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365 Days of Whatever You Want: The Power of a Daily Practice

365 DaysI’m two months into my year-long project.  This translates into 43 weekdays (43 posts), meaning I’m just over 16% of the way through my experiment.  There are lots of valuable things about this project (learning new things, meeting random people from the Web, practicing writing, carving out time for myself that I otherwise wouldn’t), but the biggest benefit so far is simply having and sticking to a daily practice.  It’s fun to make stuff…new stuff…even if no one reads it that day or lots of people read it and disagree with it.  It simply feels good to stick to a commitment.

Thinking about the impact this has made on me in such a short time made me wonder what projects other people have undertaken for a full year (I’m now realizing that’s a lot of time).  A bit of research uncovered a few I think are worth sharing:

  • 365 Days of Downward Dog: Think those 30-day challenges at your local yoga studio are tough?  Vancouver-based writer Audrey Brashich vowed to do yoga 365 days a year and blogged about her progress
  • 365 Days of Eating Local: Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family ate local for a full year and turned it into a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  According to Kingsolver, “Our highest shopping goal was to get our food from so close to home, we’d know the person who grew it. Often that turned out to be ourselves as we learned to produce what we needed, starting with dirt, seeds, and enough knowledge to muddle through. Or starting with baby animals, and enough sense to refrain from naming them.
  • 365 Days of Trash: Ari Derfel from Berkeley kept his trash (in his house) for all of 2008 to gain an understanding of how much trash he was producing.  The project not only raised his awareness, but it (not surprisingly) changed his behavior.  For example, he quit eating dessert after finding a stack of soy ice cream containers.  To learn more about his journey, click here.
  • 365 Days of Sex: Charla Muller pledged to have sex with her husband Brad every single day of his 40th birthday year.  Not only did she do it, but she turned it into a bestseller: 365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy.  Looking back on the experience, Charla said, “[Nightly sex] went from being a fun campy thing to something more transformative which endures to this day. It was the best year of our marriage, without question. But I would never have predicted that at the beginning, or that it would have such an impact.”
  • 365 Days of Goodwill (the store): A Seattle woman brought back thrifting in a major way, shopping only at Goodwill for a full year and blogged about it
  • 365 Things in 365 Days: A couple set out on a quest to do 365 new things in 365 days, and they document things like plucking a chicken, lighting matches with their teeth, and building a robot on their blog
  • 365 Days of Art: An artist friend of mine, Jessica Singerman, emerged from her post-birth sleepless fog with a bang, launching a project focused on doing an art project every day and posting it here

Whatever people do, and whatever their reasons, I’m now a huge fan of 365 projects.  The power of a daily practice should not be ignored, whether it’s making chocolate or baking pies or jumping rope and having sex or taking a photo or learning a new word every single day.  The journey itself is worth it, and you never know where it might lead.

What do you think?  Have you ever embarked on a long-term daily project?  How did it make you feel?  Or have you come across any projects you really admire?  And if you’re thinking about getting started, here are a few tips that might help you stay on track: https://wellfesto.com/2012/12/31/tis-the-season-for-goal-setting/

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