Busy is a decision
November 11, 2019
The True Cost of Being an Equine Photographer
January 9, 2020
Show all

2020 in the Bag: How to Make Plans, Not Resolutions

Are you guilty of New Year-itis? Do you head into January determined to make major changes throughout your life – fewer calories, more exercise, a thriving bank account, all the usual suspects? It feels like the pressure’s on, right? Like everyone around you is making these lofty resolutions and shouting about them from the rooftops.

But here’s something to ponder: only 8% of New Year’s resolutions end up with any sort of follow-through. Kind of a grim statistic, isn’t it? Here’s why: most people make the mistake of being too vague – and also of overloading themselves. That’s not to say that you can’t do all the things you want to in 2020 – but there’s a better way of making them happen.

First of all, dispense with the notion of a ‘resolution’. Yeah, sure, everyone’s doing them – but you’re not everyone. You’re the 8%. Why? Because you’re going to set goals and make plans. That’s actionable. That’s productive. And that’s the key to making your dreams come true.

So how should you start? By making a list (and checking it twice, of course!). Go on, do it now – grab a notebook and jot down all the boxes you’d love to tick this year. Don’t limit yourself; consider this a free-writing session. We’re just brainstorming for now.

Heck, we’ll even join in. Feel free to steal our ideas – we won’t hold it against you, we love them too!

2020 GOALS

  • Work closely with a famous rider
  • Lose a dress size
  • Go on holiday somewhere amazing
  • Buy a new lens
  • Book a magazine shoot
  • Hit 10k followers on Instagram (hello, swipe up feature!)
  • Learn a new skill

That’s enough for us to be getting on with for now. Pretty vague, right? This is usually where resolutions begin and end – but how do you get the ball rolling on something so intangible? You turn those ideas into plans, that’s how. Let’s take a closer look at what we’ve got to work with here.

So we’d like to work with a famous rider – a great goal to have, and one that could increase exposure and bring in tonnes more clients. But famous riders are, well, famous, right? So they must be pretty hard to connect with.

Nope! But you do need to have a plan. There are a few ways to tackle this one – do you have any connections, or connections of connections, who know a top rider? Great – that’s useful, but it’s not necessary, so don’t worry if not. Instead, start with an idea. It’s an Olympic year – do you have any brilliant ideas for photos that encompass the spirit of the Games? Remember Laura Collett jumping a fence on a horse painted with the Union Jack? What a photo!

Ideas are powerful. Once you let one take root, it goes on its own fantastic adventure in your mind. Then, you start to get excited about. After that, you start to gain confidence in it – and confidence is a seriously powerful elixir when making new connections.

Now, think about your idea. Would it suit a particular publication? Great! Find that publication’s contact details and pitch the shoot. Or, contact the press office of the sport’s governing body – the British Equestrian Federation manages Team GB, or you could go discipline-specific. Or take it straight to the rider – either approach them at a show or reach out via social media. Love your own idea and chances are, your dream subject will love it, too. One ‘yes’ is all you need to have a date in the diary for a shoot that could change your life.

So you want to lose a dress size – a pretty common resolution. We think you’re perfect as you are, but good on you if you want to make positive changes for your health. We reckon there’s a personal trainer near you who could teach you all about how to make those weight machines your personal playthings. Book in.

When the weather is glum, we’re guilty of daydreaming of the Maldives. It would be easy enough to daydream the years away, but we want to book. It’s going to be a pretty pricey jaunt, so how can we make it happen? By doing some financial planning for the year ahead. Price it up, look at all the options, and then work out how many shoots you’ll need to do to make it happen. Maybe you’ll find it’s time to put your prices up. Be brave. Get it done.

Same story for buying a new piece of kit. Go to a camera shop with your favourite lens and your camera body. Chat to someone who knows what they’re talking about. Figure out what it is that you want from a new lens that your current kit doesn’t already give you. Try a few; see what feels at home in your hands. Even better? Hire a couple of candidates for a week to find your soulmate. Then, get back to that financial planning.

Want to nab your first magazine commission? Totally doable. Figure out what your speciality is – do you take amazing, evocative portraits? Do you nail the action shot every time? Pick up a stack of horse magazines and look at what they usually publish. There’s demand for stock imagery, cohesive training shoots, and images to accompany celeb profiles – pick your poison and then peruse the early pages of the magazine, which will have all the contact information you need to get on their freelancers list.

Hitting a social media milestone is a great concrete goal – especially when you’ll benefit from additional features as a high-powered user. How do you get there? By making sure your content is top-notch and consistent, by using hashtags to the best of their ability, and by engaging with the right people. Get thee to Google – you’ll learn an awful lot in an afternoon.

Want to learn a new skill? Cool. But what? And why? Knowing the answers to both those questions will set you on the right track – you’ll be much more likely to put the requisite effort in if you’re excited about it or there’s a pressing reason to do so. Sign up for a class, watch a YouTube tutorial, or team up with a friend – none of us are great at anything at first, but start now and who knows where you’ll be in a month, six months, or a year.

Timelines are a usual tool that can help to propel you along – rather than just saying you’d like to do something in 2020, think about when exactly you’d like to do it. Then work back – if you want to do an Olympic-themed shoot, for example, you’ll want to do so before the Games this summer. In fact, you’ll probably want to be snapping it in May. Are there shows before then that you can get to for networking purposes? Get that calendar out.

If this all sounds an awful lot like homework, don’t worry – we promise it’s an hour or two well spent, and you’ll be surprised how addictive and empowering it is. The key to success is in making a plan of action – once you’ve done so, you’ll be itching to get started. And then? We know you’re going to smash it. Happy 2020.

If you want more help with goal setting, and ACTUALLY reaching those milestones, check out our epic year long mentorship programme here.