January 1st begins on a Monday for 2018 and the perfectionist inside of me is so excited that a new year begins on the first day of the week. I know that NYE is a little overrated for some of you but I absolutely love it. I love spending the final week reflecting on the trials + triumphs of the former year along with things to strive for in the upcoming year (I also love that people use black + gold glitter to decorate everything for New Years). You can see a few of my 2017 in review posts here, here or here!

    If you were to get ahold of my phone you would see that the notes section is FILLED with lists. To-do lists, Christmas lists, a bucket list, a list of photography goals, a list of dream equipment, my 2017 goals list and now I just added my 2018 goals. So here are some lessons learned and some goals for next year.

Lessons Learned in 2017:

     1. You are more than a number.

I just recently graduated from college. In high school I proudly sat in the front row of my graduating class as one of the top graduating students. In college I decided to take on a science major with a pre-med focus. I wanted to quit so many times but my Mom really didn't raise a quitter. Graduating from college was emotional for me for several reasons and when I left that stage I didn’t find my value in my GPA (which wasn’t bad by the way, but it wasn’t my high school one), I found my value in the life I lived during those 4 years. I grew up, I changed things about me, I strengthened my morals and I found out who I was. I am not defined by my GPA, I am not defined by the number on my student debt, I am not defined by the number on a scale and I am not defined by the number on social media.

      2. You are not everybody’s cup of tea.

I think this can be found on a cup or a pinterest board somewhere but it is so true. I spent so much of my life trying to be everybody’s everything until I learned that it’s okay not to be everybody’s anything. I am an extrovert with a strong ESFJ personality type so having a large crowd around me is where I thrive. I love listening to people, loving on people and being around people. However in 2017 I cut out some very toxic dead ends in my life. Some of these people, I completely cut out. Some of these people, I simply distanced myself from. It’s okay to plant seeds everywhere and weed out what doesn’t belong. Cultivate your grounds, there is a season for everything.

      3. It’s okay to cross oceans for people who don’t deserve it AND it’s okay to say no.

I’m still struggling with this one. In the same sense that I want to be the perfect person for everybody’s needs, I also want to be able to give them whatever they need. I want to cross oceans for my enemies and I want to continue to love those who don’t deserve it because that’s what selfless, merciful and everlasting love is all about. I also know how important it is to remember to take time to fill up your own cup. After so many weeks of pouring out onto everybody else, you leave yourself empty. Find some time for self love and don’t be afraid to say no. The biggest reason I believe in saying no is because once your cup is empty, your heart becomes a bit hardened and your patience wears a little thin. It’s important to refuel yourself.

    4. Everything doesn’t need a response.

Choose your battles wisely, every fight isn’t worth fighting for. I’ve learned to let go of things that I truly do not need to spend anymore time and heart on. Our days are numbered and our seconds are counted - spend your time promoting what you love instead of bashing what you hate. Some situations truly do not deserve your time.

    5. Your circumstances do not define you- your attitude does.

I went through something earlier this year that was so painful and scary that I still haven’t talked about it. I believe that God allowed this situation to happen for a reason and I believe that one day I will be able to share it as a testimony. I think that we often allow our bad days to determine the path of our lives. There are seasons for rejoicing and seasons for sorrow. A bad season doesn’t determine a bad life. Having a good attitude isn’t easy but your perception is your reality.

Things I Hope to Accomplish in 2018:

     1. More self care.

My goal is to wake up everyday- drink a large glass of water and read/pray for 20 minutes. I have an incredible app on my phone called Pocket Fuel and I recently got my journaling bible from amazon. Reading the Bible is super hard for me but I truly feel refueled doing it. The Pocket Fuel app gives you a little message (it takes like, 5 minutes to read) and a cool photo to go along with it everyday (and I love photography, duh). I just believe that the things we put in our bodies, the things we consume our minds with and the way we start our days really help set the tone for the rest of the day. My 2017 goal was to eliminate all pop which I did and I feel so much better. My 2018 goal is to drink a ton of water, eat more brusselsprouts, take more walks, (get hot, find a husband, jk). But really, spend some time on yourself each day. Paint your nails, take yourself to a concert, take a bath, pet a cat.. do something each day to recharge you.

    2. Learn watercolor.

There isn’t a big explanation for it- I just love it and I really want to learn how to do it!

    3. Be more diligent.

I believe that tiny gestures and random acts of kindness go a LONG way. I bought a ton of little thank-you cards and I hope to spend more time doing nice things for people. I think that we get so busy and caught up in our own to-do lists that we forget to be diligent and spend some time loving on each other. I want to do more nice things and write over 50 thank-you cards in 2018.

    4. Achieve my business goals.

Opening my business wasn’t what I thought I would be doing this year but here I am- happier than ever. I believe that my business is my ministry to help capture the best days of people’s lives and meet new people. I absolutely love my job and I wake up inspired almost every single day. I have very specific creative goals, financial goals and equipment goals I really hope to obtain in 2018.

    5. Grow my hair longer.

I used to have long brown hair and then I had long red hair and then I had long black hair… and then I got my heart broken- chopped my hair and dyed it blonde. It was the best feeling ever. I felt like the day I cut my hair, my life completely changed. Now my hair is platinum blonde and it's where a lot of my identity lies. I hope it gets really long in 2018. This again isn’t a super emotional goal, I just want my hair to be long. I love hair and I really appreciate hairdressers.

If you have any goals or lessons learned- I would honestly LOVE to hear them!