard to accept after having lupus for 10 years and taking prednisone for 7 years.

    I loved watching your blog grow for the past few years. Though I miss the old beauty posts, I love seeing the more lifestyle/self-care related posts because that is something we all need. Keep blogging but rest when you can. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year <3

    Hannah the Mad Dog

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 22, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Ohhh I love that so much, Hannah!! Can’t wait to check out your new blog!!

      There most definitely are so many amazing things in your life, things other people don’t have or don’t appreciate. I’m so sorry that both you and your sister struggle with your health, it breaks my heart. But you are such a strong and amazing woman, I don’t think you realize just how strong you are!

      Merry Christmas to you and your family! Sending my love!

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