Reflecting on my 52 Lists from 2016

Are any of you doing the 52 Weeks Project? I stumbled upon Moorea Seal’s book, The 52 Weeks Project: A Year of Weekly Journaling Inspiration, last March during my spring break (that glorious time when teachers — at least those NOT going on fabulous vacations to warm places — have more time to reflect, think, recharge, and start new projects). Anyway, I am a total Listy McListerson, so the idea of making a new, reflective list each week appealed to me (in spades!).


During spring break I set up a Google doc so I could type all of my lists and have them handy wherever I was (via phone, computer, etc.) so I could make lists as they struck me. I completed all of the January through March lists during spring break. Yeah, I know, you’re probably supposed to do the lists slowly, digesting one each week and really reflecting, but that’s not how I roll. I powered through those first few months of lists and then periodically throughout the rest of the year I powered through a few at a time.

Actually, Everyday Teacher Style (this blog) as well as my Everyday Teacher Style Instagram feed are both a result of being list items back in March. It was my goal back then to do “One WJL post per week.” To explain, WJL was my old blog, What Jen Learned. I had been sporadically posting in it for a few years, but was never very excited about it. The concept was to post one new thing I learned in each post. It started as a daily blog, then went to a weekly blog, then went to a not-for-6-months-at-a-time blog. During spring break last year I was going to recommit to posting weekly, but I found I just didn’t feel like it. Enter Everyday Teacher Style! I had been feeling sort of frumpy, style-wise, for a while and took an interest in teacher fashion blogs and IG accounts. Inspired by all of these fashionable teachers, I challenged myself to post outfits daily. It felt sort of frivolous (truthfully, it still does at times), but it was so much fun — and better yet — after a few months of doing it, I discovered that there were other real benefits like increased confidence, a renewed sense of professionalism at school, and a little less desire to hole up at home and not go anywhere (although I do still love the occasional entire day with no place to go – especially when excessive amounts of snow and the cancelling of school days are involved!).

I think one of the reasons I reflected and revitalized so much in March was because I started List 1 of the 52 Lists right then. List 1 asks you to set goals for the year, and here were mine in the order I listed them (which at the time I believed was no particular order, but now I’m not so sure….) and my thoughts on how well I did on each:

2016 List 1 – Goals and Dreams for the Year

  • Be present, in the present — I did better with this, but I do still tend to be planning and thinking of future things when I’m with people (and in the classroom); this one is going to stay at the top of my list for 2017 too, I think.
  • Find something to write about (whether a blog or a book) — Well, I totally nailed this one! When I wrote this list I hadn’t yet decided to start Everyday Teacher Style, but that’s what happened. Haven’t started the book yet, though….maybe in 2017?
  • Get rid of things in the house and garage — We did pare down a LOT of stuff from the house through donations and selling things we didn’t need. The garage is a beast that still needs to be tackled in the new year.
  • Get into the best shape of my life — I think I have done this! I’m sticking with my nutrition and working out 6 days a week at Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping (a combination of kickboxing and resistance training), plus I’ve become a fitness instructor there. More on this and all of the progress I’ve made in a future post).
  • Do a list every week — I sort of did this….I did complete all 52 of the lists in The 52 Lists Project, but I didn’t do one per week. It was more like batches of 5-10 every so often.
  • Spend more time outside — I didn’t do as well with this one unless you count taking my dog out to do her business a few times each day. That wasn’t really what I meant when I wrote this goal. Another one to keep working on in 2017.
  • Do 1 WJL post + 1 HSRT post each week  Well….WJL is no more (I cannibalized a few of the old posts for ETS and then took the site down). HSRT is High School Reading Teacher, my teaching/professional blog. I really have not done a good job of keeping up with this one either, but I think that’s because I went all-in with ETS and haven’t had time. I used to own the URL, but I let that go and now just use the redirect. Maybe I’ll revise this goal for 2017 to doing one post per MONTH instead?

New 2017 Goals to Add to this List:

Here’s my plan for this year: I’m going to go back through all of my lists and update them as the year goes. I think it’ll be fun to see what changes and what stays the same. For right now, I think my “big” goals and dreams listed above will remain. To them I will add the following:

  • Make a more realistic budget and stick to it — That’s one thing I used to be better at, but that has fallen by the wayside in 2016. This year we had so many unexpected expenses — we needed a new roof, a new washer and dryer, there were quite a few car repair issues, other household repairs needed, and for some reason quite a few unexpected kids’ expenses popped up as well. One thing I learned from this year is that I need to put more money in the “Murphy’s Law” line item for years like this one.

Then another one I’ll be adding this year is:

  • Come up with a plan and goals for Everyday Teacher Style   — I am really enjoying keeping up with this blog and my IG account. However, I’d like this blog to be more than just mostly outfit posts. Whether that means slowing down and posting more of a variety of topics I’m not sure, but I do know it involves taking the time to reflect and think about what I want this blog to be. I have ordered a few books to help me do just that: Epic Blog: One-Year Editorial Planner, by Regina Anaejionu, and The Ultimate Blogger To-Do List, by Dana Fox. Both looked like they would help me develop goals and direction that will improve my blog. Right now I feel like I’m just throwing stuff out there without much rhyme or reason and I’d like to have more of a plan. I’ll let you know if they’re helpful!


What are your goals and dreams for 2017?


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