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I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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My One Word For 2022: NEW (Plus Business and Personal Goals)

January 31, 2022

I’ve seen a lot of people enter into this year talking about how they aren’t setting goals or making resolutions or picking words, and I honestly don’t blame them. I waited awhile before I felt ready to sit down and figure out what I wanted to see out of 2022 too and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with rest…or waiting until you feel truly inspired to do something.

With that time and space, I’ve actually gotten really excited about my goals and my word for 2022. 

But before we jump into what I have planned for this year, we’ll do a refresher on words past…

2017: FOCUS


2019: TRUST

2020: NOW


(Here’s the blog post from when I chose it!)

This has been one of my favorite words yet, because I love how it showed up in my life. I am notorious for being one with my business, but this year I really wanted to focus on the things that brought me the most joy and prioritize them.

Originally the word “balance” had come to mind, but I loved the word “prioritize” because by definition it means “to determine the order for dealing with (a series of items or tasks) according to their relative importance” – which means there is a time for work and there is a time for play (and all of the other things we need to function in life).

2020 had really thrown me for a loop and I was having a hard time feeling equalized again. I made it a mission of mine to really be intentional about prioritizing the things I knew were important to my happiness and for my future like…

  • Giving myself some weekends back (no longer working on Sundays!) – This was a huge change that I didn’t realize how much was needed. It’s so nice to know that I have time to spend with my friends or just doing whatever I want to do, especially with so many weekend weddings. 
  • Making time for working out and planning ahead to eat healthier – I have kept up with HelloFresh and making sure to eat breakfast almost every morning. I hit a 52 week streak on Peloton (!!!!) AND 100 rides.
  • Scheduling time with friends and family and being protective over that time – I made sure to take off at least one weekend a month and schedule weekly girls nights. 
  • Making financial investments for the future – The house will be a huge move for my future because the goal is for it to eventually become a rental property.
  • Doing work that makes me really happy and inspired (and saying no to stuff that doesn’t) – I’m starting to feel really excited about how I’m serving my clients again and I’m feeling energized for this year ahead – a feeling I haven’t really felt since before the pandemic.

Now to be honest – as far as my other specific goals go…I flopped. I really only finished like half of them. Oh well. We can’t win them all.

(To be fair, I did say in my post that I really had no direction and was kind of shooting in the dark at the beginning of the year…if that sounds like an excuse, it is LOL.)

This year while setting my goals I did try to be more intentional about picking goals that actually mattered to me rather than setting them just because I hoped they would happen. 

Alright…drumroll please!!!! 

My word for 2022 is…

2022: NEW

Every year choosing a word is a very spiritual experience for me. It feels like my word is whispered very quietly to me one day, and then every day after that it comes back again and again, until I just know. That’s what it needs to be.

I honestly wasn’t quite sure what 2022 should be focused on. I mean, there is a lot that happened in 2021!!! I’m still wrapping my head around it. 

But just like always, the word “NEW” kept showing up. 

NEW has two definitions:

  1. not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time.
  2. already existing but seen, experienced, or acquired recently or now for the first time.

There are a lot of things in my life that have never existed before, and a lot of things that have been around before but I’m excited to see them like it’s the first time.

I’m looking forward to introducing new ways to serve my audience, learning new skills, and setting up new processes.

Thankfully, prioritizing myself set me up for success with a lot of new things…like being a freaking home and dog owner!! 

When it comes to specific 2022 goals…

I’m kind of scared of this list. It’s BIG. Lots of NEW. But I’m excited to see how it all goes and I’m ready to take this year on full force.

  1. Spend Strategically – With big purchases comes strategic spending and budgeting. I want to have the Jeep paid off, the home renovations paid off, and then all of the initial home expenses built back up in savings.
  2. 2 year Streak on Peloton – I definitely don’t see Peloton going anywhere, though I am interested in trying out some different types of classes. I love their arms and light weights and bike bootcamps, and the boxing course was SO much fun. Either way, I need to do something in the gym at least every week.
  3. Launch some form of “business coaching” – You may have seen this coming and I’m still figuring out exactly how I want this to look this year. I know I love (and am good at) marketing, website, and sales strategy and really getting to be 1-1 with people growing their businesses. This may look like more free content or it may look like an offering. I just need to see what I feel most drawn to (if you’re interested in something specific, let me know!).
  4. Have Dune off-leash trained – Training doesn’t stop at puppy school! I want to have Dune confident off leash so I know he will listen when I call and I can take him running on the off-leash friendly beaches. Plus he does best when he’s constantly learning new things…like his mama 🙂
  5. Consistent Content Schedule – Yes, blogging and video are back on the docket! I do truly love writing and sharing helpful content with y’all. I just have to set up the processes and STICK TO THEM. In the past I used to blog all of the time, even if it was just for myself. I’ve gotten out of that habit from feeling overwhelmed by the weight expectations of session recaps that I’ve stopped sharing anything…not this year!
  6. Learn how to be a homeowner – aka POWER TOOLS. I’m learning them. I have a loooong list of projects I want to accomplish at the house and I’m excited to actually learn how to do them myself (with the help of my dad and brother, of course).

I do also have some other goals related to income (all business owners should have this!!!) but I’ll keep those for the whiteboard in my NEW office, hehe.

As always, if you’ve made it to the end of this post, thank you so much for your on-going support!!! I couldn’t do any of this without you. You’re helping me create my dream life, and I am so thankful. 

Now if you just needed a break at the beginning of the year and didn’t set goals, I totally understand…but baby, it’s time!!! Take the time to review and choose goals that are data-driven and also speak to your heart. Then write them down, tell someone, and let’s freaking do this.

Happy 2022!!!!!


I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer Helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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