52 in 52: the 2016 edition

It’s that time of the year again – time for a new 52 in 52 list! I was talking about it with my friend (Jo from A Rainbow Life) who was a co-creator of the list idea way back when it first began. We were trying to remember how many years we’ve been doing this for, and the oldest we could find was from 2010. I’m sure we’ve been doing it even longer than that, but even so it means that our idea is at least 6 years old now – wow!

I very nearly gave up on doing a list this year, partly because I nearly burned out last year. I was pushing myself incredibly hard on so many deadlines (not just the list), and I just wanted a break. However Jo was able to reinspire me, and thus the trend continues.

Contributing to the burn out was that I had quite a few items on the list that meant that every day of every week I had to be focused on achieving something. There was never any time to just “switch off”. I had weekly posts I had to do, photos each day, certain tasks for each month etc. It was too much. This year I’ve not done that. Some of them still have to be done multiple times, but there’s no limit on how often. There are two items that are within a 30 day limit, but they’re the exception (one of them is because of a particular event I’m participating in). I’m also going to be a lot more generous to myself – if I give it a red hot go but life gets in the way so I miss one or two days or repeats, that’s fine. The point is that I tried. This list is to encourage myself to try new things during the year – not to be a source of stress.

So enough of the background and reflection – let’s get into the list!


5 items

  • Try two new slow cooker meals
  • Cook a 3 course meal
  • Focus on reducing my regular fructose intake
  • Try 6 new recipes
  • Try a food I’ve never tried before

These ones are pretty self explanatory, but I thought it would be worth explaining the fructose intake a bit further. Originally I had this set to have one day a week with minimal sugar intake, but then I realised that was putting pressure on myself regarding deadlines (see my introduction paragraph). So I’ve just given myself the aim on reducing it.

The reason for the sugar reduction is that after experimenting with my diet last year I found that sugar is the reason for a lot of my woes. I cut it out for 8 weeks following Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar” challenge, and immediately saw my health improve. It’s now to the point that if I have fructose during the day, the following day I will wake up sluggish with a bloated face. My sinus will flare up and I experience cold-like symptoms. If I continue to eat sugar for a few days in a row I won’t sleep properly and will either dream or worst-case have actual nightmares. I have severe bloating (to the point of looking pregnant), and when it’s really bad, I can only be out of bed for a few hours before I need a nap. Long story short, I’ve found my body is just very intolerant to it. On the topic of fruit, since quitting sugar I still have fruit on the odd occasion, but I have found that I don’t need it and I certainly don’t crave it (I also won’t beat myself up if I eat it). Over the Christmas period I found myself binging on sugar in large quantities again (I’m a raging addict which makes the intolerance all the more fascinating), and so I added this item to the list to get my health back on track.


3 items

  • Write a Christmas newsletter
  • Talk to my estranged sister
  • Do something nice for my parents

I’m meaning to write a bit more of an update in the future, but recently my beloved other half proposed – woohoo! Very exciting news, and the proposal story is quite funny (basically everything romantic he had planned I unknowingly screwed up). As such, there is a bit of pressure on me for my estranged sister to join us at the wedding. I’m not comfortable with that idea just yet, but have agreed that I should give it a go reintroducing her to my life at least. That’s all I’m promising at this stage – to give her a chance. We’ll see how that goes.


2 items

  • Set up a filing system
  • Put leftover coins from wallet into a money box at the end of each day

With pressure on now to save for a wedding, it’s time to get things in order. I have a filing cabinet that is just a sheer mess, and now the other half and I are going to be joining things together it’s time we get organised. The second item is just something to help save money in little ways that that go unnoticed (we have quite a structured budget and savings plan we’re working to, but any tasks related to that weren’t appropriate for my 52 list).


12 items

  • Use my lunch break to regularly go for a walk out of the office
  • Try pilates
  • Go back to Molescan to get my moles investigated further (scraped)
  • Get a breast scan
  • Drink 2 bottles of water a day for 30 days
  • Do an unassisted chin up
  • Use a small plate for a month
  • Run 100km in 30 days
  • Lose 10kg
  • Average 7-8 hours of sleep a night
  • Climb Mt Coolum 6 times
  • Donate plasma at least 10 times

There’s quite a few in this list so I won’t go into detail on all of them, but there’s a few that are worthy of a bit more information.

The breast scan is just a reminder to myself that it’s time for my regular ultrasound and mammo (I’ve had lumps cut out in the past so I need to be wary of this). Plus it helps to have this on the list to draw attention to it so that others consider doing the same.

Use a small plate for a month ties in with losing 10kg – it’s a technique used to subconsciously reduce the portion sizes you serve up for dinner. Very effective I believe.

Climb Mt Coolum 6 times: Vanessa if you’re reading this, I’m basing this off your goal to climb the mountain once a month. I wanted to give myself a bit of slack though in case I can’t get to it every month, but you and me baby – we’re doing this!

Run 100km in 30 days: yep, that’s correct and not a typo – I didn’t actually drop in an extra 0. I’ve signed up to run 100km over January to raise money for the Make a Wish foundation. What better way than to start off the new year with a fitness goal? Combining that with a reduction in sugar and a goal to lose 10kg, it’s a great way to get things under way.


5 items

  • Read a classic novel
  • Read a book with a month in its name
  • Read a book recommended by a friend
  • Read a book on Oprah’s book club list
  • Read a book with techniques for life improvement

Just some fun simple ones to keep me inspired to read; it’s one of the things I never seem to set aside enough time for but absolutely love to do.


15 items

  • Make an appreciation jar
  • Find a new podcast to listen to
  • Donate to a local charity
  • Watch 3 movies nominated for 2016 best picture Academy Award
  • Make a flextangle
  • Spend a night pampering myself
  • Have a picnic
  • Photography challenge
  • See a waterfall
  • Find 5 geocaches
  • Build a custom wordpress theme
  • Learn a new hairstyle
  • Attend a high tea
  • Crap wine tasting night
  • Have a board games night

Ever heard of a flextangle? They’re a cool folding paper toy that tripped me out – check it out on youtube!

An appreciation jar is something inspired by a friend on facebook (thanks Stevie). At the end of each day you write on a piece of paper something that you really appreciated that day and pop it in a jar. At the end of the year you go back and read on all the different things that you appreciated over the year. I thought it would be something really nice to do – how often do we take time to reflect on the good things from each day?

To explain the crap wine tasting night, this is something that friends and I came up with after reading an article online: putting wine into a blender makes it taste better (source: Live Science). So we decided we would have a night where we put it to the test: buy some crap wine and taste it before and after the blender. On the down low, it may have also just been an excuse to drink more wine, but shhh!!


4 items

  • Go on a date night 12 times
  • Have a candlelit dinner
  • Write a love letter
  • Surprise my partner in a nice way

I would have added some things in here related to our engagement and future wedding, but as Jo put it, we’ll be doing those anyway so it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

Some of these are repeats from years past, but honestly, I’m more than happy to make sure that I’m setting time aside for my boy, and doing things that most people don’t take time out of busy lives to do. It’s important that we continue to make time to just enjoy being together, no matter what life throws at us.

Nice things

6 items

  • Compliment a stranger
  • Ask a stranger how his/her day is going
  • Buy a coffee for a stressed out friend
  • Brighten someone’s day with a joke
  • Thank a friend
  • Surprise someone in a nice way

There are a few repeats again in this section, but they’re on the list for a good reason – they’re great fun! Some of them are also designed in making sure that I focus on someone other than myself. What’s the saying? Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Why not spend some time checking in with others and let them know someone cares.

So that’s the list! What do you think? Is anyone interested in joining in on any of these with me? Has anyone else been inspired to create their own list?



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