Towards the end of last year, a couple of people inspired me in various ways and I started making a mental list of the things I wanted to do in 2012. I’m not the best at keeping to my new year resolutions – it took me about 20 years to finally tick ‘stop biting my nails’ off the list. So I thought if I shared them on here I might be more likely to stick to them this year.
I’ve got a few other goals – related to Greek lessons, house-buying and the usual health and fitness things – but these two resolutions require daily or weekly commitment and lend themselves to online tracking of progress.
Firstly, I’m going to post a daily photo on 365 Project. This resolution was inspired by Karyn Romeis, who joined 365 Project last year and whose photos I looked forward to every day. I don’t know anything about exposure or shutter speed or composition. I have two cameras – neither particular fancy: one which I carry around with me most of the time and a slightly bigger and better one which I take with me if I’m going somewhere that’s likely to be particularly photogenic. But more important, I think, than my technical ability is my enthusiasm.
I’ve always loved taking and looking at photos. I remember the joy I used to get from opening the wooden chest my parents kept their photo albums in and looking at pictures from their wedding or their pre-children holidays, or at the ‘baby books’ my mum made for us (scrapbooks of hospital bracelets, first drawings, special birthday cards and photos documenting our lives right up to graduation). I don’t remember how old I was when I got my first camera, but I had shoeboxes filled with blurry snaps of my sisters upside down on the climbing frame, of every trip to the zoo and of my friends and I as teenagers wearing face masks and pyjamas at sleepover parties.
Now those shoeboxes are replaced with my own albums and scrapbooks dedicated to particular things – the year I spent living in France, or my time at university, for example. At the end of my hallway are four framed and treasured photos of special places I’ve been: le petit jard next to my flat in France, where I used to go to read, work or clear my head; the misty path I climbed up Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia; the view from some cultural site or another on the last day of a long weekend in Milan with my sisters, on one of our ‘sister bonding’ trips; and a picturesque set of steps in Granada, taken on my 22nd birthday during a family holiday which was also the week I made, and had accepted, an offer on my very first home.
Having photos of special people and places, and even of quite ordinary, uneventful occasions, is important to me and brings me a lot of happiness. So the pictures I upload to 365 Project this year may not be the most technically-accomplished, but they will provide a record of my year and something for me to look back on. And there will no doubt be some memorable things to record: my youngest sister will graduate from her masters degree, my brother will become a teenager, my other younger sister will get married, the Olympics will take place practically on my doorstep, my godchildren will be turning two, and my other half and I will (hopefully) be buying our first shared home together.
Secondly, I am going to try out the Find 15 approach to my personal development, inspired by Julie Wedgwood. I first heard Julie speak about this programme at Learning and Skills back in June, but it was reading her more detailed description of it in November’s Advance article from Saffron Interactive that really made me think about giving it a go myself. It tied in with something else I was thinking about at the time, which was how I might share more of my personal learning with my online network.
Julie’s Find 15 initiative is simple: take 15 minutes each day (or 75 minutes each week) during which to focus on your personal development. This isn’t difficult, really, if you think about how many minutes you spend chatting while making cups of tea, for example. You might work through a chapter of a reference book, participate in a webinar, search blogs and wikis for advice and best practice in a particular area, watch a YouTube video or listen to a podcast. Most importantly, you must record how you spend the 15 minutes and what you believe you’ve gained from it.
I often find myself catching up on Tweeted links or blogs in Google Reader over my lunchbreak, making a note of those I might want to return to for a more detailed review, and really just creating an ever-increasing list of useful resources which I often don’t get round to exploring in depth. I’m hoping the slightly more structured Find 15 approach can help me become more efficient in my personal development – and my intention is to report back on what I’ve done in and gained from my Find 15 slots at the end of each week.
Something for 2013?
Just this weekend I came across another great idea for personal development called 12 in 12. This involves committing to doing something new each month, and doing it every day of that month. I think this is a brilliant initiative but have decided it’s not right for me this year – but thought it was worth sharing in case it strikes the right chord with anyone else.
Happy new year!