2016 52 in 52: how did I go?

52 in 52 for 2016

2016 was officially the year that I stopped looking at what I didn’t do, and instead appreciated what I did do. Funnily enough it then converted to one of my best years in the list yet, completing 39 of them. I’m pretty darn happy with that!

Let’s take a look.

Cooking

  • Focus on reducing my regular fructose intake: I got a handle on my sugar intake again this year, although it wasn’t without it’s lapses (hello Christmas). However I learned to really understand the effect that sugar has on my body, and it made the decisions of whether to put sweet treats into my mouth all that easier. This played a large part in my weight loss this year, and overall well being.
  • Try a new food I’ve never tried before: I’m sure I’d achieved this several times throughout the year, but the one that most sticks out in my mind is trying Octopus balls in Japan. Can’t say I’m a fan, and I’m unlikely to ever eat them again!

Family

  • Do something nice for my parents: I got married this year, and as part of that we did the normal thing in giving gifts to my parents. But I coupled this with letters that I wrote to each of them, reflecting on our relationships and thanking them for everything they had done. Judging by the reactions, I’d say these were winners.
  • Talk to my estranged sister: In preparation for the wedding, I did something I thought I hadn’t ever wanted to do again – I talked to my estranged middle sister. It was an effort to see if I could build a relationship with her (play happy families and all that) and I will just sum it up by saying that it failed pretty dismally. I’m not sure where to go from here, I do believe it’s an unsalvageable relationship, but I tried. I can honestly say I tried, and therefore have no regrets.

Shopping

  • Put leftover coins from my wallet into a money box: This was a great way to start saving money, and the trend is still going strong. I think last time I cashed it in there was about $300 or so in there, and it went towards something for Mario and I. Great idea.
  • Set up a filing system: Mario and I properly joined finances this year, and I wanted to be organised. As part of that we cleaned out my filing cabinet and put all of our paperwork together. In doing so we got rid of his super old expanding folder from the living room and took another step towards acting like adults. Don’t ask if we’ve been disciplined with it since, you might find some mortgage transaction history files floating in the kitchen and other stuff randomly about the house.

Hobby

  • Build a custom wordpress theme: This was joined together with my desire to learn HTML and CSS last year, and trying to apply the knowledge. In doing so I took the theme on my blog already, and tweaked it. I’ve discovered this morning surfing around my site looking for some things that there are theme bugs (category pages not working properly for example), but it appears these existed in the original theme. Shows the value in doing QA checks on your own site hey? Something for me to work on in the new year!
  • Find a new podcast to listen to: I ended up blogging about this (see my post here). I haven’t listened to any lately as I haven’t been in the car long enough, or been listening to music when running, but Freakanomics is definitely still on the high rotation list!
  • Make an appreciation jar: During the year I wrote little notes to myself about the things I appreciated, then I opened it on the last day of the year. It was hilarious, I’d even written some when I was drunk! It was fun to take stock of each day though, and this year the hubby has decided we should do it again and that he would join in. Hence we now have colour coded post its and it’s away and running!

  • Read a book on Oprah’s book club list: I actually read a few this year, including Eat Pray Love and Love Warrior (which SPOILER ALERT she ends up leaving her husband after she wrote the book and is now with another woman?). There’s some good books on the list, that’s for sure!
  • Read a book with a month in its name: I ended up reading Red October – so much better than the movie
  • Read a book with techniques for live improvement: I read a stress reduction challenge book last year, which unfortunately I wasn’t able to succeed with. I also read one about healthy relationships, not that there was anything in trouble with my relationship with Mario other than stress getting in the way, but I just wanted to make sure I was being the best partner I could be.

Health

  • Average 7-8 hours of sleep a night: All of my friends with children, YES I know that I should appreciate this now because when I have kids sleep won’t exist. The reason behind this one was a tactic for my health and stress reduction, and I’m happy to report in that I had a healthy 7.5 hours average (although there were extremes on either side). I still need to get better at going to bed eary though, although from what I hear 9pm is a bit of a pipe dream for some (after 9pm I’m struggling to stay awake). I appreciate that I have the choice in this!
  • Donate blood/plasma at least 10 times: Originally this was set to to be just plasma, but I changed it based on the fact that I was willing to donate whatever the Red Cross needed at the time. Sometimes it was whole blood, sometimes it was plasma. All up, I clocked 10 donations for the year, over 25 in total, and I’m pretty darn proud of that.

  • Drink 2 bottles of water a day for 30 days: This one was hard at times, but I found that I became obsessed with carrying a water bottle with me – a trend I continue to this day. I felt my skin improve, my hair get better, and I generally felt healthier.
  • Get a breast scan: After getting a couple of lumps cut out years ago, I’ve needed to remain pretty conscious of any changes to my boobs. I also get yearly checkups as I’m in the high risk category (my mother had it). In 2015 I didn’t remember getting a scan, so I added it to the list for this year to make sure I didn’t forget. I got the scan, and I got the all clear. Beautiful.
  • Get a mole scan: Another item I had been slack in, and was overdue. I’m glad I went and got this one done, since I had to get two moles cut out. Both scars turned keloid, so I now have some lumpy scars on my back, but I’ll take that any day over skin cancer!
  • Lose 10kg: So thrilled I hit this one, and previously blogged about it in October. I had dropped even lower since (unfortunately Christmas then came so I’ve added a couple back but I’m still 9kg down – no complaints here). The secret? Portion control and exercise – everything they preach about!
  • Use a small plate for a month: Everything I ate came from a small plate, and funnily enough I still do this for the most part! This truly taught me about portion control, and how much overeating I was doing! Massively instrumental in my weight loss.
  • Read a book recommended by a friend: So many that I read this year was from friends, but in the end I started reading the Matthew Reilly series, starting with Ice Station. I’m looking forward to reading more of these in 2017
  • Run 100km in 30 days: Due to the hip issues this had to be downgraded to run/walk, but I still clocked up 100km during morning walks and runs for January, and raised money for charity at the same time. I’m pretty damn proud.
  • Spend a night pampering myself: Oh how I loved this task. I had a night where I pretty much got a bottle of wine, some choccies, ran a bath and put in a divine bath bomb. I read a book, and relaxed. It was so good…be right back, running a bath now. Oh wait, it’s over 30 degrees….ok another day.
  • Try pilates: I bought myself a kit that I saw in aldi, that came complete with the ball. It was really hard to start with, but I learned some great tips and tricks on this one! Using the ball to balance between my legs and doing leg raises was tough, love it!
  • Use my lunch break to regularly go out for walks: This really was a way of attempting to get my stress under control, which took me most of the year to master. Doing Steptember (10,000 steps a day) really upped the game on this one, and I have gotten much better at taking breaks as a result. The difference between before and after in my work productivity is astounding as well…even if it’s the last thing you want to do, do it.

Physical activity

  • Attend a high tea: I got to do this one for Sammie’s baby shower, and it was so much fun!
  • See a waterfall: Honestly, I’ve ticked this one off but I can’t really remember when it was. Maybe with Mario? I know I did it, but the time I did it isn’t standing out. Bummer. Oh! In Japan at one of the temples! Phew.

Relationship

  • Go on a date night 12 times: This was great, Mario and I would declare it a date night which could be either out of the house, or at home. Usually it was dinner, and a movie of some kind. We’ve decided that for 2017 (and possibly onwards) that the 4th of each month would be our date night, the anniversary of our wedding. The next one is in two days, woohoo!
  • Have a candlelight dinner: So many times, I’ve lost count. Mario loves to surprise me with candlelight dinner at home, he’s quite the romantic. Love it.
  • Have a picnic: Again so many times. My favourites are the ones that we have at home on the living room floor, right where he proposed.

  • Surprise my partner in a nice way: In the lead up to our wedding, I walked around the coast taking video of some meaningful locations to us – first kiss, first date etc. I put it all together in a video, then on the morning of the wedding sent it to Mario. From what I hear he opened it up while at the car wash with his father that morning and cried; his father (a tough Italian) man asked “what’s wrong with you?!”, but he got it once he saw the video. I’m so glad it was well received though, Mario was blown away.
  • Write a love letter: Well if my video wasn’t enough, Mario and I leave a lot of little letters around the house for each other all the time. On the down low, I try to act all tough when in public but I’m honestly quite mushy at home with Mario – shhhh don’t tell anyone!!

Social

  • Ask a stranger how his/her day is going: I loved this one, it was instrumental in a lot of random and fun conversations
  • Brighten someone’s day with a joke: So many dad jokes shared at the office, it was great
  • Buy a coffee for a stressed out friend: Again focusing on the office, but it’s amazing how just little gestures like this can add up when you’re freaking out over something
  • Crap wine tasting night: Oh man this was awesome, thanks to Bel for being my drinking partner, Kat for enjoying the spectacle and Mario for mixing things up. You can read about it here.
  • Donate to a local charity: Heaps of stuff was donated this year, and there’s a lot more headed their way this year when I get a chance to clean out more of our cupboards at home!
  • Have a board games night: I had a night with Mario, but during an awesome skype christmas dinner with the girls, Tina, Lea, Bel, Kat and I all played trivial pursuit by Skype (I was the “board master”). Kat was also my secret santa this year and gave me (amongst other things) a One Direction board game from the op shop. The story behind this is one of my previous years I had a challenge to have a board games night using only games from the op shop. It was so much fun! So when I was gifted this game, one night when a friend, Vanessa, was over for tea we busted it out and gave it a go. So funny. For the record – no I’m not a One Direction fan, which made it all the better a gift!
  • Surprise someone in a nice way: This was fun; I made a lot of nappy cakes during the year, which were well received by the mums-to-be.
  • Thank a friend: Also coupled in with my wedding, I wrote all of the bridesmaids and MC individual letters to thank them. This year I was really humbled by how amazing my friends are, and I wanted to make sure they knew that.

 

So that’s it – what a year! Roll on 2017!!