13 Things to Remember for 2013

I’m not big on New Years resolutions but I do like to remind myself what’s important.  I thought if I were to write myself a list for the next 12 months I might be able to focus and make even more of the year ahead.

Also, if I share it here, I might be more inclined to remember it.

13 Things to remember:

1. Life doesn’t have to be complicated.
Instead of taking on a whole heap of projects in one go, I’d like to focus on one thing at a time and do that one thing well.

Look for the lessons in every experience.  Attitude is the driving force.  My circumstances don’t dictate happiness, attitude does.

2. Impress myself over others.
Living within the online spaces as often as we do, It’s easy to get sucked into the ‘Like me’ mentality. I hope I do things because I want to do them and not just because of what someone may or may not think as a result of what I do.  On the whole I can be quite judgmental of my actions and think that if I can impress myself, I’ve done a good job.

3. Buy things that last.
Remember the value of a thing can be measured more than with it’s cost.

When I make an expensive purchase this coming year I want to remember to ask myself..  “How long will this last?”

There are so many things made with love care and attention.  Objects designed to outlive their owner.  Everything else is disposable.  This unfortunately includes many of the tools I use in my job.  The cameras and mobile tech.  Perhaps one day these objects can also last a lifetime.  Why in our insanely wasteful world do we stand for built-in obsolescence in industrial design?  Why on earth design a product with a limited useful life?

I enjoy beautifully crafted and well made things, and even more so the stories connected to them.  I’m also inspired by how they are made, how they feel and the art contained within.  Yet it’s important to remember these objects are only things.  Don’t let your possessions own you.  Pass them on, share and inspire others when you no longer have a use for them.  You will still have the stories, the experience.

4. Make others feel special.
I can be selfish.

Yet I find making other people happy one of the most rewarding things.

I’m working on it.  (That’s my Gran in the photo. She was 88 in November.)

5. Relax.
Spending a day doing nothing is OK.  I don’t meditate.  I used to.  Occasionally I find time to be alone and sit or walk and think.  Sometimes I’ll beat myself up over this inactivity, but in reality these times are important.  This silencing of the mind when all around is chaos helps me feel more inspired by the little things.  These moments reflecting help me to understand myself a little more.  (That’s me in the hammock. When I remembered it was OK to kick back and read for the day.)

6. Get good at something that’s not my job.
It’s easy when you love your work to find it all consuming.  We are made of other things though and experiences outside of our working bubble are vital if we are to have a rounded perspective on the world around us.

7. Keep a diary.
I have started to do this with the help of an app that syncs across all my devices.  It’s not only really therapeutic.  It’s helps me document and track my growth as well as learn from my mistakes.

8. Remember it’s OK to have regrets.
It’s better to regret what I’ve done than to regret what I didn’t do.  The mistakes I have made make me who I am.  Everyone makes mistakes.  To err is human.  To learn from these mistakes and not repeat them is what I strive to do.  I’m still learning.

9. Pay more attention to those I love.It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own little worlds and forget those that matter the most.  My family are the best adventure I have ever had.. am still having.

10. Have more adventures.Adventures don’t have to involve a flight to somewhere with biting insects.  They can literally occur in your back garden.  Keep exploring.  Try something new.  Keep taking chances and stay curious and you will see adventure in everything.

11. Get fit.This is the first year I have felt that life is battering my body.  I’m suddenly reminded that if I don’t keep an eye out for my health it can slip away.

12. Read more.And I don’t mean tweets.

I look at the shelves of my smartest friends and they bow under the weight of the worlds wisdom.  I know they have read them all.  You only have to talk to an passionate reader for five minutes to see that.  It’s no longer enough that I just surround myself with these people.  I want to know what they know.  They have just as many hours in the day as I do.

I have no excuse.

I have a shelf of books to read and an e-reader stuffed to capacity. It’s just a matter of remembering the words of Dr Seuss – “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

13. Be present.

Now is a really nice place.  I need to remember the mistakes I’ve made but don’t dwell on them.  I’ll continue to learn from my past to be equipped for the present and the future will form from this.

Life is passing faster than I expected but when I enjoy the moment it slows down.  Enjoy and savour every minute.

2013 is upon us. I hope you have a wonderful year.  That you remember to dream and remember your dreams.  That you take chances, make things and give inspiration..  I hope you find adventure in everything you do and that your work is as much fun as your play.

I’m @Documentally on Twitter and App.net.  The photos above are mine.

Subscribe to this blog


  1. wizzardsblog says

    Love the post. I don’t make resolutions I set myself goals, I’m more likely to stick to my goals :-)

  2. says

    Aphorisms at this time of year are usually on the sickly-sweet side… but this one is notably different.. The things to aim for seem more real and therefore, more achievable as a result…

    As a photographer, I have to say you choice of images adds a lovely poignancy to each of the subjects…

    The best of luck to you for 2013..

    • says

      Thanks Steve, I thought a moment about the potential ‘sickly-sweetness’ but as No. 2 stated, ” I hope I do things because I want to do them..” And this list is very much a personal thing.

      I like how the new year acts as a datum, punctuation on the year gone and a chance to refresh and begin again.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. If I had a number 14 on the list it might have been to comment more on other people’s blogs. Our tweets are so transient and we need to nurture community in the places that last. Like WordPress blogs. :)

  3. says

    Wonderful list, and I have a strong feeling it’s going make for a memorable year. I don’t think you’ve left much out, so I’m going to have to steal one of your ideas for my 2013 resolution: to get good at something that’s not my job. And you’ve inspired me here too, as I’m going to try and get good at photography. Thank you.

  4. says

    Hi Christian, a great list of mental things to remember for 2013. I have found that I only really achieve something that I truly want to achieve. I find it incredibly easy to buy and read books and it gets done because I suspect I simply love it.

    Buying things that last is good for us as individuals but not good for the economy. To a very large extent we are stuck with a money and economic system which is designed for growth. Companies simply can’t afford to build products that last.

    Edward Bernays, came up with a new name for propaganda (Public Relations) and learned a lot from his uncle, Sigmund Freud, about how to lock into people’s desires and compel people to keep on buying things they didn’t need but they did want.

    I sometimes wish that I didn’t observe, read, and research quite so much because it brings you closer to truths which can form a kind of bind. As a marketer, I know and understand how to lock into people’s desires and persuade people to buy more. Knowing what I know about systems and how they drive our behaviour really is “the most Inconvenient Truth of all.”

    On a positive note, my weight had ballooned over the years and my fitness was not as good as it has been. In August I decided enough was enough and have lost over two stone and my fitness level is now pretty good.

    In my case, it’s the small habits which had contributed to weight gain, small habits which went unnoticed + a change in my metabolism. At any rate, I have found a regime which is not that difficult to stick to and I feel is very well worth continuing.

    The key driver though was an absolute certainty of what I wanted. Mountains can be moved when we get clear on what we truly want.

    Wishing you the very best


    • says

      Hi Steve, Thanks for the comment. A system based on growth is not sustainable. That’s what cancer does and eventually kills it’s host. Something has to change. Perhaps a few of those selling things we don’t need have to evolve into other ways of life.

      Like you say, Small habits need to change.

      And I think that changing small habits can indeed move mountains. 😉

      • says

        I couldn’t agree more. Increasingly over the past few years I’ve become unsettled by seeing people ‘needing’ objects or fashion brands and then – funnily enough – usually the same people proclaiming they’re bored, or having money ‘burning a hole in my pocket’ which ‘must’ be spent on more stuff. I reflected on brief teenage days when I’ve spouted the same, before I knew better (but still seeing it in adults worries me).

        There’s nothing wrong in a good collection, in memories. But I remember one of the first quotes that had an impact on me when I first started art college: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”.
        I’d expand that to say lives and not just houses? :)

        I’d pay a king’s ransom for the types of experiences you’ve had (herding in the mountains! A million times value over having mere stuff). I will continue to pay for travel, for experiences (thus, the economy still gets my money) and help charities, as those will be the things I look back on in my life. And hopefully those experiences include doing some good for the world in return.

        Though I’m not keeping it spartan – this year’s holiday begins with Orlando, Florida for rollercoasters and fun. Unnecessary if you look at it in that way, but I’m supporting my partner on his marathon and photographing Orlando when I’m there, which I always enjoy. And man I love rollercoasters, and flying! I’ve a long list of other places I want to see and experience (India soon I hope!). There’s a goals/resolutions list forming in my head which I may write down shortly, so we can remind each other as we go 😉

  5. says

    Hi Christian,

    Your work, your actitude, your sense of humor and your pictures inspires me.
    Thanks for share.
    If you ever come to Barcelona will be a pleasure to invite you to a beer :)

    Joan Vendrell

  6. jcherfas says

    Re: No. 3: Inspired by you, on a whim, I bought a new pair of jeans. Boy, are they built to last! But how they will cope with my cycling has yet to be seen. I rather hope that Huit will one day offer a patching service.

  7. says

    Got pointed to your post by our mutual friend Steve Clayton and I’m so glad he sent me your way. Excellent, provocative reading.

    For myself I’m adding..

    1. Reconnecting with ‘why’ as in ‘why am I doing what I am doing’. This theme has been re-popularised recently by Simon Sinek but he’s hardly the first person to pose the question. At this time in my life, I have found it be a really interesting and useful question to ask myself.

    2. Embracing anxiety instead of blocking it. For at least the last decade I feel that I’ve been too busy to do anything with anxiety other than ignore, block, numb, headfake or eliminate it. Read an article recently that suggested that anxiety actually plays an important role in our lives. Numb it with booze or distract yourself with work/holidays/etc at your peril. I’m interested to see where this leads.

    Wishing you well on your 2013 journey.


  8. says

    Your Leica will last a lifetime and produce wonderful pictures along the way……The question is, do you want it to, or will you be taken in by the next latest/better/improved version or replacement to come along?

    • says

      That’s just it. I thought my Leica M6 would last a life time and physically I’m sure it will. Will I be able to get the film? Will I be able to process? Will I be bothered?
      When I traded it with my Nikon digital gear I was recycling it for the M9 and I was under no illusions that that was my camera for life. It could be if I didn’t want to move with photographic innovation and new technological developments. I did of course keep the lenses. I’ve had many of them for over 10 years. They will be used by me for many more years to come. At the moment I’m even using them on the FujiFilm EX-1.

  9. considal says

    Very nice personal blog. I especially like how you’ve integrated your photos into the thread of your observations and sharing of your approach to life. Well done.

  10. says

    Some great advice to keep in mind past January when all the New Year resolutions have faded into obsurity, only to leave the shattered pieces of pet projects once started with such hope and optimism.
    Anyway, quick question here. I attended your recent Video for the Web training course in London and the one thing which resonates in my mind is connectivity. When you were out in the back of beyond taking pictures, how did you connect your devices to the internet to upload on the go?


  1. […] the ever fabulous Christian Payne (@documentally) had posted a rather nifty blog post called Thirteen Things to Remember in 2013. It’s a great bit of writing reminding us of some simple truths that we often overlook in our […]