Well, it's that time again when the calendar rolls over to a new year. Time to review what we did over the last 12 months and look toward plans for the next 12.
One thing I recommend is to do a review of your photography. Go back exactly a year (use the metadata on your images to filter them in Lightroom) and look at your images from that time period. Now look at the photos you are taking now. Do you see a difference? If so, how has your photography changed?
Use this method of looking back to see how you grow and improve your photography, do not compare your work with other photographers. Give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate. Maybe get out and photograph some fireworks. There are some tips to help you with that here: Happy New Year and Some Fireworks Photography Tips.
Goals for the new year
Ah, the new year. Many people set resolutions for things they want to either stop doing (i.e. smoking) or for things they want to start doing (hopefully doing more photography every day). I like to look at the new year a little differently – I see it as a clean slate. Forget what happened last year and move on.
I like to set goals and make plans for the coming 12 months. Things I want to do or achieve. These are some of the things on my list for 2017:
- Edit images and make a book of photos of my niece (taken in the summer of 2013 so it's about time I got to this one).
- Visit at least one new country (I have plans to go to Colombia to study Spanish, and may pass through England after my spring Morocco tour).
- Write a new ebook (this has been on my mind for a while – another 10 photography challenges perhaps).
- Make another set of Lightroom presets (also been on my list for a while, it's coming I promise).
- Get back into a healthy routine of cooking meals and exercising at least 2x a week.
So you can see I have some personal things on my list, some things related to the website and teaching, and some photography stuff. What is on your list? What do you want to achieve this year?
Tips for goal setting
If you have never done any formal goal setting here are a few guidelines to help you out.
- Set up categories for the different areas of your life such as; health, financial, family, fun, education, etc.
- Make goals that are measurable (you need to know when you've achieved it). For example, “take more photos” isn't measurable, but “spend 5 minutes every day taking photos” IS measurable. “Lose weight” isn't – but “do one physical activity for 30 minutes 3x a week” IS. Getting the idea?
- Set a definite deadline or timeline. If you're setting yearly goals have them completed or achieved by year end. But set a date – otherwise, they'll just be out there to get to “some day” which never comes. Am I right?
- Make them realistic. Set yourself up for success, not for failure. Set goals that push you and make you grow as a person and photographer but make them doable. There is nothing more discouraging than getting to the end of the year and finding you didn't make any of your goals. If flying to 6 countries and buying $10,000 worth of new gear isn't realistic for you – then don't set those goals.
- Make them meaningful. The number one reason people fail at keeping resolutions is they don't follow most of the tips above and they usually aren't things they WANT to do, but things they think they SHOULD do. Pick goals that mean something to you, things that you want to succeed at and actually do.
- Write them down! This one is key. Many studies have been done on the most successful people in the world and I don't know the exact numbers but it's something like you are 10 times more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. If you want to take it even a step further . . .
- Tell other people! See what I did above? I told you some of my goals. I'm also part of a group of people who do weekly goals and help keep each other on track. When you put it out to the world your friends can help you achieve your goals – it also makes it just a bit more real, like you'd be letting others down if you said you'd do this thing and you don't do it. Making your goals public or even sharing with a friend privately is a powerful way to help you move forward. If you don't have anyone to share with – tell us! Just post them in the comments below so we can support each other.
Over to you
To get you started, just put a note in the comments about two things you'd like to do this coming year. Pick one that is photography related and another that isn't (financial, health, personal, travel, etc.). Or maybe the two are related like if you want to join me on a photography tour. That way you could potentially tick off two goals with one swipe!
If one of your goals is to learn to process your images or to learn Lightroom, you may want to check out my review of Lightroom Made Easy by Phil Steele (only until December 30th save 25% off as a Digital Photo Mentor reader).
So? What do you want to do this year?