Today I am twenty-seven years old. For some reason, 27 was the age I would always talk about as a teenager for when I was "older" and "established." It always seemed so much further away back then. While I may not feel "older" or "established" at this point in my life (and likely never), the more years that pass, the more I want to live a life of purpose and a life of intent. I decided to write down 7 personal goals for age 27. These are all things that I want for my life and things that I want to go after in the coming year. FRIENDS. By sharing these, I am being held accountable. If you love me and you notice me doing any of the below in the next year, give me grace and remind me of this list! :)
1. Focus on the good
Far too often, I focus on the wrong things. There are so many things in life that can weigh us down, make us feel helpless and lose sight of our blessings. I am BEYOND blessed. I have an incredible husband, a full-time job, a part-time job to channel my creativity, the sweetest little golden retriever and yet somedays I feel cursed or less than. I let things weigh me down that I need to release and give to God. The older I get, the more I want to focus on the good - good relationships, good character, good business practices. Good vibes only, like the candles at Target say. While I know the negative is part of life, I don't have to let this consume me.
2. Self-destruct less
This one will make my husband happy. Have you ever ruined your party before it even started? This is me. Pretty much daily. Matt will graciously point out whenever I am "self-destructing" but it will usually escalate whenever I am stressed or tired. I steal all of my joy. ALL OF IT. Joy that is readily available to me. Joy that I could have. I think of the absolute worst-case scenario and in my mind, that's reality. I'm 100% there. That has happened. Suddenly, I am stressed because I am living that as truth instead of living in reality where this scenario or thought hasn't happened. This mindset is built on insecurity, comparison and fear rather than on confidence, harmony and trust.
3. Change my metric for success
This is something I have run into lately and it's frightening how much it has impacted my daily mood and attitude towards my business. My focus in my business shifted more towards calculating my success and worth based on followers instead of actual customers. I listened to podcasts, joined challenges, analyzed metrics (which the inner-Marketer in me LOVED) and the list goes on. I still find all of these things important however I took it a little bit too far. I wasn't able to balance this concept. I still want to market and grow this business and social media is an AMAZING tool that allows me to do just that, however the issue started whenever my metric for success became a tiny number on a screen. I wasn't even noticing that I was completely booked for the month of June in the meantime and that I was blessed with ACTUAL clients, but it happened. I am booked each weekend, even some weekday mornings before work and weekday afternoons after work. My metric for success is something that I can't actually calculate. Whenever I started Annie Laura Photo, I prayed for God to bless each session and for me to connect with that couple or family. I have been given just that and that is why I can call this a success.
4. Memorize scripture
I stole this one from my mom. The other day I was talking to her about some recent happenings and she quickly referenced a verse but couldn't remember it exactly. She looked it up in her Bible and said she was trying to memorize more scripture like she used to. Whenever we were younger, my mom was always referencing a bible verse in some way - if we were misbehaving or if we needed guidance. I may not have always loved that growing up but I appreciate so much about that quality in my mother. One day Matt and I, Lord willing, would like to be parents. I want to be that for my future child. I want to be their guide in life and give them that gift.
5. Read more books
Y'ALL. I feel like this one is so important. Put my phone down, read a book. Simple as that but it doesn't happen as often as I would like. I am REALLY trying to read right now and have been waking up a little earlier each morning to do it. Currently, I'm reading "Make It Happen" by Lara Casey (the brains behind Southern Weddings magazine).
6. Create first, then consume
This one is huge but I didn't think of this on my own. This one came from Jenna Kutcher's Goal Digger podcast. She encourages creators to create first and for that to be your priority. With social media, it's easy to constantly consume and compare but comparison steals all joy. I often compare my business with businesses that have been established for 10 years. 10 months versus 10 years. That's a HUGE difference. Even though I understand that, it's so easy to let myself believe the lie that I am not good enough when constantly comparing myself to others.
7. Pray more, doubt less
I always think "I got this" and next thing I know, I don't got anything. I spread myself too thin trying to take care of all of my problems on my own, not relying on God's strength at all. While all of the other goals I listed above are important and great, I don't think I can truly succeed at any of these without prayer.