Mabyn laughing in a field

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Mabyn laughing in a field

Goal Planning for Creatives

There are some people who live for goal setting & then proceeding to kill it until those goals are reached. They eat actionable steps for breakfast and live by the word of their planners.

I am NOT that person.

I’m that girl who eats daydreams and kitty cats…Well I don’t REALLY eat kitty cats, I just LOVE THEM! I’d much rather plan my day by what I’m feeling than stick to a strict schedule. I’ve come to realize this is a strength & a weakness at the same time. As a creative, it can be an incredibly fulfilling way to live. As a business owner, it sucks. When I base my day on my feelings, I. Get. Nothing. Accomplished.

But being self aware is the first step in working on this issue. So in an attempt to be more A type than B type, I force myself to sit down and write out goals and plans. Sometimes I’m successful in following those plans and other times not so much. However, the end result has made me much more productive and productivity is key friends!

Before I start out on my way of doing things, let me state you need to give yourself grace. A fly by the seat of your pants kind of person will never full be a structured A type. Celebrate the times where you are super focused & diligent, but don’t let it crush your spirit. We need creativity and flexibility to truly shine in both areas.

Also, make sure you’re not created goals based on limited beliefes. Jenika McDavitt of Psychology for Photographers talks about this & how it can help you create goals that line up with your dreams!

Black and White of Mabyn with eyes closed

Okay, so when aim to set goals for the new year or for life in general here’s my process:

#1 Turn off all distractions

– If you’re like me any little thing will distract you. There are so many days where I bounce from project to project because a text or a Facebook message distracted me. It then took me down a rabbit hole and 3 hours later I’m doing something completely different than what I set out to do in the first place. So when I need to be focused I turn my phone on silent, click out of Facebook, and reduce any other things that could distract me.

#2 Find a guide

– If figuring out what you want for your business and life is overwhelming, look for help. Sometimes big ideas are really hard for me to narrow into smaller steps. Almost every year, when I re-evaluate my goals, I need a guide to take me through the process. In the past I’ve used The Modern Tog & Power Sheets. This year I found a great blog post by Wonderlass. Why not use the same guide every year? Because I find each guide asks slightly different questions which can help me fine tune my goals or look at them in a new light.

#3 Give yourself time

– Goal planning is not a quick process. You may have a few ideas, but it takes time to really dig into what’s needed for the oncoming year. Sometimes it takes me several days or weeks to sift through and process what’s important vs what’s not. What are goals that I need to work on immediately and what are some that can added in as the year goes by. Plus breaking up planning sessions will help not to be overwhelmed. Bite size chunks of time are incredibly helpful to get things done.

#4 Break Things Down

– If you’re anything like me, you can dream big dreams. You can create amazing goals and do a whole lot of nothing with them. Like the time I decided I was going to create a photography business for women. I started it, created gorgeous portraits, documented amazing women, but it never went anywhere. Why? Because I didn’t have the detailed steps to keep me passionate. I am most successful when I create multiple actionable steps. You’ll hear that term thrown around a bunch (I’ve done it twice already!). Actionable steps are simply all the little things that need to be done in order to achieve that goal. So had I included all of the steps necessary (i.e. marketing steps, workflow steps, end goal steps) my new business might have been more successful.

#5 Make them tangible

– It’s very difficult for me to learn from simply reading and writing. Maybe that’s why my high school grades weren’t all that wonderful. However, when I incorporate some sort of tactile act into learning I do really well. A lot of times I’ll read a blog or watch a video and then try the thing out myself. Whether it be a new lighting technique or a recipe. It solidifies the understanding in my brain. So how do you do that in goal planning? For me it’s adding aids. I’ll schedule reminder prompts in my phone, put up a vision board in my office, and audibly speak those goals out loud reaffirming my desire for them. It helps make these goals alive and therefor keeps me passionate about them.

Mabyn staring up in the woods(Photos by Emily Elizabeth Studios)

2018 is coming up quick and I’ve already started our goal planning process. This year I feel more confident than ever in achieving our stellar goals. Here are just a few & their actionable steps:

My goals for 2018

Category: Health

Goal: Lose 15lbs
– Continue the keto/low carb diet
– Work out 2-3 times a week (walk when its nice, evening workouts with Daniel, ask friends to do activities like hikes & games)
– Continue to instagram process (follow our Keto journey @MabynHenderson)
– Track Macros Daily
– When out with friends choose low carb & less sugary options
– Don’t get down on yourself when you cheat, get back on the horse and keep going!
– Meal plan & prep weekly (Sunday/Monday)

Category: Marriage & Spiritual Health

Goal: Building a strong marriage
– Have a weekly Bible study together (Start with Francis Chan marriage study)
– Don’t sweat the small stuff – let forgiveness flow freely
– Communicate your feelings often so he knows what’s going on. He can’t read your mind!
– Have a monthly date night that does not involve Movies or TV. Go on adventures, play games, have deep conversations
– Take time to pray with and over each others hopes, dreams, and the future of our family

Category: Business

Goal: Create more educational resources for photographers
– Create list of content to blog and vlog about
– Post blog/vlogs 2-3 times a week
– Create content the first week of the month
– 10-12 blogs
– 4-5 vlogs
– Ask readers & social media questions – invite feedback
– Go live once a week to encourage interaction
– Be consistent
– Don’t doubt your ability to encourage and help
– Be honest & transparent in all you put out

Now the next step is to create a vision board that includes these goals and the many more that I have written down. I’ll then add reminders in my phone to help me stay committed. Hopefully this method will help you when it comes to taking those big goals and dreams and making them reality. I hope and pray 2018 will be super productive and exciting for you!

If you have any questions about goals, business, or photography feel free to shoot me an email at

Until next time my lovelies!



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Goal Planning for Creatives