It’s just 30 days. You can doing anything for 30 days.

This past January, I challenged myself to post a new photo everyday for a month. I had just bought a new camera in December, and I wanted to make sure I got in the habit of using it regularly.

I got the idea of doing a 30-day challenge from this TED Talk by Google employee, Matt Cutts:

It can be really intimidating to try to add a new permanent habit to life, but doing some for 30 days seems achievable.There is also the comfort in knowing that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Even if I had only succeeded in taking photos 20 out of the 30 days, that is 20 more than I would have taken without the challenge.

Future Challenges

Obviously, the goal is to develop some habits that last beyond the initial 30 day period. I did not continue taking a photo everyday, but I have been using my camera more. I’m hoping to get back to posting a photo everyday in June, but it won’t be my official “30-day challenge.”

That’s because I’m hoping to start working on some new habits. My goal was to move directly from my challenge in January to a new one in February. I was thinking about something like “write for an hour everyday,” but I hadn’t full decided by the time February came around and…well, I’m writing this recap in May, so you can guess what happened.

To help avoid another lapse like this, I have planned out my next three months worth of challenges. I’m hoping to develop something that I call digital discipline, which involves being intentional about how I spend my time on the Internet. I want to be more mindful of the content I read/share, and the conversations I have online. I laid out my thinking around this topic and the details of my challenges here.

January Recap

Finally, I wanted to talk a little bit about how my January challenge went. It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes, I would find myself at the end of the day with no photo that I thought worth sharing. This helped me with two things.

First, I learned that is okay to post work that is not perfect. Sometimes it is more important to try and reflect on what went wrong.

I also learned to be creative in my own apartment. I ended up taking photos of myself, knick knacks, books, food, etc. Not all of these turned out great. The photo I took of my Captain America bobble head wasn’t great art, but I did learn a lot from lighting him different angles. A human subject would not have been as patient as good ole’ Cap as I moved lamps around him into different positions. Sometimes limitations and deadlines are all we need to get a little creative.

Below, I have sorted my January photos into three groups:

Best Images

The “Best Images” were the ones that I felt had the best planned out composition. They were the most deliberate photos isolating a single subject with a unique look or story surrounding them.

Okay Images

The “Good Images” by contrast were more lucky, just taking photos of things that happened to be around. Lots of them are lacking a clear subject or fail to convey any story about the scene.

Bad Images

The “Bad Images” were all those desperate last minute images I took when I had nothing else to publish. They are generally of non-photogenic things or without any clear subject at at all

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