Early in 2016, I joined a group called 52Frames. It’s an international group of photography enthusiasts who sign up to participate in a weekly challenge. I’m an amateur photographer, but I am a much better photographer now than I was when I joined the group. I’m also more resilient. Why? Because I’ve committed to doing something that regularly takes me out of my comfort zone. I’ve gone up to strangers and asked if I could take their picture. I’ve tried new equipment and techniques that felt awkward and unfamiliar. I’ve put photos out there knowing that others would look at them along with photos that are much better than mine. And I’m going to do it again in the coming year.
Every time you get out of your comfort zone, you build your resilience. When you commit to others to a regular activity or challenge, you increase the likelihood you’ll actually do it.
So I’m here to suggest that you find a weekly challenge that appeals to you, and find a group–or at least one other person–who is doing the same thing so you can share your results. The new year is a great time to start, but you can begin any time.
I looked around to find other challenges that you might be interested in, and I’ve thought of a few additional ones that might be fun to try. And, of course, you are welcome to make up your own. So here goes:
These sites have a community of other participants who share results with each other.
- Art: This site posts a weekly art challenge.
- Cooking: This site posts a weekly cooking theme.
- Baking: This site posts a weekly baking theme.
- Writing: This site posts a weekly writing challenge.
- Haiku: This site posts a weekly haiku prompt.
- Hiking: This site invites participants to do one hike each week.
- Songwriting: This site posts a weekly songwriting theme.
- Reading: This site invites participants to read 52 books in a year.
- Photography: This site posts a weekly photography theme.
These sites have lists of challenges or activities you can use, but don’t have a “live” group taking part.
- Organizing: This site presents a list of challenges related to organizing your home.
- The Environment: This site has a list of weekly challenges related to recycling and the environment.
- Savings: This site has a list of weekly challenges related to saving money, and this site describes a 52-week process for building a savings account with over $1300 in it.
- Salad: This site posts 52 different salad recipes, one for each week of the year.
- Genealogy Blogging: This site posts 52 challenges for genealogy bloggers.
- Life Story: This site posts 52 questions for you to answer in writing your life story.
- Running: This site lists 52 workouts for serious runners.
- Photography: This site lists 52 photography challenges.
- New Experiences: This site lists 3 years’ worth of 52 new experiences: 2011, 2012, and 2013. Lots of ideas to try! This site has a long “new experiences” to-do list. And here’s one more list of 52 new things to try.
And here are some other ideas that could make a 52-week challenge:
- Meet a new person.
- Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
- Try a new exercise routine.
- Taste a new food, or cook with a new ingredient.
- Visit a different restaurant.
- Try a new craft project.
- Create a work of art.
- Drive or walk on a new road.
- Research an ancestor on your family tree.
Whatever challenge you choose, I encourage you to find at least one other person who will also take the challenge so you can share with each other and provide encouragement. I guarantee that you will have many chances to step outside your comfort zone. When you start feeling resistance or discomfort, and you push through and do it anyway, that’s a great sign that your resilience is getting stronger.
I look forward to hearing about your experiences! Please share them in the comments section of this blog.