Before I begin, thank you so my best friend and husband for your sweet blogpost yesterday. I love you. You made my birthday wonderful.


2014 Goals

My #1 goal for 2014: to restore margin and achieve a more balanced life. I want to

LIVE more: living out adventures, memories, and experiences. to spend more time outside, running, resting, and feeling alive.
to GIVE more: giving to my church and to ministries that are making a difference, sharing the gospel, and meeting real needs. I don’t want to fund buildings, I want to fund changed lives.
and to DO more: doing focused work daily, work that matters, work with boundaries. I want to do greater things than I think I’m capable of, that inspire others to take hold of life and run.

While this list may appear longer, it is more robust – focusing on things that will restore my time and health. Here’s to a beautiful 2014.

Read 20 books (I’d love to hear your recommendations!)
Write letters to our 3 sponsored kids monthly
Make the art and organization of my home purposeful and meaningful
Complete a triathlon
Declutter every space in my home and studio
Memorize a verse each month and truly meditate on it. I want scripture to fill the empty space in my head, not Instagram or social media like it to often does currently.
Run a half marathon (I’ll be starting from scratch, friends. Let me know if you want to join me from the ground up!)
Eat desserts 2x-3x week (not daily. desserts are meant to be special!)
Fast from social media 2 days/week.
Embrace clipless petals on my road bike. I can do this! (scared!)
Have an intentional, guiltless Sabbath once a week. I say I do this, but in reality I just don’t. Time to change that.
Go camping in Boone with friends
Read the entire Bible with Will
Simplify and streamline the organization and workflow of my business (I’m looking at you ShootQ & Drobo!)
Implement business structure given in The Advantage
Shoot in film
Take our boat out and go water skiing at least 5 times this summer
Photograph less weddings as Callie and Elizabeth photograph more
Host a workshop, mentor photographers, & speak more in general. (After Making Things Happen and my Influence-net talk, I have learned I really love teaching. A lot.)
Do the hard work to correct my posture. This includes a personal trainer + chiropractic care + daily exercises at home.
Plan a vacation to the Beaufort house
Continue to learn to play the guitar and fill in at youth group when I can


January Goals

Finish Margin, a current novel, and Descending into Greatness
Don’t run. Instead, eat really well and focus on strength training and ankle exercises so I can be cleared by the Doctor to run again at my next appointment. (Yep, still recovering from my ankle sprain in July!)
Complete a 30 day sugar fast
Research and decide on 2 ministries we want to contribute to regularly
Fly with my 4 year old triplet nephews to Raleigh, host them for 3 days, then fly them back to Nashville. Oh boy, this is gonna be good!
Setup the Drobo
Buy a backup Contax
Write out new workflow for weddings and shoots
Declutter : under our bed + under the guest bed + all bedside tables


I was driving down a highway in Raleigh today, and I thought to myself, this is a perfect January 1st. Crisp air to breathe in deep, partly cloudy, bare trees, very few cars out. As I drove through my neighborhood, I saw people running, walking their dogs, being with family. I just love New Year’s day.  Besides the fact that it’s the day after my birthday, it is one of my favorite holidays. I believe the Lord loves it too, because He loves new things, new seasons, a fresh start.

“…I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

He knows we need it, and each year it is so good to start afresh.

Can I just be real for a second? This year, goal-setting was a more challenging task for me. I don’t have a clear picture of 2014, and I don’t feel completely prepared to be writing this post. One thing I do know – if I don’t feel like it, and if I don’t write it down, I won’t accomplish what is most important to me. So here I sit, wrestling with this deadline and my goals and my heart, trying to make sense of it all. I remind myself – DONE is better than perfect. (Download this from my dear friend Lara!)



I will be spending more time in the next few weeks continuing to work through my new 2014 Powersheets from Lara. I must say, these have been so helpful in this year I’ve felt a bit stuck. What a gift Lara is – I am so grateful for her! They have been worth every penny so far, even though I haven’t finished with them yet. I will be posting more in the next few weeks some things that have worked for me  and some thing that didn’t in 2013. I think this is such a valuable exercise, and I know it will continue to bring me clarity.

Setting goals in the beginning of the year is usually one of my favorite things to do. I shut down the computer and write in my journal for weeks leading up to the new year, praying and meditating on the good changes I want to see in my life. Sometimes it comes easy to me, other times it takes work – thoughtful, careful work to map out where I really want to go. It’s not always fun to face where we currently sit in this life, and to look forward, but is good. It is healthy.

One thing I’ve learned in the last few years of setting goals? If I don’t take time to set them (and to blog them for my own accountability!), the urgent always overrides the important. Even though I feel unprepared, DONE really is better than perfect.

So friends, here’s to restored margin and restore balance!
Here’s to meaningful work, intentional time with those we love, and taking the time to rest
Here’s to filling our minds and hearts with Scripture, to putting our phones down, to writing more letters
Here’s to taking care of our bodies, running races, healing my ankle and breaking records
Here’s to living in a place of contentment, simplicity, and gratitude
Here’s to 2014!

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[…] we are! Half of the year is done.  It's time to stop and re-evaluate my 2014 goals from January 1st. Here's an update on how I'm doing! I've crossed off the goals I've completed, and I'm giving […]

[…] I am thrilled to be speaking at so many wonderful conferences this year. I had no idea that these opportunities would come when I wrote these simple goals in January: […]


I love your goals! This is one of mine, too: “Have an intentional, guiltless Sabbath once a week. I say I do this, but in reality I just don’t. Time to change that.” Thank you for the encouragement you are!


This could totally be my new years/new year goal post! I’m focusing on being intentional about where I spend my time this year.
For me, that means more experiencing life instead of instagramming, setting aside time for out in the world adventures, travelling, and savoring even the small simple experiences of going for walks, sitting outside, and soaking up the sun when it’s out.

Our lists are so similar, it almost feels like I could simply hit “copy” and I’d be headed in a good direction 😉
Except for the running related items-instead, I’ll be focusing on strengthening my back to say goodbye to this herniated disc and pain.

I just finished working through my powersheets-though admittedly, they are for the 6 months that were supposed to end in December! Sadly I was so incredibly busy that I never got to the goal setting until last week. I’m so bummed that it doesn’t make sense to order the 2014 set because they look AMAZING but already, this set is changing my world for the better!

My goals for January include DECLUTTERING my office (it’s so freeing, isn’t it?) and the rest of the year, I’m tackling a different room every month so the whole place will be fresh and pared down. I’m excited to let some things go so they can bless someone else!

I’m an avid reader and while I often forget to update it, I track everything I read on goodreads. Helps me when I pick up a book that looks intriguing but think I may have read. (Which happens from time to time).

I think it’s awesome that you’re going to works towards 20 books this year-You can do it! I aim for 60 (which is where goodreads really comes in handy-it actually will tell you how close to your book reading goal you are) and usually make it fairly close considering I only remember to log about 1 in 3 books I read.

Thanks for sharing!!!

Hi Nancy,

Firstly, happy birthday. I love the fact that each calendar year is also an age year for you. (Quite handy really!). I’ve been regularly checking in on your blog for… oh, at least 2 years now. I’m always impressed by your continual push forwards, development and growth. It inspires me endlessly. Truly. You come across as very diligent, dedicated, organised, kind-hearted… and real. Authenticity is an incredible trait. 2013 saw me do goal setting like I’ve never done before (thanks to Lara Casey). I love a fresh start too, but right now, I still feel somewhat unprepared to do the thinking and planning and see through the fog of where to go for 2014. Well, I have one big (read: scary) idea, but maybe it’s easier if it’s still hidden by the fog? I worry about writing definitive things down… what if I fail? I agree with Emily’s comments above too. But, I have Lara’s powersheets at the ready (read: yay).

You have definitely inspired me to return to being a regular reader. If I can manage 12 books in 2014, I’ll be very pleased. (And I have noted with interest your ongoing increase: 12 in 12, 15 in 12 and now 20 in 12… you go girl!). A very interesting book I’ve just finished is “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, which has the subtitle ‘women, work and the will to lead’. As a working gal, it has many interesting and insightful lessons and encouragement. While everyone’s work situation is different, I found it very helpful with motivating “yes, I can do this” thinking. “Margin” is definitely on the to-read list for me too, I’ve heard many positive comments from you and Emily Ley.

Wishing you all the best, Annie x

Happy 2014! Your goal posts are always so great, Nancy!! I may be back tracking a little to your contentment posts. Things are gettin good crazy in the H house in the upcoming months! Cheers to you!

Your monthly and yearly goals are always so inspiring to me Nancy! I just may adopt of a few of them for myself (especially the limiting of desserts, that needs to happen!!). I just finished reading the book “A Praying Life” by Paul Miller. If you haven’t read it already, I’d highly recommend it! After lots of honesty and soul-searching combined with the incredibly practical ideas from this book – my prayer life is now at a vibrant new level!

I forgot to add my book recommendations! Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons, The ONE Thing by Gary Keller, Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick, and A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman are all on my list for this year and they all sound great : ) You should join Goodreads- I would love to follow you!

I love your goals! Especially the one about meditating on scripture instead of social media- I may have to add this one to my list : )

First off, The Glass Castle that Em suggested is AMAZING, totally love it.

I really appreciate hearing that making goals doesn’t always come easily to everyone. 2013 was a hard year for me (hard to admit that) and it sometimes seems that everyone on social media is posting about how it was the best year of their lives and that 2014 will be too. While I have high hopes for this coming year, I always appreciate a little honesty and realism from fellow bloggers.

I’m excited to follow along with your monthly goals, they are always such an inspiration to stick with mine each month!

Love all of this, friend! I am excited about camping, and totally down if you need a waterskiing buddy! :) As for book recommendations, if you’re looking for something outside your usual sphere, the best novel I read this year was “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls. It’s actually the story of her own (kind of insane) childhood, and it was really, really well written.

Go, Nancy! My husband & I started reading through the Bible in a year plan almost a month ago (couldn’t wait for the new year to get going!). It is SO incredible to be pouring through the same pages of Scriptures & discussing what God is showing us each day. Y’all will love it!

So encouraging! Love this girl! Here’s to an amazing year :)

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