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2012 was definitely the best year yet. So much happened. There was certainly a lot of uncertainty and a lot of movement (forwards, backwards, up, and down).
With 2013 knocking, I knew I wanted to ensure that the year would be even better. This is the first year in a really long time where I feel a little bit more settled. As I grew up, I always had 2012 dogeared in my head as “the year.” Not necessarily as the best year or anything like that, but it was always the one I was looking towards. It would be the year I graduated college. I kind of envisioned the murky waters of the Real World as being some sort of scary (albeit exhilarating) adventure. Now that it’s here and I’ve had some time to figure it out… I’m loving it. I also realize that I am in complete control of the path I take. No more required classes; no one is telling me what I can or can’t do.
I don’t want to waste it though. I don’t want to look back at the “first year in NYC” and think about how I didn’t really take life by the reigns.
Strangely, I’ve decided to both charge forward and slow down. Sounds impossible, but I think I can do it. The past couple of years, I’ve been establishing “goals” for the year. (I’m not entirely into “resolutions.”)
This year, I’ve come up with an agenda on the things I want to work on and focus on. It should absolutely be noted here that I do all of these things all the time, not just during one specified period of time. But, I want to focus on those particular topics one at a time, in more depth. (So, I won’t ignore my friends for the entire year except for May! But in May, I will focus a little bit more on them!) There is lots of overlap, but I think I will come out on the other side of the year with a better outlook on the aspects of my life that I enjoy the most.
When I started this project, I broke down all the different components of my life. I began by seeing where I was spending my time. I noted what frustrated me, what stressed me out, which things made me unhappy, and things I wish I were doing more of or differently. To keep in order with the year, I grouped the items into twelve buckets, one for each month.
As I go through the year, I’ll do mini reflections to keep you posted on my progress. I want to be able to track what I’ve accomplished, how things change, and if this whole project was even a good idea to begin with!! I will likely be incorporating more posts on each particular bucket depending on what month we’re in. So if you want to join the journey with me, you can either choose to do the same groups as me… or change everything… or swap out a few!
January | Work Life
I think one of the most difficult parts of 2012 was figuring out how to shift from being a student to being an employee. I’m still figuring out how to make sure I stop working to regroup. I absolutely have to kick off the month with this, as it’s definitely the biggest obstacle I can see right now. I love my job and get to do the coolest things and work with the absolute most amazing people. At the same time, I can’t let it drain me completely!!
February | Love
To start off, I want to work on loving myself more! I think the #CurlChallenge is a good start, and I’ll continue to find ways to really embrace who I am. And, of course, February wouldn’t be complete without some boys. So I don’t talk about my personal relationships on here (except for that one time) … but it’s not because my love life is nonexistent! I’m a little envious of other bloggers who can so freely disclose their personal life. (Not out of pure jealousy, but more because they are so much braver than I am!) I’m going to try to muster a little bit of courage to share some things I’ve learned for this month and maybe even share a few *names have been changed* stories.
March | Writing
Writing is one of my big challenges. I’m not going to win any awards for my writing, but I find that writing in general is so powerful. In a selfish way, writing is cathartic. I write every day, most of which never gets read by anyone but myself! After I wrote The Freshman 50, I was seriously so freaked out by the notion that people were actually going to read it. I held off publishing for over a year… and I think that’s why I’m struggling with my current project. The first time around I was kind of blind about what could happen, but now I know about critics and rejection and it’s worrisome. 
April | Style
Well, this is going to either be a really frustrating or really fun month. I want to go through my closet and refine my style. I have so many clothes that still fit from high school and can’t really part with… even though they don’t fit me anymore. I want to get rid of the unworn, maybe invest in a piece or two, and come up with some new outfits and combinations. We’ll see…
May | Friendships
Because I don’t live in the state where I grew up and because I didn’t go to an in-state university and because of blogging a little bit too, I have friends all over the world. It’s the best feeling to know that I will have at least one friend anywhere I go in the world. Pretty awesome. I want to do special things with friends this month and reflect on old stories and also create new memories.
June | Exercise
Ugh, this might be the most challenging month for me. A couple of Junes ago, I tested out running but it made me absolutely i-n-s-a-n-e (as in, I was seriously hurting myself trying to run faster and longer every day). I want to try out some classes, stretch more, and try to find a routine that works for me.
July | Exploration
Ultimately, I want this month to be about travel. But, since I live in NYC…. I really want to explore new things about the city! Hopefully, I will give myself enough time to plan a fun trip (or two).. and really start saving for the trip!!!
August | Reflection
August to me, is like the New Year. Too many years of going back to school in this month will do that to someone I guess! This will also mark one year of living in the city and I want to make sure that it doesn’t go unnoticed. It will be a good time to also look back to see how I’m doing with this project…. hopefully I make it this far!
September | Skills
I’m obsessed with learning new things. It was obviously much more forced when I went to school. But they were mostly things that I wasn’t all that interested in! Now I’ve been turning to Youtube to learn anything I want. I will narrow down something that I’ve been putting off and really get it underway. Whether it’s a new skill on the computer or simply just a fun hobby!
October | Organization
I do this pretty much on a daily basis, but it’s always good to do a big debrief. A floor to ceiling organization cleanse! Finances, closets, drawers, photographs, computer files… you name it!
November | Reading
One of the things I’ve been putting off all of 2012 was reading Atlas Shrugged. That book is going to take commitment. Hopefully I’ll have it read before this month, but either way… I want to revisit books that I’ve been “meaning to read.”
December | Giving
A lot of my giving is in the form of monetary donations. Donating money to my favorite organizations does amazing things and is better than nothing, it’s also the easiest. I want to make sure that I volunteer my time too.
What do you say? Are you with me?

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I read Atlas Shrugged over the course of 2012 (and a little bit of 2011). It took me almost an entire year, but that was because the first 200 pages weren't gripping for me. After that I couldn't put it down! Now I'm almost done reading all of Ayn Rand's work, which I have absolutely fallen in love with!


I really like how you want to focus on an area each month. I think this method could prove to be successful for many people! I may have to borrow this idea for my own life. You've got this!

Sara Ellen

Did you get this idea from the book The Happiness Project? It was a blog and became a book and the website has pages you can use to track your progess.


That sounds like such an awesome idea! It's like having a monthy resolution, but seems a lot easier to accomplish! I think I'm going to do that too! 🙂

Mrs. H

I absolutely love he way you put this together! Thank you so much for sharing I'm definitely going to modify his to my life.

Xo, B


This is such a great idea! Looks like you are inspiring a lot of people. I like the monthly focus, provides some discipline rather than trying to do everything at once.


Great ideas! This reminds me of the book "The Happiness Project" and I thought that book was just great! My New Year's goals are still a little fuzzy but I am trying to hammer them out… more yoga, learn mediation, work towards fluency in the three languages I'm learning (Russian, French, German), learn to cook better… that's what I have so far!


I love how you spread it out over a year! I know when I make goals or resolutions, I try to implement them all at once – which never works and usually ends up being really frustrating and self-defeating. I'm going to take a leaf from your book and try to look at it more long term, much more manageable!

briana luca

This is an amazing idea! I always struggle with resolutions and keeping up with them, I think spreading it out over the span of the entire year is a wonderful thing to do.

I'm definitely going to take your advice and try to do something similar to this! You're amazing, a true inspiration!

I discovered CollegePrepster this year and it has completely changed my life.

Happy New Year Carly! Thanks for making my 2012 pretty special!

-Briana 🙂


Love this idea, Carly!! I think it's much more manageable to accomplish things if you break them down into smaller pieces.

I may borrow this idea myself!


Liz Halle

I love this post. I might create something similar. I'm such a planner, usually only by month, but a big picture would only add value!

xoxo Elizabeth


Um FEEL YA on Atlas Shrugged. This book took me so long and honestly I regret wasting the time. I'm trying to come to terms with giving up on books I don't like rather than suffering through them just for the sake of saying I finished it. I think the time is way better spent starting a new book that I would get something out of. Good luck! I did feel really accomplished when I finally finished it so I'm sure you will feel the same!

– Sarah