2016 was one of those years of ups and downs, in 5th gear then to reverse. Most years are. But something profound happened in 2016 that sparked a new flame inside of me. I accomplished one of my longest and largest dreams – I traveled to London. For some, that may seem petty, but I dreamt of going overseas to this dreamlike land since I can remember. It actually may have started with Lindsay Lohan in Parent Trap… though I digress.
I truly had some really amazing and God-filled experiences and some lowest of low letdowns in 2016 that led me to rethink myself. I learned how to keep the best friends close, even when they are far; I learned how to be patient with someone as stubborn as myself; I learned and only scratched the surface of how beautiful God thinks I am; I learned that my dreams must be pursued in order to be caught.
All of this to say, I wrote some goals for 2017. I didn’t want this to be like every other year where I make some CRAZY resolution to floss my teeth every day and then get let down. I wanted them to be goals, aspirations – things I could guide myself towards. I have finally figured out that the only way to get somewhere is to take one step at a time. Not to have it all together. Ironically enough, I happen to write 11 goals (11 is my favorite number) and I’m excited to share this experience.
Things that drove me to create these specific goals:
The only way I was going to get into the mindset of the me that I am every other day of the year, I had to go back and read some insightful pieces that I wrote. I carried around a book called The 52 Lists Project and, while I didn’t do it every week, the weeks that I did fill out the prompts actually revealed a lot about me. The most influential prompt had me “list the things that [I] want to be known for.”
- Great photographer
- Generously giving
- Open-hearted and loving
- Wonderful graphic designer
- Always pursues her dreams
- Fit and in shape
- Hard worker
- God-fearing and loving
With these in mind, as well as other notes that I had about myself, I was challenged with writing down goals. I wanted these goals to have purpose, and aiming them at what I want to be known for was a perfect place to start.
Blog 4 Times a Month
This can be about photography or design. This will improve site visits and help push me to become the “great photographer” and “wonderful graphic designer” that I aspire to be known for.
Blogging, I have found for me, is such a great outlet for my creative soul. While I know I’m not the best writer, I do feel like I have a lot of ideas in my mind to set forth. Besides just the writing part of it, I like being able to share my work with the world. This in no way means that I’m confident that my work is the best, but putting myself out there and being vulnerable is one of the strongest moves I feel I can make. As a perfectionist, this was hard, but as a graphic designer and artist I have learned to never hold dear to your work. Everything can always be polished. To some, that may seem pessimistic or negative. I see it as an opportunity to grow every day. What’s the fun at being the best anyhow?
Complete a new site for my design portfolio
Complete my christydawnphoto.com site to host my portfolio. The extreme addition to this would be to also attach places to purchase templates if needed, as well as blogging about design. Future plan would be to connect my sites together somehow. I plan to get my portfolio section up by February.
As a designer, and this should be true for every working person out there, I am also looking at the market for opportunities that are out there. It’s a good idea to always have a fresh resume and cover letter because you never know what life will throw at you. In my case as a designer by day, I have to provide samples of my work. In the past I have created some online “books” to view the work I’ve done. That took so much time designing how the book would look, be laid out, and what to feature. Creating a site for it will bypass the need for extra time to update it, but by adding in new pieces as I create them. As you’ll read, another goal is to move to Colorado, so achieving this goal is necessary.
Design something new once a week
This could be for getting my Etsy site back up and running or to blog about things I’ve learned about design. Another goal tied into this is to design 2 infographics researched and completed by myself about things that I love. Designing something new every week will help push me to be the “wonderful graphic designer” that I aspire to be.
As a designer by day, I tend to create something new a lot. What I’ve realized though is that I want to design for me. I don’t want to have graphic design by a burden upon myself because I have lost interest in the joy of it. Doing something like this will potentially keep my head up about where I’m at creatively. I’m hoping that this goal will push me to design something completely new and stunning – one of those pieces that people stop and say “I should’ve thought of that!” – which I tend to find myself doing a lot.
Move to Colorado
This will complete my lifelong aspiration of living there. I need to do research into the cost of living as well as a new job. There’s also the opportunity of living with my aunt for a couple of months until I get up and going. CU Boulder needs to be looked into and then following through with other places.
So Colorado has been one of those dreams just like London. I’m not sure where exactly it came from, but I do know it’s a desire of my heart. I had a hard time a couple of weeks ago trying to understand whether or not now was the time to move to Colorado. Is this a door that God is opening for me? Or is this something that I want so badly that I’m trying to make it work into His plan? My best friend asked me “does it further the kingdom of God?” I paused and asked “What does that even mean? I hear that all the time, but how is what I’m doing now even furthering the kingdom?” She made one of the best points that has stuck with me. I had to ask myself, will I be the best person that God has created me to be by making this choice? Although it may seem selfish, I realized that every time I visit out to Colorado, my soul comes alive. I feel empowered by my surroundings. I feel that God’s beauty is shining down on my each minute. This is why I have this desire. God wants me to thrive in the talents he gave me while thriving in the glory that he is.
Journal before bed each night
The original idea behind this is to begin to exert my extra energy that I have before bed. This, ideally, will help spur more ideas about blogging, design, and photography. I am also aiming to pray right after I journal. Journaling has always helped me reflect on myself, my day, and any extra feelings that I have yet to explore. It makes me feel uplifted and not destroyed.
I used to do this journaling thing in college, but I started doing it for a completely different reason. I sleep-talk really bad and my sorority sisters could not take it anymore. I started journaling before I went to sleep, and my talking stopped. It made me realize that my brain is still constantly going if I don’t have an outlet to release into.
Save a $1,000 Emergency Fund
This will push me to budget better and to utilize resources around me to save. I have fallen behind in hard core saving and making my own lunch. This will give me a sense of security in case of emergencies. It will also deflect my need of using a credit card.
Let’s face it. Money is hard. Saving can be REALLY hard if you see opportunities to spend. Maybe I’m making this up, but I feel like my problem areas of spending are in food and in purchases for my business. I typically make really brash decisions about both of these, and I’m tired of being afraid of my bank account. Time to control where my money goes.
Backpacking and Camping
This goal is to backpack and camp at least 3 times this year. This is something that always brings me such joy and humility for what this world has to offer. This might have to include researching trails, what kind of camping I like, and what all I would need to do such an excursion.
Ok, so I love the outdoors. If I could go explore every day, I would. Life gets in the way with things to do, but I told myself to stop making that an excuse. Turning “life” off for a weekend to enjoy the natural world we live in just really inspires me each time I do it. I used to depend on other people to ask to go, but, again, I’m taking control of doing things that I love.
Work on singing
This is one of my lifelong dreams to continue singing. After reflecting on what I love to do, I realize how much I miss singing and singing well. This will ideally lead to pursuing a choir to be a part of. Singing is a God-given gift that I love working on. I hope to have a voice lesson teacher at some point in the future too.
I sing almost every day. However, it’s the “I’m jamming out to my favorite song” type of singing. When I hone in my voice and work on my instrument, the outcome is tear-jerking. Even hearing people singing brings me to an emotional mess. I want to touch people in this world with choral singing – which is something that I’ve always wanted to do. Singing in choir brings that sense of community and bonding with others that I feel that I lack at points. I need to use the education I paid for by continuing to practice this skill.
Become more fit and in shape
The specific goals are to be able to do 20 real pushups (ability to touch chin to dixie cup), 2 minute plank, run 1 mile under 8 minutes, and 3 minute wall sit. This fitness goal is not only to make me feel better about myself, but to achieve the goal of “being fit and healthy” in life.
Don’t we all want to be in perfect shape? Each year I find that harder and harder to define. There are moments where I’ll have “skinny days” and love how I look in outfits, feel on top of the world and that I can eat anything. That eventually turns into “fat days” where I just feel like nasty scum. It’s ok, I’m not fat-shaming myself or anyone. But feeling great when I wake up is better than hating what I do each day. I could go on and on about the benefits of being fit, but one of them, for me, is to feel more confident in myself.
Read 3 books by EOY
These can be self-help books or any type of book that interests me. Any time I read a book, I feel like I took time for myself to veg out and relax. It’s more of “me time” that I get to spend. Also, I know that I learn more from reading. Reading books also takes me away from the reality of what is going on and helps me decompress.
I am always telling people that I dislike reading. The truth is, I love it, but can rarely find myself investing time in leisurely reading. I find myself gravitating more towards self-help books because not only am I reading, but I am reflecting on my life and how to be better. I, weirdly, find great satisfaction from always learning and working on myself. Though, I did read all the Hunger Games series before the final movie came out in theatres. I did find myself loving that series. If anyone has any suggestions, the options are open (since I haven’t read much).
Invest in new or more camera gear
Currently I only have one lens to work with when doing any shoot. While it has lasted me a while, I know that to help back up what I do, I need to invest in more gear. This will push me to better budget for how to save, to work and research on my photography skills, and to blog more about my new gear.
I hate to admit it, but my hobby and second profession is soooooooo expensive. It’s sometimes hard to justify such an expensive purchase when it isn’t my full-time job. However, I know that I cannot rely on the same material day in and day out. I need the right tools and equipment for backup and for leverage for all the shots I need to capture.