2012 Challenge - Make it cost

Okay, I'm a little late on posting this. I had the idea just before New Years but then I let other things keep me from posting this a little earlier. I started even second-guessing myself about posting it at this point but the entire goal of this post is to challenge myself for the upcoming year and to hopefully inspire others to do the same. The other important piece of this is that this is about setting goals and challenging yourself and while New Year's is a typical time for doing this there's absolutely no reason why you can't start at any time in the year with any time frame that works for you. I've been thinking a lot about what I want to achieve photographically in 2012 and really it all kept coming back to the idea that I want to shoot more often. The other piece of this was I wanted to make sure to give myself a strong incentive to follow through with this goal. Last year while attending Dane Sander's Fasttrack Photographer workshop Dane talked about when change happens and what it takes for it to happen. One of the pieces for making change happen that he talked about is what is it going to cost you. If the status quo isn't costing you anything then you're not going to change. This is often where New Year's resolutions fall apart, how often do you make a resolution and even while making it know that you're not going to keep it?

I knew that I wanted to shoot more but I needed to come up with something more specific that I could measure. In the end I decided to settle on the number of shoots that I'd do in 2012. I didn't shoot very often in 2011 so this is a good measure for me. I've decided to aim for 15 shoots in 2012. Now to clarify, what I mean by a "shoot" is not simply going out for an afternoon shooting but I mean something where I've come up with a specific concept and then shot that concept. Alternatively, if someone is paying me to shoot something then that session will count as a "shoot". 15 may sound low to some people but by that criteria I only did 1 or 2 shoots all of last year so this is a big increase. I also have a full-time day job so I'm most likely going to be limited to evenings and weekends for this unless I take time off.

So with my goal covered the next thing was to come up with a cost for this, what was failing going to cost me? I decided to go for the "all or nothing" approach. If I fail in this goal this year I will be giving away all of my camera gear. Should I fail I will setup some type of contest for determining who will receive my Nikon D700, 24-70 f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4 and any other equipment I currently have or may acquire this year. Basically I'm saying that if I can't make shooting a priority in my life then shooting won't be in my life.

Now obviously this is a contest which I have no intention in having to follow through with but the point is this is creating a motivation for me to get out there and shoot more often. To get 15 shoots done this year I'm going to have to average at least 1 a month and then manage to swing 2 shoots a month at least 3 times to make up the goal. I hope to post status updates throughout the year to keep you all apprised on how things are going and what challenges I'm facing.

Now for the inspiration part, I'd really like to put this challenge out to you as well. Are you willing to set some goals and make failing cost for you? What goals do you have, what will you make it cost? If you're willing to take up my challenge (and it doesn't even have to be photo-related) then I encourage you to share your goals publicly as well as what you'll do if you fail. To help track this I'm going to encourage people to share their stories on Twitter and Google+ using the hashtag #Makeitcost. I'm really hoping that I can inspire others to challenge themselves to do more great things and to stick to it. It doesn't matter what the goal is or what the cost is, but make it something that will challenge yourself and that costs enough that you won't want to fail.

Incidentally, you can follow me on Twitter at @AndrewDacey and on Google+as Andrew Dacey.