The concept of picking a word for the year and using it as a guiding principle or theme seems to be gaining popularity. Last year I tried it for the first time with the word "thrive."

To be honest, the year did not turn out anything like how I hoped or imagined when I picked that word. And at times it felt like I was doing anything but thriving. Drowning might have been a better word.

And yet, as the year came to a close, it dawned on me that I WAS thriving, even if that did not look how I expected.

Favorite photo of Jack from early 2013

My business took some surprising but exciting turns and I have an expanded and even stronger vision of its potential.

I spoke at the Apple store. I have a growing relationship with Mom365. I have fallen in love with brand portrait photography (keep an eye on Rachael Ellison and Yvette Syversen).

I reconciled with a career in architecture that I wasn't sure I would return to and am enjoying my return to the profession and working full time more than I could have imagined.

My parents are here helping with the kids and expanding their world of people who are there for them on a day-to-day basis. (When my sister visited Liam's classroom and asked Jack what his favorite thing there was, he said "Por Por", the Chinese name for grandmother that he calls my mother!)

I've met new friends, deepened existing relationships, and have gained new insights and realizations about myself and the world that will help me for the rest of my life.

Favorite photo of Liam from early 2013

My husband continues to be the best partner I could have picked for this crazy journey called life, and a fantastic father to our boys, who continue to bring me joy and delight daily as they grow and develop into yet more interesting and fascinating little people.

Yes, at the start 2014 I am thriving more than I was at the start of 2013.

Now what?

My word for 2014 is "sustain."

Because I have too much going on. I bet a lot of you reading this didn't even realize I've been working full time for six months.

A common refrain I hear from friends, colleagues and clients is "I don't know how you do it all"... and frankly, nor do I!

Sometimes when I take a look at everything I accomplished in a given week, it is mind boggling.

A year later - photo of Jack from this past weekend

But here are some things I am not achieving - enough sleep, enough exercise, enough time with my family, enough time with my husband, enough down time, enough time taking care of myself, enough time on personal projects.

So this year I really want to look at what I can sustain. What is sustainable for me in the long run? There are years for growth and for taking on new things and seeing how far you can push yourself - hello the last five years of growing a family and a business! - but this is not going to be one of them.

And I feel really really good about that.

What can I sustain?

This doesn't mean life becomes stagnant. It means that I pace myself so I can choose to make changes rather than be forced into them because I can't sustain the status quo.

I've already made a few decisions and changes based on this concept of sustainability and it has been a helpful guiding principle.

A year later - photo of Liam from this past weekend

I have shifted the way I approach the Peer-to-Peer Photosanity Facebook group and engagement is already way up in a way that is more organic and sustainable to me - and I love it. My goal with the group is to make it a fun, supportive and productive environment for all of us, myself included.

I have also decided that after two years of maintaining two separate ShutterCal photo-a-day projects for each of my kids (with many holes that need to be back-filled) it's time to consolidate into one project - already it feels so much more doable and I've posted a photo a day so far (granted it's only been 6 days but compare that to zero photos in either calendar for December!).

I'll be blogging once a week instead of twice at Mom365 (at my suggestion) so I can continue to provide high quality content there while making my blog here a little more personal with a DSLR sibling photo each week as a "52" project I'm really excited about.

I am already really enjoying focusing more on sibling photos!

And instead of trying to do everything at once, I'll be focusing on closing out work with my current one-on-one clients before taking on anything new.

Plus all of the above. Which is still a lot I know. Hey, it's a work in progress! Awareness is the first step.

Help with new year photo resolutions

All the Photosanity workshops will continue to be available in online self-guided form so if you need some help with some of your new year photo resolutions, let me help you - all purchases include complimentary membership in the private Photosamity Facebook group and we would love to have you join us.

Happy new year and all the best for 2014!