Reflecting On My 2020 Goals & Achievements

I want to start off this post by saying that if the only thing you achieved in 2020 was surviving it, then that is more than enough. It was a rough year and most goals and plans went out the window, but I still really wanted to write this post and my decision to do so is definitely influenced by the fact that I actually ended up setting some pretty Covid-friendly goals for the year. My goals over the last few years have focused more on personal growth rather things like visit 3 new countries, so it meant that actually I was in a pretty good position to achieve them, even during a pandemic. I also really want to celebrate everything I have achieved despite the challenges of this year, but as I say, it really is okay if all you did in 2020 was get through the year, that was probably my biggest achievement of them all. 

One of my biggest goals for 2020 was to learn to drive and technically I didn't complete that but given the global pandemic I'm going to give this one a big tick because I at least have my car! Getting an adapted car was step one of the process for me, but it's a step that was always going to take a long time so I am beyond happy that despite the fact I can't drive it myself yet, I'm going into 2021 a lot further along in my driving journey than this time one year ago. Of course right now driving lessons, and even my theory test, is off the cards but I know that 2021 will be the year I get my driving licence! 

One of my other big goals was career based, I really wanted to get a regular writing job in 2020. I love that my job allows me to write for different publications each week but the idea of having a regular gig, perhaps not a monthly column but something consistent, really appealed. I knew that I wanted to share my car and driving journey and so I pitched a series of articles to the Motability Scheme and they loved the idea! This is one goal I'd like to carry over into 2021 though, a monthly column or similar would be a dream. 

As for my blog my two goals were to blog at least twice a month and work on my Instagram more. Other than June, when ideas and motivation were running low because of lockdown, I did blog at least twice a month and I am really proud of that! Theatre was shut for most of the year and so I was left with only disability topics to lean on, but I got creative and I'm really happy that despite the year having potential to be the least creative so far, I still managed to meet my content goal. I think for 2021 I'd like to ideally be putting out 3 posts a month but with us being in lockdown again I'm not putting any pressure on myself to create if I'm not feeling it. As for Instagram, I went from posting a couple of times a month to a couple of times a week, and I even experimented with posting a few reels! I think I've figured out what kind of content I want to be putting out on Instagram now and that really helps, and I've loved growing my photography Instagram as well, I've got a little goal of reaching 1,000 followers on there this year!

One of my personal growth goals was to put myself out there more, especially when it comes to my photography, and I honestly thought this would be one goal that I couldn't tick off when we went into the first lockdown but I think I smashed it. Once restrictions eased and theatre performances started up again outside I went for opportunity after opportunity. If I saw an event or performance that was accessible then I popped over an email introducing myself and I got myself several photography jobs throughout the Summer as a result. I knew that as a wheelchair user in a fairly inaccessible industry I was going to have to make my own path and opportunities and I really used all the Covid-friendly outdoor events as a way to build experience without accessibility even being an issue. I had the best time photographing a graduate showcase, an outdoor theatre festival, a workshop performance and doing some headshot and portrait photography. I could have quite easily have decided not to pursue photography when the world turned upside down but I am so glad I persevered and just put myself out there. In 2020 I truly learnt that the worst thing people can say, is no. 

Some of my favourite photos I took in 2020

You can read about my 2020 books goal in this post but now I want to talk a little about some of my achievements. I've talked already about the photography side of things, something I'm incredibly proud of, but I also made some pretty big steps forward when it comes to my freelance writing and work.

Perhaps the biggest thing that happened in 2020 for me was that I moved off ESA (employment and support allowance) and on to Universal Credit, both of which are financial benefit support in the UK. I'd been on ESA since I was 17 due to my inability to work, and whilst I still wouldn't be able to work a full time traditional job, over the past few years I have been able to work part time hours doing self employed work. I got to the point with ESA where I was starting to be able to work more hours, and thus earn more, than the benefit allowed and so it was time to take the scary step of moving to UC. In the end I feel very lucky to say that it was a breeze and it's already proving to be the right decision. I can pursue as much work as my body allows me to now, and for 2021 it might be a bit of a pipe dream but I'd love to be able to move off Universal Credit completely. 

In 2020 I wrote for 5 new publications, as well as having a quote published in a book. I had 2 articles in print and wrote on countless different topics for online publications. I went from only accepting offers that came my way to now actively pitching multiple pieces a week to publications, which has helped me to grow in confidence so much. Writing wise it's hard to beat the year where I became a published author but 2020 was really important for my writing career, I learnt a lot about what I enjoy writing about. 

As for my 2021 my goals they are simple again, I want to read more, write more and take more photos. I want to carry on blogging at least twice a month, reach 5,000 Instagram followers and write for at least 5 new publications. I want to cook more and order Deliveroo less, start swimming again when it's safe and save more money. I also really want to get at least 10 photography jobs, I've been modest with the number as who knows when I'll be fully back to photography but I proved to myself last year that there are jobs to be found even in the hardest times. 

Who knows what 2021 holds but I know one thing for sure, 2020 showed me I can survive and thrive through anything.

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