Yes, I know its February... but Bringing in the New Year: Part 2!

February 18, 2013

Yup, I know! We're already a good two weeks into February so a post about New Years goals might seem weird and outdated but I couldn't leave you hanging after Part 1! Plus, we just celebrated the Chinese New Year with the foreign exchange students at our house so it seems completely appropriate :) Pouring a lot of time and thought into these questions and goals gave me a lot of clarity for the coming months. There's nothing magical about January 1st so if you're on the fence about making some goals for yourself in 2013 I'm here encouraging you to just dive in! I'll be on the sidelines cheering you on regardless of when you start. Alright, here are my answers to steps 6-10:

Step 6:
Where do you want to be at 80?
Alive and healthy. Surrounded by a big family -- my husband, kids and grandchildren! Living in a home that has seen many family dinners, holidays filled with tradition, game nights, laughter, and has been a place where people know they belong and are loved. I want to a walking testimony of God's faithfulness and love -- an example of humility, servant hood, and contentment.

Why do you do what you do?
I do photography and wedding photography specifically because I love people and I want to tell stories. I hope that the pictures I capture bring people back to their core and the things that really matter in life. I want to inspire people to live lives that matter -- lives that are full of family, laughter, faith, sacrifice, adventure, serving others, joy, and love.

What life do you want to live this year?
I want to live a life that didn't settle and that found joy regardless of the circumstance. I want to be more flexible and not always focused on a "schedule". I want to be quick to listen to the Lord and follow His lead. I want to be focused on people and not my to-do list. I want to be intentional with my money, using it to bless others.

Step 7:
Things I'm saying "NO" to in 2013:
1. Focusing on others accomplishments and my failures.
2. Social media on the weekends.
3. Laziness
4. Sleeping in past 8:30
5. Fearing what others think of me.
6. Worry
7. Negativity
8. Being indecisive
9. Skipping breakfast
10. Eating lots of sweets.
11. "Having it all together."
12. Thinking I don't have anything worthwhile blog about
13. Wearing pajamas or "comfy" clothes all day.
14. Watching Hulu in bed before I go to sleep.
15. Gossip
16. Holding grudges
17. Wanting the latest clothing trends
18. Having a junk drawer
19. Running late

Step 8:
What are you saying "YES" to this year?
1. Doing styled shoots [and in film!]
2. Blogging about life.
3. Devotions first thing in the morning.
4. Consistent exercise.
5. Traveling.
6. Reading books instead of spending time in front of the computer.
7. Paying for things in cash instead of using cards.
8. Finding joy in the success of my friends instead of getting jealous.
9. Accountability
10. Going with the flow and being flexible
11. Random acts of kindness
12. Planning a family reunion.
13. Wheat bread over white.
14. Giving money away.
15. Laughter.
16. Calling friends on their birthdays.
17. Running a 5k.
18. Handwritten letters.
19. Skyping with friends.
20. Buying fresh flowers
21. Trusting His plan over my own

Step 9:
Refine & Finish steps 1-8. DONE!

Step 10: [I wanted to be really intentional with the goals I made for this year. I didn't want them to be your typical new years resolutions but something more meaningful that impacted something greater than just me; something serving a greater purpose!]

1. I want to be more in tune to listening to God's voice. There have been a few times this year I've gotten up a little bit earlier to just sit outside and be still. It's been so good for me to rest in the presence of the Lord before the busyness of the day takes over. Psalm 37:7, "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him..." I want to focus on slowing down, resting, and just being still; waiting on Him and listening for His voice. I want Him to be directing my next steps in life, and not me.

2. To become a better communicator and conversationalist. I loved reading "How to Win Friends and Influence People" last year and would love to read over it again. Understanding how people think and act the way they do has always captivated me. The book had so many practical examples and ways to apply it in my everyday life and with the people around me. I want to ask better questions, become a better listener, and improve on how I approach conflict and dealing with confrontation.

3. Over the last few months I've been trying to get to the core of why I love photography. Something that has always captivated me is film. The colors are beautiful and I love the raw/organic look it has... digital doesn't come close. In October, I took the first step and bought a film camera on Ebay. I want to work on incorporating it into my weddings this summer and other shoots throughout the year because its what I love and I don't want to settle for anything less.

4. I want to exercise regularly in order to stay strong and be my best. I have more energy and feel healthier when I get out and run, do Zumba, or an exercise video. I was really good about getting out to exercise in 2012 and I want that to be the case again this year. I bought a gym membership over the weekend, so no turning back now :)

5. I want to learn more about budgeting and being smart with my money. Last fall our family went through Dave Ramsey's 9 week series called Financial Peace University and it was great! I don't have a lot of debt right now but I do have some; I'd love to pay at least half of it off this year. I also want to continue doing a monthly budget -- saving more money so I can give more away. 

6. I want to learn more about cooking and eating healthy! Food brings people together and builds community. I want to cook more family dinners and have more meals with friends. I want to be creative in the kitchen and experiment with foods/spices I wouldn't normally use.

7. I want to focus on connecting young people my age when I get back home in May. It can be a really lonely time transitioning from college to "adult life" if you don't have friends and a community around you. Last year, I got together a young adult group at church and its been so good to connect with other young people. I want to keep this a priority in 2013 because I've seen the good come from it in my own life and I want it to encourage others too!

8. I tithe on Sunday mornings but I want to be involved with helping other ministries too. Whether its supporting a child through World Vision or a local organization; I want to do something to help and serve others outside of church.

9. I'm choosing to simplify my closet again. I loved going through Kendie Everyday's blog series in October --  it was really fun and helped me get rid of things I rarely or never wear. I didn't spend as much time in the mornings figuring out what I wanted to wear [time saver!] and I didn't go shopping nearly as much [money saver]! At the core its about simplifying and creating a "working" closet --meaning that all the clothes you own can be worn multiple ways. Less is more and having a simplified closet gave me so much clarity!

10. I want to pursue the photography girls group that I started late in the fall. I let the busyness of the holidays push it to the side and now living 2,000 miles away its been hard to connect with the girls but I want to dive in again. I love mentoring and want to focus a lot on this in the coming months!

11. I want to become a better photographer and work on the visionary/creative part of the process. Photographers are artists and I want to embrace more of that this coming year. Working towards creating beautiful art instead of just a product for my couples.

image source: first / second / third / fourth

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