So. 2017. What should we do with you? In 2016 my goal was to take risks. I didn't achieve all my resolutions (who does?!) but I feel like I was true to my theme of 2016.
Perhaps the biggest risk I've taken was with my photography with my very first "YES!" when Nora and Jordan asked me to photograph their wedding reception. My friends/clients were awesome and the whole experience was incredible, and I've loved every minute of growing my photography skills and offerings from family portraits to kids sessions and I can't wait to see where 2017 takes me!
Another thing that I took a bit of risk in was my running. And I'm not talking about two PRs at Not So Normal and Richmond half marathons but rather the adventure and experience of running - being a mentor of a Fleet Feet running group and participating in the Tuna Run 200. If you'd told me in January 2016 that I would run in a 200-mile relay race I'd probably roll my eyes at you (and then I'd google just how far-fetched that idea might be).
And after a little too much risk-taking on top of a frigid cold mountain with a sheer drop that almost left me frozen with fear and frost, I decided to take a risk and confront my fear of heights with rock climbing. I'm still incredibly novice, and I still freeze embarrassingly just a couple feet (if that) above the ground sometimes, but I'm willing to take the risk of looking like an idiot and push myself out of my comfort zone.
How Did I Do With 2016's Resolutions?
Last year was the first year I set resolutions on the blog, and that's offered me a good chance to look back and see how I did.
1. Run faster, farther and longer.
Check! While I didn't PR in the 5 mile Krispy Kreme Challenge last year because Travis went for the full dozen doughnuts challenge, I did PR at the Tar Heel 10 Miler and at my two half marathons - Carrboro, NC and Richmond, VA - so I'm going to count this as a win. Oh, and I ran a 200-mile relay race. Does that count as longer? I think so!
2. Try a new activity or go somewhere new every month.
Ha, I didn't track this strictly, but overall I feel successful with this. I regularly tried new things with my photography; went backpacking at places like Grandfather Mountain, the Neusiok Trail, and Grayson Highlands; took trips to England and Kentucky; went hiking most weeks; and started climbing!
3. Master crow pose (bakasana) in yoga.
This is the one resolution that I'm a little disappointed in. While yes, I got to a good point with crow pose, I ended up not doing much yoga for most of 2016 because the class I had been going to conflicted with some running commitments, and I never found another class and instructor that I liked that fit my schedule. And while I still work my way into some poses on my own, it's just not the same as having a strong instructor - something to think about for 2017.
4. Write more.
Yeah! I did this! I actually started posting on the blog on a regular basis, and I kept writing for personal reasons. The only thing I wish I'd done more was write more fiction.
So what's in store for 2017?
I thought hard about this for a few days (okay, most of the holiday break), trying to figure out the direction I'm taking the blog and my photography (and my life!). These aren't easy questions, especially for someone who typically wings it for anything more than two ~~weeks~~ days. And while I don't have all the answers yet, I do have some guiding thoughts for the year.
I brainstormed a few words to define the new year, and one word really stuck with me: grow. I want to grow my photography, grow my blog, grow my running prowess, grow my climbing skills, grow as a writer, grow in all the ways I've pushed myself to expand my horizons. I want to keep pushing and chasing those horizons, ever-expanding, stretching, breathing into the space to fill it, fill myself, and grow. There's so much more I want to do and see and accomplish, and I'm going to push myself to grow in ways to succeed.
I also want to focus on the organic sense of the word - to grow things. We're reaching a critical point globally and environmentally - we need to establish a sustainable balance with our environment and conserve resources and wilderness, and I want to do my part. At my new house I've got one little raised bed already set up in the backyard, but it's not getting as much sunlight as I'd like and it needs a little more attention on the regular. It's important to me to minimize my footprint on the world, so I'm going to focus on that some this year.
I also want to encourage you, my readers, to grow with me. I hope to post things that are relevant and useful to you, but I also want you to feel like you can actually come with me. Let's hike together, let's run together, let's grow together. You know how to reach me.
I do have a few concrete resolutions to work towards in 2017:
1. Run a sub-2:10 half marathon.
My Richmond time was 2:10:03. I'm pretty sure I can run 13.1 miles at least 4 seconds faster. Now I just have to go out and do it.
2. Climb 5.9 routes.
I'm all over the place with my climbing right now (you'll hear about that more later this week), but this is an area of my life where I really want to grow.
3. Go backpacking six times this year.
I was really disappointed I didn't go backpacking this fall; I need to get back out there asap! No wildfires, no ice, no crazy schedules can keep me from backpacking this year!
4. Do a 40 mile bike ride.
I always want to bike more!
5. Be more intentional with McCrae and Ryder.
Sometimes I'm so absorbed with writing or editing photos that I don't realize my fiancé and my dog are waiting for some attention. I'm usually decent at giving McCrae attention because he can open his mouth and say things like, "Hey Liz! Pay attention to me!" but poor Ryder just has his mopey puppy dog eyes and his Siberian Husky "awrooo rooo roo!" noise. So I want to take some time and make sure Ryder in particular feels included and has fun, even if he makes hiking and running and backpacking and everything else a hundred times harder (seriously, my dog is a jerk, but I still love him).
6. Go on at least three big trips.
7. Do yoga at least twice a month.
I totally slacked on my yoga recently, and while I think about how I should really do yoga all the time, I haven't actually done it. Time to fix it.
8. Keep writing.
Ideally I'll post five times a week - Monday through Friday - every week at 7am (this is a change from 7pm like I had been posting!), but I know I'll slip. That's okay; that's why these are goals!
9. Grow my photography skills and client list.
I've got some metrics I want to hit and some classes and skills I'm excited about pursuing!
Okay, okay, I need to stop. Too many resolutions (and this is arguably already too many resolutions) can dilute your attention and your chances of success. I feel pretty confident with all these resolutions though, so here's to 2017! Happy New Year, and I'll see you out there!
Do you have any resolutions? Let me know in the comments!