These photographs are just a handful of my favorite moments and memories from the year 2010.

Yes, this is going to be one of those “New Year’s” posts with goals and aspirations, but I always find them encouraging and inspiring to write. Last year my “New Year’s blog post” had a handful of photography-related goals for 2010, and I can honestly say that I actually followed through on them. :)

My life has changed a lot in the past few years and I think I’m just doing my best to stay happy and in control (so far, so good). Two years ago I didn’t know that right now I would be single, living in Salt Lake City and have a very successful career in photography. I didn’t know that I’d have two published books under my belt with a good chance that there will be more to come in the future. I didn’t know that I would go through so much personal drama and change that it would actually make me a better, happier person.

So, for 2011 I guess I just want to do what’s best for me. Yeah, I know, that’s super vague but I do have a few specific things I know I want to accomplish (see below). I’m in a very reflective and uplifting place in my life that I just want to make sure I make the best of what I have and who I am. The fun part is that I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing beyond three months from now, and even those three months are still very foggy. For a very large chunk of my life I had always wanted to plan things out years in advance, but right now it’s just so exhilarating not knowing what to expect in the future. No expectations … just hopes and dreams. :)

So, without further ado here are my goals for 2011:

Goal #1: I know that I definitely want/need to travel, somewhere non-touristy and far, far away. I haven’t traveled much in the past few years and I’m itching to get out of the US. I also have some anxiety about planning a complete solo vacation to a random destination. There are obvious safety concerns about traveling alone with thousands of dollars of equipment by my side, but most of it is just complete indecisiveness on where to go and how much money to spend. I’d really like to push past that and just go … that’s one thing I need to do before the end of 2011.

Goal #2: I guess that the previous paragraph goes hand-in-hand with the next goal … I want to take more risks. Whether it’s with relationships, photography, travel, writing, or any other endeavor, I’m going to really push myself past my comfort zone. We don’t grow if we don’t try new things, and sometimes that can be scary. I’m only going to live once and I definitely don’t want to have any regrets.

Goal #3: I’m going to stretch my artistry and creativity beyond photography. This is extremely simple to do, yet also very important. It shouldn’t be too difficult, since all it will really take is signing up for an art class and actually going. I sometimes find myself “stuck” creatively, and maybe it’s just because photography isn’t enough. Ever since I was very young, as early as I can remember being alive, I’ve had this passion for art inside of me that needed to express itself. As a kid I drew, painted, or just created random pieces of art with construction paper. As a teen I wrote a lot of poetry, and even learned a few chords on the guitar which helped me write some songs. When I decided to take a photography course in High School I realized that photography was the way that just “clicked” with me to express my creativity, but lately I’ve been longing to get back into those art mediums that I used to really enjoy.

Goal #4: I’m going to be happy just being me. I’m going to make me a priority, treat myself with respect and not let others determine who I should be or what I do. It’s well-known that you can’t truly love others or let others in to love you unless you love yourself, and I’m really going to take this to heart. This is not about being selfish … quite the opposite in fact. I always find that the people we enjoy being around the most are those with a flow of positive energy, and people are usually that way because they’re content in their own skin and just plain happy. When you take good care of yourself you’re centered and refreshed, and it makes it so much easier to be there for everyone else, and in my case (photographically speaking) “being there” means sharing on my blog, attending photowalks, creating tutorials and writing books … or whatever else comes along.

That’s it, for now. I know I have other non-soul-searching related things I’d like to do, like adding a full-frame SLR and at least one more good lens to my arsenal of gear, and also try to save and/or spend my money wisely (do those contradict themselves? hehe). But those don’t really take much effort … because, unfortunately, lifting my wallet isn’t really too incredibly difficult. :) I wish everyone a loving, enriching, drama-free 2011! Happy New Year!