Why photography New Year's resolutions don't stick – how to make them!

Photography New Year's resolutions
(Image credit: Photo by Roven Images on Unsplash)

In the October issue of N-Photo (issue 129), Apprentice pro Benedict Brain used the following analogy: “If you only go to the gym once a month you aren’t going to build any muscle, and it’s the same with photography.” This seems like the perfect statement to talk about as we approach start the New Year.

New Year’s resolutions are a great excuse to whip your photography routine into shape. But as we all know, January is notorious for good intentions that quickly drop by the wayside. And if my past muscle-building aspirations are anything to go by, I’m willing to bet most people have thrown in the towel before the end of February. So this month I thought I’d take Ben’s gym analogy a little bit further in a bid to curb the quitting.

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There’s no getting around it, improving a skill takes practice; but you could also argue there’s such a thing as too much practice (or at least to begin with). The problem with January health-kicks is the temptation to dive straight in from day one and work out like a long-term gym enthusiast or professional athlete. If you go from a relatively sedentary lifestyle to lengthy high-impact gym sessions seven days per week, you’re probably going to find it unsustainable and, at worst, you could burn yourself out completely.

This train of thought can be applied to almost any hobby, and photography is certainly no different. If you vow to photograph a sunrise or sunset every single day, at some point you’re going to get fatigued. And when that happens you’re going to put your camera down… and when that happens, you might not pick it up again for another six months... 

The secret to taking regular photos is coming up with an attainable plan of action. It doesn’t matter whether you vow to capture one photo per week or embark on a year-long 365 project, as long as you up your output and find a way to slot it into your schedule you’ll have every chance of succeeding. 

You can always build on your New Year’s resolution too. If you find yourself enjoying photography more than ever then increase the frequency in which you shoot, or aim to photograph more challenging subjects. 

Whatever fun photography challenges are in store for you in 2022, I wish you luck. Just remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint. I think it’s time I dusted off those dumbbells…

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Mike Harris
Technique Editor

Mike is Deputy Editor for N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine, and brings with him over 10 years experience writing both freelance and for some of the biggest specialist publications. Prior to joining N-Photo Mike was the production editor for the content marketing team of Wex Photo Video, the UK’s largest online specialist photographic retailer, where he sharpened his skills in both the stills and videography spheres.  

While he’s an avid motorsport photographer, his skills extend to every genre of photography – making him one of Digital Camera World’s top tutors for techniques on cameras, lenses, tripods, filters and other imaging equipment, as well as sharing his expertise on shooting everything from portraits and landscapes to abstracts and architecture to wildlife and, yes, fast things going around race tracks.