The Year of Goal Digging

2016. A year of mistakes. A year of "I'm going to do this" and then feeling like you're too tired to function. A year of dreaming, wishing, waiting, and hoping. A year of "should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements?" Too soon for some throwback Adele, people?

    Let's call 2016 what it is, okay? Trying. Yes, with a capital T. I tried to tell myself everyone in my circle was doing beautifully, that their families would be too. I watched as two of my inspirations and dear friends lost their mothers. I watched as women I followed, women I knew, lost their children. I tried to tell myself it couldn't get worse. I tried to tell myself I was going to stay at a job for six months to a year until I found something new. I'm still there. I tried to tell myself I was going to blog, I wasn't going to let depression get me, I wasn't going to stress about money. I told myself a lot of things. I'm sure you did too. I fell through with a lot of things that I told myself I was going to do. I would feel ashamed about that, or embarrassed, at least past Cydney would, but I learned something about myself in 2016.

    I learned that I'm not someone who follows the crowd, shocker. However, I mean this in the way that I will continuously pile on beautiful, crazy movements and responsibilities on myself. I will complain about how tired I am and still keep going. For the record, I don't advise that. Learn to rest, okay?

    But then, everyone starts hustling at the end of the year and I say "no" to all of that. I say yes to moving into a new space, my own safe haven. A temple of my own creation that breathes new life into me every day. I say yes to taking nearly a month off from most social media, even for Dream On Youth, so I can build joy in this home of mine. I say yes to spending more time alone or with people who light up my world. I say yes to letting my guard down and letting my sassiness out. I say yes to loving on people, all people, and no to the trails of gossip that keep coming towards me. I say yes to crying when necessary and no to the facades of highlight reels.

    I'm not saying I'm perfect. I'm imperfect and messy, but 2016 let me know it was okay to let go of some goals and make room for life. Something this recovering perfectionist has a hard time doing. It's okay for your resolutions to shift throughout the year because with every new change in the tide, we change.

    And no, I don't have a problem with New Year's resolutions. I have a problem with us making excuses, yeah I said it, and then judging when the next person fails too. Or, waiting and hoping someone else will kick us in the butt so we can make things happen. So, in 2016, I told my team we would be doing our first joint post since our new term started. We would let the world know what our goals were for ourselves personally and professionally, together. We would hold each other accountable, but make room for mistakes, for the shift, for grace. 

    We wanted to re-introduce ourselves. Hi, I'm Cydney Irby. DOY's boss lady, CEO, and very own tea obsessed cat lady. And, this is my team. It's nice to meet you.

Personally, I want to do more this year. Yes, I have more personal goals than professional and that frightens me just a little. I can be honest. I'm an oxymoron because I'm a workaholic, but have also been deemed the queen of naps. I would rather spend my time sprawled out on my living room floor, creating content or networking, than going out. But, you remember that shift I was talking about earlier? My mindset shifted. Personally, I want to remain intentional.

    The biggest goal, at least for the most important, is saving $3k by the end of 2017. This is a big deal because I love thrifting and I love pouring my money into small businesses, but I want to set myself up for success. I want to be prepared if life hits me to not even fret. This also means I have to shift my mindset. I started doing this last year. I started telling myself, the moment I started worrying about money, "I have enough. I have an abundance." I have a roof over my head that I pay for with my own money. As in, I paid the pet fee and deposits and set everything up myself. I didn't ask my parents to do any of it for me and I'm pretty proud of that. A procrastinator who chose to get stuff done instead of whining about it. It's a miracle!

    I want to get back into that headspace of health and fitness over thinness. I'm kicking this off by completing 31 days of yoga with Adriene Mishler. She calls it "Yoga Revolution" and yes, I'm all for having accountability partners. Besides, there are about 18 benefits, if not more, to doing yoga. Don't believe me? Read this article from Jen here and thank me later.

    Any of you are more than welcome to go through this process with me. I miss feeling energized without needing a cup of caffeine or the joy of not feeling like a creaky old woman every time I move. Yeah, I miss flexibility. I also have to cut out soda and swap my 3-4 cups of coffee a week to tea again. I did this last year and even added smoothies into the rotation. I'm so confused as to why I ever stopped. I felt good. I felt like positive vibes were shining out of my skin like sunbeams. That's an odd visual, I know, but you get my point. I need to get back to that.

    While we're on the topic of health, I need to continue on the journey of practicing mental self-care. I plan to complete one DIY project a month and, if we're being technical here, I already completed three projects. I re-painted my childhood dresser top and drawers, even the knobs. I built a bookshelf I bought from Target, realized I nailed the wooden part facing out towards people, and spray painted that a dusty pink. I even got creative and covered the spots I couldn't get with gold glittery washi tape. I'm not even mad. It's a cute touch for my office storage. Right now, like at this very moment, I'm typing this to all of you, I'm waiting for one side of this tray table to dry because its legs are being spray painted that same metallic dusty pink color and it has a white vintage looking top (that I also painted). I've been a painting fool and it's done wonders for my mind. 

    I also want to read 20 books by the end of 2017. I keep track of my challenge on Goodreads, with the first read being "Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes. I started it before Christmas but I already spoke it out in the universe that it would kick off my New Year. Reading can bring my thought process back down to earth or be my escape. I grew up falling in love with fiction books that told stories of magic and adventure, but I'm ready to also be grounded in who I am. I'm not saying reading alone will do that, but it'll surely help me with making things happen. I say that because another book I wanted to dive into this year is The Holy Bible. I don't want to read a verse per day in an app. I don't want to read it page by page in order. I want to read it how the spirit leads me. I don't expect to have it finished by the end of the year, but I do pray to start or end every day with an excerpt. And to be honest, I don't care if it's not the way so-and-so told you to do it. This is about my relationship with God and my journey with faith. 

    The last things, so far, that'll keep me in check mentally are continuing two very beautiful, very special lists. Last year, I started doing a challenge called "500 Things I Want For My Life." Yes, I did get this idea from The Steve Harvey Show and I challenged my soul sister, Kayla Hollatz, to do it with me. This list turned into something completely magical. No, neither of us have hit the big 5-0-0, but it brought us closer together. We started sending videos to each other weekly, even when we stopped adding things to the list. We read each other a few of our goals and we stole some of each other's ideas. We laughed. We blew each other's minds. It made me realize that including people, the right people, in your creative process can be the most spectacular thing. I mean, not everyone is going to get why you're staying up late to work on a list or what it means to be a community leader or whatever your cup of tea is, that's okay. Your people will find you while you're out doing your thing and you'll watch them grow, they'll watch you, and it's just the best thing. That list has taught me more about myself and my friendship with Kayla, and I appreciate every bit of it. 

    Oh, as for that other list? It was Kayla's idea. She started writing all the things she has done in her life and she read some of them to me. I'm still flabbergasted and in awe of that woman. I know I'm biased, but she makes me work harder and live more every day. So yes, she challenged me to do so and I accepted. I wrote things like feeding a giraffe at the Riverbanks Zoo and starting a photography business from scratch. I even wrote that I fasted for a straight 24 hours and worked out at the gym on the same day without caving. What I've done is all over the place and it mimics who I am. I think it's a list everyone should start because it reminds you that you've come such a long way and you have so much to be grateful for. Seriously, starting Dream On Youth is on that list. You wouldn't be reading this if I hadn't made an account on Twitter. Cool, right?

    But if you thought my personal goals were only about making me happy, you don't know me. Yeah, I have visiting France on there because Vogue made a post about 2017 being a great time to go. You don't have to tell me twice. Buying a new camera and editing software is on there, even a dining room set. But, my purpose is serving people in the best way I know how: giving. I want to throw my best friend Stephanie multiple bachelorette parties/events before she gets married to the love of her life in November. Yes, she does know that. Our best friend Katelyn and I have already plotted the first one, we just need to finalize. Steph, if you're reading this, get ready! I want to meet my ride or die friend Samantha Langsy, my soul sister Kayla (yeah, we've never actually met in person. Weird.), my ray of sunshine Nicole Tillotson, and the DOY ladies since we're living all over the country. I want to start with the original DOY ladies on that, so this year should be really interesting and full of reminiscing when I meet them. I want to volunteer my time and donate money in a big way every season. I know God will lead me to who needs what when that time comes. To continue with that seasonal theme, I want to throw at least four successful gatherings in 2017. You know the type of gatherings that are always Instagram ready, but everyone has to wait until the next day to Instagram it because they're having too much fun. I want one for creative women, friends, family, and a holiday-themed one because yes, I love decorating. I want to cook for these people, take their mind off their worries, and give them that special moment they'll never forget. That's just me, personally.

    Professionally, I want to be accountable. I want to complete the framework for my first book, which is going to be a freaking masterpiece! This book has been on my heart for years. Nobody really knows that or knows about it. I mean my friend Caity knows what I'm plotting. I'm trying to pull a Beyoncé with this release in my own way. It'll be worth it because this book will scream my work without screaming me. It will bring forth emotion and beauty and brilliance and magic. It's not a novel and that's all I'll say.

    I want to register Dream On Youth as a non-profit, officially. Do I know how to make that happen? Not yet. I'm working on it. I've been battling with "is DOY non-profit or for-profit" for years, but I've always known. I've known since before all of these amazing things happened through this community, through our brand. I kept letting society get in the way of what it was meant to be because I was distracted by the noise, I let it distract me. Well, I'm making the announcement here. We're going to be a non-profit and that's going to open the door for so many cool things I've got on that 500 Things list. Trust me.

    I want to start uploading YouTube videos again under my online persona, Poésie Gal. It'll be heavily focused on behind the scenes with my photography, books, and cooking. It's going to be a lot of fun and work, but I'm so excited! I also want to do a seasonal clean out of my closet. Special pieces will be sold on Depop and the majority will go to Goodwill. I've been giving to Goodwill for years and it just occurred to me to start selling. Why not, right?

    With selling my clothes, comes selling something else. I don't know what you're thinking, but it's an e-workbook for the entrepreneur on a budget and the people looking for something bigger than themselves. It'll include things for those who want to build a team but don't have the funds (yet), the story of how I created mine, and actions that not only the boss needs to take, but the interns. Yes, I'm creating an entire course with a journaling styled workbook for those community leaders who are ready to do more, give more, and change the game.

    I want to stay on top of these goals and remain accountable. I want to own when I made a mistake, when I make an excuse, and pave a way when there seems like there is none. After all, a queen builds an empire that serves the people and creates endless opportunities. 


Hi, I'm Julianne. 

    Going into 2017, I have a lot of different goals that I want to achieve. There are the typical ones that everyone wants to achieve, such as eating better and exercising more, but there are some that I think are especially important for me this year.

    One thing that I really want to do this year is start my own blog. As a journalism major, I am always looking for additional ways to write more and I think that a blog would be the best place to do it. I had started a blog in the past, but I am determined to keep up with it in the new year. I also want to get into the habit of being more organized and planning out my time better. I am the queen of procrastination and this past semester, I really started to learn how much that can hurt my grades and just generally make me less productive. So, in 2017, I am determined to make daily to-do lists and really prioritize what needs to get done so I can do my best possible work.

    Once a week in the new year, I want to take a day where I don’t go on any social media whatsoever. I, like most people in my generation, am obsessed with social media. While it can be good to keep up with friends and family, it can also hurt you and your self-esteem. I constantly catch myself comparing my life to others and social media is such a big part of why I do that.

    While I have many goals for the new year and could ramble on about them forever, these are the ones that are the most important to me and think will help me improve myself in 2017.


Hi there, I'm Chelsea.

    So, I’ve always been superstitious about New Year’s resolutions and deciding to change your habits once the clock strikes midnight on the first of January. I never understood the point of waiting for a new year to make changes; if you’re unhappy about something right now, change it right now. I was stuck in that mindset until I lost sight of the direction of my life and where I wanted it to go and found myself incapable of altering everything whenever I pleased. As 2017 is going to be a monumental year for me (graduating high school, going to college, leaving friends, leaving my job, etc.), I figured I might as well try the whole new start and new beginning idea. My to-do list of resolutions and goals is sitting in my lap as I type this, last minute - spoiler alert: one of my resolutions is to not procrastinate - and I’m feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle the upcoming year of changes and additions.

    I want to stay true to myself. Like, not just kind of do what I want to do and kind of let people walk all over me and let them guide me, actually do what I want and not do what I don’t want. I have always been someone who strives for perfection and likes everything organized neatly, and looking back, I’ve realized that I let outside forces cause me to settle with messes. I am not one who settles. I want to be proud of everything that my name is posted on. I want to represent myself, and only myself.

    I’ve always had a love for photography and film, but have never made time to dedicate. Since I’m going to be leaving my hometown and going off to college, I want to take as many pictures and video journals as I possibly can. Memories in the mind are incomparable, but being able to look back at pictures and see that exact vision is even more powerful in my opinion. I may not be the best photographer, but I think the actual memory carried within the photo is the most valuable.

    In general, I want 2017 to be filled with art. From videos to paintings and poetry and songs, I never want to feel bottled up. I am so lucky to live a life where I have access to my own guitar and a wide collection of journals and have no reason to sit behind the boundaries of silence. In this day and age of art and beauty, I want to take every chance and risk I can with my expression in order to free my heart and my mind. I think being open and honest with what you are feeling is something that I have progressively turned shy from within the past few years and battles I have faced, and I am finally armed and ready to be vulnerable.


Hello, I'm Tristen.

    As 2016 comes to a close, I have certainly realized that this year was purely one of character development. After the struggles I have faced this year, like the difficulties of ending toxic relationships, transferring schools, and just little everyday issues, I truly made getting my mental health in check my main goal. With that said, I believe I conquered that goal, despite the difficulties, as I am happier than ever before. As for 2017, I am going to dare to dream, as I have many little goals rather than one massive one.

    My time at Dream On Youth has taught me the importance of self-expression. After high school, I, surprisingly, didn’t have too many papers to write and I found myself missing the joys of creation. One of my wishes for 2017 is regular self-expression, whether it be in the form of writing, painting, or cinematography. With my schedule for my Spring semester being fairly light, I plan to fill my time with activities that involve creation. My fresh, new journal is calling my name, waiting for my daily entries.

    Within years past, I have found myself investing money in items, rather than experiences. I have found myself finding more joy in objects than in people, something I wish to change in 2017. I plan on investing my money in vacations, concerts, day trips, and museums, all with those I love. I am slowly learning to be more present in every situation, and I truly feel as if this decision will help me to continue this process.

    My final goal for 2017 is to become healthier, in every sense of the word. Yet, I will not be making these changes for purely aesthetic reasons; my happiness ultimately correlates with my health. I wish to live a long, healthy life, and creating a pattern of health now will certainly make it easier to continue down the road. I wish to try new workouts and new foods. My body will definitely thank me for it.

    While 2016 has been a challenging year, I am more than hopeful for 2017, as a year is what you make of it, and I most certainly have big dreams that will soon become realities in 2017.


Hi everyone, I'm Mika.

    As New Year's Eve quickly approaches, I’ve begun looking back at the year and thinking about what 2017 may have in store. Resolutions were never something that I was determined to set and follow at the beginning of each year. I would roll my eyes as I scrolled down social media on January 1st, with everyone claiming this was the year they would follow the “new year, new me” cliché. It also seemed like the resolutions they were setting followed similar suit: eat healthier, workout more, procrastinate less, etc. I think whether you set resolutions or not, everyone wants to stick to these goals to better themselves, especially after all of the overeating and craziness that the holidays bring. But some resolutions should be personal, keeping you determined to follow them into the next year.

    With each new year, I try to make a commitment that will allow me to better myself. Whether it’s procrastinating less or getting organized, I always need some type of goal that will help me grow and improve as an individual. This past year, my skin has been a major issue for me. From stress to harsh weather, it seemed like everything was wearing on my skin. Then when breakouts started popping up, out came the makeup in hopes of covering everything up and extra stress over breaking out. 2017 will definitely be the year that I improve my skincare routine. Although I’m pretty sure I’ve tried every soap, cream, and acne system available, I need to form the habit of actually going through a routine every night. Let’s be real, there are some nights where we’re just too tired to do anything and a skin care routine is definitely the last thing we want to go through. If I hope to better my skin, I have to find a routine that works and stick with it. Being able to have skin that I feel good about will definitely make me more confident and eliminate some unnecessary stress going into the new year.

    Though I strive to set goals that will help me better myself, I also look for ways to better my relationship with others. I am very close with my family and I could not be more thankful to have them by my side and cheering me on. This past year, my friends have become such a tight-knit group that I can rely on whether I’m stressing out or in need of a good laugh. With all of the tragedies and deaths that we’ve encountered over the year, especially this past week alone, this type of goal has become increasingly important heading into the new year. Going into 2017, I plan to constantly remind others of how much I love and care for them. I feel like sometimes we take the people in our life for granted and we don’t tell them that we love them enough, figuring they already know. There is no better feeling than someone telling you that they care for you so passionately, that they believe in you, and that you matter to them. So heading into the new year, I want you to know a few things: I am rooting for you, I believe in you, and you matter.

    As bad as some people may make it seem, 2016 wasn’t completely awful for me experience-wise. This past summer, I was able to see Ellie Goulding live for the second time with one of my good friends, and spent the night singing and dancing my heart out only a few feet away from her. I also got to visit my favorite place in the world, Disney World, and experience the Fourth of July in a place best known for its fireworks display. My family also got to visit Fort Lauderdale for the first time and we were able to spend a week together just relaxing on a beach and soaking up the sun. Although I appreciate each of these experiences, I want 2017 to be filled with even more adventures. More concerts, more family trips, even just small day trips. When Christmas comes around, especially, there is such a focus on material things and having the best of the best. I want a year filled with memories of trying new things and being overjoyed doing things that I love with the people I love. Nothing would make me happier than a trip to the zoo, going to pet some puppies, or being able to lay in the sun for a few hours with family and friends.


And, the boss lady is back on your screens.

    The day is Monday, December 26th, 2016. The last day of my vacation, the beginning of something different. An abundant mindset, a less frivolous heart, a joyous soul, a faithful mind, a gracious body that acts as a temple.

    I'm supposed to be writing the introduction to this "Goal Digger" post. A post full of personal, professional, and all the goals in between. A joint post between myself and four other young women trying to find their place in the world, trying to make their mark. And I don't want to this to be a typical resolutions post. I want this be a call to action post. The start of us banding together and holding each other accountable to making things happen for ourselves. A time for us to be more mindful and feel less guilt for chasing our dreams. A chance for us to find our people and change the world for the better.

    The year is ours and the world is full of opportunity. Are you with us?




Photo Credit: Farrel Nobel