Posts Tagged ‘practice’
January 1 is the International Day of Creating New Habits. It’s a wonderful feeling isn’t it? It’s a little like getting a free pass. The psychological effect of the first day of the year is extremely powerful and it’s worth taking advantage of.
Many people will start one of photography’s traditional— and most challenging— self assignments. Take a picture every day for 365 days. It’s a noble hurdle and incredibly satisfying on day 365.
The reality of the situation, however, is daunting. People get sick, forget stuff (not me!), erase pictures accidentally (not me!), or simply give up (me!)
Yes, that’s correct, I failed. My personal challenge was to do a self-portrait every day for 365 days. I figured I would increase my chances of success because I always had the subject at hand. I hit bottom on about day 244. Keeping track of the photographs and organizing the project became more than I could deal with and I bailed. In hindsight, I have some incredible photographs of myself with significant people that never would have been taken had I not embarked on the 365 marathon— and believe me, it is a marathon. (I did complete an actual running marathon and consider it one of my greatest accomplishments. My advice to anyone who’s running any kind of marathon— traditional or photographic— is to simply never, ever think about stopping. That’s all I learned— stopping is not an option.)
My suggestion is to take it one month at a time. Commit to taking a photograph every day for the next thirty-one days— the month of January. Hopefully, you’ll take some pictures you love, but at the heart of this challenge is building a habit of using your camera every day. The photographs you shoot are actually secondary.
Even completing a thirty day challenge is a good trick, but it’s doable. And it’s extremely satisfying—goal met and made in thirty days.
Many experts tell us that habits are made when you choose incremental little changes and practice them for thirty days. Human beings seem to react to that period of time (it may actually have something to do with the moon). Don’t try and do too much, they say, but stick to what you’re trying to do.
If you wanted to, you could make the challenge related to a specific aspect of your camera. You could, for example, commit to using your aperture and shutter speed dials every day to shoot the picture or take a picture every day with a different ISO so you become comfortable with that setting.
But the bottom line is this: deep in your heart you know I’m right. You’d feel great about making and completing a thirty day challenge. On day thirty you can ask yourself if you’re ready to go thirty more and, who knows, you may just find yourself at day 365 one short year from now.
Happy New Year, everyone.