We are just a few weeks away from a new year (which is both terrifying and awesome), and that means many of us are thinking about starting new personal (and professional) projects. But how do you get going and keep going?
Here's where the Internet can be useful for more than just adorable cat videos: accountability. You can use social media or otherwise document your progress online. There's the photo-a-day project, wherein you can record some aspect of your life (it can be challenging, like a workout routine, fun, or just documentary). Others use a variation on the 365 project to overcome something they're afraid of, or find difficult, or need to practice (writing, practicing a musical instrument, or dancing — see below!) Doing whatever it is every single day is a commitment that is bound to yield results. And knowing that even a few people might be watching you might be enough to keep you going on the days you lose steam.
Below are some insightful and inspiring projects that take the 365 commitment in all sorts of creative directions.
Hailey Bartholomew's #365Grateful:
Hailey Bartholomew was depressed. After talking to a nun, who told her the secret of happiness was "reflection and gratitude," she did a 10-day project that morphed into a year-long project — taking a Polaroid picture every day. "Taking one photo every day of something I was grateful for really re-programming my brain. Seeing and celebrating the good in my life affected not only the way I felt spiritually and physically, but it improved my relationships with others too."
Sam Cornwell's A Second a Day:
Sam Cornwell took a 1-second video of his new baby, Indigo, every day for a year. Simple but brilliant. Sam writes, "Meet our son Indigo who was born on the 9th July 2012. From that day my wife and I videoed Indigo at least once a day, every day up to a year old. For his first birthday we've spent some time putting together a video of his entire first year. He doesn't quite appreciate it yet, but we hope that in a few years he will."
Christophe Rehage's The Longest Way:
Whether you love to travel or just like long-haired, bearded men, this video by Christoph Rehage — who walked from Beijing, on China's eastern edge, to Urumqui, on the western edge — is a lot of fun, and it has a built-in photo-a-day component, too. I watched the video twice: Once for Christoph's face and the second time for the incredible background shots of China. Check out his blog and books to learn more about his journey.
Brittany Gibbons' body image fix:
Photo: Brittany Gibbons' Instagram
Brittany Gibbons had sex with her husband every day for a year to get over her body image issues and insecurities — and it worked. Why did she do it? Brittany wrote, "This is the same way I got over my fear of eating oysters and driving in the snow. You just make yourself do it until you don't notice it feels like mucus or like you don't know how to control a motor vehicle. You make yourself do it until it becomes a place of comfort and safety. You make yourself do it until suddenly, you love it." Brittany writes that her experiment changed how she felt about her body and how she felt about sex, improved her relationship with her husband and made her happier.
'A Forest Year':
This video of a Forest Year from motionkicker was filmed over 15 months, which is a little more than a year, but I think it still counts as inspiration, especially since it's not human-centric. For anyone who wants to document something from the natural world, this is a great example of how you could approach it.
Karl Stefanovic's same blue suit for a year:
Morning TV host Karl Stefanovic wore the same suit every day for a year — and nobody noticed. He did it to draw attention to the crazy criticism his co-anchor, Lisa Wilkinson, gets regarding her clothing choices. Stefanovic said, "Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they do, what they say and what they wear."
Guy learns to dance in a year:
Estonia-based Neiland offers a good reminder that your 365 project doesn't have to be anything serious; he just wants to learn how to dance better. After a year of practice, he's pretty impressive. Neiland writes, "Since I started to listen to Michael Jackson's music, I started to dream about dancing. A year ago, my heart told me to start practicing. This video is my dance journey with 365 days. All my dancing is self taught."
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