Last year I got in the habit of carrying my gear on weekends and evening events. But that didn't mean I always used it.
This year I am learning to use it, almost always, I carried it afterall. Funny thing is, there is always a picture to be made if the camera is out.
I feel the change came from two forces. First, because I now habitually make pictures with my cell-phone whenever I see something interesting, its not a huge step to use my real camera when I have it with me. I am not worried, or embarrassed to make pictures. The second part is, I realize no matter how good I think my memory is, it is terrible. I also find it hard to describe things I have seen in interesting ways. Detailed, yes, even vivid perhaps, but its nothing like a picture. Its nice to have little moments caught in good images to share.
What benefit have I seen? First, I have more pictures, which is always a good thing. Second, I know I'm getting better. I suck at this a bit less every day, because I am practicing.
Some maybe reading this wondering how to get better pictures. First, make sure you are taking pictures. First you have to make a picture, before you can get better at making a picture. So... go make a picture. Any picture. To steal from Nike-- just do it. After you start making pictures, then worry about how to get better ones.