I’m about tapped out on Thanksgiving content and thought I would share something a little different today. As the year winds down, it’s so easy to surrender to whatever bad habits we’ve built up and vow to get rid of them on January 1st. I don’t typically set resolutions but I do have big plans for 2019 and beyond and have been motivated to set them in motion NOW. Here’s how I’m investing in myself.

Seeing More of the World

One of the best ways to expand your mind is to change your location. This year has been pretty travel light for me. I went to Lagos, Amsterdam, and Cancun in the first half of 2018 and stayed local in the second. In 2019, I want to travel more and travel farther so I’ve started re-working my budget to accommodate that. I’m re-allocating funds I’d typically spend on dining and shopping to my travel account. So far, I’ll be visiting Denver, State College (PA), and New Orleans for weddings and graduations and Calgary, Alberta for work but have also penciled in trips to Honolulu, Paris, and Toronto for leisure. I’m watching airfare on Hopper and have already booked a couple of these trips thanks to flight deals!

Prioritizing Professional Development

Some of y’all know that I started a new developmental role at work at the beginning of this year and it’s been such a learning experience. This role has added to my skillset and further fleeked out my resume in the process. About halfway through the year, I realized I was eligible to sit for another professional certification. It’s been almost four years since I finished grad school and two years since I got my PHR certification and I’m now jumping back on the study train to get my SHRM-SCP. Study materials have been purchased. The test date has been set. Pray for me, y’all.

Working Out Regularly

In the past, I wasn’t someone who really needed to work out. I was naturally slim growing up and danced through college. I’ve practiced yoga for the past few years for general wellness, to relieve stress, and maintain flexibility. As I approach 30, though, genetics and flexibility aren’t going to cut it. 🙂 So, I’ve been taking more dance classes and tapped into an accountability group for consistent sweat sessions. I’m not on any special diet–still practicing balance between healthy things and desserts. I am also currently working on curating a bunch of healthy recipes, resources, and techniques to share with y’all in January.

Commanding My Finances

To do better and better financially, they say you can either bring in more money or spend less. I’m about doing both! As far as earning, I’ve been seeking (and even creating) more opportunities to earn via this blog. I also asked for a raise this year at work…and got it. If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you might know that I dipped my toes into stocks earlier this year via Robinhood (you get a free stock through that signup link!) and plan to learn more about investing in the market in 2019. As far as spending less, I periodically rate shop and re-negotiate what I pay for cell phone service, car insurance, utilities, etc. I learned a long time ago that organization can be a big money and time saver but fell off on that front over time. I recently re-organized, starting with a review of my retirement and health savings contributions. The next project is organizing my tax documents. As both a full-time employee and entrepreneur, I get income from multiple sources and have to file both personal and business tax returns so I’m currently cleaning up my digital and physical filing systems to make that time of year smoother. I even bought a big girl filing cabinet to set up in my home office.

Reading More Books

One of my goals for 2018 was to read one book per month. I flopped a few months in. I’m was four for twelve. In August, I joined a book club and between that and pre-ordering my #ForeverFLOTUS’ memoir, I’ve been working my way through a healthy stack of books. A recent NPR segment discussed how digital books and screen readers aren’t so good for brain function and can actually change the way we think. Reading traditional books–you know, the kind with paper pages–is better for our critical thinking. For me, reading more has helped cut down on my time spent scrolling through apps (looking at you, Instagram) but between my corporate job and managing this blog, I still log a lot of screen time. So, I recently picked up these blue blockers to help my eyes out. Here are some of my recent and current reads:

I know this is a different type of post than what you typically see here but hope that it is helpful and interesting to you. There won’t be anything else up before Thanksgiving as I gear up for the cooking marathon but you can get a peek into the whole process over on my Instagram stories. See y’all back here after Turkey Day. Thanks for reading!

Signature Dash of Jazz