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My 2019 year in review! Check out my accomplishments and setbacks from 2019 in all areas of life.
www.LivinglikeLeila.com

Happy 2020!!!

For my very first post of the New Year, I figured I would share a few ups and downs from 2019.

I think it’s fun to read other people’s updates and hopefully you enjoy this as well.

As you all know, I am quite transparent here on the great big internet world. I like to be open about the negatives and the positives in my life because sometimes it can really help people out.

Below, I organized my accomplishments and setbacks by the areas of life.

Finances

Accomplishments

  • I paid off almost $17,000 of debt

In January 2019 I started with over $74,300 of debt. By the end of December, I was down to a little over $57,300. Definitely a good bit of progress and it feels so good to watch those numbers drop.

  • I started contributing to my Roth IRA monthly

I set up automatic savings into my Roth IRA. It’s only $100 a month, but it’s still something! I know some people don’t believe you should invest while paying off debt, but I prefer to.

  • I started sinking funds

Sinking funds were one of the best financial decisions I made in 2019! I was saving about $200 to various sinking funds automatically each month and they helped me out SO much. I highly recommend them.

  • I refinanced my car to a lower rate

My car loan had a rate of over 6% AND my dad was co-signed on it. In May I was able to refinance my car under my own name and lower the rate to 3.89%! This will save me a lot of money.

  • I got a raise at my job

I hit my one year mark at my full-time job which means I get a raise! It was about a $200 raise per month which definitely helps me out!

  • I made almost $6,000 in extra income online

I work hard on my online business and in 2019 I finally started to see it pay off. My growth is slow, but I’m so grateful to have made this much by working at home. My online income in 2019 came from ads, affiliate links, Patreon, and a couple of Etsy sales!

Setbacks

  • I don’t feel like I paid off enough debt

Given my circumstances (moving out on my own), I don’t think I could have put THAT much more toward my debt. I don’t think it’ll ever feel like enough!

  • My living expenses increased significantly

I moved into a “luxury” apartment on my own so my living expenses more than doubled. I love my apartment though and I feel safe and very happy here.

  • My money mindset wasn’t the best

Paying off debt has always been a roller coaster for me. Some months I feel great about it, other times I’m really stressed. I have a tendency to get overly obsessed with my finances and sometimes I let it get to my head. I’m really working on this now though.

  • I did balance transfers that were not really worth it

In June I decided to do two balance transfers totaling $6,500 of student loan debt to my credit cards. I thought it would be super easy to pay off, but then I had quite a few financial setbacks making it more difficult to pay off. I believe I’ll be able to pay off the whole balance before the interest hits, but I probably wouldn’t do this again.

  • I had a second root canal that I had to pay out of pocket for again

I had tooth pain for over 6 months but nothing was showing up on my x-rays. Welp, the pain got SO bad that I knew it needed a root canal. Basically, a tooth I had an old filling was dying (the root). I’m so grateful for modern medicine, but my dental insurance doesn’t cover root canals the first year. I ended up paying about $1,300 for everything.

  • I spent over $5,000 on unnecessary things

I really don’t think this is so bad. I bought a good bit of furniture/home decor since I moved and I bought a few pieces of clothing and shoes. I didn’t spend money excessively, but now that I’m settled in my home and I have everything I need, I decided to do a no-spend year for 2020.

  • I’m still dealing with co-signed car drama

I don’t really care to even explain the whole story here. Just NEVER EVER co-sign for a loan!!!

Online Business

Accomplishments

  • I made almost $6,000

Like I said above, I’m so grateful for any money that I end up producing from my online work. It has been very slow-growing, but every penny counts!

  • I wrote 39 blog posts + 12 debt/spending updates

I wrote just about a blog post every week! I’m still amazed I can keep coming up with blog post ideas.

  • I sent out 45 e-mails to my blog subscribers

My e-mail list grew quite a bit this year and I have a pretty high open rate (>30%+).

  • I got accepted into MediaVine

If you see ads on my site, those are from MediaVine! I know they’re not the prettiest thing in the world, but just know that it helps me out financially while I provide majority of my content for free. To get accepted into MV, you have to have over 25,000 blog sessions a month. I’m so grateful for them.

  • I gained over 3,500 subscribers on YouTube

YouTube has been pretty fun for me even though my growth is slow. I really enjoy filming and making videos!

  • I launched a second YouTube channel

I launched a personal finance channel in December and I’m so glad I did. It’s not monetized yet, but it’s growing fairly quickly and I LOVE talking about finances anyway. I really want to share my journey and help people become more literate in finances.

  • I was very consistent

I was VERY consistent this year in regards to content creation. I published a blog post just about every single Sunday, sent out an e-mail every Tuesday, and uploaded videos once or twice a week. I’m still amazed I did that!

  • I had LOTS of ideas

I am full of ideas that I get really excited about. I’ve learned to really think things through before I commit, but usually tons of ideas are a good thing. I keep my journal with me at all times to write things down.

  • I got my very first coaching client

I launched my self-discipline course in November and my coaching in December. I got my very first client and I can’t wait to help more people with their productivity and self-discipline.

Setbacks

  • My growth/#s have been decreasing and/or plateauing

This can be very upsetting. Sometimes I think about giving up but I never will. I just love doing what I do. What would I do with my free time otherwise?? But, my numbers really have decreased or plateaued and it’s up to me to figure out why that is.

  • Patreon was not a success

I got SO excited about Patreon I could barely contain myself. I thought at least 20 people would sign up but that’s not what happened. I did get 7 Patrons who I am so grateful for, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I went live on Patreon just about every week for 4 months, but I have since deactivated my account.

  • My website got hacked

In May I couldn’t get into the backend of my blog at all. Not even my website host could help me. I had to have a company help me remove the problem and now I pay for 24/7 site monitoring.

  • My course launch didn’t go as well as expected

I launched my very first course in 2019. Again, I was really excited about it and expecting more. My course is great. I love the content and hopefully, more people will purchase it as time goes.

  • I still have very slow growth

I’m not sure if this slow of growth is normal (probably not), but I think it’s probably because I try to do too many things at once. However, this is how I prefer to work.

Career

Accomplishments

  • I got a raise

Every year I work here I should get a raise. It’s honestly great and I’m very grateful.

  • I gave my first presentation and it went well

I have a huge fear of public speaking. If I practice though I usually do really well. This was my first presentation at this job and I think I did great!

  • My experiment finally started to progress

For most of the year my project had many problems and failures. I started to lose hope and lost a lot of motivation. Then we tried something toward the end of the year and it FINALLY started to go as expected. I am a microbiologist by the way!

Setbacks

  • I wasn’t making progress for awhile

Like I said above, my project was not progressing for months. I honestly was losing my drive to even go to work and I just kept getting more and more frustrated. I hate not making progress.

Personal Development

Accomplishments

  • I joined Grow You with Natalie Bacon

Grow You is a group coaching program and I’m SO glad I joined. I joined last minute and she has helped me so much with my mindset and personal growth this year.

  • More gratitude journaling

I spent a lot of time thinking about and writing down the things I am grateful for. In August I started using The 6-Minute Diary and I love it.

  • I worked on my mindset a lot

I intentionally turned my negative thoughts into positive thoughts regularly this year. It is still difficult to do sometimes, but this is where Grow You has helped me a ton.

  • I gave up Instagram for over 6 months

In March I gave up Instagram completely and it was honestly really nice not to be on there. It can be a huge time/energy suck, so I’ve learned to manage my use of it now. I also reduced my use of social media in general during this time and it was great.

  • I read over 10 books

I honestly didn’t keep count but I definitely read over 10 books in 2019. This includes: The Happiness Equation, The Gratitude Diaries, A New Earth, The
Four Agreements, The 4-Hour Work Week, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and I re-read The Barefoot Executive and Think and Grow Rich. I can’t think of the others!

Setbacks

  • I stopped going to meditation/meditating as much

I used to attend a meditation group every Wednesday. In March I completely stopped going mostly because I wanted to instead spend that time focusing on my work.

  • Too much self-doubt

Honestly, I doubt myself a lot. It can be hard to overcome failures or limiting beliefs especially when it comes to my work, but I’m still working on this.

  • I allowed myself to get distracted too often

The biggest reason for giving up social media earlier in the year was my lack of productivity and focus. I was getting so frustrated with myself and I knew I needed to change something. Hours on Instagram is simply NOT worth my time.

  • I consumed a lot of dumb content

There are so many online creators with such dumb, mind-numbing content. It’s simply a waste of time. They don’t improve my life and I don’t feel any better after. I decided to stop watching/following anyone who constantly promoted spending, is trashy, or not inspiring.

Relationships

Accomplishments

  • Celebrated another anniversary with my boyfriend

Our official anniversary is July 25th, 2017. So we celebrated our second year together and I’m so grateful for him. I’m proud of him and of us for the things we do and how we are.

  • My relationship improved

By working on our communication and openness with one another, my relationship has greatly improved this year. I now feel like we are closer than ever.

  • I put more effort into calling my family

Honestly, the time goes SO fast to me and before I know it a couple of weeks have passed since I spoke to my parents. I have been working on calling them regularly (every weekend).

Setbacks

  • A few problems here and there

Like any relationship, me and my boyfriend had a few hiccups this year. This is the main area of my life that I like to keep private, but we’re doing great.

Health/Fitness

Accomplishments

  • I maintained my shape

I have lifted heavy weights for a few years and it’s pretty cool that my body maintains this shape even though I’m not lifting as heavy. I love my body and I’m proud of how it looks.

  • Stayed consistent in the gym

The gym is still one of my happy places and it’s a non-negotiable in my life. I still workout about 5-6x per week.

  • I walked a lot more

I take a long walk during my lunch break just about every day. I LOVE taking walks as they are very calming and peaceful. It’s usually a time where I just have some quiet time to myself. My boyfriend and I also take walks quite often and it’s one of my favorite things to do with him.

  • I wore my blue light glasses and sunglasses regularly

I have floaters in my eyes and I really want to prevent them from getting worse. I’ve made a habit of wearing my blue light blocking glasses and sunglasses regularly. I’m not sure if it’ll help, but it’s worth a shot.

Setbacks

  • Poor sleep

I’ve struggled with quality sleep for quite some time now. I can usually fall asleep pretty quickly, but I rarely sleep through the night. I almost never wake up feeling refreshed, even on the weekends. I’ve tried to improve my sleep but nothings has seemed to help yet.

  • My gut health decreased

Lately, I feel my gut health has not been the best. I eat quite clean but I think the order of food that I eat things needs to change as well. I think the next thing I am going to try is not drinking coffee on an empty stomach!

  • My strength decreased

I have lost LOTS of strength in the gym. I’m not entirely sure why but I think it’s a combination of the environment, diet, and exhaustion. I’ve realized that the important thing is just being healthy. I still lift weights regularly.

  • I didn’t drink enough water

As someone who spends most of their workday in a lab, it can be hard to remember to drink water. This is one area I’m really going to be focusing on in 2020.

  • I ate too much sugar and processed foods

I have a huge sweet tooth. I don’t go crazy often, but it’s an area that needs improvement.

Fun/Recreation

Accomplishments

  • I visited family in Massachusetts

I haven’t been up North to visit my family in years. It was nice to take a short trip to see everyone.

  • I went to Miami for the first time

I went to Miami with my boyfriend and we had lots of fun! It was SO hot, but my favorite part was riding bikes on the boardwalk.

  • I went to a Yellow Claw concert

I went to my first EDM concert and it just so happened to be my favorites! I love Yellow Claw and it was such a good experience.

  • I typically allowed myself to truly relax every weekend or so

I never used to feel relaxed. Now, I know that my work will always get done and I can truly just relax when I want to. My boyfriend and I watched lots of movies together and just chilled. This has been really nice for me.

Setbacks

  • I didn’t put any effort into socializing

I don’t really have friends. I also don’t really want new friends unless they are business-oriented and motivated like I am. I didn’t put any effort into finding people like me, but I think that will change in 2020.

Contribution

Accomplishments

  • I donated over $600

I donated at least $50 every month to various animal rescue groups. One day I will give way more.

Setbacks

  • I stopped volunteering at the animal shelter

I used to volunteer at the animal shelter every single weekend. I completely stopped in 2019. However, I’ve already volunteered in 2020 at a new shelter and plan on going once or twice a month from now on!


Overall, 2019 was definitely my best year yet.

A lot of good things happened and I’m grateful for where I am, who I am, and the things going on in my life.

I like to reflect on the past year because this allows me to realize how much I accomplished and the things I need to work on.

2020 is going to be a great year and I’m ready to give it my all!!

What were some of your biggest accomplishments of 2019?

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2 thoughts on “My 2019 Year in Review

  1. Hi there! What company do you have your Roth IRA though? I have been doing research on them, and thought I had it figured out, but the one I was going to go with said that you can only contribute money once… I read that you are doing monthly contributions, so wondering who it is through?

    Posted on January 10, 2020 at 1:39 pm
    1. Hi Molly!
      My Roth is through RBC Bank, however, I plan on transferring it over to Vanguard. More specifically I’ll probably go with Vanguard VTSAX. RBC bank is not a problem, I just would prefer to go to VG from the research I have done.
      I don’t think that is normal for a company to only allow one contribution, just the annual contribution of $6K.
      Investing is VERY confusing and requires tons of research/learning, I’m definitely no expert and still have tons to learn as well!

      Posted on January 11, 2020 at 1:05 am