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Hello 2016

Heidi Shenk

As I wrote about yesterday, I was certainly glad to see 2015 pass and start fresh with 2016. While reading various blog posts throughout the week, it would seem that I wasn't the only one that was happy for a new year and a fresh start. It was my aunt who put it best last night while we enjoyed a yearly cheese fondue New Year's Eve tradition when she announced, "Good riddance!" We all chimed in with agreement and gave cheers to a happier 2016.

With a new year come plenty of new goals. Overall, I feel that the most important aspect of improvement for me this year will be staying as productive as I can be. When things didn't go quite right last year, I spent time wallowing instead of turning lemons into lemonade. Lack of productivity certainly led to more frustrations, and so I think that being productive is an overarching focus for this new year.

1 // Continue learning new things. This is the same as my first goal last year. I want to continue with lifelong learning, but I'd like to narrow my focus. As a few examples, I'd like to learn more about the stationery industry in order to better my business. I'd like to refocus learning on photography. And I would like to learn new songs by spending time with my guitar and piano. Some of these learning objectives may come in the form of actual courses, while others may be research and investigation dependent through my own motivations.

2 // Become stronger and healthier. Near the end of this past year, I made steps toward this, and I'd like to continue on that path. I'm not getting any younger, and I'd like to be sure that I'm getting the most out of life. With that said, I was probably in the best shape during my junior year of high school. I spent large amounts of time in the weight room and countless hours conditioning as a student athlete playing multiple sports. Once I went to college, that part of my life changed. I want my six pack abs and my strong arms back. That might sound silly, but when I feel strong, I feel good about myself. And while I may eat healthily, that doesn't mean that my heart is healthy if I'm not getting regular exercise. This past summer, I started a yoga and running regimen that started building that strength and endurance again, and I'd like to build upon that.

3 // Streamline my wholesale program. This is a business related goal that is incredibly important to me this year. I've spent time mapping out how I'm going to accomplish this goal. Right now, my wholesale program is not as approachable as it could be for buyers. As the list of shops that stock my cards increases, it has been more and more difficult to manage. Streamlining would mean creating an online interface for buyers to place orders and updating my physical catalog. A large part of this goal is motivated by the possibility of expanding my line and reaching bigger goals that I have in mind for the future of my business.

4 // Identify when I'm sabotaging myself and take active steps to change that. This also has to do with the productivity that I talked about earlier. Some mornings I sleep in just a little longer. Some evenings I spend time on social media instead of playing guitar or baking bread for the week. Other times I skip yoga class because of various excuses. This year, I'd like to not only identify when I am doing these things (I know that I'm doing them when I do them already), but make an active decision and put a plan in place to keep myself on track. This is one of those tough self love sorts of things, but I have ideas in mind already to help me out that I plan to try this year.

5 // Start blogging regularly again. I miss writing. I have had mixed feelings about blogging for quite some time as the world of blogging has evolved. I miss reading about human stories. These days we're inundated by How To articles, sponsored posts, and blogging advice. Everyone must be an expert these days. I'd like to get back to blogging, but write about whatever I damn well please. If someone wants to read it, great. If not, that's ok too. I might be completely crazy, but I'd like to make this goal quantifiable, so I'm aiming to blog about something, anything, every week day this year.

6 // Take more photos. This sort of goes hand in hand with the blogging goal. I have spent years learning about photography both formally and informally. During the last two years, the majority of time I spend with a camera in hand is during product photo shoots. I want to get back to doing what I love doing, plus photos are a great addition to the blog posts I'd like to write.

7 // Make time for myself and the people in my life. I feel as though I didn't spend enough time on myself as a person last year, which may be one of the reasons why I felt in such a funk during 2015. As a result, I was also probably a lot more crabby toward Andrew and didn't focus much on the other people in my life. I'd like to find that balance between work and daily life again and recognize when I need to clock out for the day. I know that this will be tough as the beginning of the year is always my busiest season as Valentine's Day nears. However, I think being more productive and efficient in my business will help create that balance so that I can unplug when I need to.

8 // Spend more time traveling. Last year was rough. We went on only one short vacation during the entire year, which left us with little chance to recharge when we needed to the most. Any other traveling we did consisted of family get togethers or travel related to my business. We even canceled one of our planned vacations because just the thought of being away during that particular time was too stressful for both of us in relation to both of our work schedules. So, not only would we like to travel more, we'd also like to be better planners about vacation instead of trying to figure things out on the fly.

9 // Continue to minimize and organize our house. We started major organization and minimization last year. This included doing some extensive purging of stuff that we no longer used as well as tackling projects that have been on our to do list for years. We've made progress, but have a long way to go with a new to do list already sitting on our dining room table. It's exciting to look forward to ticking those items off the list one by one.

And that rounds up this year's major goals. A lot of self care is planned for this year, which may be a result of a less than great 2015. I'm looking forward to being more aware of when I need to take time for myself and focus on life instead of work. Additionally, I look forward to trying to be more productive in the day to day. I think it means that I'll really need to be more intentional about how I spend my time and the routines that I fall into, but I'm ready for that challenge.

Do you have any goals for 2016? Are you as happy as I am that you're getting a fresh start? I'll be back on Monday to kick off the new year with this year's line of Valentine's Day cards! See you on the blog then! :)


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