I did it! I stuck with my 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge, posting a picture and a few sentences about what I’m grateful for every day in November. This is an encouraging first for me!
I enjoyed being able to focus on all the good things I’m grateful for and having them recorded in one place means I can revisit them when I’m unhappy, stressed, or frustrated. In addition to that, I learned that I can, indeed, stick with something for 30 days straight, and that yes, sometimes it is easier to do something every day rather than once in a while. (See Grechen Rubin’s post, “Proposed Resolution: Do Something Every Day.”)
A couple of things made this challenge doable for me. First, there were specific boundaries. I knew how long the challenge would last (30 days), and I knew the theme of each day’s post ahead of time, thanks to Dani’s prompts. While I did have to decide what aspect to write about, having the prompt meant I already had a topic, and that made it a lot easier for me. I mostly posted at night, but I kept the prompt in mind all day. It probably took me about 15 minutes at most to choose the photo, write the post and put them both up. Once I had my post done, I didn’t fret about doing more—I knew I had finished that day’s challenge and could move on to something else.
The second thing that helped was accountability—I announced I was doing this challenge here on the blog, and that I intended to post the photos on Facebook. Even though I doubt that anyone was waiting breathlessly for my next post, I did feel accountable for making sure one made it up there every day.
Speaking of posts, here are four of my favorites:
Day 7 prompt: Attire. I'm grateful for the riding boots my husband gave me for Mother's Day 10 years ago. They help me feel more secure when riding, and help my horse understand my cues better. Plus, I think they're pretty cool looking (though they need to be cleaned and polished)!
Day 8 prompt: Friendship. This should be easy, because friendship is hands down one of the things I'm most grateful for. To the women I've met only virtually through blogging, to my barn buddies, to the far-flung friends I only get to talk to occasionally, and to those special few who have supported and encouraged me through all the highs and lows of life, I say a big THANK YOU! I don't have one photo that can express all that, so I'll go with this one of a little plaque that hangs in my kitchen--given to me by a friend, of course!
Day 21 prompt: Scent. New Orleans is a town full of sights, sounds, and smells--not all of them pretty. There's one scent I absolutely love that you can occasionally get a whiff of as you walk down the street there—Sweet Olive. Today I'm thankful for the Sweet Olive perfume I bought in NOLA. Whenever I open the bottle, I'm whisked back to one of my favorite cities.
Day 28 prompt: Desire. I'm grateful that there are things I desire—things to work and plan for, and look forward to. One of my biggest desires is to have the money and freedom to travel more—hence today's photo.
I am glad the challenge is done, and while I wasn’t exactly getting bored with it, I am ready for a change. So what’s next? Armed with the realization that I can stick to something, I want to choose another thing to do for 30 days, something that will take approximately the same 15 minutes per day. Perhaps sketching—think how much improvement I’d make if I sketched every day for 15 minutes! I know that to be successful, I need boundaries and accountability. I’ll need to find or make up prompts for sketching every day (any suggestions for a book or website that could help me do this?), and I’ll need to have some accountability. I don’t want to post my sketches on Facebook, however, because I want to feel free make mistakes and try new things without being too embarrassed and without inflicting my learning curve on others. Plus, in order to post my sketches, I’d have to scan them into the computer daily, and that might just be the straw that breaks this challenge’s back. Do I have enough gumption to be accountable to myself? I’m not sure. I’m still pondering this. (Plus, I’m not prepared to commit to a 30-day project over the Christmas holidays. This will have to wait until 2015.)