2016 was... intense, to say the least. Like most years, there were highs and lows, but something about this year was quite unique. I've seen lots of people online talking about all of the negative aspects of the year (of which, yes, there were many), but it doesn't feel great to join on that bandwagon and reflect on this year's struggles. This year was far from ideal, but a lot of great things did happen. I've spent a bit of time reflecting on the year and, rather than bemoaning the things that didn't work out the way I'd hoped, I've decided to focus on the things that did work out.
Here are some of the highlights of my year. Hopefully reading through them will inspire you to think about the positive things that happened to you this year. Even if it was a rough one (and I know it was for so many of us), there is always something good to be found if you make a point to look for it. Here's some of the goodness I found in my life...
POSITIVELY PRESENT PRODUCTS
For years I've been selling books and e-books, but this year I launched two products for the first time ever: stickers and pins! Launching physical products that I actually had to have made and shipped was a bit of a daunting task for me, but I'm so glad I explored that aspect of business. It's been so wonderful to see people around the world using my stickers to inspire more self-love and wearing my pins to promote more love and less hate. If you want to learn more about the products, check out my Etsy store, Twenty3. (And keep an eye out for new goodies coming in 2017!)
YOUTUBE CHANNEL LAUNCH
Earlier this year, I launched my YouTube channel! I'd had one for years, but only used it for creating my weekly music playlists. This year, I took the leap and actually started making my own videos. This was not only a new aspect of my business that I had to learn, but it was also a huge step outside of my comfort zone. I'm very comfortable writing about personal things, but talking about them -- putting myself out there in a more physical way -- was scary. As nerve-wracking as it was, I'm so glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone! Watch the videos here.
SIX YEARS OF SOBRIETY
In 2016, I celebrated six years of sobriety. Even though it's been six years, I'm still amazed that I've gotten (and stayed!) sober. The old me would never, in a million years, have believed that was possible. Drinking was such a big part of my identity for so long and realizing that I needed to let go of that aspect of myself (and actually letting it go) was life-changing for me. It's still a challenge, but, cliche as it sounds, it does get easier, but every year I'm able to celebrate sober is a huge accomplishment for me. (Also, I hope it's an inspiration for you. If there's something you should let go of, you can do it!)
NEW + IMPROVED WEBSITE
Positively Present turned seven this year, and, in celebration, I gave the brand and the website a little makeover. I spent an incredible amount of time researching, sketching, and brainstorming exactly what I wanted the new brand to represent, and, after countless revisions, I finally launched the new look. I'm so thrilled with how it ended up turning out, and I'm so proud of what the new look represents: Positively Present's goal of promoting positively, awareness, and self-love. If you want to read more about the site's revamp (and the meaning behind it), check this out.
EVERY DAY MATTERS DIARY
For the third year in a row, the Every Day Matters: A Year of Inspiration for the Mind, Body, and Spirit diary launched. Working on this planner is one of my absolute favorite projects because it combines a few things I love doing the most: writing and illustrating and reading lots and lots of quotes. Every year, with the help of my amazing publishing team, the diary gets better and better, and I'm so proud of all the hard work that goes into it. If you haven't picked up your copy, it's not too late to kick off the year with inspiration that'll help you make every day matter. Here's where you can get it in pocket or desk size.
EFFORTLESS INSPIRATION BOOKS
One of the best things that happened in 2016 was the launch of my Effortless Inspiration series. The goal of these little books was to provide bite-sized inspiration and on-the-go insights on four topics absolutely essential for living a positively present life: Living in the Moment, Gratitude, Compassion, and Forgiveness. Working on these books was so inspiring, and hearing such positive feedback from people around the world (and seeing the books in different languages!) was straight up amazing. You can read more about the series here.
6TH ANNUAL GRATITUDE CHALLENGE
For the sixth year in a row, I hosted the Gratitude Photo Challenge, and it was nothing short of inspiring. Dedicating time and attention to focusing on the things I'm grateful for each November is always such a positive experience, but this year I was blown away by the participation and completely thrilled by the opportunity to see people across the globe sharing the things they were thankful for. This year I also collaborated with the amazing Caroline from Made Vibrant, which made this year's challenge even more special!
THIS UNCOMMON LIFE
This year's most popular post was, by far, How to Share Your Beliefs (Even With People Who Don't Agree). It was the first time I'd really opened up about politics (a topic I generally try to stay away from, since, quite honestly, it's not often very positive). I was nervous to share the post (along with a new Instagram account, This Uncommon Life), but the post was so well-received, and I received so many messages telling me how my words had helped people cope with the touchy subject of politics. Since positively impacting people's lives really is all I want, the positive feedback I received on this post made my whole year!
It's exciting to look forward to the year ahead, but it's also important to reflect on the good things happened over the past twelve months. I hope you enjoyed reflecting on the Positively Present year with me, and I hope it inspired you to think about the things you've accomplished this year. And here's hoping 2017 is the best year yet!