What’s one thing you absolutely do every single day? If you’re like most people, the answer is “brush my teeth.”
But then, there’s a tribe of people that smiles when they answer that question - and not just because they have nice, clean pearly whites. I know this smile because I wear it too. I can’t help but grin because I love my answer and I love my daily, without-fail habit.
Every day of 2014 I took a picture of myself with my iPhone, used one of several fun apps to slap “#365feministselfie” onto the image, and shared it to Instagram, Facebook, and Google+. What may seem like just another act of social media fueled narcissism was actually an important self-care practice, a visibility strategy, and an opportunity to see yourself and the world in a whole new way.
The Selfie Isn’t All About Self Obsession
Veronica Arreola of the blog Viva La Feminista launched #365feministselfie at the start of 2014 for a number of great reasons including, “I do not see myself represented in the media, so I’m making my own!”
Last January I felt lost behind an eight months along baby bump. I didn’t have the time or the energy to do much for myself besides take vitamins and read novels, but I did have it in me to pull out my phone and snap a picture.
North American was lost in the Polar Vortex and my pregnant woman’s glow was hidden behind sweaters and scarves and the sheer exhaustion of running a business and mothering a preschooler. Taking time from my day to witness the miracle of this body I’ve been blessed with was only going to happen if I was held accountable to some grander project that everyone could see.
I needed those selfies a year ago, and I need the daily ritual still.
How to succeed at your own yearlong project (whether it’s 365 or not)
Lately, I've become something of a 365 evangelist. Like any convert I was aglow with the wonders of my chosen elixir and was quite convinced that it could change everyone’s life for the better.
So, even as I talked about all the benefits from visibility to the mindful pauses to the historical record I’d created for my daughters, people were quick to offer their resistance. The biggest fears weren’t as much about commitment (though that’s a biggie for most people) as much as they were about concerns about creating decent content day in and day out.
With a selfie project you just need to be able to leave your vanity at the doorstep of the new year (unless you’re one of those people who manages to look gorgeous every day!). I could never get away from my #365feministselfie canvas, of course, though there were plenty of moments when I felt was too weary and pale to submit myself to the public eye. That’s the chance to get creative or get brave.... over the year I did a lot of both.
But what if you are creating a professional-themed project that requires more than ducklips or a quick snap with the cute baby in your lap?
One friend is an interior designer and she’s considering a project about color. Another local mom entrepreneur is thinking about how to turn her new concept in a daily project. They’re in love with the idea of bringing what they love to life every day, but how… They’re already dancing with overcommitment and they don’t need to spend any more time staring at their phones.
The answer is found in weekly rituals and daily serendipity. Make it a 52 project and commit to putting something out there on the same day each week - without fail.
Just as a life is the sum total of each breath, the weekly project is the sum of each day. You want to create content every day if you can because that makes the weekly posts into simple round ups.
Say you’re a clothing designer who wants to dive deep into the colors and textures of fabric that surround you. Here's a way to break down the steps and integrate this new project into your routine:
- Take at least three or four pictures each week that really speak to you and share them on Instagram.
- Curate one or two articles from around the web that expand your perspective and share them on Twitter.
- Write one or two brief but thoughtful Facebook or Google+ posts related to how you are seeing color and texture.
- Do all these small tasks while considering the end of the week post… How do these serendipitous discoveries contribute to the unique vision that your community loves you for? To create the weekly post you just need to pull all the pieces together, write a quick intro, and sum it all up with a good call to action.
Let's 365 together