Well, we made it into 2017 ! It's been a weird old year, what with the Brexit and Trump shockers, several horrific terror attacks and what seems like a million unexpected celeb deaths, especially in the past few days. Last week I took a look back over the year here at The Madhouse, sharing some of our happiest memories of each month. Today, I decided to look forward and plan some fun challenges (more than the usual joyless new year's resolutions - it's all in the name !) to keep me motivated over the coming year.
1. Get Fit(bitting) ! I've been trying to win a Fitbit for ages and when my watch died just before Christmas, I decided it would be a great time to splash out on one with my Christmas money (because it acts as a watch as well as a fitness tracker). I've been trying it out for the first time today and I love it ! If any of you have a Fitbit, let me know and I'll add you to my friends list for the challenges. I also LOVE the idea of the solo challenges or "adventures". I've signed up to one that will start tomorrow based on the route of the New York Marathon - my step count will walk me round the virtual route, unlocking photos and panoramic views of the monuments I pass as I go. When I've finished that, I've seen some other based on the trails of the Yosemite - how cool is that ?!
2. Get cooking - and more specifically, get through some of my huge backlog of bookmarked recipes from magazines, recipe books, blogposts, foodie websites ... There are so many things that have caught my eye that I never find time to make them all !
3. Get geocaching ! This is more of a continuation than something new, as I've been a big fan of geocaching for a couple of years already. I'm a bit stuck in the 190's though because there haven't been many new local caches lately and I've done most of the ones that I can get to easily, but there have been two new ones listed today so I'm hoping to get out and find them tomorrow. It will help get my step count up for the FitBit adventure too ! I have yet to create my own caches so that's something I want to try out this year. I already have an idea for a great location close to where we live. I think I might buy some travelbugs of my own to release too, so I can track them as they (hopefully) move around the country and even the world. If you want to find out more about my geocaching adventures so far, head over to my geocaching posts.
4. Get comping ! I started off the year with quite a few little wins but they all seemed to dry up for the second half of the year. This year I need to up my game and try some of the creative competitions or hunt out some less popular competitions with hardly any entries.
5. Get reading ! I've just signed up to this year's GoodReads reading challenge and chose 52 books as my target. It sounds like a lot but I managed it (and in fact surpassed it) this year. Check out my list of books that I read in 2016 here (which links to reviews for all of them - maybe we can compare notes if you've read any of them). I'm off to a good start - I've already finished one book already, although I did start it in the final days of December !
6. Get FLYing ! A couple of weeks ago, I saw a mention of FlyLady and remembered how much the Madhouse kids used to enjoy the kids' challenges and the idea of tidying for fifteen minutes with a timer. I started a big dejunk before Christmas, giving away lots of books, clothes and toys to various charity collection points, so now I need to reorganise those areas and keep the momentum going. I've signed up for the daily email prompts with mini challenges - anything that makes decluttering fun has to be a good thing !
8. Get bloggy housekeeping ! When I got back from our summer holiday this year, I was greeted with an email telling me that I'd been given a google penalty for having follow links in sponsored posts. I don't do paid posts but I do write lots of reviews and I always use a no-follow link when I got the product for free. However, for the first few years when I first started blogging, there was no such things as follow/no-follow links (or, at least, nobody had ever heard of them) so I have about 8000 posts to go through, swapping over links to no-follow. I keep putting it off but made a half-hearted start over the Christmas holidays, and it's actually quite cathartic, so I think I'll carry on, especially as I've been removing loads of broken links for companies that have ceased to exist from the early days.
9. Get French ! Six months on, we still have no idea what Brexit actually means, so I've decided to bite the bullet and apply for French nationality. Depending on what reciprocal agreements are made, there's a chance I may no longer be able to work as a teacher in the Education Nationale without being European, so I don't really have a choice. Luckily, I do get to keep both nationalities. I'm not looking forward to running the gauntlet of French bureaucracy though - it's always a nightmare so wish me luck !
What about you? Have you set yourself any targets, challenges or new year's resolutions this year?