Ever since I got my first smart phone five years ago, I was quick to jump on as many social media platforms as I possibly could. When you first join Instagram, you immediately want to start posting as much as you can as often as you can. Eventually, you look through your profile and see a long string of photos of ordinary items with half-assed filters slapped onto them. My own Instagram profile has lived many different lifetimes. I went through the phase of posting every mundane thing that was going on in my daily life. I became that annoying friend you never wanted to hang out with because he insisted on making everyone wait to eat their food to take a photo “for the gram.” For awhile, I posted selfies with pretentious captions to make myself look ~brooding~ or ~cultured~ (Disclaimer: I am neither of those things). Nowadays, I do try to maintain some kind of a consistent theme with my photos, trying to incorporate the same filter and color schemes with each photo I take – which, let me tell you, is no easy task. There was a point over the past five years that I’ve participated in daily challenges in order to maintain a constant presence on the platform, while also challenging yourself creatively. If you are an Instagram glutton like myself, here are several challenges I, as well as my friends, have participated in over the past several years.
1. 30 Days of Bible Lettering
I participated in this one this past year, and is by far one of my favorites. As the title suggests, this challenge requires its participants to hand-letter the assigned Bible verse that day as creatively as you want. At the time, I was looking to hone in on my typography skills while getting into the habit of delving into the Word daily. Since I found myself doing the same techniques and lettering styles with everything that I would create, I was also able to use this challenge to get ideas from other more seasoned typographers and calligraphers to incorporate into my own craft. I’ve collected all of my photos in this challenge onto a framed poster that now hangs on my bedroom wall.
2. The Closet Contentment Challenge
This was a cool challenge I saw a friend of mine participate in this past year that I have been meaning to take part in. The challenge came about to call attention from its participants to the things they already own and be content with them. One aspect of the challenge is to not buy anything new for a period of time, whether that’s one month, three months, or an entire year. The other part of this challenge is that you cannot repeat your outfits throughout the duration of the challenge – that is, you can’t wear the same combinations of clothing more than once. During this challenge, not only are you able to create new looks and outfits you probably wouldn’t have thought of before, but also appreciate the things you do have by not filling your closet with more than you need. The purpose of this challenge is to direct its participants’ attention away from material possessions and the need to own a bunch of stuff, and instead find comfort and contentment with the things already in front of them.
3. Black And White Challenge
A couple of my coworkers participated in this one about a month ago, and the outcome was beautiful, both aesthetically and in meaning. In this challenge, participants are supposed to post seven black and white photos consecutively from their daily lives. Some conditions for this challenge: none of the photos can have any people in them, and each photo is to be posted without explanation. The purpose of this challenge is to embrace simplicity and minimalism outside of material possessions. It allows you to take a look at the world around you as it is without any of the distractions that tend to get in the way.
4. 100 Happy Days
This challenge is pretty straight forward – post a photo every single day for 100 days of things that made you happy that day. This challenge was more to help me get into the habit of posting regularly, much to the chagrin of my Instagram followers. This challenge also helped me incorporate more creativity in my posts by forcing me to change the lens that I saw the world through everyday.
5. 365 Positives Jar
In this challenge, I made it a point to write one positive thing that happened in my life every single day and keep them in a jar, and to consistently fill it throughout the year. As you can probably guess, this isn’t an Instagram challenge, but it’s one of my favorites, and one that I highly recommend more people participate in, especially with the events that happened this past year. So much can happen in one year, and it’s very easy to brand each year based only on the events that we remember, which are usually the bad ones. During the year that I participated in this, when I had a really bad day, I opened up this jar and read through all of the good things that happened over the course of that year. When the year ends, you can go back into the jar and read through all of the positive memories you made throughout that year. Since I did this challenge, it was ingrained in me to always look on the bright side of things when things may not be going so well, and to also cling onto the fact that not everyday has to be labeled a bad day.
Whether you’re looking to increase your online presence, challenge yourself creatively, or wanting to spread positivity into the universe, I highly recommend participating in any of these challenges. Nowadays, every headline has been sparking so much fear and negativity into the world, and I believe we are in need of hope and beauty now more than ever. They say that every photo is worth a thousand words, so what better way to push beauty and positivity into the universe than with photos?