January 2, 2019
This blog is always a super intimidating blog to write because how on earth am I ever going to go over an entire year and choose only a few parts of it to highlight?! But alas, here we are, January 2nd, and I have to do just that. Or at least a small version of that…
In previous years, I’ve talked about the highlights from the year, goals I met and goals I was making for the new year. This isn’t really going to be one of those blogs, though I will briefly touch on some goals. For this 2018 blog, I’m going to take away a bit of that and add a few other things.
So first, I want to talk about some highlights from 2018. Overall, 2018 had many challenges, but it also had some truly wonderful parts that I am super happy about and super thankful for. This may be a long blog because I have so much I want to share, so bear with me!
We cut back to just 10 weddings in 2018 as opposed to our previous 10 years’ averages of closer to 25 weddings per year. This was a huge change and adjustment, but in the best way. We now suddenly had MOST of our weekends free instead of the other way around. We have never experienced so many free weekends in our entire marriage (married 10 years this coming June!). We were/are so thankful for this newfound freedom we experienced in 2018. We traveled, we kayaked, we worked on house projects, we slept in, we visited family, we spent time with friends, we went to birthday parties, we ran errands, we read books, and so so so much more on these new free weekends. So this is what it’s like to have a free Saturday. It was heaven. Hahahaa! :)
Now, for those of you who don’t know why we cut back on weddings by almost two thirds, I officially launched my private editing side of my business in September of 2017, but it really started ramping up in 2018. I started small, with just a handful of editing clients while I got my systems in place and learned how to best schedule editing time. By mid-year, I was ready to add more clients, then again adding even more this past Fall.
And that’s a great segue to let you guys know that I will be opening up space for even more editing clients in 2019!! So if you’re a wedding photographer who is ready to get some help and get hours of your life back every week, shoot me an email and we can set up a complimentary consultation! I’d love to chat with you and answer any questions you may have, no strings attached and no expectations attached! You can contact me via my contact form HERE.
A huge highlight from 2018 is the growth of my private editing business not just numbers-wise, but my enjoyment of it. I LOVE this work! I LOVE that I can help take a load off of photographer’s shoulders like I had a load taken off of mine when I started working with my editor. I never imagined that I would enjoy private editing as much as I do, and for that I am so incredibly thankful! I’m excited to continue working with my current clients and to start working with new ones in 2019!
Another big highlight in 2018 was that we paid off our house! No more mortgage as of July 2018! We are officially 100% debt free! And BOY does it feel good! Paying off the house was a big focus of the first part of our year and a big part of previous years too as we have been saving up to accomplish this goal that we’ve had for most of our marriage. We worked really hard, said no to alot of things, and worked on simplifying in alot of areas in our life. And it paid off. Literally! ;) We’ve always been big believers in paying off debt/not adding new debt, but we have also made mistakes and by no means have we done things perfectly.
Through this goal met, we’ve had the opportunity to talk with/meet with several of our friends about paying off debt and helped them create budgets, etc. That in an of itself has been such a joy and such a blessing for us. We’re so thankful that we’re able to help others get out of debt and work towards a lifestyle of financial freedom!
I exceeded my 25 books goal and read 27 books, including the Bible! I set a goal to read the bible in a year for the first time ever and I did it! It was such a wonderful experience that I am doing it again in 2019… and I very well may do it again every year. I highly recommend doing a bible in 1 year plan to help you stay on track! I used the Reading God’s Story: One-Year Chronological Plan (chronologically is the best way to do it, in my humble opinion) in the Bible app on my phone. On days where I wasn’t able to sit down and read my physical bible, I was still able to listen to it while I drove around town, washed dishes, etc. I love that the app/plan gives you the option to listen to it too.
A few highlights in Will’s world… Will’s 3 year old company, Echols, Lindsey and Moore Structural Engineers LLC, saw more growth for the 3rd year in a row with their best year yet! And because of that continued growth, they hired several new employees! Will also recently got nominated to be a 2019 Structural Engineers Association of Alabama Board member, which is super exciting! It’s still in the works, but we look forward to seeing what happens here! Super proud of my hubby! Go Will! :-D
We didn’t travel to new places in 2018 like we have in previous years, but we did travel alot nonetheless! Mostly to the beach with different groups of friends and our families. We went on a Disney cruise to the Bahamas at the start of the year, then went to the Seaside, FL area a few times, then to Virginia Beach with my family, then to North Carolina with Will’s family, ending in Virginia to spend Christmas with my family. ***CORRECTION 1/18/19: I don’t know where my brain was… we DID travel somewhere new in 2018! We went to Boston for a few days and we got to see Hamilton while it was on tour there! What a wonderful trip and experience. I can’t believe that slipped my mind!*** In 2019, we’ll be traveling to Maui (SO EXCITED) and to Virginia Beach for my family’s annual vacation. We don’t have any other travel plans for 2019 as of right now, but we’ll see where else we go as the year goes on!
A personal highlight of my year was that I spent much less time on social media, and, even more importantly, I spent much less time stressing about social media. What I mean by that is, I did not post things with the regularity and frequency that I intended to. I did really well some weeks, but other weeks, not so much. But the wonderful thing was, I didn’t stress during those not-so-wonderful weeks! I didn’t let it overwhelm me to make me feel guilty…
You see, I’ve been trying to focus on what is MOST important in my life in 2018. And while social media and my followers are most definitely important, what is MOST important is time spent with my family and my friends. Time spent serving my clients well. And many times in 2018 I was only able to do those things if I let go of social media perfection — or my view of “perfection” for myself. “Perfection” for myself just simply meant being consistent with my posts and posting frequently (3-5 times a week). And the fact is, I wasn’t always consistent. So that’s what I mean by “my view of perfection”.
It has been an interesting internal battle for me — this whole “not always posting consistently or frequently” thing. Because I always preach consistency and frequency. I talk about it on my blog and in my newsletter and on my Insta stories and on my feed and — this is the one that messed me up the most — in my Coaching Program. I talk over and over again about being consistent to my coaching students, and yet here I was not posting consistently.
But a wonderful realization happened that freed me in so many ways, and perhaps it will free some of you. I realized that I am cutting back on my work. I am not trying to book 25 weddings per year anymore. And I’m honestly not even really trying to book too too many more editing clients (because I’m reaching capacity soon). I’m not trying to grow my business the same way I’ve grown it in the past. I’m at a good place in my business and the different branches of it. I am very happy and very content with where my business is. So really, for me and where I am at personally with my business, I decided that I don’t need to post as often or as consistently as I would have needed to during other stages of my business when I was trying to grow it more and more each year. And I am so very thankful for that and at peace with that.
It’s a wonderful feeling actually. Knowing that I can slow down a bit in most areas of my life and in my business/marketing. In fact, not only am I deciding that I am ok if I don’t do social media “perfectly”, I am deciding that I need to cut down even more on social media and blogging and all of that extra stuff that takes alot of time each week and each month.
You read that right: I am cutting back even more in 2019… or at least for the time being. I may re-evaluate later in the year and come to a new decision, but for now, I am cutting back.
I feel in my bones that it is truly the best decision for me right now… and I’m so excited!
So what do I mean by all of this exactly? What will this look like?
– I will be reducing the frequency of my blog posts and, more than likely, the exact day of the week of my blog posts. I’ve been blogging every Wednesday throughout 2018. In 2019, it will look different. I may only blog once or twice a month and it may be on a Tuesday and then a Friday. We’ll see. Normally this would be a big no-no for me, but again, in this season of my life, I have to make my priorities come first. And one of my priorities is my sanity (haha!) and for me, that means not holding myself to a strict day of the week for my blog posts or to a specific frequency of those blogs… at least for this season. It may change later on, but for now, that is where I’m at and I’m happy about it.
– I will be reducing the frequency of my social media posts as well (Facebook and Instagram). Don’t worry, I’m not disappearing! I will definitely still post and interact with you guys, but I’m just not holding myself to a strict standard of 3 times a week every week like I did earlier in 2018. In the later months of 2018, when my posting wasn’t as frequent or consistent, I had much more joy and freedom and time to spend doing the things that light me up. I had more focus for the things that are a top priority for me. So in realizing this, I have decided that I will continue this into 2019.
So with that news, I would love to hear more about what you guys would like to see more of in 2019 with regards to my blog and social media. Since they will be a little less frequent, I would love to for the content to be even more meaningful and helpful.
– I will be stopping my newsletter for the time being. This was another decision that I went back and forth on. Because the truth is, I love writing my newsletter each week and I am so thankful for all of my subscribers! I made a pact with myself that I would do it for all of 2018 and then see how I feel, and now I have gotten to the decision making point with that. Much like with my 2 decisions I’ve already mentioned above, I feel it is best for me to stop my newsletter for the time being so that I can pour myself into other passions. The newsletter was a joy and a passion of mine for 2018, and now I believe it is time for me to move on to spend that time on other things. I may come back though, so this isn’t goodbye. This is just see you later for now ;-)
– I am continuing to cut back on weddings in 2019, though I’m not 100% done shooting weddings forever, don’t worry! I am just simply cutting the number down even more from 2018. We’re excited to continue to have more weekends off but also to still be able to shoot weddings and help give our brides a wonderful wedding experience!
The things listed above take several hours out of my workweek each week, so now that I’m cutting down on those things, I will have many new hours available each week. With my newfound time in 2019, I plan to do better with keeping my house tidy and clean. I plan to cook dinners at home much more. I plan to take care of myself physically and mentally: working out more consistently, spending more time with Jesus, and spending more time on self care just in general. I plan to babysit more for my friends and family so that they can get out and have a date night without kids every once in awhile. I plan to serve more in my community. I’m not sure exactly what that will look like yet, but I’m working on that and I’m so excited. I plan to love on new photographers in new ways in 2019 and I can’t wait to share more about that with you guys! I plan to give my editing clients even quicker turnaround times on their edits. I plan to do more coaching and to offer more workshops in 2019! Super excited about this! I plan to travel more and to experience/support our city even more in 2019. I plan to be more consistent with my organization rituals each month. I started 2018 pretty strong and kind of fell off the bandwagon after the Summer. Haha!
I have so many more plans for 2019 with the time we purposefully planned for/allotted for me. I cannot wait to see what this year brings! It is definitely looking like it will be unlike any previous year and for that I am thrilled! I LOVE change and growth and all the things. 2019 is certainly going to be another year of change. But good change.
I do love making resolutions/goals, but only real ones. Attainable ones. Resolutions that I know I can do if I put in the work.
I’ve decided to take on a slightly different approach for my 2019 goals/resolutions. I am going to be doing monthly goals/resolutions. So this month, I am not eating extra sweets. Things like desserts, candy, treats. This does not mean that I will not be eating foods that contain sugar, just that I won’t be eating sweets. I will also be keeping my phone on the other side of my bedroom in 2019. It keeps me from scrolling on my phone until ungodly hours and it also forces me to GET UP when my alarm goes off. So far so good. I already love these two January goals. In future monthly goals, I plan to do no social media past 10am, getting up by 6:30am, going to bed by 10pm, reading for at least 1 hour a day, etc. I still need to think of a few more to finish out the 12 months. I have time though.
In all honestly, though 2018 had so many wonderful things, it was also not my favorite year. Haha! There were many disappointments, many days/weeks of exhaustion, and many battles that family and friends had to work through. Overall, I can look at 2018 with some fondness because I do see some growth, but I can also say that I am SO happy that 2018 is over and 2019 is here! I am so excited about this year and what it holds for us! I am believing for a beautiful year filled with joy, hope, peace, and rest. Not just for me, but for you too!
I know that I had like 4 or 5 other things I wanted to include in this blog, but I honestly can’t even remember what they were. Plus, this blog is really long, so I should probably end it here ;-)
On that note, my changes with my blog and social media frequency starts now, so I’m not certain when I will post my next blog, but I do have several blogs I want to share with you guys over the next month or two, so I’ll be chatting with you again very soon!
Thank you for your support in 2018! I am thankful for each one of you! Happy New Year!
LET’S ROCK 2019!!!