I'm holed up in St. Augustine, Florida spending the last few days of the year resting, praying and planning for the new year ahead. I can't say that I am mad that it's been a little cooler here than we planned for because it's kept me indoors and focused on finishing my goal planning for the year.
And while deep down I want to keep most of these goals to myself, I know I need to share them all so I can stay accountable. Last year I shared my goals to stay fit and healthy, give more etc. and those seemed to be the goals I worked the hardest on because they were "public" goals and people knew about them. I needed to keep up the persona of perfection.
I didn't share the goals I failed at, like writing every day and being involved with my church, volunteering twice a month. Sure, I wrote and I volunteered, but not as much as I vowed I would.
And truth be told, I set hard goals for myself last year. Really unrealistic and honestly, unhealthy goals. I had no time to rest. No time to relax and rejuvenate. No time to dream or create. I was scheduled to the max. Worked to the max and exhausted by October. I even vowed to take the entire month of December off from photography in order to reset and rethink my business and even THAT didn't happen.
I decided I am going to be candid and transparent about my goals for the year. And I really believe I CAN and WILL accomplish these things because I have built time in my schedule to rest. Boundaries in life and in business are so important and this year I'm putting hard lines in the sand and sticking with them. And that means saying no to a lot of things I love, but if saying no to things I love means saying a big, emphatic YES to the things I love most of all, I am fine with it.
So without further ado... my goals for 2018! (In no particular order of importance, they are just in the order that I ended up with on paper)
- Meal Planning - I am a pretty decent meal planner but, this year I need to be more intentional and strict with my budget due to some unfortunate expenses I have accrued over the last year. (Thanks to totaling my PAID OFF car last summer - and it wasn't my fault!) So meal planning and prep is high on my list. I am using Plan To Eat and it's changing my life. It's a recipe generator, drag and drop meal planner and shopping list generator all in one. You can take a recipe from anywhere on the web, plug it in and import it and it populates the ingredients and directions right before your eyes. It's sorcery. It's magic. It's a meal planner's joy and salvation. After using PTE I am also planning a freezer meal prep day every month. For example, for January I will take 6, freezer friendly recipes and take an entire day to prep and cook. This will make 24 dinners for myself for the month and leave 7 unplanned nights to eat out. Dinner is always the most "up in the air" meal for me so the freezer meals are perfect for those nights when I don't want to cook.
- Write Every Day - This has been a goal for me for several years that I have never accomplished. Why? Because I wasn't disciplined enough and didn't consider it important. I chose to watch TV or shop online or browse social media. I have some things on my heart that I know I need to share, not necessarily because it's life or death that I do or don't, but I don't want to look back on my life in 10, 20 years and know I could have written what I knew I could write and regret not doing it. So this year, it's 300 words on WEEK-days I am not working at the hospital. Along with the new routine I have for myself - See Goal #6 - I see this being VERY doable.
- Barre3 Three Times A Week - Also a goal that's been on my list, but one that's been easier to stick to, except for the last 3 months due to being SLAMMED with photography! I have noticed I am more likely to go to a morning class than I am an afternoon class so I am plugging that into my new routine as well.
- Read 50 Books - Last year I read 23, which is good for me, but my goal was 50. Something shifted for me late last year when I found myself reading more fiction than non-fiction. And while fiction isn't bad, I noticed that for ME I was using it as a way to escape my daily life, thoughts and emotions. So this year, I am still going to read fiction because I love it, but I will be focusing on non-fiction, spirituality and cultural awareness reads more often.
- Get Better at Photography - what a YEAR this has been for me in the world of photography. I am beyond grateful for all of the wonderful families and friends that chose me to capture their memories this year. I decided to change my pricing structure for next year and that comes with increasing knowledge and experience in my craft. This year I am committed to the 365 challenge. 1 picture a day for the entire year and I am not limiting it to DSLR photos this time! Last year I limited it to my pro camera shots only and I bet you can guess how that went. No one lugs around their camera gear everywhere they go. So I am also committed to taking better pictures on my iPhone. I will be posting per the challenge every day on my Instagram so you can follow along!
- Routine - this has always been a dirty word in my house. I have a wild-free spirit side and I HATE routine. I don't like to get up at the same time every day. I don't eat at the same times every day or eat the same things and I don't want anyone to tell me I need to either. But I have noticed that some of the most productive and RESTED people I know have routines every. single. day. So I am starting out small and not too strict in order to be able to rest more and ENJOY weekends and my days off from work and photography!
- Pay off My Credit Card and Car - BIG TIME here. Both are well over $15k in debt total. I have been good at budgeting in the past but last year was tough on me financially. I was threatened with job loss three times, changed health insurance three times, have been in three accidents and had some health issues that came with some hefty medical bills. SO, my finances have felt extremely volatile and I need some stability. I am setting hard boundaries with my budget this year.
- Get Rooted In The Word - My goal this year, in this area, is to read the whole Bible in chronological order. Before I would sit down and just open the word and try to make sense out of what I was reading. Sometimes it worked, but a lot of times it didn't. I used to beat myself up that I couldn't and didn't get some life altering revelation every time I read my Bible, so this year I am using the Blue Letter Bible app and doing their one-year plan and I am really excited! I have never read the entire Bible so I am looking forward to this goal.
- Be Intentional on Social Media and on the Blog - last year I decided a plan was appropriate for blogging. Content calendars, planned IG feeds and scheduled FB posts. It was so much pressure to have it all nailed down and I always felt like a failure if I didn't post consistently or had something meaningful to say. But I am over that this year. I like a well curated and pretty IG feed but I am not worrying about what I post and when I post it. No more schedules. This is real time, real me, real posting. And the same will be said for the blog. I will be using a specific 3 step system to writing this year and posting accordingly. No more "have to post three times a week" business. I will post when I post and that will be it.
- SECRET FUN PROJECT - this is my last and final FUN goal for the year that I am not ready to announce yet. It's something I have wanted to do for a long time but struggled with the "why" to do it. Because honestly, the why was just because I wanted to and it was fun and that seemed shallow to me. But, I believe fun goals are just as important as the serious ones. I will be announcing this project next month so stay tuned!!
So, if you're still here and still reading, I applaud you! Thanks for sticking around to read what's up in my world. As you can see, this year's list of goals are very intertwined and all have something to do with one another and that was intentional for me. Having goals that have intertwining action steps helps kill several birds with one stone. It's an easier way to get what I want out of life. And this goal list isn't here to make you feel intimidated about your year or your resolutions. This is a way for ME to stay accountable to my word and my commitments. However, if you haven't set some goals for yourself for the year, I would encourage you to do so. Even if they're small, goal setting and accomplishment is a great way to stay focused on the things that make you get out of bed in the morning. It's a way to cultivate what matters the most to YOU. Not to someone else. I hope you feel encouraged to do the same for 2018!