My 2021 Intentions (And An Update On My 2020 Goals)

SAYLOR Quin Dress in Fire | 2021 Intentions by popular D.C. lifestyle blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of Alicia Tenise standing in front of her Christmas tree and wearing a Saylor Quin Dress and Nordstrom Ariella Sandal SCHUTZ.
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Last year, I decided to set New Years Intentions rather than resolutions for the first time. And little did I know last January how much our lives would change and be flipped upside down!

I love the idea of intentions vs. resolutions because I had common, broad goals that I wanted to accomplish throughout the year. They were almost my “yearly core values,” and I kept them in my head at all times. Today, I’m sharing how I did with last year’s intentions and the three 2021 intentions I have on my list this year.

Red Feather Dress |2021 Intentions by popular D.C. lifestyle blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of Alicia Tenise standing in front of her Christmas tree and wearing a Saylor Quin Dress and Nordstrom Ariella Sandal SCHUTZ.

Last Year’s Intentions (& How I Did):

Practice Self-Love: Whew. This wasn’t always easy to do in 2020, but I think I made significant strides last year, all things considered!

I noticed towards the end of 2019 that I was in a bad mindset and constantly beating myself up (mentally, of course). Imposter syndrome just wouldn’t let me be great at times, and I went into 2020 with serious doubts about my blogging career.

In early March, I went to a doctor because I knew something was really off, and I was finally diagnosed with depression. When I sat in that chair and did the mental health screening, I broke down in tears. I knew I hadn’t been happy for a long time, but I always said that blogging stressed me out. Or that travel stressed me out. Or this thing did. Or that thing did. I didn’t realize that I was starting to hate everything that I used to enjoy.

And thank god I did that days before Miss ‘Rona was declared a global pandemic because man, I hit some new depression lows last year.

Honestly, I’m really proud of the fact that I went in and got help. I’ve been speaking to a therapist regularly and giving myself a bit more grace. I’m taking an antidepressant that’s helping me manage my symptoms, and I’m taking it one day at a time. During the lockdown, I started a tradition called “Fancy Friday” so that I could dress to the nines and feel more like my fancy pre-lockdown self.

I still have bad days, but my mind is a lot more clear, all things considered. I’ve started to fall back in love with blogging again, especially after reaching a new audience during the Black Lives Matter movement in June and sharing some raw, personal stories. The blogging industry is very oversaturated, but I’m confident, and I know that I have a unique story to tell and other unique souls to reach with this platform.

So yeah, despite everything that 2020 threw at me: I managed to get my groove back.

Get My Finances in Order: I sort of accomplished this, and I sort of didn’t.

The first month of lockdown was the scariest for pretty much every freelancer out there. I had contracts canceled, campaigns put on hold, and I had to actually lower my rate for quite a few projects in March-May. But then, in June, things turned around.

After the BLM movement, my email inbox was overflowing. Opportunity after opportunity. Brands started to realize the importance of casting a diverse group of influencers, and their customers were holding them accountable to do so. And let me just say that I don’t think I was cast just because of my skin color. The quality of work that I’ve been consistently putting out there makes me an excellent influencer for the job as well.

In the end, I ended up making double what I made in 2019. Towards the end of 2020, I felt a lot more comfortable financially and didn’t have to stress about bills or surprise medical costs ($850 ER bill, I’m looking at you). But I still think I can tighten my belt a little bit more and stop impulse buying so many things.

I still have a lot of room for improvement in this area, and I’m still working with a financial trainer to save up for big things in the future and make sure I have plenty of emergency funds just in case 2021 throws us something crazy as well.

Do Things That Make Me Happy: AKA, get a hobby that isn’t monetized. Because this blog used to be just a hobby that made me happy, and now it’s a full-time business. I love this blog, don’t get me wrong, but work/life balance is important!

I had plans to attend dance classes and join a French club in town, but COVID ended up ruining them. I started playing The Sims in my downtime. So nerdy to admit, but I love it. And I’m pretty good at it. Tom and I joked about me signing up for Twitch, but honestly, I love that it’s a hobby that I don’t monetize and that I don’t have to share with anyone else on the internet.

I hope to expand upon this a bit further and finally sign up for those dance classes and French classes in-person once it’s safe!

2021 Intentions by popular D.C. lifestyle blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of Alicia Tenise standing in front of her Christmas tree and wearing a Saylor Quin Dress and Nordstrom Ariella Sandal SCHUTZ.

My 2021 Intentions:

Move More

Ok, ok — isn’t this a bit cliché? I was actually doing great with fitness up until May. I kind of broke down mentally the week of the George Floyd murder and never really got back on the exercise bandwagon after that.

I want to move more for my mental health. Whether it’s yoga, an at-home HIIT workout, playing Just Dance on Nintendo Switch, or just taking a walk around my neighborhood. It was so easy to stay on the couch last year, and that’s a habit I really want to break.

Be a Better Friend

My mental health was insane in 2020. I mean, who’s wasn’t?

Sometimes, when I’m feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or depression, I look at texts and DMs and get overwhelmed. Like, I’m the girl with 215+ unread text messages at the moment. I don’t know why that is, but I’m sure it’s annoying to the people who are texting me to reach out and see if I’m ok.

This is something that I’m working with my therapist on, but I’m hoping to be more present and a better friend this year. I want to take more of an initiative to set up FaceTime dates, text folks (and hold a conversation!), send care packages in the mail — you name it.

Read More

I desperately want to read more so that I can be a better writer. I don’t want to say that I’ll read one book a month or 52 books in a year. Right now, I’m starting by reading for 15-20 minutes before bed and going from there. We have a staycation planned at a resort this weekend, and on one of the rainy days, I plan on whipping out a book instead of watching Netflix/Hulu/one of the too-many streaming services I’m subscribed to.

Have you made 2021 intentions yet? If so, let me know what they are in the comments below!

Photos by Tom McGovern

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  1. It sounds like you made a lot of progress on your goals in 2020, which is pretty amazing considering the year we had! I love the idea of finding a hobby outside of blogging because I’ve been feeling the same way. I might have to download The Sims 😉

    Posted 1.5.21 Reply
  2. Dana Mannarino wrote:

    My intention is to just have no expectations and that will allow me to put more things into perspective. A huuuuge goal for me is going to see a therapist. I’m overwhelmed about where to start but I’m glad I at least started the process!

    Cheers to 2021, I know it’s going to be a good one for you!

    PS: We should do a virtual yoga class together soon!

    Dana | It’s Casual Blog 

    Posted 1.5.21 Reply