Christmas 2022 ended and I tried to use the week to reflect while creating new goals and dreams before hurrying to begin to achieve them with the arrival of 2023. I felt rushed; didn’t feel refreshed; felt drained. Just a week to come up with goals felt daunting. I was tired. Enter the slow January.
As I sat exhausted, one of my favorite authors, Emily P. Freeman spoke on her podcast, “The Next Right Thing” of using the month of January to reflect and develop her goals for the year. Since I had already rushed through the reflection and goal creation already, I decided to place a mental bookmark on this idea and use it for this year. The fact that this idea was highlighted on Freeman’s What Worked in 2023 list I was eager to give it a try!
“January is the new week between Christmas and the new year,” wrote Freeman on her Instagram account. “In other words, we’ve got time. Reflection is a gift that doesn’t respond kindly to rushing. Take the whole month of January to reflect on 2023 if you’d like. There’s no wrong. Enter gently and with care. You are not behind.”
Margaret J. Wheatley once wrote, “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” Could rushed reflection not really be reflection at all?
This month I’ve spent some time looking back over the year, the highs and lows, the joys and the pains. While 2022 saw an increase of sessions, new clients and profit, 2023 was a little slower. Had a I plateaued? Did clients still see me creative and talented? These and other thoughts quickly swirled in my mind but as I stepped away from the downward spiral and examined my progress, my skills and how I’ve continued to develop as a photographer, I was proud. I feel ever more confident in the way I capture moments between families; thrilled to document a birth and elated that I was referred to new clients.
While I wasn’t booked as full as other photographers I know and I don’t think I would have considered myself fully booked, the gaps in my schedule allowed me to steadily ease into this school year with homeschooling my two kids full time. I wasn’t expecting it to be as hard as it has been, but it’s been a challenge. Had I been more booked during this transition, I’m sure I would have not handled it well.
If I rushed into the new year without this slow reflection I think I would have entered it already beaten up.
As I near the end of the month (or the week before New Year), it’s time to begin to create new dreams for 2024. Personally, there are things I would like to accomplish like complete 50 books, try new recipes monthly and complete a half marathon in under three hours (I’m still on the fence on that one). Then there are business goals.
Business goals are harder to create because they often rest on clients for them to be achieved. Maybe if I call them business aspirations I can let go of the weight to somehow achieve them solo and trust God to direct my business path this year. He was faithful this year to give me margin to dedicate to my kids and their schooling, so I know He can be trusted again.
Tony Robbins once said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” I believe creating these aspirations guide me as I run Rare Vision Photography in 2024.