New Years Resolutions. Have any? I do. I'm always resolving to do this that or the next thing. Try something new, be better at something I'm already doing. For my photography business I have three, one of them being blogging. I feel I struggle to write in a way that I find interesting and engaging. I already feel myself complaining in my head. Who wants to read what I write? Why am I really doing this? and who really wants to read a photo blog? Isn't the whole point of following a photographer to see the PICTURES? Then it hit me. If I'm going to do business with a social good at the heart of it, I want you all to see MY HEART and to understand why I love to do this.
But the question remains, in the midst of everything else going on how in the world am I going to maintain ANY resolutions?
So I Googled it. Isn't that what you do when you have a question? Google turned up over 19 million results on 'how to stick to your new years resolution'. Daunting isn't it? Clearly we humans have difficulty sticking to our resolve. The best advice I found was simple.
Set realistic, attainable goals, declare them publicly and develop a detailed action plan.
So I'm working on that now. Here I am publicly declaring my three resolutions. Making them realistic and attainable (still working on the plan)
1. Blog two sessions a month
2. Increase Equestrian sessions to 1/4 of all sessions by the end of the year and 1/2 by the end of 2015 (last year I had 25 sessions not counting the minis, so that's a goal of 7 for this year if there's no increase)
3. Generate enough photography income (by the end of 2014) to take on sponsorship of a grade school student in Kenya. That means in addition to the $3,000 raised annually for the college sponsorship I need to raise another $300.
Goals 1 and 2 were created ultimately to make #3 happen. I love my little Kenyan kiddos. This year I want to take on another grade school student, next year I'm hoping for adding a high school student. My goal is to have 1 Grade school student, 1 High School student and 1 college student sponsored through this business every year, starting in 2015.
Good advice, solid advice, yet I think it is missing something... I think if I just do those four things, I will still fail. So like any good resolution setter I reflect on last year...
Last year I wrote down my realistic, attainable goals. Looking back this year I'm simply overwhelmed by gratitude. My goals last year?
1. Have at least one session per month (I averaged 3 prior to returning to school)
2. Raise enough money to send Elizabeth to college
As a brand new photographer, they seemed so lofty at the time. Yet I felt God telling me all the time, a constant whisper in my ear, You still aren't dreaming big enough. Follow my plans for you. So many days last year I felt maxed out, wiped out and emotionally spent. Still he filled me up, gave me more to go on and brought along the most unexpected and beautiful friendships. I am blown away by his grace to my floundering. Over the last year a lot of people have tried to verbally pat me on the back. To tell me what a good thing I'm doing and to wonder at how fulfilled I must feel by it. Here's the truth. If you knew my heart, if you knew how much I kick and scream at God sometimes as he drags me into his will, if you could hear half the arguments I have with him about how impossible this all is, you wouldn't say those things. You would praise God for his goodness, you would wonder at how he uses such a reluctant servant.
So as I resolve to do the things I have outlined above and start working on 'the plan'. I know step one, Step one will be to pray. Constantly. Every day. For a willing heart and a listening spirit. To truly desier to see HIS kingdom come, HIS will be done and HIS children fed.
Every few years I find a new scripture voice and it becomes my mantra. Chanting through my head at every turn. Here's last years.
Ephesians 3:16 (NIV)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I know I can succeed if HE wills it. I know I often succeed in spite of myself and I'm looking forward to next year when I can look back at this year and say, I still wasn't dreaming BIG enough.
What are you resolving to do this year?