Happy New Year ya’ll!!! 🙂 I’ll be honest, there’s definitely a part of me that can’t believe it’s 2019… time moves fast, faster it seems the older you get, and it’s made me more appreciative for every day. On the other hand, as a wedding photographer, I’ve been thinking in terms of 2019 for months now! But this post isn’t about that… it’s about setting goals and new year’s resolutions! How do you actually stick to the commitments you make?
1. Make Space for Intentional Choices
If you’re a wedding photographer, and you live in an area where busy season is just getting started (Hello to all my Arizona and Florida friends), I’d recommend returning to this post in six months when your weddings sloowww dowwnnn. If there’s one thing relating to goals, lifestyle, and workflow that I’ve learned over the past few years working from home, it’s that you can’t create lasting change when there’s no space for intentionality. If you’re up to your neck in editing and can barely keep up with your emails because of your workload, I can almost guarantee that the new workout plan/eating plan/sleep schedule/ whatever your “resolution” that you’re trying to add to your routine won’t stick. There’s too much chaos, which leads to burnout and guilt when we fail. (Anyone with me? Hands up ya’ll!) Instead, if you want to make a resolution, be intentional when you choose it and make a resolution relating to something you’re already doing. Resolve to edit a session or empty your inbox before you dive onto social media for the day. That way, you’re still improving your routine without trying to add something new that you really don’t have the margin to allow. But if you’re in Ohio like me, and no one wants a photo session in the dead of winter…. you’re in the ideal position to create lasting change.
If you ARE in a slower season of life, wedding photographer or not, this is the time to make resolutions. The days where you wake up and realize that you have a choice about how you’re going to spend your day. If the choice is between Netflix and working out, make a choice. If the choice is between stopping for fast food or making something healthy at home, make a choice. Be intentional about your choice. Keeping resolutions may seem difficult, and of course life throws curveballs that change our routines when we least expect it. But when you find yourself faced with a choice… make the right one, not the easy one. Take it one step at a time. And do it intentionally.
2. Focus on the deeper WHY
So, let me ask you…. WHY have you chosen your specific new year’s resolutions? Think about it. Like we talked about above… take intentional time to think about it. For me this year, New Year’s was honestly the perfect time to set myself up for success in 2019. My wedding season is wrapping up, we just got home from nearly three weeks of traveling, and my work routine is changing drastically from maintenance (shooting, editing, email that takes up most of my time during busy season) to building (new branding, building resources for my clients, connecting with vendors, etc). I actually have TIME to think critically about what I want to get done and what I want my life to look like, which was step one about taking space for intentionality. But step two, focusing on the deeper why, is where the magic really happens. Let me explain.
If I’m being honest, 2018 was a great year with plenty of rough moments. We traveled, I shot a lot of weddings. But I also spent lots of time feeling uncertain about my self-worth, lonely because my friends seemed few and far between, and guilty about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I’m a type 1 on the enneagram, meaning I tend to be a perfectionist and I hold myself to extremely high standards. Naturally, being an imperfect human, I frequently fail to reach my own standards (duh). But I’m learning that focusing on the deeper why has helped me make better choices and stick to resolutions. If I have a shallow “why” (I define a shallow why as relating to what other people think, or some goal that society has set out as “good”) then I will fail. Example: getting up early. if I resolve to wake up at 5AM because a bunch of youtubers say it’s BEST thing ever… I will fail. And then I will feel guilty about it. But if I think critically about why I want to wake up earlier in the first place (I’m much more productive in the morning and I’m generally in a better mood when I get up early and have time to myself), that’s a reason I can get behind. I want to be productive, AND I want to feel good! It’s a win-win. Example 2, eating healthy food… some of you may know this, but I was thiiiis close to becoming a dietitian. My undergraduate degree is in biology, and I love nutrition and understanding how the body works. I also love French fries and Coke. (And again, let’s be real…. we all love junk food. Trust me, it’s a chemical thing… they put things in there literally to make you want more of it.) So here’s what happens, and where I find my deeper WHY about French fries. If I decide to stop eating fast food because all my friends on Instagram are posting smoothie bowls and HelloFresh and I want to fit in, I will fail SO fast…. because doing something based on what others do is shallow and unsustainable. However, if I make healthy choices because I know i’ll have more energy and less stomachaches, it’s a no-brainer.
Friend, don’t let social media define you. Don’t let shallow goals that are promoted by appearance and fitting in remain in your life. Goals are great! But to succeed, you first need to create margin in your life and be intentional about how you incorporate new habits. You do you!!! But “you do you” doesn’t mean do whatever you want…. it means do what is best for you and your personal situation. It’s okay to take it slow. Give yourself the freedom to make intentional choices, rather than sliding into the easy road. Make sure you know the deeper WHY behind your goals, and if the reason has anything to do with what other people think of you, scrap it.
I’m cheering for you, friend! I truly believe God has created us all with a purpose in mind. We all have unique gifts, opportunities, and passions… but your impact will be determined by your choices. Think deeply and intentionally to make the right ones. <3
P.S. If you’re a photographer, my friend Kelsie and I have a free download about how to build your business in the off-season! If your goals relate to being productive in your business, download this freebie for a jumpstart!