Unravel Your 2013

goal-workbook-free-2013 Guest post by Imahni Dawson, artist, blogger, musician, daughter.

The beginning of a new year always excites me. It’s so full of potential; its like a blank page that I get to create art on. I could draw, paint, write or do anything I want on that page. Trying to determine what I actually want to create is where my excitement turns to frustration. With the best of intentions, I’ll create long lists of everything I want to do, complete with action steps and beautifully color-coded fonts. However, instead of being inspiring, these lists are just overwhelming. The possibility looked so inviting that I bit off more than I could chew.

This year I decided to take a different route. I started out with the free downloadable workbook entitled “Unraveling the Year Ahead: 2013”  created by Susanna Conway. This workbook is beautifully designed and the questions you fill out really get you thinking. Something I particularly loved about it is that it doesn’t immediately dive into 2013. Instead, it provides the opportunity to really ponder and learn from 2012 first. This is important because thinking about how my 2012 went made me approach my 2013 differently.

In years past, I’ve been a stickler for having fleshed out plans and some sort of measurable seven-step approach to achieving my goals. I was of the belief that if I couldn’t measure it, then little to nothing was actually getting done. However, life doesn’t unfold according to neatly categorized seven-step plans. I was setting myself up for disappointment. I hadn’t provided any room for myself to change my mind because obviously, I already knew exactly what I wanted for the next 365 days of my life. Um, no.

After thinking over what I wanted for my life overall, I wrote out a list of what I thought I could do this 2013 in order to get me closer to that grander vision. For example, I want to be healthy and fit all throughout my life, so I created a short list to describe what being “healthy and fit” means like to me. Then I thought of daily habits that I can work on will help me get there.

Still, it’s only one week into the New Year, and there have been days where I didn’t do my workout or take my vitamins. But that’s okay, because sometimes you just need to sleep. Circumstances change. I don’t want to beat myself up because I didn’t follow my goal plan to the letter. My goals are meant to guide me not rule over me. If I miss something one day, I know that I can pick up right where I left off.

When I look at my goals, I want to be inspired; I want to see it and think, “I can really do this.” And I can.

Happy 2013!

My 3 Words: Focus, Flow, Create

There are variations on this theme circulating the online stratosphere. For the past few years, I’ve chosen not to participate, probably my aversion to being boxed in or stuck with something I can’t change. For some reason, this year I feel different about it and chose three words that seem expansive and provide the freedom I need.

These are not goals. I wrote about some goals I have for 2011 yesterday. I still want to hear about your goals too! But for today, I’m giving you 3 words that I hope to wrap my minutes, days, weeks and months around this year. They are:

FOCUS on what is most important, what I love, what I can change.

CREATE space and inspiration for myself and others to live to the fullest.

FLOW in the gifts and talents I’ve been given for the benefit of others and the world.

Will you choose 3 words for 2011? If so, what are they and how will you integrate them in your life this year?

A Smart Girl’s Survival Kit for the New Decade (D122)

So I’m not sticking with the theme this week. I will definitely work on that in 2010. But for today I want to reflect on where I was 10 years ago at this time. In one word, Y2K. Well, if that’s a word.

I was a single mom in a ministry that was a bit apocalyptic (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but only a little). Seriously though, we were strongly “encouraged” to create emergency survival kits. Of course with my bent toward organization I was elected as one of the organizers for my roommates. I had emergency drinking water in silver packets, along with an extensive list of other supplies, including a space blanket, pocket knife, and toothbrush. And despite all my frequent moving around the country in the last decade, I still hung on to my kit.


Being a single mom in my twenties with a five-year-old, I was concerned about what we would do in the case of an earth-shattering event. I didn’t really believe it would happen, but I also couldn’t completely ignore it.

As 2009 comes to a close, I find myself going through my old emergency survival kit and throwing out toothpaste that expired eight years ago, tossing out water that expired five years ago and don’t even ask what the fruit roll up looked like ten years later.

As I reflect back on the last ten years and how far I’ve come as a person, I have to smile. It seems like another lifetime. I’d like to think I’m much wiser and more balanced when it comes to “threats” like Y2K. I’m less inclined to buy into hype and hyperbole from anyone.

Personally, I cannot believe how much God has worked in my life to bless and transform me. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I marvel at what has already taken place. My hope and prayer is that the next ten years will be characterized by greater joy, contentment, and love.

What am I packing in my “survival kit” for the next decade? Here are just a few things: my camera, moleskin notebook (never leave home without one), iPhone (music, podcasts, Kindle books, notes, etc.), lots and lots of images, glasses (ugh), favorite books, Bible, and memories of a life I never imagined I’d be living.

Where were you ten years ago? Where do you hope to be ten years from now? What’s in your survival kit for the next decade?

Manual: Last page—since it’s the last day of the year, I read the last page of my manual.

Images: Gordon Parks book Half Past Autumn. Stunning, inspiring photography.

D97: Are You on the Right Track?

That’s what I thought about seeing my son play with the train set at Barnes and Noble tonight. Am I on the right track?

I think the answer is yes, maybe and no.

With my photography, yes. With my business, maybe. With my sleep patterns, no. I could go through nearly every area of my life and give it a subjective answer. But the answer might be different if you asked different people since we all have varying standards. What I think of success could be completely opposite how you define it.

Bottom line, based on your subjective view, are you on the right track? As we come to a close on 2009 and head into a new year, are you heading in the direction you want to go? Are you assessing where you are and where you want to be and adjusting your daily actions to help you get there? If not, perhaps (like me) now would be an ideal time to make that happen. Just a thought.

Manual: Page 25—Advanced Shooting Options

Images: Looked at the work of rock star photog Gabrielle Geiselman. Interesting style and history.