Before I lay out the concept of 17 Challenges In ’17, I feel that I need to own up to the lack of progress I made in achieving my 16 Goals For 2016. Sage advice for achieving any goal will caution against “getting in one’s own way” but it seems that’s exactly what I wound up doing last year. My fondness for patterns, rhythms, and gimmicks had me latching onto the idea of defining 16 goals to achieve in 2016 but I took it too far and nearly all of the goals were based on 16 as well. I had also included a goal to report my progress with monthly “16 On The 16th of …” posts.
Initially, I was quite tickled by my self-perceived cleverness of the “16 goals for 16” concept but within a couple of months, I realized that I didn’t have enough time (or let’s face it, motivation) to achieve all of them. I did publish a progress post in January, but not in February. There was a post in March but April and May came and went without a post and by then, it seemed silly to report on my lack of progress with the goals. Fine, whatever.
That’s not to say that I forgot about the whole venture. Every 16th of the month was a reminder of this misstep of mine. At the end of December, as the new year was approaching and other bloggers started to write about goals/resolutions/intentions/etc for 2017, I tried to avoid thinking about my 16 goals for 16 but the lure of starting fresh in 2017 was too much to resist. However, I’m determined to learn from my mistakes, but I am who I am, and I actually didn’t fully formulate my 17 Challenges In ’17 plan until nearly a week into the start of the new year.
That being said, I knew I needed to figure out a way to make the concept of “17 in 17” appeal to my inner nerd without overextending myself time and/or motivation wise. In other words, I needed to avoid setting myself up for failure and stay out or my own way. As I began to think about patterns or rhythms for 17 over the course of the year, I was also considering what I would want to achieve. Instead of calling them goals, I hit upon the idea of calling them challenges and the framework for 17 Challenges In ’17 began to take shape.
I mused on the idea of a different challenge every 17 days but 365 divided by 17 is 21.47 and I didn’t want to do 21 challenges or have time breaks between them or be done with the challenges by mid-October. As I looked at the math, I realized that I could start a challenge every 21 days for a total of 17 challenges and there would be just 8 days left over at the end of a year. This seemed like a doable plan, one challenge to focus on at any one time and every three weeks, a new one is started with a week of reflection at the end of the year. The next step was to define 17 challenges.
With the late set up of my 17 Challenges In ’17 plan, you might think that I would use the extra 8 days (see the math above) at the beginning of the year but I had already started a challenge of a sort as I was developing this plan. Perhaps it’s my participation in that challenge which led me to think about other challenges I could define for myself. For a number of reasons that I’ll share in the wrap-up post at the end of the first 3-week challenge, I’ve pledged to be shop free for 3 months so that has been my first 3-week challenge (baby steps). I don’t know if I’ll stick with the pledge for full 3 months but I intend to stick with it for at least 3 weeks (more likely about 6 weeks) so this is the one I’m starting with for my 17 challenges.
Several ideas for other challenges came to me quite easily as I started to draw up a list but I was falling short on having 17. In a brainstorming effort, I shared my 17 Challenges In ’17 idea and the list that I had so far with The Husband and our daughter to see what their ideas might be. Our daughter suggested becoming vegetarian/pescatarian (as she is) and also shyly hinted at an idea that would involve her father. I chuckled and assured her that I already had an idea for a challenge in that realm and of course, The Husband was happy to hear about that. They both had a bit of fun offering up ideas and assessing the merits of the ones I had thought up myself.
I now have my list of challenges (although they may be revised) and I’ve set a tentative schedule that I will follow (see below). The challenges range in a scale of difficulty from being fairly easy (like #16) or truly testing me (like #4) and run a gambit from style to health to fitness to blogging. My intention with these challenges is to hopefully break a few bad habits as well as instill some better ones.
Challenges And Schedule
|1||No shopping (buying) clothes, shoes, accessories||January 1|
|2||7 hours of sleep each night||January 22|
|3||10,000 steps each day||February 12|
|4||No snooze on morning alarm||March 5|
|5||Respond to blog comments and link up posts within 24 hours||March 26|
|6||Workout for minimum of 45 minutes each day||April 16|
|7||No candy or sweets||May 7|
|8||Publish a blog post every day||May 28|
|9||250 steps every hour for 12 hours per day (Fitbit metric)||June 18|
|10||Become pescatarian||July 9|
|11||No television||July 30|
|12||Wear same basics or establish a capsule (TBD)||August 20|
|13||No eating out at restaurants||September 10|
|14||Keep a daily food journal||October 1|
|15||(this is the one with The Husband)||October 22|
|16||Wear a dress or skirt every day||November 12|
|17||7 servings fruit/vegetables every day||December 3|
As you can see, some of these are a “one and done, on with the rest of my day” type of challenge and others will require more effort and mindfulness. I’ve mixed them up in the schedule so that I don’t burn out and I give myself the time I might need to truly integrate new habits into my daily routine. I believe that getting 7 hours of sleep every night and walking 10,000 steps every day are very important health related goals that I really need to get going on so that’s why they are the next ones on the list. Coinciding with the start of each new challenge will be a blog post outlining the parameters of that challenge and I will do a wrap up on the experience and lessons learned during the previous one.
16 Goals For 2016
Ready for the wrap up on the 16 Goals For 2016? Following with the layout that I initially established, these are the goals that I’d set up for myself and how well I did in achieving them;
1. Spend an average of 16 minutes a day attending to household finances and provide CPA with 2015 financial info by Feb 16
– I made the February 16th goal but fell behind in staying up to date with other financial records.
2. Be active for at least 16 minutes every day
– from my Fitbit app, I know that my total minutes of activity for 2016 was 3,989 which is an average of 10.9 minutes per day.
3. Yoga, tap dance, swim, and/or otherwise “workout” at least 16 times every month
– again from my activity tracker app, my total “workouts” count for the year was 73 which is an average of 6.08 per month
4. Increase my 2015 total step count by at least 160%
– my total steps in 2015 was 2,046,773 and my 2016 total was 1,878,567. Holy crap! I did get a new tracker in May so maybe the calibration is different and the comparison isn’t a fair one. Ya, I’m going with that.
5. Have 16 days during the year with a step count of over 16,000
– 1 of 16, not even close.
6. Take 16 bike rides
– 1 of 16, and not this one either.
7. Lose 16 pounds and then lose another 16 pounds
– let’s just say this didn’t happen
8. Get 16 massages
– 8 of 16, not bad and I have an appointment for one in two weeks.
9. Try 16 new recipes
– 2 of 16, haven’t done much cooking lately
10. Attend, visit, or watch 16 cultural events, exhibits, or theatrical performances
– 16 of 16, YES! We saw two plays, visited Williamsburg and the Shelburne Museum, toured the Annapolis State Building (also visited 7 other state capitals), Ben & Jerry’s Factory tour, Baseball Hall of Fame, Morro Bay Art in the Park, watched two movies in the theater, and I performed in two dance recitals.
11. 16 creative projects, four of each of the following; crochet, sewing, jewelry, and décor
– ya, still working on the same afghan I started in 2015
12. Socialize with 16 different family or friend ‘units’ (unit = single adult or married couple and their children, if any)
– 16 of 16, we were busy this year.
13. Spend at least 16 nights away from home (as in travel to the distant lands near and far)
– 16 of 16 (actually more), spending time in NJ, NY, DE, VA, MD, VT, NH, & ME.
14. Publish 160 posts
– 90 of 160; how many did you read?
15. Increase blog and Instagram followings each by 16 fold
– between WordPress, Instagram, Bloglovin, and email, I started 2016 with 20 followers so my goal was to have 320 by the end of the year. At the end of 2016, I had over 400 followers on Instagram alone so I did good on this one.
16. Issue a monthly blog post called 16 for the 16th of ” “ which would be a look back on a month’s worth of new likes, discoveries, and progress on these goals
– 2 of 12 done
See what I mean by getting in my own way? The 16 Goals For 2016 was WAY too ambitious even if I didn’t work full-time and commute an hour each way but I had some successes so I’m going to chalk it all up to experience. Ba bye, 2016.
At this point, you might be wondering about the photos that I’ve included in this post and pondering on what relevance they may have to the 17 Challenges In ’17 plan. With my no shopping challenge, I’m focusing on how to remix and rematch what I already have into new and different looks. The high/low skirt is the same one from the third outfit in the Marl Knit Dress: Up Down All-Around post that came out last Saturday and I wanted to try it with another outfit. I call this look “a study in long layers”. The skirt will be making yet another appearance again soon in an upcoming post.
Plaid vest, bought in November – Simply Vera Wang (similar look, another option)
Tunic – Style & Co, old (similar style, another option)
High/low hem skirt – Apt 9, old
Mid-shaft boots – Eva & Zoe, old (similar look, another option)
Fitness tracker – Fitbit Blaze (exact)
So there you have it, my 17 Challenges In ’17 plan for challenging myself to shed bad habits and adopt better ones in 2017. I’m a bit soft on a couple of them and I would love to hear any ideas that you have for challenges I might try instead.
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