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Charting a course

Damn early days. 21 Damn Early Days, to be exact, to figure out the routines, goals, and habits that will get me closer to the person I want to become. But before I can chart a course, I need to figure out where I’m going.

Who is the person I want to become?

I could go on about how I want to be kind, loving, generous, honest, authentic, and confident (which is all true), but I’m going to focus on one specific characteristic for the next 21 days as part of Chasing Sunrise’s Damn Early Days programme:

He is creative and unafraid to share his pursuits with the world.

My intention

Over the course of 2017, I’m making a conscious effort to nurture my creative side and express myself in both my writing and photography. More significant, I’m going to share both of these pursuits with the world (on this blog and on 500px), and in the process overcome my fear of putting myself out there, of being rejected by my peers, of not “being good enough” (good enough for who?), and my crippling perfectionism.

It’s my goal to stop comparing my output to others, to stop worrying about what others think about me, and get back to what matters: creating something that I feel a connection to.

I should point out that the object of all of this isn’t to dazzle you with my remarkable prose or awe-inspiring photography, it’s to create a space where I can consistently learn and improve on both of these skills over time.

While none of this is going to happen in 21 short days, it’s my intention to uncover the habits, goals, and routines that will push me to create and share consistently over the remainder of 2017 and beyond.

Let’s talk goals

Getting a little more granular, I have two specific goals that I want to achieve by the end of 21 Damn Early Days:

Writing: Write and publish 5 separate blog posts of at least 500 words by June 15th.

Photography: Upload 20 marketplace-ready images to 500px by June 15th.

One can read tomes on the art of goal setting, but I’ve found the SMARTER approach to be an effective one. In short, goals should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, time-bound, ecologically sensitive, and rewarding. Both of my goals are specific, measurable, time-bound, and realistic—I’ll know exactly when/if I’ve completed them or not.

Actions speak louder than words

But are my goals actionable? Getting from A to B is about consistent baby steps, not leaps and bounds. So, let’s break them down:

Writing: I will write 750 words every single damn early morning (that’s five days a week) right after I have breakfast while reading whatever book I happen to be working through at the moment (right now it’s Barbarian Days—I don’t actually surf, but it’s a great read nonetheless).

Photography: I will spend 45 minutes editing photos ever single damn early morning after I complete my 750 words for the day.

I’ve opted to write before editing photos for two reasons:

1) I find as the day wears on my mental capacity is diminished and thus I’m most creative/productive first thing in the morning, and

2) I find it more difficult to sit down and write than to edit photos, thus, by getting the more difficult task out of the way first, the less likely it is that I’ll procrastinate later on or skip writing altogether.

Finally, by sharing my intentions and goals with you, I hope that in someway you’ll help to hold me accountable (yes, you, reading this right now).

So, here’s to 21 Damn Early Days and putting myself out there.

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