The New Year rang in, and I was full of optimism. “2018 is going to be a great year!” I said to anyone that would listen. My business had just launched a brand new online wedding-planning course, I was on target to hit my booking goal for 2018 (including a destination wedding to Jamaica!), and I had reflected, journaled, and meditated on 2017 and set my goals for the next year. I even typed them up, printed the document, and hung it on my office wall (which, let’s be honest, is a success in and of itself, since most of my business-related ideas are a mix of text messages to myself, voice memos, and Post-its scattered around my desk.) Life felt good.
Fast forward two weeks (you read that correctly, only two weeks), and I found myself crying because this thing we call being a creative business owner can be a cruel, cruel lifestyle. Have you ever had that feeling that things are just going too well? Like you know the good times can’t keep going forever, but you also don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, so you pretend that they will and ignore that little feeling inside telling you otherwise? Yep, that was me.
Turns out, my course was not be an overnight success, my YouTube channel only gained my husband and parents as new subscribers after my first vlog, and after diving deeper into my budget, my business is still up against many of the same struggles as last year.
Even now, writing out these “failures” seems silly, because they aren’t failures at all. Some would say they’re unrealistic expectations, but that’s not the case, either. Mentally, I know building a creative business or launching a new product takes time (I’m three years in and still not there yet), but that doesn’t stop my heart from dreaming. And that dreaming, paired with the excitement of a new year, can cause lead to anxiousness. I’ve spent weeks and weeks visualizing myself tackling the year, making every moment a great one, and pursuing my dreams with fury. No wonder I’m suddenly feeling down when faced with the reality that every day won’t feel like I’m making leaps and bounds toward success. Sometimes I wonder if I’m even moving forward at all.
These challenges are all the exact same obstacles I was facing just weeks ago in December, but somehow, we get this idea in our heads that with the New Year, those problems are a thing of the past—stored away in our 2017 file of struggles and successes. We’re so often told to reflect on the challenges of the past year and set goals for the next one, but the piece we miss is acknowledging the obstacles that will also be up ahead. I‘m all about staying positive and focusing on the good, but when the other side gets left out, we can set ourselves up for disappointment. Suddenly, we’re faced with the same challenges as last year, yet they feel unexpected and new, which can feel even more discouraging. It’s like standing at the base of a mountain that seems insurmountable. But, when you take a step back, you’ll realize you were already successfully climbing that mountain last year.
So, yes, the New Year was a time for fresh beginnings, but it was also just another day. Things certainly may take longer than your January-1st-self wanted, but you’ll get there. There will be struggles, but you will keep climbing the mountain and finding small successes along the way.
Deep breath. There’s still a lot of 2018 to be conquered.