Gold Rings Necklace - The Quintet by Lemonade Handmade on EtsyThe whole point of my weekend in Palm Springs was to share my Life List (Have you written yours yet? If not, here's a good place to start) and to choose five items to complete this year. It's all well and good to make a life list, but unless you are actively pursuing your goals, it's not doing you much good, is it?

I had highlighted about ten items on my list that I felt I could accomplish this year, but I waited to choose "the five" until I was sitting at lunch and in the moment. I surprised myself by choosing an item that I HADN'T highlighted and it turned out to be the item that I got emotional about. (#4 below) Clearly it is something that I need to do.

Standing up in front a group of 25 people and stating what we wanted to accomplish this year was a very powerful exercise. It was empowering to boldly make these statements, to feel supported in them and to in turn support others. At times like a group therapy session, there was laughter, tears and even hugs. Later that night, at our final dinner, each attendee was given this lovely necklace with five gold rings to symbolize our commitment to these goals. 

However, despite the power of a group therapy session, my most important message is that you do not actually need to attend a Camp Mighty or a Mighty Summit to do the same work. You can write a life list, choose five goals for the year, and BUY YOURSELF the necklace! Share your goals with a close friend, your book club, or a sibling. Post it to Facebook or your blog and ask for help in achieving your goals. Send it to me! You might be surprised by what comes from it. The more that you talk about your goals, the more likely it is that you will achieve them.

I actually chose six items to accomplish this year because one of them, our family portrait, had been scheduled and rescheduled and I knew I'd be able to check it off without much effort soon after returning home from Camp Mighty.

1. Have a professional family portrait taken. CHECK! We did this on Sunday! It was so much fun. As a photographer, my instinct is to just do our family portrait myself, but it's really, really hard to be both photographer and subject. Really hard. I just wanted to focus on being a family and let someone else worry about the logistics of taking our picture. I can't wait to see them! Milo and Quinn were so awesome, jumping and dancing and being fun and cute. I look forward to making this a regular thing every few years.

2. Make a pinhole camera. I love the idea of getting back to the basics of photography. Not only will I shoot film, I will also make my own camera! It's crazy talk in this age of digital gadgets and that's what I love about this goal.

3. Volunteer 20 hours at my son's school. I would like to find a way to be involved where I can make a real difference in the school. I think there is an organisation that meets monthly and I'll be looking into that. I also love the library and the art room and I wonder if there is a way to make a difference those places too. I have already put in about 7 hours in various places, but I'm not sure I have found the place that I can make a real difference yet. If anyone has experience with volunteering in your child's public school, I'd love to hear it.

4. Spa weekend with my sister. I began crying when I said this one in front of the group. I think because it's something I really want and need. We used to spend a lot of time together before I had kids and now it's mostly family time when we visit each other. I would love to have hours of uninterrupted time to just talk with her. We have already discussed a few plans and while I'd love a whole week with her in Iceland or something grand like that, the reality is that we might just do a spa afternoon in one of our home towns during a regular visit. That's ok. It's the spirit of the goal, to spend alone time with my sister in a relaxing, supported environment that I really want and need.

5. Help 5 people complete an item on their life list. Help me, help you!! I have a year to help five of you complete an item on your list. At Camp Mighty I read through everyone's lists and I chose items from my personal collection of stuff, mostly books, to give away in the hopes that these items would help people complete their goals. If you cross an item off your list and I helped you with it in anyway, won't you please let me know? 

6. Write Photography 101 articles. I have plans for this website, in particular offering more instructional, photography related content. I asked for help in developing this content and have received a few offers from people to proofread and test out my instructions. If you are interested in improving your photography skills, please let me know what you are looking for. I am starting with a guide on how to shoot in manual mode on your digital SLR camera.

The next year will be a good one for me I think, setting these goals will help keep me focused. Being the overachiever that I can be, I'm thinking I might even be able to do MORE than this. What do you think? What are your goals for the next year?