Last year, I made a big deal about setting and trying to make progress on some goals that have been eluding me for a while. I set my word of the year as progress. So you might want to know, how did I actually do overall? Did I make the progress I planned? I thought a little lookback at 2016 would be apropos before I tell you what I intend to do in 2017.
Note: This is a long post. Scroll to the bottom if you just want to read the overview
Running/ Health and Fitness
I didn’t hit any of the fitness goals I set for myself. I took the entire winter and almost the entire spring off running. My bike needed to be fixed and I didn’t get it repaired until October. Exercise was sporadic at best for most of the early part of the year and by the time summer rolled around, I was carrying some extra weight, feeling heavy and stiff and not able to train for any races. Needless to say, I didn’t even attempt to train for the marathon.
As the year progressed, I learned more about myself and about life and changed my financial goals. I put some things in place to start following one of my passions. I knew it would take a while before it would be financially feasible but now I get to do what I love. The bills are still being paid but I wasn’t able to pay off my debts or save much. That continues to be a goal for 2017.
I completed my reading challenge to read 100 books by December 31st. It took me the entire year to get to that number because while I got ahead of the schedule during the summer months, in the fall I got consumed with other projects and that was also the time I started spending way more time exercising and going on other adventures and slouched on the reading. When I got back to the challenge, it was a race to try to finish by the end of the year but I did it.
Other reading challenges and goals that I completed in:
- Non-Fiction reading challenge ( I read enough NF to get the Master title)
- Winter Reading Challenge – I read 12 of the 14 books but couldn’t get to the category to read 2 books with the same title. They had to be the same spelling and everything and I just missed out on that part.
- I participated in the Popsugar Reading Challenge and read 35 of the 40 categories.
- I read 20 of 26 qualifying books for the ABC challenge.
- I took 2 John Maxwell workshops
- I trained 2 Pathfinders to complete their syllabus so they could be promoted to the next class.
- I took a challenge to be fluent in French and while fluency still evades me, I did get a lot of practice.
2016 was the year where my life changed. I finally released my first book, a short story collection entitled It’s Complicated: Short Stories About Long Relationships. With that, I became a published author with nationwide distribution and my print book made it to several international countries. Off the top of my head, I can tell you that I have readers in USA, Canada, Germany, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, Malawi, Sudan. For a tiny self-published book where I didn’t spend a dollar on marketing, I’d say this is a dream come true and a motivator to keep writing. I also released a Kindle version of my book on Amazon so I can’t say where in the world awesome people are downloading and reading my book but it is a joy to get a little residual check every month that comes straight from writing the things that make my heart sing.
I wanted to publish more books in 2016 but I got a little sidetracked by success 🙂 so I have to push those other goals to 2017. I did do a lot more writing though so I have a lot of new material that just needs to be collated and edited. I participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote almost an entire new novel from that project. I also returned to my first love – poetry – and put together a collection that just needs a little fine tuning before I can make it available to everyone to read.
I didn’t complete the challenge to read the Bible in a year but that was to be expected since I’ve never done it. Maybe it’s not a realistic goal for me while I’m reading so many other things. Maybe I should just focus on reading and studying parts of it as I’ve bene doing.
Blog and Social Media
I am not good at tracking finances, especially keeping track of blog income but I do know I didn’t make anything close to the income I’d wanted to get from this blog. I had hoped to have way more followers on my social media but it’s hard going sometimes, especially when you get a little distracted or demotivated and stop posting the kind of content people look for. That’s something I have to be better at doing in the future.
2016 was a disappointing year for travel. I didn’t go on any of the trips I had planned at the beginning of the year but I did fit in some other spontaneous adventures – hiking, backpacking and staycation trips so that kinda made up for it.
And how did I stick with my daily resolutions and intentions?
- Start everyday with worship and intentional living reminders – Check
- Study Sabbath School lesson and read Bible everyday – Check
- Drink 8 cups of water everyday – Yes. I spent 2016 being very well hydrated
- Get high-intensity workout for at least 20 minutes everyday – I got better with this as the year wore on
- Practice French for at least 5 minutes everyday – Most days, I spoke in French, even if it was to myself.
- Visit sick and shut-in members more often – Yes
- Work on my to-do list everyday instead to stop procrastinating – Yes
- Be intentional in my relationships – Yes
- Do something creative everyday – write, draw, compose music, sew, make art, create videos – Yes. I even increased the medium and took on YouTube in 2016
- Keep sugar intake to a minimum – I tried. I did stop buying big bags of candy to store in my cupboards so that was a step in the right direction
- Keep my blog fresh and relevant with layouts, good content and interesting images – Hmmm. You’d be the judge of that, I guess.
- Stay engaged with my social media followers. I tried.
- Keep in touch with my family. I did reconnect with some family members.
- Take better care of my hair – Yes
- Make everyday an adventure – Yes. Most days, I made time for a mini adventure, even if it was just taking a different way home 🙂
Overall, 2016 was a great year.
I wrote and published a book and it brought some experiences I know I wouldn’t have had without making that step. I had book signings where people introduced me as an author, I went to a couple of book events and met other authors. My best book signing was probably the one where I was autographing copies of my book on a bus heading across state lines. I also met some famous authors like JoJo Moyes
I started a YouTube channel called Runwright Reads where I focus on bookish discussions. It was a new challenge to not just put my thoughts in the written word but also to see how I could engage with a viewer and communicate my personality through self-filmed video. In just about six months, I have about 230 awesome followers and every one is a new friend to talk with about something I’m passionate about.
I went to some live concerts and heard some engaging music, watched some artistic movies, read informative and entertaining and motivational books, took some inspirational classes. I went to a Yankee Game, went to Giants stadium and met current and retired players.
I met some great people online and IRL. YouTube subscribers and blogger friends aside, I also made a few new friends through my work, through church, and a few fitness enthusiasts through the running and bike clubs. There were also a few people I’ve known for years and who, in 2016, our conversation changed to include talk of more enduring themes. All of these, as well as my family and friend relationships made my year a very social one.
On a sad note, I lost some friends and family members in 2016. My dear, dear friend Leslie Phipps died suddenly in June. After spending the day in her company at church, she went home and went to bed and didn’t wake up. That was the most shocking loss I think I’ve ever experienced. In December, Uncle Harry, a man whose face still bears a extra wide smile in all my memories of him, also passed away after a short illness. And sprinkled throughout the year, there were several church family and extended family members who just fell. I heard about the passing of several friends in Jamaica who I remember from my childhood, neighbors and family friends who I will never see again when I return to Jamaica. Each of those losses was hard to recover from but I tried to focus on the good memories to move on. It helps to have good people to talk things over with and have fun with now.
It was hard to say goodbye to 2016. It was a very good year and I want to carry that progress into 2017 as I focus on accomplishments. Watch out for my list of 2017 goals and resolutions that I’ll be posting soon.
What was your best memory of 2016?