I, for one, can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by. Really, it feels like it was just a couple of months ago when the year began! But today is the first day of SEPTEMBER. If you’re like me, you had good intentions for the year. You promised yourself you’d start on a good note. You’d exercise more, eat healthier, put more time into your blog, spend more time with your family, etc. Sometimes these things actually do work out, and if they did for you this year, congrats! Sometimes, however, we fall flat. Now, I won’t say I fell flat. I worked my butt off. But there’s still a lot left to do. So I’ve decided to truly challenge myself. And I want to challenge you, too.
The 17 Before 2017 Challenge
So starting today, September 1, I’ll be starting the 17 Before 2017 Challenge. I’m challenging myself to complete 17 goals before 2017. These are small goals; simple things I can implement into my every day life to end 2016 on a high note and start 2017 off with a real bang!
Edit: The date is now November 15 and I’ve made some progress! I’ve been working a lot of doubles at my 9-5 (7am-8pm is so, so fun.) But I’ve been spending any time I’m not working on new content for this blog and the TWO blogs I’m now writing for part time, I’m working on this crazy challenge. And I just keep thinking, “what have I gotten myself into?!” But it’s getting me out and active, and I really need that, especially with the weather getting colder. So check out all the updates below and feel free to kick me in the butt in the comments.
1. Master riding a bike
Don’t even laugh. This is one I’ve said year after year, and this year I’m not letting it slide. 3 years ago I bought a gorgeous $300 beach cruiser. It’s pink and white, and is utterly perfect, and utterly me. I rode it once, and… I fell right off. Right into someone’s flower bed. And I haven’t been on it since.
Update: I’m pretty much a bike-riding pro. I haven’t moved up to my “big girl bike” just yet, but my little BMX and I are best friends. I never realized how great it feels to just ride away. It’s a lot like running; it clears my head while giving me so much time to think. I can’t run much with my knee injury these days, so it’s a great alternative.
2. Go back to school
I’ve been telling myself for two years that I was going to go back to school in some degree. This year, whether it’s taking an online course at community college, enrolling in a blog/social media/web design course, or going back into a classroom, I will start something by the end of the year.
Update: While my return to community college has been put on hold due to transcript transfer issues, I’ve enrolled myself in two Instagram challenges, a blog group for new bloggers, and a good old fashioned “quit your 9-5” ecourse. More updates on all of this soon!
3. Take a trip up North
Living in Michigan, this is kind of a big thing. Everyone goes “up North” in the summer and fall. Places like Traverse City, Petoskey, Charlevoix, and Mackinac Island are huge destinations for boating, beaches, and camping in the summer, and then once fall comes, we have fall color festivals and road trips. I didn’t make it up North yet this year, so I’m planning a fall colors trip to Petoskey for some hiking and relaxation.
Update: Unfortunately, this one doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this year. Two trips were planned, and both had to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. I’m already planning a Mackinac Island trip for this coming spring, for the lilac festival.
4. Go camping
Another huge plus of living in Michigan is the great places to go camping. Petoskey, Torch Lake, Houghton Lake – there’s never a shortage of great camping areas with beautiful views and great outdoor activities. I’m sad to say I haven’t been camping since I was 10 years old. And I miss it! I have plans to go camping with a couple of friends this month up near Petoskey, right by Headlands International Dark Sky Park.
Update: Unfortunately, one of those planned trips that fell through was my camping trip to Petoskey. As soon as the weather gets warm, the trip will be back on. This just gives me more time to search camping hacks on Pinterest!
5. Read 30 books
I’ve always been a avid book reader but within the last couple of years, my reading has fallen a bit behind. I thought September would be the best time to get back into reading – every September 1, I have a tradition of starting the Harry Potter series over again from the beginning. You know, in honor of a new year of classes at Hogwarts starting! #always. Plus, a new Kindle just arrived and fall weather is on its way!
Update: My new Kindle has been a great addition to the family, and I’m happy to say I’m 11 books into my 30 book goal. I was right to say that Harry Potter tradition would really put me ahead, even though I’m only 4 books in! I’ve been spending a lot of my warmer fall days sitting on the swing out front and reading on my Kindle.
6. Raise credit score
It’s not bad, but my credit score is a little lower than I’d like it. And with a move in the near future, I need my credit score on point. So I’ll be paying down my balances, condensing credit cards, and making my money work for me in the best way possible.
Update: Although my credit score has only gone up a couple of points, I’ve been learning to snowball my debt and paying down the remaining balances on my credit cards. My goal is to have one credit card paid off by the end of the year, and right now, that’s right on track!
7. Earn first income with blog
Pretty straightforward, but I’m looking to really monetize this year and there’s better time than now! I’ll be looking to make some additional income, no matter how small.
Update: I’ve made an incredibly small amount of money from blogging in the last two months. It’s small, but it’s something it’s done wonders to motivate me.
8. Paint room
Coming up with this cooler fall weather, my room is in desperate need of a paint job. You see, it hasn’t been painted since the house was built. Why, you ask? Because whoever glued down the pink floral wallpaper did a really, really great job. I’ve been removing wallpaper and scraping glue for 5+ years. It’ll be painted, and documented, by the end of the year.
Update: I’ve finally gotten all of the wallpaper removed, and paint colors have been selected! The plan is to paint between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’ll see how well that plan works out.
9. Be happy at job
I’m lucky enough to have a great job with some amazing benefits (free dog boarding and daycare!) and good pay. But it can be stressful, and I’m working to find a happy medium.
Update: If you’ve been reading along, you’ll notice I mentioned enrolling in a “quit your 9-5” ecourse. While my job is at an amazing company, they’ve backed us into a corner that consists only of forcing 12 hours of work into a 6 hour shift. So, I’ve been spending time looking for alternative sources of income and preparing for the sad possibility that I won’t ever be happy at the my job.
10. Find an active hobby
I want to find something active to truly feel passionate about. I want to dedicate time to stand-up paddle boarding, hiking, and biking to find something that I really enjoy doing to get up and out there.
Update: Between biking and hiking, I think this one has been accomplished. I’m meeting my 10,000 step goal most days and getting out and doing something every single day.
11. Publish at least one blog post per week
My goal for the rest of the year, and hopefully much more long-term than that is to dedicate enough time to publish at least one post per week. Social media will also fall into line with this.
Update: While I’m still struggling to get a weekly post up, I’m still creating content every day. I have Trello and Evernote open on my phone, tablet, and laptop almost constantly and I’m carrying around a notebook. I’m working on it!
12. Do something that scares me
This is a really broad, but really important goal. I want to do something that scares me. Maybe it’s something small like climbing a ladder onto the roof, or maybe it’s something larger like making a career change or buying a house. Either way, I want to challenge myself to do something I’m not sure I can really do.
Update: I’ve taken two very serious steps towards something that scares the crap out of me – buying a house. I’ve opened a new savings account exclusively for moving, and I’ve reached out to a real estate agent to give her an idea of what I’m looking for in a house.
13. Second source of income
Whether it’s a consistent income from my blog, a second job, or a side hustle, I want to get a second source of income coming in on a regular basis.
Update: I’m officially bringing in additional income by walking dogs and house sitting. In fact, I’m scheduled to make $1,000 by the end of the year. With Rover, I simply created a profile, let them know how far I can travel, and what services I want to offer; 30-minute walks, 30-minute drop-in visits, daycare (7am-6pm play), overnight boarding at your house, or house sitting. I tell them how many spots I have available each day, and what size and age dogs I can accept. There’s so much customization, and so much money to make. If you’re interested in trying Rover out, I’d love it if you could use my referral link to sign up!
14. Finish 3 flip projects
Flipping is something I got into over the winter (thanks a lot, Flea Market Flip) and I’ve found myself collecting furniture for flipping the last few months. I’m notorious for never finishing a project, but the goal now is to finish at least 3 projects before it gets too cold to work outside.
Update: One down, two to go! Although I have countless items tucked away to flip, I’ve only really had the time and space to work on one at a time. I turned a simple 60’s school desk into a vanity for my mother, and it turned out beautiful! I’ve also started on a wire spool that I was to finish and turn into an outdoor table.
I’ve got the MailChimp, I’ve got the SumoMe. Now all I need is consistent content and subscriber lists for a newsletter. Got any tips for me? Guys, please help.
Update: I officially have a small number of subscribers to my newsletter! I’m still working to collect content and followers, but we’re on the right track.
16. Trip to Chicago
Chicago is my happy place. It’s beautiful, active, and absolutely magical. And I’m sad to say I haven’t made a trip out since March 2015. It’s expensive, but there’s so much to do and see. I’m hoping to make it back in October with a couple of friends.
Update: As is the pattern this year, my first trip to Chicago was cancelled. I’ve made plans again to go at the end of December for New Year’s. Here’s to hoping!
17. Get another tattoo
I have a lot of tattoo ideas saved up on Pinterest, and even more ideas saved on my phone and in my head. So I think it’s time for another tattoo. My mother and I have a mother/daughter tattoo planned, and I have a floral shoulder piece planned out for an artist to sketch out.
Update: I’m going to get a tattoo done next week! Something sweet, something simple, something that has a lot of meaning to me and those around me. I’ll share as soon as I have pictures!
I’ll keep you updated on the way progress and in the end, hopefully I’ll accomplish everything. And if not, hopefully I’ll learn something along the way. Now, it’s your turn. Do you have anything you want to accomplish before 2017? Comment your top 5 below! And if you make a post, please let me know.
Update: How am I doing? How are you doing with your goals for 2016? Let me know in the comments!