Choosing Your Destination and Staying on Track
For whatever reason, people like to make resolutions, set goals, and to dream about a rosy future. New Year’s is just one time when we tend to do this en masse. Whenever you think about making changes, vowing to improve your lifestyle or some aspect of your life, like maybe your photography, here are some things to consider.
It helps when setting a destination to know where you are now. You need to evaluate your current skill levels, equipment you already have and know how to use, time and financial resources. Are there people you know that you can partner with for sharing ideas, equipment, travel, information, space, critique, etc.? It’s nice to dream of bigger and better equipment, but if you haven’t learned to use all aspects of your current equipment, your destination of using better equipment may be closer and easier than you think.
Choosing your destination gives you both control and flexibility because it can be anything you want, and you get to make those choices. Choose a time when you can devote some time to daydreaming about your wildest wishes, those that maybe you haven’t told anyone about because you thought others might laugh at your ideas or may caution you to dream smaller. If your dreams are not extravagant and don’t require you to stretch beyond your current comfort level and familiarity, you need to go back to the drawing board and dream bigger. Don’t worry if your wish list includes ideas that are truly out of reach right now; they will help you to recognize and acknowledge what you really want.
Once you have a full list of goals and your creativity pumping, it’s time to prioritize your list and make any necessary modifications. I know that my dream list couldn’t be realized in just one year without unlimited funds and no other commitments in my life. How far you narrow down your list depends on your resources, mostly time and money. If your dreams aren’t too extravagant, you can keep more of them on your list. If your dreams (as dreams should be) are preposterous, don’t be too quick to eliminate them. Are they really so outrageous and impossible? What would it take to make it happen? If they are still beyond plausibility, ok, you can tone them down. Break a goal that is impractical or currently impossible into steps that maybe you can work towards, or work on it on a smaller scale. For example, if you really want to go to Antarctica and photograph penguins, you might start with going to the zoo or animal shelter, or traveling closer to home for wildlife opportunities.
With your revised list of goals and knowing where you want to be in one year’s time, find someone to share your goals with. Make sure that you find others to support and encourage you in your goals; they will also act to hold you accountable so that you don’t give up. Local camera clubs, finding a mentor, online forums, classes and workshops, etc. all good places to find support. And of course, family and friends are always the best support.
Give it some thought and let me know what your photography goals are for this next year. I’d love to see what you are working on.