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Dear 2018… Let’s Goal Get ‘Em!

I’ll say it again… Happy New Year friends! Can you believe we are well on our way into January?! This month is already flying by! It’s been a chilly January at that! We got only a few inches of snow last week and it’s just now starting to melt away due to the low, low temperatures (down in the single digits at times)! The kiddos (and teachers!) in the neighborhood have loved it because school has been cancelled all of this time! But, it’s supposed to be in the mid-60s on Friday… that’s Virginia weather for you! I’m surprised Ryan, Michael, and I have gotten through this winter season without any head colds… knock on wood!

So, today I’m going to share with you my 2018 goals! After completing several exercises in my first-ever Powersheets (by Lara Casey — get yours here), I came up with my goals several weeks ago and wrote them down. If you tuned in live or watched the replay of a recent On Air with Allie episode (pause for now and go watch it here)… I gave some helpful tips on how you can cultivate life-giving goals for 2018! In that episode, I walked you through the various “prep work” exercises that I did, I talked about the importance of choosing a word for 2018 (mine is “nourish“), and we chatted about the benefits of doing a life evaluation all before writing down your goals. I also mentioned the highlights of my 10 goals for this year (5 personal and 5 business goals).

This past weekend, Ryan and I sat down in the dining room together… in our PJs with coffee… and I walked him through the “prep work” exercises I did and we discussed my 2018 goals so he could do the same. This was the first time we’ve done this together (and we’ve been married 5-years now) and we’ll now look forward to this conversation every year. I would highly recommend doing this with your spouse (and even your kiddos!). It’s a great way to kickstart a new year, to get on the same page, help to encourage each other, do quarterly check-ins to see how things are going, and reevaluate where needed.

Each morning, I open my Powersheets Goal Planner and my Simplified Planner to ensure my day-to-day tasks are aligned with my overall goals so I stay on track. The Powersheets Goal Planner has monthly tabs that help me to prepare well with a monthly “tending list” (check out #tendinglisttuesday) where I jot down my monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Well, it’s January 10th and… so far so good! Today I’m going to dig in a little deeper here on the blog and share with you my why behind each goal, some action steps I’m currently doing (or will do), some additional notes/sub-goals, and encouraging words (to myself) to make my goals happen!

My 2018 Goals… (below goals in italics are business related)

  1. Personal & spiritual growth
  2. Nourish my marriage
  3. Enrich the lives of my children
  4. Live each day with intention
  5. Cultivate a life-giving home
  6. Smarter hustle and fulfilling work-life balance
  7. Enhance my client experience
  8. Learn, grow, and develop my craft
  9. Have a clear and consistent voice
  10. Become a hybrid shoot

Goal #1: Personal & spiritual growth

  • Why:
    • Taking care of my mind, body, and spirit will help me to love myself, gain a closer relationship with God, and love others well.
  • Starting steps:
    • Daily devotionals/morning prayer
      • While I grew up Catholic, I’ve never been one to do daily devotionals or be a regular church-goer. Since Ryan and I got married we’ve become parishioners at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and we sporadically would attend Mass throughout the years. The year Michael was born, I started to attend Thrive (a weekly women’s bible study in the Spring and Fall) which I’ve really enjoyed! Now more than ever I have a strong calling in my heart to grow my relationship and trust in God. It’s time to renew my faith with these goals!
      • I’m reading “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence“. I keep it on my bedside table — Ryan and I read the daily devotional while Michael has his morning milk snuggling with us in bed.
      • For the first time ever, Ryan and I are reading the Bible! We are following The Blue Letter Bible “Chronological” reading plan. We “subscribed” to the reading plan via the YouVersion Bible app and use our iPad to follow the reading plan (with the audible feature so it reads to us!). We are also highlighting our favorite verses along the way and we plan to paste them into a journal for our children to have and be inspired by. If we follow the scheduled readings, the entire Bible will be read in one calendar year! What an accomplishment!
      • Attend Mass weekly + attend Thrive Winter/Spring semester (weekly women’s bible study)
        • This semester we’ll be focusing on The Book of Life: Gods big story and why it matters to me. For 8-weeks we’ll be looking at God’s Big Story to see how that story matters for us in the here and now. In the last 4-weeks of the study, we’ll look at some practical ways to incorporate this sacred truth into the ordinary of our daily lives.
    • Exercise and hydrate often
      • Yoga once per week with my workout bestie (practicing mindfulness!)
      • Walks with Michael
      • Using my Apple Watch to track/motivate daily activity
    • Read 2 books per month
  • Field notes:
    • Allow time for rest and rejuvenation, pray more, schedule “me time”, weekly yoga, be on time, learn a new skill, read more, deep breaths, choose kindness, thrive in the chaos, lose the baby weight, say “yes” to what matters, limit technology, cultivate gratitude, avoid “fluff” on my calendar, remember God’s faithfulness in challenging seasons
  • Encouraging words:
    • A new year a new YOU! There are purposeful seasons of mess. Surrender to God and trust in Him.

Goal #2: Nourish my marriage

  • Why:
    • Be more intentional in growing a strong foundational marriage to set a good example for our children and build a legacy to be proud of.
  • Starting steps:
    • Embracing fruitful conversation
    • Be more intentional with our time together
      • Prioritize one-on-one time (date night once a month!)
    • Speak my partner’s love language
  • Field notes:
    • Cultivating gratitude and celebration in the everyday, practice grace-filled listening, engage with couples traveling the path we want, let go of our pride, keep the passion, share struggles and insecurities, pray together, volunteer together, communicate lovingly and truthfully
  • Encouraging words:
    • Keep choosing love, never stop dating, celebrate the everyday

Goal #3: Enrich the lives of my children

  • Why:
    • Nourish their young mind, body, and soul
  • Starting steps:
  • Field notes:
    • Prioritize having one-on-one time with Michael and Thomas, more play dates, be IN the photographs, embrace change/be flexible, you are enough, react with a calm demeanor, appreciate every snuggle 
  • Encouraging words:
    • “Little boy, you remind me how so much depends on days made of now.” I want my children to remember my smile not my stress.

Goal #4: Live each day with intention

  • Why:
    • To give my day-to-day more structure, meaning, and purpose
  • Starting steps:
    • Bring more joy and simplicity into each day
    • Value experiences over things
    • Set boundaries with technology
      • Turn off phone/computer notifications (done!)
  • Field notes:
    • Make each day count, live in the now, live life on purpose, cultivate fruitful friendships (spend time with those that truly matter), no more endless scrolling on social media, savor the in-between moments, unplug and unwind, save more/spend less, don’t get lost in distractions, live well
  • Encouraging words:
    • “Life is too short and too meaningful to just coast through” (Lara Casey)

Goal #5: Cultivate a life-giving home

  • Why:
    • Tending to my living spaces will simplify my day-to-day and take care of what I’ve been given
  • Starting steps:
    • Continually simplify and declutter living spaces
    • Maintain flexible morning/bedtime routines
    • Establish family traditions
  • Field notes:
    • Weekly meal planning, make the beds everyday, keep fresh flowers in my home, start a garden, live with less, play music, light candles, quarterly deep-clean my home, outsource grocery shopping, celebrate milestones/honor traditions, love people well, celebrate what truly matters, prepare for the unexpected
  • Encouraging words:
    • Home is where the heart is. Maintaining a home that offers rest and rejuvenation for my family and guests. “He who refreshes others will be refreshed.”

Goal #6: Smarter hustle and fulfilling work-life balance

  • Why:
    • As a creative business owner, maintain a set of standard business principles to build a long-term profitable business
  • Starting steps:
    • Maintain office hours
      • My scheduled office hours vary during the week due to portrait sessions, but I do my best to respond to all inquiries within 24-hours. If emails are sent over the weekend, clients and prospective clients can expect a response on the following Monday.
      • During the week I don’t email past 5PM. If I’m working late some nights, I’ll schedule the emails to go out the following morning. I don’t email on weekends.
    • Continue to find new ways to streamline client workflow and day-to-day tasks
    • Establish/maintain structure on content planning
      • Utilize an all-in-one social media workflow
  • Field notes:
    • Set a weekly/flexible schedule, be intentional with every social media post (targeting my ideal client), tag vendors, be consistent 
  • Encouraging words:
    • “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” (Shanna Skidmore)

Goal #7: Enhance my client experience

  • Why:
    • To serve my clients well so they feel valued, appreciated, and loved
  • Starting steps:
    • Design and launch a new website (making progress here!)
    • Provide a tangible experience
    • Launch the Client Lounge (done!)
  • Field notes:
    • Brainstorm “welcome gifts” for my clients, continually educate on the value of heirloom albums, engage on a more personal level (less back-and-forth emailing and more connection), surprise clients (I have some ideas in the works!), handwritten notes, host an ASP gathering (has been on my wish list!!), monthly e-newsletters, blog more educational/informative “mom” topics, continue to build helpful printable resources via The Lifestyle Collection
  • Encouraging words:
    • “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10)

Goal #8: Learn, grow, and develop my craft

  • Why:
    • Continue to enhance my knowledge, skills, and expertise within the motherhood and family niche
  • Starting steps:
    • Prioritize completing training courses I purchased over the years
    • Listen to podcasts weekly
    • Read 4 business books this year
  • Field notes:
    • Learn how to confidently shoot in Kelvin, build framework (content/agenda/workflow) for a secret project I’m working on, get out of my comfort zone with shooting (try something new at each session), be innovative, find new ways to stay energized and inspired, get more involved with The Rising Tide Society
  • Encouraging words:
    • Knowledge is power!

Goal #9: Have a clear and consistent voice

  • Why:
    • Stay top-of-mind with prospects, clients, and followers
  • Starting steps:
    • Blog at least 2 times per week (will be more flexible during maternity leave)
    • Schedule social media content in advance
    • Establish/maintain a workflow for submitting work to get published
  • Field notes:
    • Blog every session in 2018 (so behind on blogging prior years, yikes!), record and launch promo video, submit to contests, show up (On Air with Allie), provide valuable/educational content
  • Encouraging words:
    • “Communities are formed because there is a consistency in leadership. Unite your tribe through creating your home base. You can’t impact people’s lives without letting them into your own” (Katelyn James)

Goal #10: Become a hybrid shooter

  • Why:
    • Differentiate myself as an artist by exploring my creativity and passion to capture the art of motherhood
  • Starting steps:
    • Complete The Foundations in Film online course by Nancy Ray (almost complete!)
    • Build relationship/style with a film lab on the East coast
    • Schedule styled shoots
  • Field notes:
    • Establishes credibility, more opportunities to get featured/published, no more being trigger happy, develop marketing strategy to promote, overcome obstacles, save time on editing, be more intentional when capturing the fleeting in-between moments
  • Encouraging words:
    • There is a timeless elegance, depth, and richness to film!

Whew! Sorry the long blog post today — I applaud you if you’re still reading this!! But, I thought it was important for me to be transparent and share this with you. I’d like to share with you my month in review each month to reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, goals that are growing well, a favorite memory from the month, and what I’m grateful for. I’d also like to do a little blog post check-in each quarter to revisit my 10 goals, share overall progress, and reevaluate if needed (stay tuned in late-March!).

I would encourage you to grab some fun colored pens and stickers… spend some time on the “prep work” exercises I did then write your goals down too. We can do this together and hold ourselves accountable!

Cheers to you friends and to 2018! Let’s do this!!!

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