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Setting Goals For a New Year

This is a guest post by the talented Chenin Boutwell. You can see her delightful photography at cheninboutwell.com. Also, be sure to checkout Fudge Banana Swirl, a site that provides daily inspiration for hip parents looking to live a healthy, stylish and sane(!) life with children. PS- We held this post until the end of the month because of the belief that any goals set the first week of January are doomed to fail. You know we’re right. 

I’ll be honest, I have mixed feelings about January. On the one hand, the New Year is an opportunity to start fresh, set new goals and establish new habits. On the other hand, the New Year brings with it a lot of pressure to start fresh, set new goals and (you guessed it!) establish new habits. Add to that the sheer exhaustion that inevitably comes during the Holidays and January can be a real bummer.

So what’s a person to do when they are overcome with pressure to be awesome and all they want to do is be on the couch? I like to start off the year with writing down three simple goals; one goal pertaining to my work as an artist, one personal goal and one business goal. I love this approach, because it means I have three opportunities for success and because it also means that, if I fail in one area, I can make up for it in others.

Your personal goals can be related to health, fitness, family, self-improvement, finances, education or anything that is just for YOU. Personally, I try to resist the urge to focus on the outside and choose to set goals pertaining to what’s on the inside. For example, my 2012 personal goal is to take more time for myself (as opposed to “get a body like Giselle,” which is also a nice goal, but which probably won’t ever happen.)

In my opinion, business goals should be as specific as possible, so as to avoid the inevitable “make more money” resolution. A good example would be to make three new networking connections, or take a colleague to lunch once a month, or reduce overhead expenses by 20%. The purpose of a business goal doesn’t always have to be to make more money. For example, my 2012 business goal is to become more productive by outsourcing and establishing better work-habits, so that my business takes up less of my time.

For artists, I think that it’s particularly important to set goals, so as to not become too comfy in our work. Setting artistic goals can be tricky, though, since achievement is difficult to measure and is often open to interpretation. This is why it is especially important to be honest with ourselves when evaluating whether we are truly working towards our goal – we can’t look to our bank account or scale to tell us whether we’ve been successful in this area (sorry Giselle.) My 2012 artistic goal is to turn off the “auto-pilot” that occasionally sneaks in when you’ve been shooting weddings for nine years. Your goal might be to master the use of a particular kind of light, or to work on a personal photography project, or even something as simple as make a photo you’re proud of.

Regardless of your approach, taking the time to set a few simple and do-able goals at the start of each year provides a great time to reflect on past achievements and to dream about future ones.

The RadNation!

We asked our Facebook and Twitter community to share their goals for 2012. Enjoy a few of their answers below, and be sure to share some of your own in the comments. 

“My goal is my word of the year Focus. Learning to live my priorities & keeping my eye on the prize” -Cathie Heart

“I think right now my goal is to find who I really am and where I really want to be as a photographer.” -Shanon Daly

“To enjoy the little moments in my wild and crazy life!” -Photo Business Tools

“Spend less time hiding behind the camera/computer, and more time engaging clients face-to-face!” -Allegra Villella

“Believe in my ability. I’ve learned a lot in three years and I need to be proud of my work.” -Jared Carr

“To remember why I started my business in the first place and to stay true to that. It’s not just photographing as many weddings as I can or trying to make the largest profit possible. It’s about how I was so attracted to the idea of capturing love, documenting those fleeting moments of beauty that tells a part of someones story. When I first started all I wanted to do was make a honest living off of something I felt I could do well and with a passion. If I can start each day remembering that, it’ll be reflected in everything I do.” -Corinne Krogh