My Dreams & Intentions for 2018.

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I am aware that it's February and I'm a little late to the goal-setting party. But I suppose it's never too late to set some intentions for the year ahead. Also, isn't it just so mainstream to start your year in January? I mean, it's like so last year... #FebruaryIsTheNewJanuary.

Jokes aside, January was actually just quite overwhelming for me. Whilst I watched most sensible and successful people take some time off for Christmas, spend it with their families and friends, it was actually the most tiring & stressful time of year for me. When you're at the start of your road towards a dream job, there's quite a lot of hustle involved. Mine means being a bartender 5 days a week & building a business on the side. So time off for Christmas is basically out of the question. Naturally, I am quite used to this way of life where you work during the most social times of your days, your weeks and the year in general. So I don't particularly mind the way holidays just fly by like any other day of the year. But I also see a lot of value in celebrating every season of the year & making an effort to mark the holidays. It's important to me as a human, and the way I connect with the world. So I spent my spare moments of December watching my favourite Christmas films, decorating, making wreaths, drinking mulled wine and learning how to bake ginger bread biscuits. I was determined to get into that holiday spirit & not miss celebrating yet another season that ends before I am ready to let it go for another year. And I feel particularly glad how this year I managed to do all those little seasonal things I wish to find time for every year. 

But the downside of my lifestyle is that when most other people feel rested & inspired to start their New Year, make all sorts of resolutions and sign themselves up to yoga classes, I hit the bed feeling completely burnt out. And yet, work continues so I just have to carry on. This January, about a week into the New Year, I got ill for 1 day, pushed myself through it, realised that was insane and planned some impromptu time off. See, I was watching others share their 2017 high-light reels and their dreams, and plans for 2018, I felt inspired & encouraged to dream bigger myself. I looked back at my year, appreciated all that had happened, the trials and the tribulations, felt grateful for the lessons learnt, small & big steps taken, and prepared to make 2018 a better & bigger year for me and my business. The only small issue was that I had no energy to actually put anything into practice. So I took 5 days off filled with nice walks, a little day trip to Arundel, filling up on some lovely treats, a social media detox & lots of reading. Then another hard few weeks, another burn-out and another social media detox later.. *it's like a bloody moon cycle* - I finally found myself ready to reflect, reset & start mapping a new chapter. 

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As I sat down to set out my goals & dreams for the year, three words came to the forefront of my mind: gratitude, consistency, intention. I wrote these words down, pinned them to my vision board & spent some time soaking in their meaning to me. 

I then went on to writing out a list of my dreams and goals for the year. I tried to dream big and be ambitious. So the end result is a mix of both small & big dreams for 2018. I'm never really one to share my dreams very openly as I fear they won't come true and that somehow will be embarrassing. But, let's face it, when we dream, we're the only people really keeping score of the results. Everyone else is too busy dreaming their own dreams and tracking their own progress & achievements. So I'm changing the game this year and I'm putting my dreams out there for the world to see. 

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INTENTIONS 

Gratitude

Consistency

Intention

Gratitude is something I felt was lacking in my mindset last year. I hope to fill my heart with more gratitude. I want to feel more appreciative of the process of learning, the struggle that comes with working towards ones dreams & just the simple moments of every day life. It is so easy to loose sight of how far you've come when you're only focused on where you want to get to. So this year I want to make an intentional effort at cultivating feelings of gratitude. And I'm starting that from writing down three things I am grateful for each day. 

Consistency is the stage I feel my business needs to grow into. 2017 was the year I looked fear in the eyes and decided to go after my dream, despite all those people who told me: 'Forget it! It will never happen!'. It's the year I began to learn about and understand what it really means to start, and build a creative business in 2017 and going onwards. I spent a great part of this year reading, learning, trying, getting frustrated, getting inspired and trying again. I now feel that I have a fairly good idea when it comes to knowing what it is that I am trying to achieve & create. I know what I want my business to be, I've been continually improving and crystallising my own style, my voice & my vision. I know who my ideal client is. I know the values that are integral to how I create & share my work. But I want to get better at consistently showing up to work on my business, to create more, to share more & to be of service more often. 

Intention and purpose is what I strive to be the driving force behind all that I do and share this year. I want to align my efforts with my vision. I am learning better habits of goal-setting, reflection, and purpose-driven work. Instead of working loads and burning out quickly, or giving up & getting frustrated quickly, I want to be wiser and more intentional about everything I set out to work on or achieve. Whenever I feel frustrated with my efforts, I turn to learn from the successful entrepreneurs, business owners and creatives. I find there are two types of mindsets out there. There are those who believe that you achieve things by hustling really really hard. And there are those who think the road to success (and, in fact, success itself) lies in working smarter, not harder. I tend to side with the later. Anyone who knows me well, and has worked with me, will testify, that I am not a lazy kind of person. And I am bored easily when I am idle and not challenged. It might be that Lithuanian work ethic or an endlessly curious mind, I don't know. What I do know is that I need to be constantly challenging and pushing myself, or I will become bored and depressed. And yet that doesn't mean that working for countless hours and staying up late every night is the way to success for me. When I take time to slow down, to spend time with people I love, to do things that I love & enjoy, to have fun, or simply to stop and do nothing for a little while. I come back to work feeling more inspired, with new ideas, fresh perspectives and more purpose. I achieve more in less time. And I create work that is better. And I'll always take better over more! So my goal this year is to be more purpose-driven, rather than fear or pressure driven in my work and plan-making.

Goals + Dreams

In case the universe (or the internet) is really listening, these are my dreams for 2018.

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  • Travel More. Go on a camping holiday.

I've been very settled over the last couple of years and I miss being on the road! I would love to visit Wales and Scotland. I want to see more of UK and more of Europe. And go wild swimming, and camp, and take loads of amazing photographs of the beautiful landscapes.

  • Get better at landscape, food and product photography.

I'm pretty confident when it comes to my ability to take beautiful portraits of people. But I do often find landscapes quite intimidating. So this year I'm setting out to get out there more and shoot the great outdoors. Whereas, with food & product photography - I just don't really do much of it and I'd like to experiment and play more.

There's only one thing that stands between someone with an interest and an expert. It's 10,000 hours of practice - so better get going!

  • Create a zine.

I want to create a little book with some old & new poetry, photography and illustrations. A lot of my work just sits in my drawers and art folders, so I'd like to get it out there. The whole point of it is to enjoy making & creating, then share & hopefully inspire others!

  •  Set up a shop for illustration prints

I really want to do more illustration work this year, and start selling prints. If you're interesting in purchasing one - let me know what takes your fancy, I'll be starting to scan and prepare my work soon!

  • Draw, design & write Moon Witch. By December I would like to be at a place where I can begin to contact publishers.

So this is one of the more ambitious ideas. But I have a vision for this book which is all about female heritage, menstruation, moon cycles, intuition and feelings. I have the rough idea for the illustrations & sequence, I just have to sit down and actually start drawing. In short, I want to create a visual guide for women who wish to be more in touch with their feelings, their intuition and their bodies, for the sake of a healthier and more creative life. There are books out there that explain a lot of these ideas, but many of them are quite esoteric and alienating for those of us who come from a more rational/scientific school and don't always get on well with very spiritual and mystical language. I want to create a book that helps others to understand it all as a metaphor which help them connect more with their bodies, their feelings, their own source of creativity & inspiration. 

  • I want my business to take off. Go part-time & work more on my business to take it to the next level. And then go full-time with my photography & illustration work.

As luck would have it, I am soon going to be in a position where I can start working less hours as a bartender, and focus more of my time & energy on my business. I am so excited about that & cannot wait for what may come next!

  • Go to Lithuania.

This plan is already in the works as I am hoping to visit my home this August. Nothing is fully decided yet, but there's a potential for a little bit of an adventure and I'm really looking forward to reconnecting with my roots. It's been 2 years since I've been home and I've been really missing it lately.

  • Shoot my first wedding.

I'm actually pretty damn good at photographing natural moments of life & capturing the beauty of people & their interactions. It's what I'm best at, really! But I've not yet had a chance to photograph a wedding. So if you're getting married or know someone who is - please let me know or pass on my details. I'm offering starting rates & beautiful imagery. Will you be my first? 

  • Dream Big.

I have a tendency to dream 'realistic/achievable' dreams. And that means I don't set myself high goals and I achieve less than I perhaps otherwise could *if I aimed higher!*. So I'm calling an end to this and starting to dream big. It might take some time, but I'll learn to give myself more freedom.

  • Shoot the intimate wedding of my dreams.

I'm trying to dream big here, guys.

  • Nail down my business & marketing system that is consistent & helps me stay on track.

It would help my business, my mind and make my life easier!

  • Do the Artist's Way (a book & practical course by Julia Cameron) & commit to it.

I know that creativity and being creative on a daily basis is really important to me and makes me very happy. So I'd love to dedicate more of my time to writing and practicing my creativity purely for the joy of it.

  • Have a professional portrait session of me.

As a portrait photographer, it's really really important to me to always work on my abilities to help people feel more comfortable and confident when in front of a camera. I think to do that it's important to understand what it feels like, too. I do sometimes take self-portraits and I love the process of it, but I'd like to let go of the control sometime and allow someone else to show me what they see! I've done two couple sessions, but they're so different as you really just get to hang out with the person you love and can pretty much forget that the photographer is taking pictures. So if you'd like to photograph me - let me know! I'm totally up for it! And I'm always happy to do trades with other photographers (fancy a portrait or couple session?)!  

  • Begin writing a book.

There are a lot of thoughts in my head and I've always wanted to write a book. I'm not sure where to begin, or what it might end up about, but I know it will have something to do with my experience and understating of life, loss, uprooting and rooting yourself in a different culture, and what goes on in a head that was born & brought up speaking one language, but ends up falling in love with and living, breathing, speaking another. 

  • Write & publish 1 blog a week.

I want to write and share more. And I want to be more helpful to all of you who may be reading this. If there are any topics you'd like me to get into and share more about (personal life, life in general, universe, god, politics, photography, illustration, art, love, business... anything!) - please leave a comment or send me a message and I'd love to cover it. 

  • Do a photography workshop. 

I love learning by myself, but there's so much to learn from interacting with other photographers and actual in-person lessons with amazing people in the industry. I really really want to do a photography workshop this year and Photography Farm or Signature System are on my bucket-list. Just got to save up for it and hope I can buy a ticket before it sells out! But if you know any other great workshops based in UK - please let me know!

  • Work with a business coach.

There is so much information out there these days, and so much you can learn by yourself. But it can be so helpful to work with someone who can help with your specific needs and vision. January has actually brought some amazing news and I'll be doing a couple of coaching sessions with someone I greatly admire & I cannot wait to see how much of a boost in the right direction that gives me & my business.

  • Do styled shoots with other vendors.

I want to create a wedding & elopement portfolio and would love to collaborate with some other creatives out there. Think etherial, romantic, adventurous & natural. And give me a shout if you'd like to partner up!

  • Have my photography published on a blog, magazine.

I started the New Year with some of my photographs printed in Viva Lewes, a local magazine. But I'd love to reach a bigger audience and get published &/or featured on some bigger publications. This girl has goals, y'all.

  • Grow my instagram account to 5000 followers.

Follower numbers is not what I get up for in the morning, but I want to be able to reach & work with more people. So my goal this year is to really up that insta game of mine.

  • Dreaming big - I'd like to grow it to 10,000 followers & over.

 

I think that's pretty much all my lil' heart desires.

So if you're reading this, universe, friend, stranger - and you'd like to collaborate, work with me &/or help me achieve any of these goals - get in touch

Until then, I'll just be here wishing upon that star *

Stay wild & stay honest!

Aiste x

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