Reflecting on 2019

Welcome to that awkward time of year where you are probably still in a bit of a food coma, the past week has all blurred into one and you have no idea what day of the week it is anymore. Of course, I am talking about that time between Christmas and New Year where I like to take some time to reflect on what 2019 has brought, what I wish it had held and looking about how I can change that for 2020 and beyond. And step one of that process is taking a look back at the goals I set myself waaayyy back in January now to see how I have done. I usually set myself three goals in the following three areas: Career, Scicomm and Personal. That way I can also see if I am spending too much time on one thing than another and so on. For example, this time last year when I was reviewing my goals – it made me realise I hadn’t invested enough time on the personal things.. So, after a quick reminder of the goals I set myself here, let’s take a look at how I did.



2019 goal: Come up with a new scicomm project for my job

How did I do? I would like to think that I have made my mark in my scicomm job. I organised the Institute’s first Pint of Science event which we want to return to next year, and we are also looking to host a Soapbox Science style event with some local partners too. I also have a list of all my other ideas that I am looking to get funding to implement or try out, but we already have a hugely varied program of events for the next two years. But besides those events, I have developed the social media strategy and been trying out some new things with video and audio content. So while I haven’t contributed that one distinct project yet, I am working on making progress in many pre-existing and new areas. And I love it!


2019 goal: Improve my media and video skills!

How did I do? So I said that I wanted to make three videos and be competent in Photoshop and InDesign. So I can use a few of the programs I need now after lots of practice and heading on some courses, not Photoshop yet though as it hasn’t been as relevant to my work. And while I have only made one video in my job so far, there are plans to make plenty more in 2020 and the one I did help to make got published in Cell! Yay! I also went onto a video making course that is going to help a lot in the future too. So, I would say this is another goal ticked!


2019 goal: Secure 10 freelance opportunities and collaborations

How did I do? So, my initial reaction was that I hadn’t managed this one with a busy year adapting to the new routine, trying to make my mark at work and then organising my wedding. But I have totted it up all that I have appeared on this year and collaborated with and I think I secured 12 different opportunities to try and build my Soph talks science brand – not including any that I have achieved through work too. This includes three podcast appearances, a science travel collaboration, my own blog post series with Reagent Genie and speaking at an international online conference. So, I actually surprised myself here about how much I actually have done this year. Here’s to building more in 2020 when I have more time to invest into it too. That also makes it three out of three career goals ticked for the second year in a row!



2019 goal: Refresh and re-design my blog website

How did I do? Since the start of the year, Soph talks science has had a bit of a face lift. I feel it looks a lot cleaner and more modern, and rearranging my main menu has hopefully made it a little easier to get around and find what it is you are looking for. If not, please do let me know. So, a tick on that one, but I have been thinking about whether I need to do more. With certain career aspirations, I have been wondering whether I need to build a new website from scratch that is more of a business style site where the blog is a part of that. Or whether for now I just add more “professional” pages to this currently so the Soph talks science site still gives the advice and science education that I love to do, but showcases how people can work with me too. Any help, thoughts or feedback on this would be a huge help, but something I am looking into for 2020 – not that I am trying to give away all my 2020 goals already 😛


2019 goal: Organise a UK scicommer meet up

How did I do? So, I did get the chance to meet many more scicommers this year. A few of those at a Scicomm Symposium that I didn’t even know existed when I set these goals at the start of the year. But I still haven’t organised anything myself – most likely due to a lack of time this year. Creating that UK scicommer space is something I am still really passionate about and still have ambitions to do. I want to draw inspiration from the ComSciCon and Scicomm Camps that happen in the US and Canada, as well as online networks that exist on Slack to help promote collaborations and new research and ideas to give UK scicommers more voice and platform. But for now, an unsuccessful goal.


2019 goal: Learn sign language

How did I do? Another goal that is a bit of a work in progress. I have found some great YouTube and Instagram accounts to follow and have been learning odd words and phrases but I have a long way to go. I did see that Imperial College have a BSL course so I am hoping I can incorporate that into my professional development plan next year too. While I have learnt odd phrases, I don’t think I could hold that basic conversation that I set myself the goal of. At least not yet…



2019 goal: Buy a reading armchair and read more!

How did I do? Still no reading armchair 😦 we will have to see how our new house and the layout pans out. But I have been reading a bit more. Not the 1 book a month target I set though. I started off well. The commute was useful for something as I spent some time reading on the trains. But it soon caught up with me and I spent more time catching some zzz’s on the train that ticking off the next book, and I haven’t got back into the swing of it yet either. I did get about five books under my belt though. My favourite was Hello World by Hannah Fry which I cannot recommend enough. I also have a pile of new ones waiting for me to get my teeth stuck into this year – which means hopefully more new additions to my Science Book Club section on the blog.


2019 goal: Lose three stone

How did I do? One that appeared on my goal list again, and failed again. The commuting means I have no time to really exercise and I haven’t been sleeping well either. And I could eat a lot better too. Safe to say, I didn’t achieve this. But maybe not the weight loss, but the healthier lifestyle needs to be something I focus on next year otherwise I will really begin to pay for it soon.


2019 goal: Explore 5 new places

How did I do? This year we travelled to Lisbon and Brussels and as far as new places go that is probably where the list ends. So, didn’t achieve the 5 new ones that I had wanted, but having those breaks really helped me this year. And we already have trips planned for next year that will help me to reach that target of 5 that I annually set myself. So, while it is unsuccessful again this time, I am confident that it will happen in 2020.


Only 4 out of 9 this year. So actually worse off than this time last year. And once again my personal goals have suffered, while my career ones are being ticked off left, right and centre. Something I really need to start thinking about. But this year I did start my new job, get married, have an offer accepted on a house, publish my first research paper officially, graduated from my PhD and smashed my yearly blog goals again too! So, all in all 2019 has been a pretty special year even if it did have it’s challenges too. And 2020 is already looking like it will be another good one too! Excited already! Bring it on!


What were your goals for 2019? How did you do? Share in the comments whether you achieved or not – it is good for us all to help each other out and work out how we all achieve our goals.


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