3 Things I’m Doing Differently in 2019

NYC fashion blogger Ijeoma Kola wearing Mango Snakeskin Thigh High Boots at Hotel Chantelle, Lower East Side
Lifestyle blogger Ijeoma Kola shares her semi new year's resolutions
Lifestyle blogger Ijeoma Kola working at Hotel Chantelle

I’ve been pondering all week how to start my first blog post for 2019, and though most of the interweb is inundated with New Year’s goals, resolutions, and bucket lists, that’s not really my style. I shared my word for 2019 with the Safe Journey Scoop crew this week (my newsletter peeps!), but if you missed it, here’s my word for 2019. Rather than a single word (as it’s been for the past two years), this time, it’s a scripture that is my guiding word for the year.

For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19 NLT

I’ll be sharing more information about how I came up with this word and what it means for me in 2019 in tomorrow’s weekly YouTube video, but in the meantime, I believe my word for the year is encouraging me to do some new things while God is also doing something new in my life. Although I don’t usually write out goals for the year or make any resolutions, I’m a firm believer that faith without works is dead, so I want to put in the work in order to reap my reward. So here are a few things I’ll be doing in a NEW way in 2019.

Mango Snakeskin Thigh High Boots at Hotel Chantelle, Lower East Side
Taking the Sabbath Seriously

A few weeks ago, my friend Sade shared a sermon with me that got my whole life. You should definitely watch for yourself, but it was about the importance of taking Sabbaths – one day a week where you rest and don’t do any work – for your mental & spiritual health, sanity, and productivity. The funny thing is that she sent it to me on a Sunday afternoon just as I happened to be scrolling through Instagram looking at everyone’s weekend pics while plotting what caption I would use on a picture I was about to post. Since I blog while also doing my PhD full time I often use weekends to strategize, shoot content, or catch up on DMs. I realized that I wasn’t taking any days off from blogging, and it was leaving me completely spent and burnt out. Yes, the likes were coming (as were the checks, okurr!), but I did begin to get a bit weary from being “on” all the time. Taking time off completely during the holidays definitely helped me catch up on my missed Sabbaths, but from here on out, I’m protecting Sundays as my day of rest by doing no schoolwork, no blog work, and no social media posting.

Saying No A Lot More

By now you know that I’m ambitiously trying to finish my PhD and graduate by May 2019. In order to get this done I have to say no to hanging out with friends, attending blogger events, and accepting campaign opportunities more than I would like to. I’m definitely the kind of person who thinks they can do everything all at the same time (and to be honest, I’m usually mildly successful at doing it all!), but this first half of the year is a season of focusing primarily on my dissertation, so I have to protect my time and use it wisely in order to finish.

Establishing a Daily Routine

Since I work by and for myself, with little academic oversight (oh the joys and pains of doing a PhD that isn’t in a lab setting), my days often look nothing alike. While I love having a flexible schedule, I definitely need to establish a daily routine that takes into consideration dissertation writing, family time, my wellness, and my blog, and in that order of priority. Over the past few days I’ve been testing out different routines, and seeing what the best time of the day is for doing schoolwork, checking emails, going on social media, and even working out. I’m making a few changes to my at-home workspace that will hopefully lend to more productivity, because I realized that the two hours I spend commuting into the city to a coworking space is valuable work time.

I definitely plan to revisit these plans monthly and evaluate how they’re going, and I’ll probably continue to update the newsletter crew with my progress. These aren’t revolutionary goals or plans, and they’re broad enough to be applicable to just about anyone, so if you’re looking for some ways to improve yourself in 2019, feel free to borrow any of these! Wishing you the very best 2019 and I hope that SOMETHING NEW happens to you that completely blows your mind (in the best way of course)!

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  1. I know I already said this on Instagram, but I am really, really rooting for you to graduate this year. Also, the Sabbath thing sounds like a great idea; and I think I want to incorporate it too. A daily routine is awesome; it is the only way I can be productive, and the high I get at the end of the day after completing my daily tasks is incomparable. This year I just really want to be consistent, and to “do it afraid”. So, happy new year!

  2. Happy New Year Ijeoma. I liked reading the three things you want to do differently this year. Taking time out to rest is highly essential! I also feel like I have no days off, as a full-time working mum, with a blog, Youtube channel and weekly talk show! And I even want to start a podcast too! The kind of person I am really enjoys time off to decompress. There are some weekends where apart from church, I don’t even want to leave my house.

    Because of all the things I’m doing, it’s forced me to establish a daily routine so I don’t burn out and have a breakdown. Like you, I’m still figuring out what works best for me.

    Happy New Year again!

  3. Hey Ijeoma, really enjoyed reading this post. I watched the video earlier, and quite liked thinking about God doing something new and you co-labouring doing something new alongside Him. Whilst falling into procrastinating on my research today that message came to mind “you’ve also got to do something new”. That’s why I headed here to read this post, not that this isn’t procrastinating. It’s the good kind, if you know what I mean.

    I’d be really interested in reading more about the routine you choose to settle in. I think that would make an awesome post or video. xx

  4. We have the same scripture and verse for the new year. I received this scripture while watching watch night with Pastor Bill Winston. His wife gave this word and I shared it with my family on new year day. This is my goal and expectations for 2019. I have a Big Father why I’m not experiencing big things in my life. One is I haven’t big asking. Two is I have been thinking small. Three is 2018 wasn’t a good year for me but praise God 2019 is going to be my best year yet. They say great minds think alike. I see you at the end of the year with great manifestation to share on 12/31/19.

  5. Learning to say No is a big one for me too. I need to make no a complete sentence without having to always explain myself.

    I love your photos and I wish you a beautiful year.