5 intentions for 2016

I know I'm a little late on posting about insights for 2016.  Everyone has long since debuted their thoughts weeks ago and are already getting the ball rolling on all the things they want to achieve.  For me it always takes a bit longer for the past year to sink in; to truly appreciate the good and the bad of 2015; the things I want to improve on, see, do, hear, and experience.  I can't promise myself that any of these things will happen.  Promises are bound to be broken and knowing my crazy outer space wild schedule, forming promises will only leave me more broken-hearted and disappointed.  For those of you who share the "way-too-hard-on-myself" brain, you know exactly how I feel.

For 2016 there are a few things I'd like to improve on and remind myself of.  I think that's a fair thing to wish for.  Improving on something doesn't make you fall short because there is no target end goal.  Even if you get 1% better, you have at least still improved.  Therefore my brain can't get down on itself.  And for reminders - these are things I want to keep on the forefront of my mind; things I want to do with intention.  And without further ado, here they are:

In 2015, I fell victim to the common condition of "information overload".  I was obsessed with business, social media, and entrepreneurship.  I read everything I could get my hands on, filled out zillions of online worksheets, and attended/listened to countless webinars and podcasts.  There was so much content filling my head day in and day out that I felt crippled in business.  I didn't know what to do next because everyone's ideas were telling me what to do.  I lost sight of myself thinking that I should be more like a certain person or follow through with a specific business development because a certain person found success that way.  Towards the end of 2015, I realized enough was enough.  I was drowning.  2016 is all about focus, development, and finding myself.  I want to filter the voices that enter my head and only let those who truly impact me have any weight on how I proceed.  I've cut my daily blog subscriptions down to just the handful that make me feel good.  It's time to take control of my consumption.  I need to be myself and do more of me.

Over the past 2-3years I've found myself obsessing over social media, especially Instagram.  I've wasted countless hours scrolling, liking, and feeling horrible about myself after comparing my daily life to the highly "curated" perfect life that everyone exudes on social.  Instead of lifting myself up, I was forcing myself to feel worse.  My day started and ended with my Instagram feed.  I had to know what everyone was doing and make sure I didn't miss anything.  In the fall of 2015, I went a few weeks without being able to check IG.  Not because I didn't want to, but because I didn't have the time (hello, crazy work hours!) or internet access (hello, camping!).  I found myself feeling so much better after disconnecting from the world.  I didn't care what people were posting.  I didn't care about having to "be in the know" or missing out on possible "inspiration" from other photographers (is it really inspiration, after all?  I think not.).  I was no longer comparing myself day-in-and-day-out to the perfect lives of others.  I was just doing my thing and being content with it.  And that's when it clicked - social was taking over my life and controlling me.  The end of 2015 has already seen it and 2016 will be a continuation of less is more: cutting down on social media time.  And, any social media time should be spent with more intention (growing business, yay!) and integrity.

Suffering from back pain has been a long journey for me... dating back to my years in competitive gymnastics and web design (hint: long hours at a computer).  Being a gymnast gifted me award winning posture, but unfortunately took a toll on my upper back.  Almost a decade later, I've obtained horrible posture practices and my time spent on the computer has infinitely skyrocketed.  Both have made my upper back pain worse.  In 2015, I noticed my posture really taking a dive - I slouched every time I sat down and felt pain whether I was sitting or standing.  I've already purchased a much better desk chair for my back and will try to continue improving my posture in 2016.

2015 was a huge year for me in discovering and understanding my anxiety.  If you didn't already know I struggle with anxiety, you do now.  I used to always hide it, but I've realized that so many people also struggle with it and opening up about it can only bring positive results.  Of all of the things I achieved last year, this was probably the most profound.  I learned so much about myself, how my brain functions, and even why I feel and think in certain ways.  In the tail end of 2015, I began taking control of how I think.  I learned exercises and developed methods for hope to deal with specific thought processes.  I already feel so much optimism toward my anxiety in 2016.  I know I will continue to grab it by the reigns and I'm looking forward to it.

Maybe this sounds like a promise, maybe it doesn't.  I know I said no promises.  This is merely just something to lay my eyes on in hope and wanderlust.  I've set my sights on it for years now, but I can feel that this is the year.  The Northern Lights will dim after 2016 so there's no better time than now.  I've always wanted to experience this country that many proclaim as a "photographer's dream".  Jesse and I have long since dreamt of a road trip through all of the volcanoes, waterfalls, and black sand beaches that Iceland has to offer.  We're targeting this summer (maybe June?) and I'm already forming secret itineraries.  My camera and I can't wait.

I could also say that I want to continue to grow my business, get published in magazines, etcetera, etcetera, but the truth is that those things are already ingrained in me and don't necessarily need to be pointed to.  Of course I want to grow my business and continue to excel.  I want to continue my online entrepreneurship and create the dream lifestyle I've always wanted... but these are sights for life, not necessarily 2016, so I can't be getting too ahead of myself.  These 5 simple intentions for 2016 will help the foundation of my business, myself, and my dreams.  They will all make me a better person - and that's really what it's all about, isn't it?

What are your intentions for 2016?  Do any of mine resonate with you?