Happy New Year, friends! It’s January 1st, 2015.

Take a deep breath and thank God for a brand new season of life.
This is your year to change,
to do something different,
to take hold of the life you’ve always wanted.

If you’ve never set goals before, you can start today.
If you’ve failed at previous goals, you can try again.
If you don’t even know where to start, take hope! Just don’t give up.

I am excited to share with you my brand new Goal Setting Guide – a brief and easy guide to setting goals for your year! It’s a free PDF download that you’ll receive as soon as you sign up for the Nancy Ray News. Just look to the right sidebar to see where you can signup! (Already signed up? No worries! You will receive it in the newsletter that goes out today!)

I’ll be honest : setting goals for 2015 was really hard for me. I have been setting my yearly goals on January 1st for the past 5 years, but I’ve never had to include a major anticipated life event in my goals. Knowing that this baby will change my life and my business dynamics in ways unknown, knowing that I have to block off a season to only focus on being a Mama… all of that left me frozen in the goals category of life. Major goal block. I didn’t even know where to start. Would I still be able to read as much as I want? To exercise? To travel? How do I launch a new workshop or dream, or should I put everything on hold?

So, I did 3 things to get me back on track again:
1. I asked my friends who are Mamas and business owners to help me be realistic in my goals. (How much time should I take off? How many weddings should I plan to shoot? How do I handle emails and editing? What are good goals for me to set during my maternity leave?)
2. I reminded myself to set SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Again, my main focus here is that I want to set attainable / realistic goals for 2015. I want to set myself up for success, not failure. (I tend to be an overachiever and set unrealistically high goals!)
3. I broke my year up into 3 parts, which really helped me wrap my head around taking a successful maternity leave. Seeing the entire context of my year broken up like that really allowed me to say, “I can do this.”

And now that I have an outlined plan, now that I have strong goals centered on meaningful work, now that my priorities are aligned with what matters most (hello, 4 month maternity leave!), I feel like I can do this. Yes, I am entering into 2015 with open hands, knowing that the Lord is in control and that His plans are greater than mine. Yes, I know that my plans could change and might not look like this by the end of next year. BUT I’m not going to let this giant unknown season of my life squelch all of my dreams and hopes and goals. I will continue to dream dreams and to set goals and to reach high, knowing that:

If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.
Zig Ziglar


2015 Goals

January – April
– Rebrand for NRP
– Hire a new Associate Photographer
– Launch a financial workshop with Will
– Photograph an editorial
– Invest in the NRP Team through weekly meetings + a team fun day
– Walk/run a 15K
– Declutter my home
– Prepare the nursery
– Go on a baby moon

May – August
– Have a baby!
– Take a successful 4 month maternity leave
– Restructure my daily routines

September – December
– Give myself lots of grace as we figure out life with a baby
– Launch 3 new products in the NRP Store
– Host a financial workshop with Will
– Run a 5K

Throughout the year
– Read 12 books
– Teach 4 mentor sessions
– Shoot 35 weddings & 35 sessions as a studio
(I will only be shooting 10)
– Speak at 3 conferences

The most vital part of my goal setting process is simply this : set monthly goals. Let your yearly goals guide what you write. Break them down across the 12 months of the year, then implement them in 4-week timeframes. That is the perfect amount of time to really accomplish some things. So, along with my yearly goals, here are my goals for January, 2015:

January Goals

– Finish interviewing and make a decision on the new NRP Associate Photographer
– Choose dates for our financial workshop in the fall
– Choose dates and location for baby moon in the spring
– Email vendors about editorial photoshoot ideas and dates
– Clean out nursery room and decide on a paint color
– Register for a 15K in February
– Start NRP Team Meetings up again, decide on dates for Spring fun day
– Clean out studio / back up all files to start fresh for the year


One of the most powerful exercises you can do as you set your goals is to simply look back at the last year. What worked? What didn’t? I’ve been working through my friend Lara’s new 2015 Powersheets, and this was the most helpful exercise for me. (I highly recommend her Powersheets! It is a very thorough approach to digging deep and setting goals for the next 6 months.) It’s not fun to write about the goals you didn’t accomplish, but it’s important to acknowledge them and ask yourself, why didn’t they work? It has allowed me to see where my focus diminishes, and where I can make simple changes in my life to accomplish important goals.

Things that didn’t work well in 2014

– Mixed studio systems (too many going at once: ShootQ, Wunderlist, calendars, chalk wall, etc). We are almost to the point of having it perfectly streamlined, but it’s taken all year to sync our systems.
– Date nights should have been planned further in advance, to make the most of them.
– I did not read 20 books. I am currently on book 16!
– Living in a state of stress and not a state of joy. Asking the Lord to change my heart and attitude in a mighty way in 2015.
– Stop working on time. I am not great at time management, and cutting off work is a tough one for me when there’s always more to be done.
– I did not switch to clipless petals on my road bike or run a half marathon, all due to the slow healing of my ankle injury & then my pregnancy. (I’m 100% ok with that!)
– I wrote more often to our sponsored kids, but not monthly. I want to be a constant encouraging voice in their lives.
– I memorized very few Bible verses this year.

Things that worked well / What I accomplished in 2014

– Delegation and growth in my business: Callie taking over much of the studio day-to-day management, she’s shootings tons of weddings, and Elizabeth has found her stride as our family photographer.
– Team meetings + implementing everything we learned in The Advantage. It’s been a game changer.
– Healthy lifestyle, exercise and eating habits! We are shopping differently and are outside several times a week for a family run. I ran my first triathlon this year while I was 6 weeks pregnant! Pretty proud of that.
– Will working at home has been amazing. We established much more margin in our lives after Will stepped down from ministry. We miss it terribly, but we are grateful to have a bit more breathing room for our businesses and family to grow.
– I ate dessert much less often!
– I looked at social media much less by choosing 2 days a week to be completely social media free.
– Meaningful travel memories. We made time for lots of little getaways this year – sometimes with friends, sometimes with family, sometimes alone. We went camping, we enjoyed a trip to Beaufort, and we took our boat out skiing 5 times like we had hoped!
– I spoke at 6 conferences throughout the year. (This list + WPS, Pursue and the spring MTH)
– Consistent study of scripture and morning quiet times has been the foundation for our success.
– Living on less than we make, giving more, and investing more : those were our main financial goals, and we achieved all of them.
– Shooting in film! It was scary and wonderful and expensive and beautiful. All in all, we love it and are on track to be a film studio.


What about you? What are your hopes and goals for 2015? What will be different for you this year?

One thing I have learned in my years of goal-setting: it is SO inspiring and encouraging to read the goals of friends. If you have blogged or shared your goals somewhere, please leave a link in the comments below! I would love to hear from you!

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[…] Setting Goals according to Life Categories On Not Reaching Goals Setting Goals as a new Mama […]

[…] school, moving, and job changes it sort of stumped me as to where to even start. I followed “Nancy Ray’s 5 Step Goal Setting Guide” and I have never been more pumped about my goals before. I created meaningful goals that […]

I absolutely love following along with your goal-planning and feel continuously inspired. Thanks so much for sharing your big dreams – and action plans – with us. I know it’s going to be such a different sort of year for you, but what a blessing it will be to become a mama!!

I’ve shared my goals for 2015 here:

Nancy, I so admire your drive and honesty in your blogging! I really love what you are doing with your business, it’s so inspiring and I love that you are open and honest about your faith and personal life. Thank you for sharing, and I hope you have a beautiful 2015! xx

[…] reading fellow photographer Nancy Ray’s goal setting advice, I feel like her blog post helped me to set up a framework for my goals. I’ve laid out what […]

As always, I enjoyed reading your goals! In the past I’ve never been diligent at setting goals and keeping them. Since I turned 30, I’ve decided to set 30 goals in my first year of 30. Some include: Run a half marathon in the Fall, Write our compassion child once a week, Call friends (not text) on their Birthdays, Build up my Etsy shop and Start my blog! I had hopes of starting my blog last Spring, but our house fire threw a wrench in the process. For 9 months majority of our focus was on our home restoration and claiming receipts for insurance (extremely stressful time!). This year I’m thankful to be settled into our home (again) so that Casey and I can focus on ourselves and each other. As soon as my blog is up, I will share it with you and you can read the rest of my goals! Praying for your year as you let go of more things instead of holding on too tightly, to allow God’s grace to envelop your daily life as He prepares you to be a mom!

I always look forward to reading your goals every month. They are so inspiring! Watching you grow your family this year will be such a blessing!

I recently started a blog and posted my own goals yesterday! I’m excited to see how I can follow through with them this year.

So excited for your 2015!!! I am spending this year simplifying my business, my marriage, and my health. I can’t wait to get back to the basics and carve out space for Christ to fill. Thank you so much for you inspiration :)!

Thank you so much for the Goal Setting Guide! Such a helpful resource as I tend to feel pretty lost when trying to nail down my goals for the year.

I love to read your goals. Always inspiring :)

You are incredible Nancy! Your goals are encouraging and I am really benefitting from the resource you included in your email today. I am still working through my goal prep for 2015 but am eager to see what the Lord has for me in the next 365 days :)

I’m so excited for you Nancy! Reading through your goals reminded me to break my goals down into smaller parts so that I can keep things specific!

I know my goals for this month and am still working on my goals for the year (thank you, Lara)!!

It sounds like there is a beautiful and joyful year ahead of you!

My goals for the month of January and the year are up! The biggest thing that is different in terms of goals for this year is putting them on my blog. I just know that it will make me more accountable and encouraged to complete them.

I’m so excited for you and Will this year!! What a blessing that little baby is going to be. And the rest of your goals sound amazing as well. You can do it!

I just posted my goals for the year, still working on goals for this month!

We are so glad you are here!

Welcome to the NRP Blog! Enjoy getting to know our hearts and our work. We are so grateful you stopped by!