setting goals for the new year

We gathered in the conference room.  Another day packed with meetings.  As I fidgeted to get settled at the table, our manager walked in with a huge piece of paper and stuck it on the wall.  The team looked up eagerly.  She had scheduled this meeting weeks ago, but the agenda was still unknown.

The paper was blank.  “Team, it’s time to set our goals for next year.”

By the end of our meeting, that completely blank slate was plastered with neon Post Its & scribbled notes.  An exciting year lay ahead.


Sometimes I miss it.  The meetings.  The teamwork.  The structure.  The goals.

As 2014 loomed on the horizon, something was different.  I didn’t have financial plans set by executives.  I didn’t have an annual review.  I didn’t have a department action plan.  And since I don’t really do new year’s ‘resolutions’, I was left with… well… nothing.

Full of promise and excitement about the year ahead, I needed a way to channel my energy.   I reminisced about the corporate world.  The Six Sigma tools.  The developmental exercises.  And I remembered the many, many times I encountered Start/Stop/Continue.  I knew it would give me the structure I craved– for my business & for myself.

My old coworkers reading this will definitely laugh.  But, come on… I spent eight years working at Target’s headquarters.  It’s hard to quit that.  At least I didn’t use any acronyms in this post  [although I may still look at my calendar in retail count weeks].


Start/Stop/Continue is a pretty self-explanatory exercise.  It’s great because it doesn’t focus solely on what’s going wrong. It helps you highlight things that need to be changed, while also acknowledging things you’re already doing well.

I did the exercise for my business, my role as wife/mother, and my self.  Here are my goals for 2014:


START:  Mentoring.  In Minneapolis I was involved in many photographer networks and benefitted from being mentored & mentoring others.  That’s been missing in Seattle.  I’m new here and still trying to network with other photographers.  It’s time to find someone to mentor.  More to come on this.

STOP:  Undefined boundaries for work/life.  Working from home is amazing, but it’s way too easy for work to become all-consuming.  Checking blog traffic stats, updating facebook, immediately replying to email messages.  It distracts me from my son and household responsibilities.  Plus, if I calculated my hourly pay rate… I can’t even.  Time to work smarter.

CONTINUE:  Posting new blog content three times a week.  I’ve been posting every Monday/Wednesday/Friday for months now and it works for me.



START:  Doing creative activities/crafts with Colin.  When Colin was in daycare, he regularly came home with cute homemade art projects and crafts.  He was only a couple months old.  Sadly, the crafts have come to a halt now that I’m watching him full-time.  Our fridge could benefit from some new artwork [and the Grandma’s fridges too!]

STOP:  Using my iPhone after dinner.  This is going to be very, very hard for me.  The evenings are my only time with John and I need to pay more attention to him and not my newsfeed.

CONTINUE:  Menu planning and eating ‘real’ food.  This year brought about some fantastic changes in our diet.  Mostly inspired by Colin, but also the amazing food culture in Seattle.  I want to continue to make healthy meals a priority.



START:  Working on being more present.  I struggle to dedicate myself to motherhood, amidst the distractions of running my own business & social media.  I want to do a better job of giving people my undivided attention & being a better listener.

STOP:  Wasting time on my iPhone.  Constantly refreshing Facebook, Instagram, Feedly, email, etc.  They’re valuable for my business & social well-being, but are being used in excess.  I need to set boundaries for these time suckers.

CONTINUE:  Documenting our everyday life with Project Life.  Looking through our 2011, 2012 & 2013 family yearbooks makes me happy so I want to do this again in 2014.

Whew!  There are my 2014 goals. All spelled out on the blog for everyone to see.  While it makes me a tad uncomfortable to share so much of myself [the good and the bad], maybe it’ll forge a new connection or friendship if you read something that resonates with you.


Want to go through the same exercise?   Jot down your START/STOP/CONTINUE on a blank piece of paper, a new word document, or print my free template.

What are your goals for 2014?  I’d love to hear… leave a comment below!

  • I love that you did this for the biggest roles you play! I think it’s so easy to focus on being a parent/spouse that you can forget to also focus solely on you. So important to remember that!

    For the technology thing: I just read Hands Free Mama (comes out 1/7) and you should check it out! It sets manageable goals for limiting technology and becoming more engaged. I’m working on that this year as well! No easy feat!ReplyCancel

  • Wow! What an amazing post. Thank you for opening up and sharing your goals (and the awesome printable with us). Many, many of these goals resonated with me as well. Time to take inventory and put pen to paper myself. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Oh, and I’m a willing mentee! 😉ReplyCancel

  • I am right there with you on the timesuck of technology. One of my goals is to spend more time doing fun activities with my 2 yr old son and only hop on the computer or phone when absolutely necessary or when my son is asleep (the 3 month old stays up til I go to bed).ReplyCancel

  • Love this! I have a lot of goals I need to write down.ReplyCancel

  • […] I wrote out my goals for the new year, there was a very obvious theme that permeated through all aspects of my life.  Create boundaries […]ReplyCancel

  • […] of my goals for this year was to do more art projects and crafts with Colin.  When he was in daycare he regularly came home […]ReplyCancel

  • […] of the year has gone by since I wrote out my goals for the year & identified technology as a big issue for me.  Back then I set the intention of ‘being […]ReplyCancel

  • What a great approach to goals and LOVE the design 🙂 So excited to discover your blog via SITS!ReplyCancel

  • This is so awesome! Love the ideas and I really think it will help focusing more too. Thank you for sharing this 🙂 Plus the design is so pretty.ReplyCancel

  • […] as this post is being written on January 21st and not January 1st]. After I collected my thoughts using this exercise, I wanted to sit a little while with everything.  And crazy enough, I ended up throwing those […]ReplyCancel

  • […] are written down (but if you’re looking for a fun goal setting exercise though, check out my post from two years ago).  And sharing your goals publicly will dramatically improve your success… hence this […]ReplyCancel

  • […] are written down (if you’re looking for a fun goal setting exercise though, check out my post from two years ago).  And sharing your goals publicly will dramatically improve your […]ReplyCancel

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