Quick, before the resolution sets in, take some before photos

Life is full of befores.

It’s the time of year when New Year’s resolutions are as common as complaints about negative political ads. Unfortunately, negative advertising tends to be more effective than most resolutions.

Let’s make some of those resolutions stick. Now’s not the time to wait for a “good” picture. Take some “bad” pictures and use your before as inspiration. Honestly, who needs another photo of a kid blowing out birthday candles or a bride standing serenely at an altar. Time to get dirty.

Need some inspiration?

  • Resolve to lose weight? Commemorate your fat, unattractive self in pictures (hating this idea? remember, you don’t have to show anyone until you lose the weight). Click here for before and after pics of David, from his “Keep It Up, David” blog.
  • Resolve to get organized? Take pictures of your messy spaces and post them on your messy bulletin board. Or better yet, take a picture of your messy bulletin board, clean it off and post your inspiration photos neatly there. Click here for my messy desk before and my clean desk after from my other blog about a Minnesotan’s life in northern Illinois.
  • Resolve to remodel? I’m kicking myself for not taking more before pictures of the main floor of my house, which we are in the process of repainting. Click here for a kitchen remodel project that transformed an old shipping pallet into a kitchen backsplash.

Now, some before states are difficult to capture in pictures, but not impossible. Think creatively about what it is you want to change, and just the thinking might be inspiration enough to get to work changing it:

  • Stopping smoking? How about a shot of you shivering on the back step while you suck down that last cigarette?
  • Intent on adhering to a stretching routine? Tight hamstrings are tough to capture on film, but how about a shot of you reaching for your toes and only getting to your knees?
  • Promise to pray more? How about a shot of you looking in the mirror, pulling out your hair? If that doesn’t inspire you to call on the Great Almighty more often, well, I don’t know what will. The picture of your closed eyes and clasped hands will look positively serene in comparison.
  • Less Facebook? A shot of your expressionless face and hunched shoulders at your computer screen might inspire you to spend more time laughing with your friends face to face.
  • Resolve to eat healthier? Take some pictures of the empty crisper drawer in your fridge or a bowl of Kraft macaroni and cheese. Might provoke you to aim for a colorful salad or a perfectly ripe pear.
  • Learning a new language? How about a picture of you in front of a blank white board. Think of the potential there, to fill the board with new words you learn.
  • Focusing on paying down debt? Use pennies to represent the hundreds (or, ugh, the thousands) of dollars in debt you are. Maybe get a shot of the pennies slipping through your fingers.

Just the very existence of those before photos will inspire you to take action and create some happily ever after shots.

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