Making Things Happen in 2013

Happy New Year, friends! As I write this, I'm 38,000 feet in the air in Delta seat 42A headed to Utah for a Danyew family ski trip (my first!). We've had a wonderful holiday adventure so far, including three Christmases, three states, and a harrowing six-hour trip (that should have taken two) in the midst of Winter Storm Euclid. You could say that we're making the most of the holidays/Winter Break. In between all the traveling, skiing, and butter cookie-eating, I've been reflecting on 2012 and setting goals for 2013.

Don't you just love this time of the year? I do. Everything feels fresh and new with the calendar change and though I'm not one for making resolutions, planning thoughtful, meaningful goals and setting up ways to achieve them fires me up to live the life I want to live and do my work with passion.

Raise your hand if you've jotted down a short list of goals at the last possible moment on New Year's Eve (in order to make the magical January 1st deadline). Raises hand. When you look back, how many of those goals did you accomplish? How many moved you forward? No more! I want to set authentic, purposeful goals that I can actually attain.

This week, inspired by Lara Casey's Goal-Setting Steps, I've been doing just that. Guys, the process is so important to setting real, attainable goals. Think about this past year. What did you make happen? What worked well? What didn't work? I spent an afternoon last week pondering these questions and writing out my answers. Beginning with the positive, Step 1 is making a list of things you're grateful for and things that worked well in 2012. Here's what my "worked well" list looks like:

WCMW // the organization and planning, the community support, the quality of the music, and the overall experience PhD at Eastman // I love the work I am doing, the things I am learning, the opportunities and experiences, and the people I work with Living in Rochester // city + country + lakes + beach + mountains, culture, dining, separation of home/work, people our age Setting boundaries // more productive during working hours and able to enjoy time away from work Making decisions // better at getting through emails, taking risks, being confident in my abilities, taking an active role instead of a passive one, and making things happen New website/brand // represents me as an artist, a teacher, a writer, and an entrepreneur; better way of staying in touch with professional network Musical growth // recitals, musicianship, learning new things, surrounding myself with other musicians Giving // helping those in need, living with less, compassion, living "Love Does" Grace // living it in action (calm, patient, peaceful, joyful) Traditions // making new traditions with SD while honoring the old, living in the present and focusing more on what matters Healthier choices // exercising more, eating less meat and no milk, buying local, drinking more water Reading for pleasure // read three books since summer; inspiring, motivating, refreshing

Basically, this comes down to three points (skipping ahead to Step 4): 1. Never stop learning. Be honest and authentic in what you do. 2. Continue striving for musical excellence. Share this with others. 3. Work to live. Set boundaries, know your priorities, and focus on what matters.

Likewise, there were several things that didn't work well last year. This is Step 2. These are learning opportunities for the year to come:

Taking work personally // investing too much of myself into work Worry // about what others think, about finances, about the future, about relationships Lack of boundaries // separating work and personal life at home Lack of inspiration // teaching full-time without being refueled, without rest, and without being inspired Selfish intentions // in decision-making, in marriage, in giving, in relationships Taking things for granted // thinking that newlywed life should be bliss, not focusing on what matters Wrong priorities // paying too much attention to things that don't matter

Again, three basic points (Step 5): 1. Invest yourself in your priorities. Give with intention. 2. Do more of what fires you up. Be inspired. Take time to rest and be filled. 3. Give thanks and be grateful every day.

Step 3 is making a list of what inspires you, invigorates you, and fires you up. Make a Pinterest board for inspiration and to keep yourself on track this year - see mine here (in progress!). Y'all, this was eye-opening for me. There it is, in black and white, exactly where I am today, how far I came in the last year, and the things that inspire me most. Amazing! Now I can begin thinking ahead with purpose (Step 6). Where do I see myself in 50 years? Why do I do what I do? What is my vision? I spent a little time during the flight reflecting on these questions and sketching out my initial responses. More to come as I continue the refining process. In the meantime, please feel free to share your goals for 2013 (if you have them already) and/or your reflection on what went well/not so well this past year in the comments below. Looking forward to sharing more of my goal-setting process with you in the days to come!

Love, Ashley