2017 Goals & Plans
We spent 10 days in South Carolina with family over the holidays— time to rest, time to connect with loved ones, time to catch up with old friends, and time away from our “normal” to reflect on 2016 and turn our attention to 2017. Buck and I slipped off by ourselves for a day to really dig into planning, financial goals, and changes we want to make for this year, and it was such a fruitful time for us. Sarah Bradshaw Photography is an important part of my life, but it isn’t my whole life— we’ve always said that the business exists to support our life, not the other way around, so I didn’t feel I could really set good goals for my business until we took time to establish goals for our family.
Note: if you’ve never set aside time to focus on intentional goal planning, I can’t recommend it enough! If you need some help getting started, I’ll share some things I’ve learned over the past few years on the blog next week, so stay tuned!
Our personal goals could be their own blog posts, but I’ll give a brief overview of a few important ones here:
Bradshaw Family 2017:
- Finances: take more ownership over where our money goes. switch to envelope system. aggressively tackle debt (pay off our car by July). build up emergency fund. evaluate our giving every quarter and attempt to give more. write a plan to add on to or renovate our house. once-monthly budget date nights.
- Health & Wellness: maintain low sugar diet. avoid grains. exercise 3-5 times per week (Sarah go to the gym, Buck bike to work). be in bed by 10pm every night. end the night off screens.
- Environment: declutter the house every night. hire an architect to draw up plans for an addition. write a cleaning schedule. finally finish the living room gallery wall. Kon-Mari the entire house. donate, donate, donate. invite people over 1-2 times per month.
- Recreation: Spring staycation to work on yard. beach with family. Thanksgiving in NY. learn calligraphy (Sarah). learn carpentry (Buck).
- Family & Marriage: be present in the moments we’re together. eat at the table, not in front of the TV. less work during days off. regular date nights. travel less. plan less on weekends off. do what we can to slow life down. plan a night away the week after Buck’s longer trips.
2016 did a number on our marriage and family life. Any major change can have that affect (and having a baby is certainly a major change!!), so it’s not really a surprise that we struggled. My work didn’t slow down at all after London’s birth, and Buck’s work travel got more intense, and we were so tired and stressed and overbooked and just trying to survive that we fell into some bad habits, and before we knew it we were drifting into not-so-good territory in our marriage. Thankfully, we realized what was happening before it got too bad and corrected it, and today are more committed to each other than we ever have been before. Just last night Buck took my face in his hands and stared straight into my eyes, and said, “I don’t know how I can love you more than I did yesterday, but I do, and it’s been that way every day since our wedding day,” and I can honestly say the same thing. I didn’t know marriage could be this sweet, and I am 100% convinced that it’s so sweet because we are both committed to loving each other more than we love anything else— more than London, more than financial security, more than work, more than rest, more than our personal interests. And that commitment makes all the difference, really it does.
And with that said… 🙂 Once we worked through our family goals and talked through our plans and potential schedules for this year, I got to work on my personal and business goals. I love using Lara Casey’s #Powersheets as a guide, but that’s just a starting place for me (in fact, I’m thinking of developing my own line of planning resources. Anyone interested in something like that?). Some goals are more personal, but I’m sharing the public ones (all of which I’m SO excited about!!).
Word for the year— OPEN. Open heart to love people better, open hands to surrender my own way of doing things, open mind to ideas and plans that aren’t my own, open schedule to account for unknowns, open home to welcome others in. I tend to be so inflexible and set in my ways, and I really desire 2017 to be a year where I take what comes without getting bent out of shape. I want it to be a year of deep growth and sweet friendships, and that can’t happen without an open schedule to make growth and friendships happen.
- Better self-care / Nourish my soul: end the day off-screens (read before sleep). start weightlifting again. cut out gluten, avoid grains & sugars. read fiction. declutter life. regular, intentional time with girlfriends. lose weight. get rid of things (clothes, books, etc) that trigger guilt. regularly speak truth to my heart.
- Live within boundaries / Simplify and steward resources: Kon-Mari every room in our house. set strict work hours and stick to them. guard my words— don’t over-promise, especially to Buck. be more honest and realistic about how much time I need for tasks. make simple meals. create monthly menus. try a capsule wardrobe for the Spring. begin tracking my time again.
- Invest in friendships: have monthly girl’s nights at our house. habitual time with friends. call people when driving. meet up with friends at the gym. stop living as an island.
- Plan well for the future: look into renovation / adding onto the house. consider finishing the basement. set aggressive savings goals and keep those goals in mind whenever I shop.
Word for the year— SIMPLIFY. Make simple changes to my workflow and work-life balance that have BIG impact. Evaluate every part of my workflow and see where I can cut the fluff and simplify my systems. Add tools where necessary, get rid of unnecessary tools/software/steps that add stress or cost, but don’t add value. SIMPLE & SMART business. Don’t do anything just because everyone else is doing it. Savvy business is all about being SMART with resources instead of following the crowd.
- Self-education / Smart Growth: implement Streak. write out workflow systems and cut the fluff. read business & leadership books (#SBPBookClub). outsource as much as possible. maintain Mastermind calls. hire a business coach. track my time and evaluate. listen to business podcasts while editing. find people to follow who are 5-10 steps ahead. write out everything I do and assign a dollar value to each task, and only do the high-dollar items.
- Fight comparison: unfollow people on Instagram. re-write a definition of success for myself. write positive & true encouragements and keep them at eye level in the office. set strict social media schedules and stick to them.
- Better (more efficient) work environment: begin renting an office space. declutter home office and get rid of all excess. move my home office to basement (post-reno??). use Tomato One app when working on projects. look into standing desk options.
- Build a Team: hire associate photographers. consider opening up intern opportunities for the Fall. write a better workflow for a marketing assistant. consider hiring an office manager by the Fall. hire a business coach who has experience with building a team.
- More Strategic Marketing: update website & blog designs to better communicate what I’m all about. write marketing plan for blog and Instagram.
- Workshops & Educational opportunities: teach two workshops this year. speak at two conferences this Fall. open up more one-on-one mentoring dates. develop a coaching curriculum and “test drive” on three clients in three different fields.
- Resources: develop educational resources for small business creatives, not just for photographers. create a focus group to test materials.
I entered December with more anxiety, uncertainty, and questions about the future than I ever remember feeling before. And I entered January SO full of peace, confidence, and excitement about the future. I’ve started business plans for three other streams of income, and I feel like I’m on FIRE. Some of that is a natural outworking of “off-season,” just as some of December’s stress and uncertainty had to do with Buck’s crazy work travel on top of my crazy wedding season, baby thrown in. But I really do think that I’m this confident and excited about 2017 because we have vision for our marriage— not just for this year, but for five years and ten years down the road. We know the kind of legacy that we want to leave to our children and grandchildren. We know the kind of people we want to be, the kind of lives we want to live, and that informs the decisions we make about work. And we spent a LOT of time over the holidays talking, listening, and working to understand each other… and to build one another up, grow our trust, and deepen our love & commitment.
I’ve said it before, but I mean it so much more now than I used to— I love photographing weddings because I love marriage. It is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I want to do all I can to help my couples grow their love and commitment to each other, because it really does make all the difference in the world.
Here’s to an amazing 2017!