What I’ve Got Planned in the New Year
Most people probably say/think this around the beginning of a year: This next year is going to be big; I can feel it.
I am one of those people. 2019 is going to a year of big goals, big dreams, and big changes. I have not really talked too much about my plans for this next year, at least not online. I’ve mentioned it to a few close friends of mine and actually started talking about it more openly at the Showit UNITED and Creative at Heart conferences last year, which is a pretty big deal for me. While I am definitely a fan of having big dreams and saying them out loud…it can be scary to put those big dreams out there before things are really in motion yet. Am I right?
A couple of years ago, I started feeling a pull towards something…something that involved helping people in really impactful ways. You see, before I became a photographer….before I started my own business, I was getting my degree online in Psychology. While I was in school, photography happened. I like to tell people that it crashed right into me like a speeding, red light-running car in an intersection.
I wasn’t one of those people who grew up pursuing a career in photography. It just kind of happened, and I have love, love, loved being my own boss, growing and maintaining this business of mine from the ground up, and working with the most incredible people. I can’t really even begin to explain the blessings that have been brought into my life since picking up a camera and creating and growing a business of my own. This business of mine has brought absolutely amazing people into my life. It’s honestly hard for me to grasp at times just how awesome this journey of entrepreneurship has been. Some of my very best friends and very best memories have happened because of this business and the creative world.
I finished my degree while still running my business. It’s not like I gave up on that field of study, it just sort of got put on hold while I worked on building up my business and loving on my clients – as well as my family! 🙂
But, back to that pull I had been feeling. As you may, or may not, know about me, I’ve lost three close family members over the last almost three years. My brother passed away in early 2016, followed by my mother in mid-2017 and my father just this past summer. Aside from the devastation I have felt from tragedy after tragedy occurring, it really hit me HOW SHORT LIFE IS. From then on, I kept thinking to myself…at the end of my life, what is going to matter? What am I going to be most proud of? Am I doing the most important work I could, and want to, be doing right now? It pulled and pulled and pulled at me for months.
At the end of 2017/beginning of 2018, I simply asked God what to do. I asked for some kind of sign of where my life should go. Was I on the right path? What was going to happen in 2018? Should I be doing something different or simply, something in addition to what I was already doing?
He created space for me. By mid-2018, I found myself confused as to why I hadn’t booked much for 2019. I was worried…I thought to myself….is 2018 the last year I am going to be shooting weddings? And then….I realized I asked for this. I asked God to show me what to do, and He showed me space.
No longer could I use the excuse of “Oh, well I can’t do X because I’m too busy…I have all these weddings…my calendar is booked up….” (which is a blessing, and I know that – I know that so well. Those bookings, not just from the previous year, but for the whole time I’ve had this business – since early 2013 – have allowed me to help provide for my family for the last several years).
I couldn’t use the bookings and full calendar anymore as a response to why I shouldn’t go after this thing I’ve really wanted to do. I actually spoke out loud about my desire to return to school in…2016, I think it was. But…I didn’t pursue it because I was busy. Too busy to add in anything else…so I set that dream aside and continued working in and on my business.
All this is to say…I am in the middle of applying to a graduate program in School Counseling. The program I choose will start in the fall of this year, and I am so excited/anxious/nervous/eager/overwhelmed…in the best way. I will keep y’all updated on the progress on this big dream of mine!
What does this mean for me and the business? I have just one wedding in the fall (and I am SO, SO excited about it!!!!), but I won’t be taking on any additional weddings after that. Some amazing weddings are happening this summer, too, and I am so excited to love on all of my fantastic couples this coming year. I can’t wait to be a part of their big day and capture their love!
Once the fall hits and the program begins, I will not be taking on any new wedding clients. I want to ensure that I am giving my full attention and focus to the program, while of course balancing my home life! Who’s to say that 2019 will be the end of weddings altogether for me? It’s hard for me to know exactly what will happen in the future…because well, I’m not a psychic. All I know is that 2019 is the year I am going to return to school. I will take one step at a time. It is pretty exciting to think about where I could be in the next year…two years…five years….
Usually…the unknown would terrify me. It would overwhelm me and make me feel anxious and scared….but I feel a real sense of peace about it all. I know that I was put on this Earth to love on others and help people. And….ultimately…I’m chasing after just that!
Both of my children will be heading to school in the fall, right along with me, and I am so incredibly grateful that I will be able to spend the day devoted to my studies and work so that when my littles get home after school, I can then turn my focus onto them! It feels like an incredible blessing, and I can’t really begin to explain my excitement for this new chapter full of big dreams, big goals and big changes.
Big Dreams for the Year
So, now that I’ve got that huge announcement out of the way, I did want to share a few other goals I have set for myself for 2019!
- Start a new reading challenge of 50 books
- Continue our debt-free journey and complete baby step two
- Simplify & declutter many areas of my life
- Start a new Contentment Challenge from January to the end of March
- Emily Ley’s Simplified Challenge – head to @emilyley on Instagram to join in! It’s going on right now! Additionally, I’ll be adding her Ruthless Declutter challenge; that one begins in mid-March
- Add in social media breaks throughout the year + set stricter social media hours and objectives
- Help get Aislynn ready to start Kindergarten in the fall!
- Find new recipes and revamp our grocery list to include healthier items
- Focus on my health!
- Start journaling + reflecting each week
- Continue to give generously
- Grow in my faith
- This isn’t a goal, but I’m super excited to go see the Backstreet Boys (!!!!!!) in concert this summer! As a young girl/teen, they were my FAVORITE boy band, but I never got the opportunity to see them live! I am so excited for this!
My Word of the Year
For the last few years, since stumbling on Lara Casey and Powersheets, I have been choosing a Word of the Year during my PowerSheets prep and goal-setting time at the end of each year. This is something that I sorta unintentionally choose. It’s something that I let come to me during the time I spend reflecting on the previous year and dreaming up big dreams for the next year. For 2018, my Word of the Year was Give. I spent a lot of my year giving back to others, giving to my self, and just seeking out different ways to give throughout the year. It was a beautiful year; we did so much more giving than we could have imagined, and it was just wonderful!
For this year, I have chosen my word! This is a word that actually came to me later than in past years. As I worked through my PowerSheets prep for 2019, I started to notice a pattern and felt a word keep jumping at me as I reflected on the year and began forming my dreams and goals for 2019. And that word is Start. Of course, as soon as the word came to me, I knew it was the right one, and it seemed to show up every single place I was. I think the biggest reason this word seems like such a good fit is because 2019 is a year of starting.
I even sat down and looked up the definition of Start. Here are some of the things that stood out to me:
- an act of beginning something
- the beginning
- give a small jump
- cause or enable someone to something to begin doing something or pursue something
So good, right?
I’m going to be starting on a bit of a different path. Starting this journey towards applying for a graduate program and beginning the program in the fall. I am planning on starting a few different challenges, saying yes to new things, paying more attention to my health and who I surround myself with. It’s a year of starting and going after the things that have been on my mind over the last year – well few years, really. You know when you remind yourself of that thing you’ve wanted to do for so long, but something else has told you no…or you can’t do it….or you shouldn’t do it yet…
I feel as though there are a few things in my life that I have really wanted to do – like apply for grad. school – for a while now but there was something ELSE that prevented me from going after them. 2019 is a year for starting those things I’ve wanted to do and not letting obstacles keep me from starting!
What About the Future?
Looking very far into the future, I’ve thought about what my life could look like. My plan after completing the graduate program in School Counseling is to work in a school. I want to help kids…childhood and young adulthood is hard, y’all. I remember what it was like, and I also remember the amazing counselors, teachers and coaches I had that made huge, positive impacts in my life as I navigated the rocky waters. My hope is that I can truly help some kids…through tough times, academic issues, relational problems, and beyond.
And who knows…maybe I could come back into the creative world as a coach/mentor or counselor for creatives! I love the creative world, and I don’t want to leave it completely. Creatives are my people, and I want to stay in the creative world, somehow. Mental health is such an incredibly important thing to pay attention to and focus on…and we just don’t do enough of that!
Creative entrepreneurs need help navigating the rocky waters, as well. So, maybe that will be one of my big dreams a few years into the future. I love the idea of helping people, and I think the combination of counseling experience, as well as entrepreneurship experience, could really come in handy! That’s a long way off, but what good are dreams if we don’t have them, right?
The great thing about all of this is…I have mentioned my plans and ideas to a few people before today’s post. Thankfully, I have been met with nothing but positivity and support. It makes this decision and change so much easier for me to feel good about. It will be kinda crazy and weird for me not to have weddings on the horizon after this fall. But I know that I am on my way to something really great! And I am SO excited about that!
Have you figured out your word of the year? I’d love to know about it and your goals for 2019 in the comments below, so be sure to share! Here’s to a beautiful new year, full of exciting possibilities, changes, and big dreams!