The Thing About 365 Projects
365 projects fascinate me. The idea as simple as it is challenging. Pick something you want to excel at – then do it every day for a year. It might involve taking photos, practicing a sport, writing songs, watching a film. Often, 365 projects are backed by some social proof, like posting progress to a […]
365 projects fascinate me. The idea as simple as it is challenging. Pick something you want to excel at – then do it every day for a year. It might involve taking photos, practicing a sport, writing songs, watching a film. Often, 365 projects are backed by some social proof, like posting progress to a blog, or social media platform.
Of course, 365 days in a row is probably overkill, if the goal is just to cement a habit. Most studies indicate that somewhere between 40-80 days in a row is ample if we want to ingrain a new kind of behaviour, like eating well, practising an art form, or doing regular exercise. So, why aim for 365 days?
Recently, I heard about someone who managed to read a book everyday, for 365 consecutive days. It’s an impressive feat. These days, few people read that many books in a decade, and perhaps some people never read that many in a lifetime.
But, I had to wonder about the point of it all. Why do this? How did it change the reader? Did it make them a better person?
Without that, it just feels like an exercise in consumerism. Would it be impressive if someone went shopping for clothes everyday for a year? Only if it gave them some kind of deeper insight into fashion, or textiles, or retail culture. Otherwise, it’s just an indulgence, isn’t it?
Beyond habit formation and personal experience, what makes 365 projects fascinating is the question of what people will learn and how they will improve. Take a look at the following video, which traces Sam Priestley’s one year quest to go from being a fairly ordinary table tennis player into becoming a competitive player.
The desire, the passion, makes this 365 project fascinating to watch. It’s not about hitting a table tennis ball every day for a year, it’s about becoming a better table tennis player. It’s discipline in the service of a goal.
I’ve never done a 365 project, but I have lived my life trying to do things “every day.” It’s the way in sports, it’s the way in music, it’s the way in most creative endeavours. I love 365 projects because they highlight the kind of dedication required to excel at something. Also, they challenge our inherited cultural assumptions about weekdays, weekends, rest and holidays.
If you’ve ever done a 365 project of some kind, please post a link in the comments below. I’d love to take a look and I’m sure my readers would as well.