My 2015 Goals: First Things First

So yes it's February and I'm just now posting about my 2015 goals. I love what Lara Casey has to say about goal setting: "There is nothing magical about January 1st."

I would rather put time and effort towards real heart change than to have written out a list of resolutions that are all forgotten by February. 

The truth is that I've had some things stirring on my heart for a while now about what I want 2015 to look like. I've been reflecting on last year and praying about what's to come. And what the Lord has put on my heart for this year is "FIRST things FIRST". 

If you were to ask me what my FIRST things are, I would without hesitation say "#1 is God, #2 is my husband and #3 my children". But if you were to look at my life last year I don't know if those "firsts" were reflected by my actions. And I want to change that in 2015. 

Without further ado, here are my 2015 goals:

#1 Put God First - Read Scripture Daily.

Why is this so hard? I have prayed specifically for God to give me a HUNGER for his word this year. I can already tell such a difference in my mood and outlook after a few weeks of consistent scripture reading. I am super inspired by moms who have the diligence to wake up an hour before their children to spend time with the Lord. But it's just not in the cards right now. Our family morning routine is nothing fancy or spiritual. Jon and I usually take turns getting up early with the kids. We wander downstairs, fix coffee for ourselves and sippy cups for the kids and snuggle on the couch while the kids watch a cartoon. I usually space out on my phone and check emails, facebook and instagram. Well as of January 1st, I set a new rule for myself. I am NOT ALLOWED to check email or social media before I have at least read a few scripture verses. I don't know about you, but I wake up naturally grumpy and selfish. I need God's word FIRST thing in the morning to renew my mind. And if it takes having the television on for my kids in order for me to read the bible, then so be it. Lately I have been reading my Jesus Calling devotional along with accompanying scripture verses. I have also started the SEEK devotional, which is available free when you sign up for the Pursuit Community's newsletter

#2 Connect With My Family Everyday.

This is so basic but so profound. So often I get caught up (and overwhelmed) by my family's physical and logistical needs. Make breakfast. Empty dishwasher. Drive carpool. Prep dinner. Plan meals. Grocery Shop. Cook. Fold the 8 loads of laundry that have been sitting to collect wrinkles for the past week. Just the typical, mundane stuff that makes the household run. But then I stop there. I think that if I check all those magic boxes then I have taken care of my family, when in reality I have forgotten the most important thing - their hearts. In 2015, I want to make a goal of connecting with my husband and children on a daily basis. After all, they are my favorite people on the planet. Why am I not having more fun with them? I want to spend more time playing hide-and-go-seek with David, painting with Anna, building forts in the living room and having heart-to-hearts with Jon. 

#3 Greatly Reduce My Use of Social Media.

This is a bit embarrassing to admit but I think a big hindrance to my relationship with God, my husband and my children in the past year was due to my abuse of social media. Now am I the person who posts 5 status posts a day about what I am eating and wearing? No, but my consumption has gotten out of hand. In general the stuff I look at online is encouraging and inspiring. I love to follow other photographers and Christian entrepreneurs - I'm fascinated by how others artfully combine faith, vocation and business in their lives. But I just get caught in the web of "well, let me just read this article" which leads me to "I'll just go look at this new photographer's work" to "let's check my email real quick" and before I know it I've been hanging out with my phone instead of my people. Can you relate? The latest research cites that users pick up their phones 150 times per day. I'm scared to count myself.

I want to greatly reduce my use of social media in 2015. I am starting small by trying to be more aware during the day of time spent on my phone. I'm also declaring Sundays a fast day from all social media. I would like to work up to social media free weekends (family time) and evenings (hubby time). 

#4 Launch the Lauren Ann Photography Website. 

DONE! This was a huge goal of mine this year. While I know the website, blog and branding for my photography business will continue to evolve, I'm really pumped that I was able to launch the website this past January.

#5 Grow As A Photographer.

This year I want to continue to grow technically and artistically as a photographer. I think the best way for me to improve is to PRACTICE. This means simply shooting more. I have heard so many photographers share about how pivotal a 365 project (taking a photo every day for a year) was for their growth. I will be honest - a 365 project completely overwhelms me. But I decided to take on the month of January to start. I probably ended up shooting 23-25 days of the month. Not perfect. But it's a start. Part of my challenge is that it has been cold and rainy and we have been stuck inside. For a natural light photographer, this is tough. But it's also stretching me. I've started noticing the beautiful way light passes through the blinds and leaves stripes of pattern on my bathroom wall. I've been paying more attention to my childrens' interactions and facial expressions. I don't ever want to over-rely on a gorgeous location or ideal light to capture a beautiful photograph. I think the first step of becoming a stronger photographer is training my EYES to see beauty all around me. 

#6 Run a Half-Marathon with My Best Friend.

Back in the day, I was a runner. Since having kids - not so much. I've made it a goal to run a half marathon this year. And luckily my best friend is on board! She's not local but we have been encouraging one another via texts, emails, etc. and we signed up to run a half together in April! Training has started and I feel like I am falling in love with running all over again. I think as a mom I really crave solo time. Running gives me time to think and clear my head. 

Love to hear from you on all this - what scripture/devotionals/books are you reading this year to grow spiritually? How do you limit your own use of social media? If you are a photographer, what practices have been pivotal to your growth as an artist? And of course I'd love to hear about some of your personal goals for the year! 

Lauren Kaczmarski1 Comment