As we promised on Tuesday, today we want to share a little from our own #DreamTogether14 session. Each year, since we started our business, we have been hosting an annual review, dreaming, and setting big goals for the upcoming year. It always seems to take place at a slightly different time and location each year but no matter what, we try to take about 3 days to disconnect and really focus on how we can improve ourselves, our relationships, and our business.
Last year we created our own mini retreat and spa in our guest room. This year, we kept things a little simpler and held our review in our living room. We started with a few gingerbread waffles, and homemade lattes. And ended with some huge dreams for 2014.
For the past 3 years, we’ve been talking about … ok, maybe I have been talking about how we should get our own espresso machine and for Christmas Liz surprised me and actually went out and bought us one!
So over tasty espresso drinks with terrible latte art (I need a little practice still) and tasty gingerbread waffles, we set out to dream BIG together!
This year was the first year we created our guides to Dreaming Big Together, if you haven’t checked those posts out yet, be sure to do so below:
As we created the guides we were also simultaneously working through our own goals and dreams. There will probably be a few tweaks next year but overall, we were super happy with our results. If you followed along and downloaded the guides, we would love to hear your feedback! Send us a note at hello at amazinglifetogether.com!
Before we got started, the first thing we did this year was to open up our old notebook and take a look back at dreams and goals from five years ago. One of the fun things we found was our 1001 Dreams to Achieve list that we had created. I don’t think we actually had 1001 things on the list, but we had a lot, a few of our favorites include:
- Create a product that makes life easier
- Go on a mission trip once per year to a different country
- Write a book
- Swim with a dolphin
- Be a producer for the Today Show
- Learn to write with left hand
It was really fun to reflect and see how much we’ve actually accomplished over the past five years, and how some of our perspectives on life have changed. And even a few of those 1001 things are dreams we hope to achieve and cross off the list this year. In December we plan to head to Malawi with a group of friends and Build On. There, we will help build a school for children. We can’t wait to share more details in the future, but it will definitely be a trip of a lifetime and something we hope to repeat each year in the future.
A few other goals we hope to achieve this year are:
Get healthy – This past year we both pretty much stopped exercising. As I looked down at the scale on New Year’s Day, I was now 25 pounds heavier than what my doctor told me I should weigh. Liz battled with health issues, including having surgery to remove a cyst from her ovary and is scheduled for a second surgery to remove a cyst from her pancreas in February. So this year, we are going to make the effort to get healthy. We plan to exercise more, eat better, get more sleep, and make smarter health choices. So far, we’ve already made an effort to get to bed earlier, eat better, and we even went to Yoga last night. After just these few small steps, we are feeling much better about ourselves.
Have more quality time – Last year it always seemed like we were so busy. We were at photo shoots, working on creating Amazing Life Together, traveling on another adventure, etc. When we weren’t working, we were checking Facebook, or Instagraming our new favorite meal. By the time we looked up each day, it was already well into the evening and there wasn’t a lot of time for just us. How many other couples feel similarly? So this year, our goal is to get more organized in our businesses, and create intentional time for just us. A few days ago, we went to listen to Gretchen Rubin speak about her new book, Happiness at Home, one of the things she said really struck a cord. It went something like this: to be happy you have to put leisure time, and things you like to do on your to-do list and calendars because they are just as important as the other tasks that take up your time throughout the day. We couldn’t agree more! We’ve already started scheduling sex, so why not add a few additional quality time activities to the calendar each week.
Learn some fun new hobbies – Photography used to be our favorite hobby. But as it turned into a business, although we still love it, it hasn’t really been a hobby anymore. So this year we hope to find some fun new hobbies that we can do together and encourage each other to do as well.
For me, I want to learn to be a barista. I want to make Latte Art, and other fun coffee creations. I just love the art and science of a great cup of coffee. Liz has already been encouraging me to pursue this by getting us an espresso maker, and has even been encouraging me to attend a workshop for baristas.
It might not look like it, but this is much improvement over my original latte art attempt. :)
For Liz, she has always talked about learning to letter. Creating fun works of art out of words has always been a secret love of hers. For the past year she has been saying that she wants to take a lettering class. So this year, I plan to encourage Liz to find a course at a local community college, online, etc, so she can learn the skill she loves so much.
Together, we want to focus on our initial love of photography, capturing and creating beautiful images. We plan to learn how to use film, and even develop our own pictures. Thanks to the encouragement from Liz’s cousin Mike and his fiancé Jessie, we will be sure to turn this idea into a fun new hobby too.
Finally, our biggest dream and craziest goals for this year is one we shared earlier on Facebook:
We will travel the U.S. and the world telling and documenting couples stories to inspire others to live a more AMAZING Life Together. We will use our talents as photographers and storytellers to share true authentic glimpses of love and show that stories of love triumphing in marriage do exist. We will spread love one image, story, and couple at a time and start a movement of couples striving to live a more amazing life together. And as a result we will be featured on the Today Show.
Last year we created our Amazing Marriage Project, and started developing the idea for a documentary. Both are ideas that we LOVE. They are BIG dreams (or as our friend Mary Marantz would say, Big Hairy Audacious Goals)! Questions filled our brains like: How could we really photograph and document that many love stories? Where would we find couples interested in participating? How would we fund a full documentary?
These questions full of fear definitely got to us at times over the past year. In fact, we did let our fear get in the way of a big dream and idea that could have a huge impact on the lives of other couples. We spent so much time trying to come up with the perfect plan that we often lost site of the overall goal: to make an impact on the lives of couples!
Yes, we still have a lot of the same fears, but we aren’t going to let those fears get in the way anymore. Instead, we are just going to start and see where life takes us!
At the end of this month we are starting what we plan to make a continuous Journey throughout the year. We will be heading to varies parts of the country, starting with Salt Lake City, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, and Phoenix, to find and document love stories. After that, a few places we plan to go to are Chicago, Dallas, the New England area, and the Southeast US.
We have been working hard on this dream to get out and do this thing over the past few days and will definitely be sharing a lot more soon. For now, if you are a couple with a great love story, know a couple with a great love story, have amazing grandparents that have been married for 50+ years, or want to help out in any other way, please jump on over to our contact page and send us a message or nominate your favorite couple!
Our goal for this year is to document 20 or more couple’s love stories and share them on AMAZING Life Together. Who knows, maybe one day soon our dream of being interviewed on the Today show for doing something meaningful will come true! Until then, we are going to just get out and go and make as big of an impact as we can on the lives of couples around the world!