Before setting our goals for the New Year ahead and making those “resolutions”, first we need to reflect on our successes and then use them to help us plan for the year ahead. 

Let’s treat ourselves like we love ourselves until we believe it

I am a big believer in goal setting and using SMART (specific, measurable, actionable/attainable, relevant and timebound) goals to help us achieve our desired success whatever that looks like for us. Goal setting has helped me to live a better life both personally and professionally but if I just set big vague goals these can make me feel worse off. But before we start off with setting goals and our New Year’s Resolutions, let’s reflect what went well for us in 2019 (no matter how bad a year it may have seemed, there’s always positives we can take from life)… 

Jot down all the things you’re proud of in 2019, ideally 10 things. No matter how big or small.  

It took me a while to write my list: 

10+ things I’m most proud of in 2020

  • Moving House / New Home: I found a new home for myself and my kids to move into despite jumping through a lot of hoops, I had visualised this place so much as I knew we needed a safe and secure place to live to lay our foundations (you may have heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs where safety and security is a clear priority).
    I also spoke about moving house as a single parent a lot on YouTube and social media because I know that things are more likely to happen the more we focus on it. 
  • 40k Subscribers on my YouTube channel: I know numbers are arbitrary but they are an easy win when it comes to goals, although I learnt that this was a difficult goal to have as it is hard to control how many subscribers you get. I did however have a strict schedule when it came to uploading videos three times a week and despite bouts in hospital and personal chaos, with the help of my editor Daria at Evoke Media Group we managed to achieve this. 
  • Winning a PR Week/ Third Sector Campaigns for Good Awards: One of my real, raw and ugly Anxiety vlogs was picked up by Channel Mum to help promote their Anxiety course and to raise awareness of maternal mental health. This campaign then won a prestigious award due to the impact it had had beating off stiff competition from British Airways, Tommy’s, NSPCC, Iceland and United Nations.

    Here’s more about why the video campaign won:

The campaign’s aim was to show, not just to tell, people about the impact of poor maternal mental health. Influencer Sophie Mei Lan captured raw and hard-hitting footage of her having a panic attack on film while her children played in the background.

The video was used as an “icebreaker” to draw attention to the course and reassure viewers they were in a safe place to discuss their own experiences and seek help. The initial This Is What a Panic Attack Looks Like video led to a further eight-part, influencer-led course to cover all aspects, from seeking help to ongoing recovery.

The video went viral globally and saw 3,000 pieces of press generated worldwide. Mei-Lan hosted an emotional phone-in on ITV’s This Morning alongside the resident ChannelMum.com psychologist. As a direct result of the video campaign, the website experienced a 670 per cent increase in traffic to its mental health support courses and forums.

ChannelMum.com has also been inundated with messages about how people have been helped, in some instances preventing attempted suicides.

Judge’s comment: “Great impact, fresh idea and all on a budget”

Highly commended: The United Nations: The People’s Seat – Grey London with BCW for United Nations

Sir David Attenborough delivered a speech at the UN with a difference – it was crowdsourced from 17,000 social media users via #TakeYourSeat and focused on the need for governments to act on climate change, featuring experiences of real people. The speech had a huge impact, reaching more than 1.3 billion people, including a social media reach of almost 510 million.

Shortlisted:

  • Flying Start Safety Video – British Airways
  • Together For Change – Mindshare UK for Tommy’s
  • The Christmas advert that never was – Weber Shandwick for Iceland Foods
  • Understand Me – OMD UK for NSPCC Childline
  • Building a support network: It’s been a year of big change and as they say: “the only constant is change.” But this isn’t necessarily easy to manage on your own. And it is thanks to my support networks and reaching out when I needed help that I am still alive. So this year I have been picking up the phone more (I hate phone calls) to talk to friends and family. I have been going to church where I have some amazing friends and I have been getting out lots through work, dance and leisure to build new relationships and to help cope with a difficult time and combat some loneliness. I hope to help others more too this 2020 and add more value to the world. 
  • Building my strength and fitness: I felt I was grieving a lot over Summer as I had lived my life around the kids for the past 7 years so when I separated from their Dad I really missed them and felt the empty nest syndrome when they weren’t with me. So another focus has been on my own fitness and strength as this is something I really enjoy building on. I have been going to the gym most days even early on a morning when I don’t have to get up because I find that this is a great way to start the day and to ease some of my anxiety. I am looking forward to getting even stronger in the New Year. I have also completed Tough Mudder this year, Park Runs and on Boxing Day I climbed Scaffel Pike. I love to challenge myself and do random things! 
  • Working on a Positive Mindset and being proactive with my Mental Health: Being negative is easy but often being positive is a choice. I know that I am accountable mainly to myself. So whether I tell myself “nobody will know if you do that/don’t do that”, I know to keep the right mindset I need to finish off my workout or my jobs. I went on a course with Holly Matthews on having a positive mindset, which helped especially as I didn’t know that the day after the course I would end up in Intensive Care with a tricky Summer ahead. So sometimes life throws things at us, and all we can try and control is how we cope. This is the same with my mental health, I am very proactive with maintaining as good as possible a mental health. I have mental illnesses or mental health problems so it is not always possible but I know there are things I can do to ‘keep on keeping on.’ Such as going to the gym, going for a walk, being reliable, counting 54321 and getting myself out of bed, taking my medication and talking to others or vlogging through the really tough times. I’ve also attended a number of group courses and health appointments so that I am being proactive. 
  • Running a business and making documentaries: Before I started vlogging and blogging, I trained and worked as journalist (and a Bellydancer!). I then set up Evoke Media Group with one of my best friend’s Daria Nitsche, who is an international film-maker, to make documentaries, corporate videos and create social media content. We’re a Social Business so most of our work aims to create positive changes in communities. This year we won a Business Advantage Award which has given us access to legal and accountancy support. We’ve also worked on a number of community project using our skills in vlogging and film-making as well as creating videos for a number of business clients. 
  • Work as a Public Speaker and Journalist: I’ve trained for years as a Journalist, Presenter and more recently a Public Speaker. And in 2019 I managed to do bits of each role (although I’d like to do more in 2020). In terms of my Journalism, I have worked with Channel 4 News on documentaries this year and I write an article on suicide for The Big Issue. I have also spoken at a number of events from corporate gigs to mental health. I’ve pushed myself because I know practice is so important when it comes to improving our skills. I live by the phrase: “feel the fear and do it anyway.” 
  • Running all my blogs: I have so many social media profiles and blogs! My main ones are Mama Mei (here!), Yorkshire Families (Days Out, Experiences, Reviews and Activities for ALL families) and Blog Up North (The ultimate Guide to the North of England and an influencer network). It has been tricky to juggle everything but I’ve managed to keep them going through a rocky year. I have worked on a number of fabulous campaigns too with great results. From modelling and presenting for Specsavers to leading a Year of Walking campaign, working with Move GB and promoting furniture brand JYSK. I’ve absolutely loved my work and my ability to help brands I love to reach more people. I have also attended and organised a number of events to meet other ‘influencers’ and to also improve my own content. 
  • Dance teaching and performances: I have taught bellydance workshops and dance workshops for a wide range of groups. I’ve loved facilitating dance and film-making workshops with CoActive Charity. And my bellydance show schedule has been full-on! I’ve managed to keep dancing, improving and committing to regular gigs to help provide for my little family. 
  • Completing breastfeeding peer supporter training: I haven’t studied for a while so it was hard to get back into learning especially having to do it distantly which sounds ideal but it takes a lot of commitment and willpower. But luckily with the help of FAB breastfeeding charity I completed the certificate to help other mums on their breastfeeding journey, especially online one day. 
  • Throwing myself into everything: I overthink a lot of things emotionally and when it comes to relationships and human interactions, I worry thret and panic. But something that I do love about myself is that I will just throw myself into anything. From abseiling to public speaking to climbing mountains, performing in an Adult Novelty Dance competition and appearing on TV and radio. I love how random my life is and that one minute I can be modelling on the catwalk, then bellydancing at a hotel and the next I am being interviewed on BBC. My life is never dull to say the least! 
  • Radical self care: This was my last year’s resolution to take better care of myself. It was probably a bit too vague but I have been working hard to learn and find positive coping strategies through group therapy sessions to going on a DIY health retreat to Portugal. I may have struggled to always be kind to myself but I have managed to squeeze in a good number of spa days, trips to the gym, going to dance classes (Burlesque, Zumba, Bellydance) and treating myself to rose gold household goods to make my home as lush and sparkly as possible. 
How fitness and being active has saved my life

Now ask a few friends or relatives what they think of your ‘proud moments’ and if there is anything you’re missing. 

For example, my mum reminded me of an achievement of being a good mum and keeping the house going and looking after the kids. Something I just take for granted as you just do what needs to be done. But that said being a parent and especially now I’m on my own is really tough and takes a lot of patience (and to utilise the support networks you make). 

Radical Self-Care is what it’s all about!

Add to your list any achievements you may have forgotten and then sleep on it. Then see if anything else comes to you. 

Perhaps you’ve learnt a new skill, changed jobs, completed an important task or left a toxic relationship. Whatever you’re proud of. 

Now it’s time to set your goals for the year ahead… 

So remember to make them SMART goals so that you have a realistic chance of achieving them. Here’s some of my goals (I have kept them vague on here but I will break them down into smaller goals privately, as some things I like to keep private, believe it or not!). 

My New Year’s Resolutions and goals for 2020  

  1. Make and present at least three Documentaries: I have so many ideas brewing for documentaries I want to make through my company Evoke Media Group and then to sell on to channels/commissioners. I normally pitch ideas and then make for a certain company/broadcaster. And whilst I’ll still do that I really want to follow my passions and make/present content that I am proud of. 
  2. Publish my first book Eat, Sleep, Control, Repeat: My auto-biography has been a long time coming and I have a publisher to help me create and sell a book to help other driven and ambitious people who also struggle with their mental health. 
  3. Refocus and rebrand all my sites from my bellydance channels to my mental health channels: Each one has a separate brand and audience and I want to make sure each brand is as focused as possible and talking directly to the desired audience so it has as big an impact as possible. 
  4. Start a Podcast: I have trained and worked in Broadcast Journalism for 10 years, so a Podcast is a natural progression for me. I am thinking of making one on Mental Health Boosters e.g. positive interviews to help empower us to look after our mental health and deal with life’s challenges. 
  5. Focus on fitness, dance and helping other women achieve their health goals: Through my bellydance and love of fitness, I get asked a lot of questions about health, wellbeing and fitness. So I want to use my bellydance channels not only to promote my work as a dance performer and teacher but also to go on my own fitness journey and to inspire other women too online. I will also be relaunching WOMEN’S HEALTH CLUB as a facebook group and community so that women can help eachother (peer-to-peer) to reach their holistic health goals: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1763084707259740/about/
  6. Create a Yorkshire Families community and redesign content to help families get active and experience new things regardless of barriers e.g budget/transport/disability. 
  7. Get ORGANISED: I somehow juggle a lot of things so I must be organised in some way. But often I am literally left without shoes and a coat because I am focused on something and then forget basic things! So I need to create myself a weekly schedule as my work and life is so fluid. So I know what tasks need completing on what days. I want to get my home, finances and life in order. As well as getting my sleep, health and fitness on track. This doesn’t come naturally as a dyspraxic and dyselxic person so I will have to work hard at this and stick to my timetable. 
  8. Be more ASSERTIVE: I need to build my confidence to say ‘no’ because whilst I try to please other people I am overloading myself and loved ones the more I struggle to say ‘no’ to things. Saying ‘yes’ too much inevitably means you have to say ‘no’ to things that are important to you (e.g. reading / sleep / time with family). So I need to begin the year with getting a lot of commitments off my plate. 
  9. Youtube collaborations and challenges: I really want to focus on my Youtube channel and collaborate with other influencers. I also want to set myself challenges and try a ‘day in the life’ of series such as trying to be a body builder, ice skating and a becoming a life model. 
  10. Brand Ambassadorship: I’ve loved working with brands in 2019 and would like to work with ones focusing on mental health, fitness and wellbeing this 2020.  
  11.  Start community magazines online: This year I want to launch a Mental Health Magazine. It’s been a long time coming so I want to try and launch it this year maybe to coincide with the podcast.
  12.  Complete a Mental Health First Aid course: I did the basic training with the Yorkshire Evening Post and Mental Health First Aid England but I’d love to do the full course.
  13. Complete Challenges: This year I want to take on Yorkshire Three Peaks, Snowden & Zip World, Jump out of a plane, practice controtion and do the splits both ways, do Tough Mudder again and a couple more challenges TBC. 
  14.  PERSONAL/PRIVATE: I also have several of these such as finalising a divorce and getting some of my life in order to go in the right direction and to fully start a new chapter of life/love/dreams. 
  15. Build a Team: I am a big believer that we need a support network both personally and professionally to succeed. And in business I believe in outsourcing things that we don’t like or aren’t good at. So in 2020 I want to build a team around me to help me achieve my goals personally and professionally. 

So now we’ve written our goals, let’s break them down and make sure that they are SMART… I know I need to break mine down and stick them up on my wall. 

Also I’d recommend finding an accountability buddy to check in with each week to make sure you are on track. 

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR… HERE’S TO 2020. AND I ALWAYS USE CHINESE NEW YEAR (AT THE END OF JANUARY) TO REJIG AND RESET MY GOALS IF SOMETHING ISN’T WORKING BECAUSE IT’S BETTER TO ADJUST THAN TO GIVE UP. 

NOW COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR THOUGHTS. 

PEACE AND LOVE XXX