Happy New Year! Another year, another installment of ONE blog circle. I am sharing my favorite image from 2018 today, along with some tips for helping you achieve all those lofty New Year’s Resolutions you just set. This image was taken with a little go pro in my backyard pool with all the people I care most about. It represents my struggle in 2018 to make life simpler and more minimal; a goal I plan to actually achieve in 2019. Be sure to read on to find out how. Also, be sure to click all the way around the circle to see the images shared by talented photographers around the world. Be sure to check out what Magic Valley High School Senior Photographer, Rock Creek Photography is up to!
Along with a new year inevitably comes new goals. Most often, these goals are long forgotten before January’s end. We all have so many plates spinning, that even with the best of intentions, adding a few more plates ends with them crashing, or at the very least, put back in the cabinet until it’s time to pull them out again for the following year’s resolutions. This year, instead of sharing my goals with you all, I am going to share my plan for actually achieving them, in hopes that it may help you reach your own for 2019!
This past Fall, I joined two different book study groups. One was a Christian topical bible study called ‘We Saved You a Seat’ by Lisa-Jo Baker organized by a friend from church. The other was a secular book on positive psychology called ‘The Happiness Advantage’ by Shawn Achor that I participated in with a small group of my co-workers. While these books were quite different, they both had many parallels that have helped me come to multiple realizations of how positive change can be achieved.
- START SMALL. Setting 20 lofty goals for the year is bound to end in failure. (Trust me, I know. I do this every year…) In Achor’s book the Happiness Advantage, he calls this the Zorro Circle. You have the be the master of your own small circle before you can set out to change anything outside of it. Set one small, achievable goal, master that and watch the ripple effect. For example, I have the forever goal not to yell at my kids. Theoretically, a more achievable goal might be not to yell at my kids while we get ready for school in the morning. If I can master not yelling at my children just in the hour before school, imagine the ripple effect that could happen. We would all have a more positive start to our day, which could result in a better day overall. Perhaps your goal is to spend less time checking your phone, email or whatever it is. Try setting a specific time or times during your day when you feel you can be the most productive and keep technology off limits during that time.
- THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE. If your New Year’s resolutions rely on will power, you are setting yourself up for failure. In Achor’s book, he discusses research based evidence that proves the more we use will power, the more worn out it gets. So if your will power is going to inevitably lead to failure, how CAN you create positive change? The answer is by turning your resolutions (they are small- remember?) into habits. To turn them into habits, you need to set your goals on the path of least resistance. I have a goal to read more. With multiple jobs and three small kids, the only time I really have for reading is before bed. By the end of the day, I find myself exhausted, scrolling through Facebook on my phone until I get sleepy. To help myself with this goal, I’ve moved my phone charger off the nightstand and into another room completely, and also removed the Facebook app from my phone. I’ve placed the books I am currently reading or want to read right on my nightstand. Now, when I go to bed, the easiest and quickest thing for me to do is read a book until I get sleepy. Another goal of mine is to do a weekly personal photography project. Last year, I bought a small mirrorless with small lenses to make my good camera more portable, and while this has helped, I usually keep my cameras and lenses in my basement office, which means whenever I want to take a picture I have to go down the stairs and get everything. I plan to leave my camera out in plain sight upstairs (hopefully my kids are old enough now to know better than to touch it!) and this should enable me to be more prepared when a photographic moment presents itself.
- GOT FRIENDS? A huge factor in the success of positive change is having a social group for support. This can be family members, friends, or co-workers. Having a group of people with the same goal for accountability, or even having friends to check in on you and be cheerleaders. Having others to talk through goals and progress with will help solidify your goals as habits, increase your resolve, and keep your momentum going. The timing was so right when a local photographer friend of mine texted me a few weeks ago and invited me to join her and a few others as they embark on a project 52 this year. My hope is that this social support group will help me see my own weekly project through the year’s end and perhaps find inspiration when the going gets tough. Only a few years ago, I would have declined this invitation. I was feeling burned out with my photography and seeing the beautiful work of other local photographers in my social media feed made my head feel crowded and unable to find my own ideas. I unfollowed all of my favorite local photographer friends in an attempt to get my own creativity back. In Baker’s book We Saved You A Seat, she talks about how my actions were nothing more than acting out on insecurities and jealously, and that true friendship should allow for celebrating others successes. My problem was not seeing other’s beautiful work in my newsfeed. It was my own insecurities as a photographer, and that my brain was overcrowded from too much social media use. To have a successful support group of friends, it’s important to recognize your own ugly and keep it in check enough to allow you to open up, be vulnerable, and encourage one another. Baker also stresses the importance of not sharing your jealously with those you are feeling jealous of, as while this may make you feel better, it will only cause hurt feelings for person your jealously is directed at. If you must get the bad feelings out, share them with another neutral friend.
There are certainly more than three factors to help you achieve success with your positive change in 2019, but these have been the most meaningful realizations for me this year, and hopefully they will help you as well! If reading is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, I highly recommend the books mentioned above. If have book recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments!