2019: Joy

 
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As I was pondering what my word for 2019 would be, it came to me like an epiphany: joy. Not only is it my middle name, I’ve realized recently that I can’t just spend my life pursuing greater things and experiences, I have to enjoy where I’m at now.

So with joy as my theme, I hope to do more things that bring me joy in both business and my personal life, feel more joy and appreciation over my current situation, and feel more joy about my physical self.


Here is how I plan to incorporate more joy into my life in 2019…

• Towards the beginning and end of 2018 I began shooting food and product just for fun. I loved it! Even though I wasn’t paid for these photos, the joy they brought (and the experience) was worth it. So this year I’m planning on photographing at least one inspiration-styled shoot per month.

• I’ve already signed up for joy bringing classes at the Littleton Studio School (Fundamentals of Jewelry with Sinead Cleary to be precise!), Sip & Script’s Intro to Calligraphy, and a class on reducing sugar intake at Balance Bethlehem. I’m hoping to enroll in more fun and inspiring classes this year.

• Along with taking classes, I’m going to commit to doing activities that bring me joy such as reading, crocheting, cooking, cross country skiing, swimming, meditating, petting my cats, spending time with friends, and planning more date nights with Shelby.

• This year I want to celebrate my physical self. One of my biggest challenges in life is living too much in my head. To help with my grounding, I’d like to start connecting with my body through yoga, stretching, and even cross country skiing. In addition to, I am shifting my mindset from focusing on my flaws and complaints to instead celebrating my amazing features and how grateful I am for my body. (Hello, Mirror Work!)

And on top of all of that, here is what I hope to accomplish in 2019…

• Committing to the stellar morning and evening routines I’ve planned for myself. Last year I began waking up earlier, which allowed me to get more done (both at work and at home), and I also felt more grounded and balanced. I’d like to get back on the early morning band wagon to feel more at ease- and joyful!

• Grossing $100k with my business. Okay, this seems totally far fetched but I am committed to making this happen. I’ve researched passive income streams and am on track to launch five marketing/photography online courses along with several guidebooks throughout the year. I also have plans to increase my own marketing efforts.

• Complete one course per month themed around business growth, whether in marketing, improving my skills, etc.

• Finally get back to my goal weight. I’ve been struggling with this for years and have decided that this time I will take a more joyful approach. (Seriously, this is THE word for my 2019.) As I mentioned above, I want to take a positive approach by celebrating my body for what it is now, moving it in a way I like (no gym for me), and eating like a French person. These people eat cheese and chocolate without getting fat. They’re onto something.

• On the same wavelength of getting back to my goal weight, I am going to cook more. I’ve been great at preparing my breakfast and lunches, but dinner can take a downward spiral if I don’t plan ahead. Last year I started cooking soups in huge batches that I could freeze for future lazy nights, and I’d like to do more of that this year. Shelby also went through some recipes that seemed appealing to him, so I’m happy that this is a mutual goal.

• Reduce my waste. Sorting out recyclables is a legit nuisance, so I plan on reducing the packaging I use by buying more in bulk and making my own cleaning and food products. I made a hummus last month that was ridiculously easy- and delicious!

I’m feeling overjoyed already! And I wish you a joyful and inspiring 2019.

2018 Reflections

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At the conclusion of 2018, I feel like I’ve achieved more balance and a clearer vision of what I want out of life. I applied minimalism to my physical, digital, and mental worlds by clearing clutter in all three. While I wasn’t able to meet my goals of reading a book and completing a crochet project a month, I still found time for these activities- more so than I have in the past!

Here's a look back at my year of minimalism...

Life
• I had some wonderful travel opportunities this year. Shelby and I went to Crawford Notch on my birthday to photograph the train tracks in the snow - something I’ve always wanted to do. Earlier this year I took Nanny and my cousin, Eddie, to Mystic, visited Providence, RI the following month, went to Lake George, NY in the fall, and was whisked away to LA on an impromptu business trip with the fabulous Emshika!

• This year Mom and I enrolled in an intuition class and I feel that I am becoming more in tune with myself on a spiritual level. I’m also working on grounding and living less inside my head (goodbye insomnia!- someday). I’ve been using essential oils in more areas of my life and am also learning about crystals.

• As an extension of building my intuition and unloading clutter (in the form of personal baggage), I’ve made amends with the hurt I experienced from people in my past.

• I was asked to judge the Miss Littleton and Miss White Mountains Outstanding Teen pageants! It was an amazing experience and I discovered that I really love judging. (Whether that’s good or bad!)

• NH PBS produced a show on Littleton and I was interviewed! I shared the story of Tannery Marketplace owner, our former Serendipity Studios landlord, Ray Cloutier. Out of 37 interviews, I am proud that mine made the final cut! Check out NH PBS’ Our Hometown: Littleton.

• I’ve realized just how hard marriage is. All my life I’ve been focused on my goals, my dreams, and how I like to live from my routines to my mindset. And while being married hasn’t slowed down or impeded on these goals and dreams, the way I live my life has certainly shifted. Being married doesn’t mean you give up who you are, it means you adjust your way of living to mesh with the person you chose to marry. This year I’ve had a few serious conversations with Shelby about our household clutter, finances, and also how we each like to be treated. I’m going into 2019 with the mindset of compromise and respect (and Shelby is too!).

Minimalism
• I educated myself on minimalism, Kon-Mari, Swedish Death Cleaning, and other ruthless de-cluttering methods and have pared down my physical belongings at both home and the studio. In fact, for as long as I can remember my off season wardrobe filled two tote boxes. Now it only fills one! Not only that, even Shelby is clearing out his clutter. SUCCESS!

• I also went through my digital clutter by unsubscribing from email newsletters, going through emails, organizing files, and condensing my business social media accounts to minimize my marketing efforts.

• In the spirit of minimalism, I took a look at my businesses and determined which services I most enjoy offering and how I work best. As a result, I officially removed weddings from my MegaBug Photography offerings, restructured my MegaBug website to focus more on product and food photography, and shifted MegaBug from its own LLC to a dba of Nutmeg Media to reduce the time I spend on bookkeeping and accounting. Whew! I’ve also raised my rates a couple of times because I’m finally realizing what I’m worth. Furthermore, I’ve been exploring passive income ideas for both businesses.

Business Successes
• As an extension of my current business epiphanies, I also charted out my life and future business goals. They’ve been swimming around my head, causing confusion for some time and now I finally have a clearer plan of when I want to achieve each one. I also started vision and affirmation boards.

• Throughout the year I’ve been very hard on myself for not taking home what I was when I earned a full-time wage. But Shelby pointed out that I pay way more in taxes and expenses as a self-employed individual, so I decided to look at my gross income instead. Between MegaBug Photography, Nutmeg Media, I grossed MORE than I did working full-time. So I made more money this year than any other year in my life!

• And speaking of which, because I did so well in my businesses (a 20% growth to be exact!), I was able to quit my job at the Littleton Chamber back in August.

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished this year in my life, businesses, and dreams. My goals are now becoming a bit loftier, but I know I’ve got this!

2018: Minimalism

2017 gave me the jumpstart I needed to continue honing in on my life. My theme for 2018 is minimalism, not only with physical items but with my schedule, and life in general as well.

Here is what I hope to accomplish in 2018:

• Do some serious de-cluttering. Last year was a good start, but I'm ready to be ruthless. I'm using the same one space per month tactic as used in 2017 which will (hopefully) prevent feelings of overwhelming and allow me to go deeper into each space. Shelby is bringing more of his belongings home from his parents house, which will definitely occupy some time sifting through them. Maybe he'll adopt minimalism! Maybe.

• Evaluate my business services and focus on those that I enjoy. Appraise my rates to be sure I'm charging what I'm worth and increase my marketing.

• Complete one crochet project per month.

• Read one inspirational/business book per month.

• Read one fiction book per month.