It’s time to put 2018 to bed and look ahead to the goals we can set in the new year. The chronological line is completely arbitrary, of course, but it’s fascinating to look at blocks of time to reflect on who we were and what mattered to us. Yesterday, I watched a marathon on CNN about “the 2000s” and the events of that decade. We are now in the final year of the following decade. How will historians look back on the events of the final year before our world entered “the twenties.” That sounds weird.

Transitioning to a new year is a healthy “reset button” for the mind, a chance to remind ourselves that time is slipping by, and we have a limited number of days remaining to get stuff done before they lower us into the ground. It’s also fun to guess what lies in store for us and review in 12 months to see how wrong we were.

Goal Setting for 2019

Things I want to accomplish in the new year

Setting resolutions may often be an exercise in achieving mostly disappointment, but I firmly believe in the power of putting goals in writing. Placing specific objectives within a 12-month framework gives us a reasonable window of time in which to get it done. If you can’t last past mid-January, well, your heart really wasn’t in it, was it?

Continuing to Increase my Skills in Marketing

Two-thousand and eighteen was a year of learning a great deal of new information about marketing, particularly in regard to Search Engine Optimization. I thought I knew a good deal about it until I began to peel back the layers, and there’s so much left to learn and such a high frequency of change. You really can get left behind if you aren’t paying attention. I intend to keep that train a’rollin in 2019 and amass as much knowledge as possible.

Find and Start my Next Career Adventure

It’s no secret that I am looking for another job. I have the luxury of searching while I still have one. I always think it is prudent to put feelers out there and see what opportunities might exist, even if you are perfectly content where you are. The truth is I am exhausted after 5 years in the agency environment, juggling a never-ending task list with assignments from five different people to finish before close of business. It’s not that I’m afraid of hard work. I simply think I’m at my best when I can focus on one task at a time rather than being pulled in 20 different directions. So, hiring managers, here I am. Let’s talk about what I can do for you…

Do More Senior Portraits

With a daughter who is about to be a senior in high school, I think I have an opportunity to be a resource for those parents and the students who want something more than cookie-cutter assembly-line senior portraits that cost an arm and a leg.

Travel More. A LOT more.

Yesterday, I drove over to Atlanta for a photo shoot. Surprisingly, it was only my third trip there in 2018. That’s sad. I have allowed myself to lose touch with friends and collaborators in other cities. I need to leave my cave more often and actually cast myself out into the world more than I did this year. On the weekends when I do not have my daughter, there is absolutely no reason for me to be sitting in Fort Payne AL bored and watching TV if I can make the short drive to Atlanta, Birmingham, Huntsville, Rome GA, Nashville, etc. and be A) creating my art, or B) having a blast doing fun stuff. Yesterday’s model, Liv, suggested I should try to schedule bookings in surrounding cities and “tour” somewhat, trading guest room privileges for a shoot the way traveling models do. I’m down. I have at least one upcoming trip to New Orleans planned this spring (see below).

Take Better Care of Myself

The last couple of years, I have not taken as good care of myself as I should. I’ve put on weight and not exerted enough effort to stay active. Usually, I get exercise by going outside during the summer and doing photo shoots, but I dramatically scaled back on those during the past year, and it shows on my waist line. I can only imagine how much heavier I’d be now if I had not stopped drinking beer as often (one benefit of not getting to socialize as much). I’ve used my back and forth commute as an excuse for too long, but as my daughter recently reminded me, “Dad, you don’t need a gym membership to walk around the track at the VFW fairgrounds in the backyard.” Touche, my young Padawan. By this time next year, I WILL be thinner and healthier. Prepping to take my “before photo” this week so I can brag about my dramatic progress. Any weight loss/heathier eating suggestions are appreciated.

Creating a “Coffeetable” Art Book

I love photography books, the ones packed full of images as a retrospective on the life’s work of famous photographers, sharing photojournalism, or entertainment/celebrity portraiture. I can spend hours and hours browsing the pages. One of my major goals for 2019 is to complete a coffeetable art book project. I want to do the production and art direction for something that is wholly my own and takes a serious, artistic approach that I can be proud of. For every photo shoot I do in 2019 (minus the senior portrait shoots, obviously), I hope to generate images to contribute to this thematic project.

Get in a Relationship

It sounds cheesy, but yes, I intend to find someone and be in a relationship. It’s more challenging than you’d think. I work all of the time, so I don’t really have much of a social life, plus I’m an introvert, so…

Generally be a more positive, goal-oriented person

Yeah, I know. Everybody says that this time of year. Then they slide right back into their old habits around late-January. But I’m serious. I’ve already resumed listening to the positivity resources like podcasts and reading self-improvement blogs and books. Setting and pursuing goals is central to my identity. If I don’t have goals I’m working toward, life can feel pretty bleak and purposeless. This can potentially be the year that I take all facets of my “game” to a higher level and transform myself into someone who is more successful at my job, happier, more physically fit, and a better father. I’ll be setting up monthly reminder notifications to bring me back to a course correction when I inevitably stray off course.

Anticipating Stuff to Come

Another thing that keeps me going is using countdown timers to watch the approach of highly anticipated fun events. So far, I’m planning Spring Break in New Orleans with my daughter (her first time there, so it should be fascinating).

  • We just marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission that produced the iconic photograph of the Earth rising above the lunar horizon. July will mark a half-century since men first walked on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.
  • Starting on January 1, hundreds of thousands of works of art, film, literature and music from 1923 will enter the public domain.
  • We’re going to get some big movies in 2019 such as “Avengers: Endgame” and “Captain Marvel.” The final season of “Game of Thrones” is coming in April. “Men in Black International” is coming to theaters, as is “Star Wars: Episode IX.”
  • Expect new music from Weezer, Vampire Weekend, Tame Impala, My Bloody Valentine, Kanye West, Lana Del Rey, Rihanna, Slipknot, and Adele.
  • It will be interesting to see which candidates throw their hat in the ring to compete for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination to take on Trump. I expect a packed crowd in the running.

Predictions for 2019-2029

  • Unfortunately, an economic recession will hit during summer and spread globally, instigated by the China trade war and a slowdown in growth as the other shoe drops on the tax cut. Globally, we’ll see a shift toward mobile payments and cash-free societies.
  • Machines will continue to replace human laborers, causing massive job losses in low-skill jobs and starting to make a dent in white-collar jobs in finance, accounting, computer science, and more. Truck drivers will be replaced by driverless trucks.
  • Self-driving and electric vehicles will continue to grow in usage, as well as solar-powered vehicles. We’ll see the adoption of crash-avoidance braking features on new cars by the end of the year.
  • We will also begin shifting away from cables and cords as we move to wireless power in the home.
  • The world’s population will exceed 7.6 billion people.
  • 5G tech will finally arrive and will usher in the next wave of internet usage and devices. Global internet service by satellite will become available, and even the poorest people on the planet will potentially have access – more people will own phones than have electricity. In fact, some clothing and things worn like reading glasses will start to arrive on the marketplace with internet-connected sensors and components.
  • Internet usage will increasingly feature a shift to voice-search and video content while a huge chunk of traffic will be used by appliances in the home.
  • We’ll see a reverse of the trend of brick-and-mortar retailer chains shuttering locations as brands finally shift to e-commerce and fulfillment centers will replace shopping malls. We will begin to realize a future in which 3-D printers create stuff we need overnight in the garage.
  • Scientists will develop foods that can last for years before decomposing.
  • Robotic advancements will allow the aging population to retain more mobility while enabling everyone to lift more weight than human muscles, starting a real push to prosthetic enhancements. New techniques for stimulating the brain will increase reaction times and improve attention spans.
  • Privacy will continue to erode as big data compiles personality profiles specific to every human being on the planet. Advertising will become so precise that marketers will be able to pitch products that are highly relevant to needs and reflective of prejudices for exploiting.
  • Global warming will become an increasingly important issue as wildfires and deforestation lead to increasing famine.

There’s more, of course, but that’s a glimpse into the near future, which starts on January 1, 2019.

Happy New Year!