January 29, 2020

2020 Goals | VA + FL Photographer

Iā€™m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Destin, Florida and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether Iā€™m by the mountains in Virginia or the ocean on the Florida Gulf Coast, my soul feels at home, surrounded by rural living and the raw beauty of nature. I genuinely love what I do, and feel so passionate to share the enthusiasm and joy of these celebrations with you!

light chaser, dreamer, go-getter.

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When the clock strikes midnight to ring in the New Year, our minds cannot help but think “this is my year!” We get the chance to “start over” again with a clean plate and fill it with things we want to do that year. Then a wave of excitement dawns on me as I start simplifying my home from the Christmas decor. Don’t get me wrong … I LOVE Christmas and the twinkle lights! In fact, I pondered how I could incorporate the lights all year long. I didn’t succeed. šŸ˜‰ But there’s something bittersweet about new beginnings and simplifying. 

Although the best part is that new beginnings don’t have to start on January 1st. In fact, I realized after a busy season of traveling last November that I wanted to begin implementing a new routine based on the things that mattered the most in my life. I made it happen, and it felt like a hit the refresh button! It was great until I stopped when I picked up traveling again in December. However, after pausing my routine for a few weeks, I didn’t let it stop me from picking back up from where I left off!

**This is important!**

And I’m speaking to myself when I write this... 

Do not be discouraged or beat yourself up for not being consistent. Pick up where you left off and persevere!

Who Do You Want to Be?

I realized last year while drawing out my 2019 goals that resolutions shouldn’t necessarily be a check-list of things to do throughout the year.

Will checking off a yearly to-do list move the needle forward in our life?
Possibly.

Will we grow into the best version of ourselves by checking off our to-do list?
Probably not.

For example, I had “sell my house” written down as a resolution. When I think of what will matter the most to me when I’m old and gray, I’m pretty sure that will not be a reflection of my values.

In fact, our goals should be focused on GROWTH!

I challenge you this year to take a step back and think of the New Year in a different light. Instead of setting resolutions, I want you to ponder this question…

How can we be the best version of ourselves?

To be honest, it took me a while to write this blog post because this question is a BIG one. You have to dig deep, be honest, and figure out how to make it happen. That’s why it’s the end of January as I write this post! Ha! Not only did I want to dig deep in what mattered the most to me, but I also wanted to show you how I’m committing to making changes that will impact my life.

So if you haven’t heard me say this before, I’m a BIG fan of the Mary Marantz Show on Podcast. In one of her episodes (I wish I could pinpoint which episode to listen to), she mentions something along the lines of, “Who do you want to be when you’re 80 years old?”

Think about that for a moment…

When you’re 80-years old, you have seen and experienced a LOT in your life. But I love how she starts the quote with the word, “WHO.” We have the ability to challenge ourselves now so that when we are 80-years old, we can look back and be proud of the person we became. Doesn’t that just make you want to start brainstorming what you can do this year that will impact your future?!

Whether you are reading this half-way through the year or even in November just days before the next New Year, there isn’t a better time to start asking yourself this question and taking action than now. Taking action is the only way you’re going to grow and move forward. So let’s go into February strong and make this year the best year yet!

2020 Goals and How I’m Taking Action

HEALTH

Sleep 7-8 hours per night. Thanks to Alex and my routine, we go to bed by 9:30 p.m. and wake up generally around 5:30 a.m. (depending on his rotation).

Work out 5-days a week. Thanks to my local gym, I’m able to take challenging classes every day of the week that keep me motivated and also push my business hours so I am more efficient with the time I have to work.

Healthier meals. Thanks to Google Calendar, I’m able to preplan Alex and my meals in advance so we aren’t scrambling around at the last minute. It also helps with our finances because I’m not buying food just to have it in case we need a meal idea!

Personal Time. This takes discipline, but thanks to Alex waking up early, I wake up early enough to have time to relax, enjoy a cup of tea, read, and walk Ollie before starting work at 7:45 a.m.

Adventure. I don’t think there’s anything better for the heart, mind, and soul than to keep your mind open to explore the world! This could go under every category. Health, mind growth, spirituality, relationships, etc. When Alex and I have an available weekend, we find the time to go to an unknown place, whether it is just around the corner or states away. šŸ™‚

MIND GROWTH

Podcasts. Any chance I have, I will listen to a Podcast. Whether it is driving down the road, working out, doing the dishes, cooking, cleaning, packing … Basically, anything that I can multitask effectively, I will take the opportunity to learn from a Podcast.

Read. I am currently reading three books right now and I cannot say it’s the most efficient way of reading. Haha! But nevertheless, I’ve made time in my morning routine by waking up early to build in reading time. Alex and I also take some time to read in bed if our night allows it. Reading can be a great way to imagine, grow, and learn!

Community. This could go under the other subtitle, “Spiritual,” but learning from others is important too! I am involved in a community group called, Ten in a Circle, where we gather every week to dive deep into God’s word. Not only am I learning more from the Bible, but I’m learning from the life experiences other women have shared.

SPIRITUAL

Small Group. There’s something so fulfilling surrounding yourself with likeminded women of faith sharing their stories and wisdom. God uses each of us in beautiful ways and I love hearing it through community! I attend a weekly group gathering and not only is the community great, but I learn so much more about the Bible from different perspectives.

The Bible. Thanks to my daily routine, I start my reading time by opening up my daily devotional and reading from the Bible. I’m also reading She Reads Truth Bible study books alongside my daily readings. Also, I love the Bible app because it pushes a verse of the day notification to my phone every morning. It’s great having this when I’m on the road because I find myself fall short on my morning routines when I’m traveling. But this helps me start the day focused in His Word. šŸ™‚

Gratitude + Prayer. I’m currently working on being more mindful of this on a daily occurrence. šŸ™‚ Even during my quiet time during yoga or my morning routine is a great time to do this!

Church. I’m so grateful Alex and I found a church in Florida we both love! The atmosphere is fun, energetic, and friendly. Shout out to The Gathering Church!!

RELATIONSHIPS

Marriage. This has been the biggest blessing of 2019!!! We have been married for now over seven months (yes, still newlyweds)! Every day I try my best to serve Alex and keep his cup filled just as much as he does for me. šŸ™‚ Two books I love to keep in mind as we embark the years ahead are the 5 Love Languages and The Meaning of Marriage. Two highly recommended books!!!

Friendships. Social life is SO important in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I love authentic friendships that really dig deep into conversations! Making the intentional time to get together (especially from states away), can be challenging, but I’m finding ways to make it happen on my calendar!

Family. I’m so grateful that my business takes me back to Virginia so I have the excuse of seeing my family (despite not having my husband with me most of the time). I find myself running around a LOT while I’m visiting, but I want to be more mindful this year by having dinners with them during my short trips. šŸ™‚

Clients. Serve with the best of my ability! I randomly emailed each 2020 wedding couple the other day to check-in and see how the wedding planning process is treating them. I believe it’s important to not let them believe that they are just another couple on my books, but instead another couple I get to know, share experiences, and serve! <3

AUTOMATING

I want to work on being more INTENTIONAL. This starts with automating the mundane parts of my routine. I am sure this list will grow over the months ahead. šŸ™‚

Editing. Train my editing company to be more in alignment with my editing style so I’m not going back in and readjusting the edits so frequently.

Emails. I LOVE Gmail’s canned messaging! But I need to update them so I’m not tweaking the outdated information.

Online Grocery Shopping. I found myself going to the grocery store more than needed. So to save time, I gathered a master list of food we eat from day to day for an entire month. This master list serves as a way to grocery shop online so that I can buy from the comfort of my home and have it loaded into my car. The best part is that the list is saved under my account so it’s even easier the next time I make an online order, saving time and money! This is definitely something I’m implementing more.

Routine. This goes without saying, but if you stick with your daily routine, things will start to automate by habit! I was not a morning person growing up, but now I look forward to getting out of bed and enjoying my personal time! It’s something I look forward to every day. šŸ™‚

Remember…

Do not be discouraged or beat yourself up for not being consistent. Pick up where you left off and preserve!

After all of this talk about “digging deep” and “starting small” remind me of the teachings my small group has been studying. Remember the Parables Jesus spoke of in the Bible?

DO NOT DESPISE SMALL BEGINNINGS.

Could that not be more true as we reflect on where to start with our goals? I challenge you to take on this year with eagerness and grace. I am excited to see how this perspective of the “New Year” plays out over the years to come. šŸ™‚

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