Jan 11, 2014

Posted by in 52 Challenges, Expat Life Abroad, The List 2014 | 1 Comment

52 Challenges for 52 Weeks

You hear it all the time, the new years resolutions that flow from December through January, grasping for a ‘fresh start’. And then for the next 10 months you hear nothing about them again. This year I’ve resolved only to design a life that I am completely and honestly in love with, by doing more of what makes me happy.

A big part of achieving that, is identifying what I want and then making it happen. The idea for having 52 challenges for 52 weeks was not my own,  it was in fact inspired by my cousin Robb, who made his own list before Christmas. The challenges I’ve set for myself are things that I’ve wanted to do, some longer than others, and now I’m ready to take action and doing something about it. Not one goal for every week, as you’ll see below some will take several months to complete. This is my way of implementing changes to live Life Outside My Comfort Zone.

This is it. This is my year. I’m owning it.

For Fitness

1. Personal Best my half marathon time
I’ve run 3 half marathons so far, and Moro Half in Dunedin back in 2009 was the only one I’d say I properly trained for. I did the Kerikeri Half in November 2012 as a spur-of-the-moment fundraiser for the Do It in a Dress campaign to send girls in Sierra Leone to school

2. Maintain a lower blood pressure
My blood pressure has been high for a few years. I’ve made many lifestyle changes to try to combat it, everything from losing weight, to cutting back on my alcohol intake significantly, to leaving teaching. This is the year it’s going to be meticulously monitored and kept under control. I’ve got a few more ideas to go on, and a few of the goals on this list are based around this too.

3. Take on a weight training routine
Plain and simple, I miss my gym membership. I loved the 12 week bootcamp I did at the start of 2013, but now my main priority is to build lean muscle. I don’t want to be fixated on losing weight because that can be easily discouraging, but instead reshaping my body.

4. Learn to surf (again – for real this time)
I own TWO surf boards (a cheap foam one I bought on a ridiculous sale, AND a proper 8ft longboard) which were hardly ever used in the 3 years I lived on the beach. I am making it a priority to spend more time in the sea.

5. Go skiing/snowboarding in Canada and possibly NZ   completed January 15th in Jasper
Honestly, I’ve never been, except once as a 9 year old. I feel like it’s a very traditionally Canadian experience that I’d like to give a go, even just once, even if I hate it and/or suck at it. As part of our train trip across Canada, we’ll be stopping in Jasper for 3 days, and we’ll have 5 days in Vancouver so it’s very doable. Who knows, we could find ourselves in Queenstown or Wanaka for the school holidays if we love it.

6. Climb Mount Taratara
This is a random hiking trail out towards the East Coast of the Far North. I’ve driven by it heaps, and have a bunch of friends who’ve all done it. It might just be FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) but I want to see the Whangaroa Harbour from above. And

7. Complete a Triathlon
I signed up for one in 2013, and didn’t do. I hadn’t been training properly, and got spooked by the ocean swim and the fact that it was an Olympic Qualifier. That beings said, I still really want to push my own limits and do a beginner one. Every November there is usually the Wahine Triathlon in Kaitaia, and I’ve either been away or had another excuse to not register. I want it this year.

For the love of Travel

8. Visit at least one country I’ve never been to before
I’m not a globetrotting country counter. In fact, for all my years of travelling, the number of countries I’ve been to is probably pretty low. But slow and steady wins the race, right? At least one new country per year is acceptable for me, and this year will be at least Fiji. The tickets are already booked, but this is on the list because it hasn’t happened yet.

9. Visit Nelson, NZ (Hike the Queen Charlotte track??)
I’ve been to nearly all the major areas of New Zealand in  my 4.5 years of living there. Nelson is one area I’ve always wanted to go, but have not yet made it. 2014 might as well be the year! Thom’s brother is living down there too, so it’s the perfect excuse.

10. Visit Gisborne/Hastings/Napier, NZ
Sure, people who’ve been to Gizzy might say “why would you want to go there?” But I like to experience things for myself. The other area I’ve not been is the east coast of the north island. This must change! I want to see the sun rise from the East Cape, being one of the very first people in the world to welcome a new day.

11. Couch surf with strangers again
My couchsurfing profile is chalk-full of references – from people who have stayed with me (and Thom). I want to get back into couchsurfing because there are so many beautiful souls involved and I love connecting with likeminded folks like that.

12. Climb an active volcano
I’ve got my eye on you, Hawaii. We’ve booked flights to Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. We’ll be there for 4 days, and I’m hoping for lots of beautiful hiking weather and exceptional views. And I want to see LAVA please.

13. Drink Kava
Kava is sedating and is primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity. The roots of the plant are used to produce a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties and is popular in Fiji. I’ve heard so much about it in the past years, I just want to try a little bit for myself, especially since we’ll be there.

14. Travel somewhere new by myself 
For years I was a solo female traveller – heck I moved across the world by myself. I’ve loved every adventure,  big and small, that Thom and I have taken together, but I want to reconnect with that part of myself, even just for a little bit

For Fun

15. Do a real wine tasting
I’ve been to vineyards, I’ve tasted wine. What I mean by ‘real’ is, maybe learn a thing or two about the wine I’m tasting and how it’s made and/or the differences between the wines.

16. Sleep under the stars again
While working at Camp Trillium in the summers of 2007 and 2008, one night we put our mattresses and sleeping bags out on the field and fell asleep under the bright starlit sky. Even though I woke up damp with a chill, this was one of those experiences I said I had to do again. And I will.

17. Use the extra t-shirts I never wear creatively
I don’t know how I manage to accumulate so many t-shirts, I don’t even wear heaps of printed tshirts. But so many are attached to precious memories, I hoard them and can’t bare to get rid of. In 2012 I made my very own quilt from old t-shirts and I know I kept a few when I left NZ with the intention of adding on to it. I need to make
quilt made from old tshirts

18. Learn to meditate
Legs crossed, fingers pressed together: Ommmm Ommmm Omm. Okay, maybe that’s not me, but somehow I’m dedicated to bringing more quiet time into my daily routines.

19. Watch all the harry potter movies
My list of movies I’ve not seen is shockingly long. As is my track-record for falling asleep during movies. I’m starting with the 7 HP series

20. Ride a mechanical bull
Something random, something different, because why not?

21. Go to a concert
I’ve been to concerts; travelling to Taranaki to see Fleetwood Mac by myself was one of my top 3 travel memories. And in fact , while I lived in the Far North I went to more concerts than I’d been to in my entire life. I just want to go to another one again, so it’s on the list, for fun and to make sure it happens in 2014.

22. Have professional photos taken
It seems like every time I turn around, someone else has their own photography business popping up (okay in Canada,, at least). I have a huge love for photography, but am always the one behind the camera. This year, stepping out of my comfort zone, I want my photos taken.

For my Career

23. Give relieving a go
I have decided I don’t want to go back to the classroom full time, at least not straight away. I’m not ready to go commit the time and energy that full time teaching requires, as I want to spend my energy on doing more of what I love. I don’t want to give up teaching all together though, so this is my compromise. And since I’ve never taught someone else’s class, this will definitely be out of my comfort zone.

24. Teach a new age level
In my 3.5 years of teaching, my experience has mainly been with Year 2s and 3s – so kids that are between 5 and 7 years old. I’m thinking of this as a bit of professional development, to test the waters so that I can make a more educated decision on my preference of age level to teach.

25. Get paid for my writing
I didn’t say make a living off freelance writing, I’d just like to be published somewhere and compensated for doing what I love.

26. Build  “Life Outside My Comfort Zone” by writing regularly
Let’s face it, I let CanuckiwiKate slip huge. I always had heaps on my plate, and didn’t make it a priority. With a focus to do more of what I love, writing and sharing my adventures is a huge part of that. And since I plan to write about accomplishing each of these 52

27. Earn a residual income
I’ll admit it, this one scares me, but I  started my own business at the end of 2013 and didn’t really have a clue how I’d go about selling the top line of vitamins and supplements in the industry because I personally stand behind the products & the company 100%.

28. Attend a live USANA event in New Zealand
I have already attended one live event in Canada, and the energy and atmosphere was amazing. I am a firm believer in surrounding yourself with people who lift you up and empower you, and those involved with USANA certainly have a way of doing that.

29. Reach Achiever status
I’ll have to push myself hard and far out of my comfort zone, but it’s worth having tricky goals that need a bit of hard work to achieve.

For myself

30. Complete For Dummies – DSLR/Social Media/HTML
I bought these online courses on a one day sale for ridiculously cheap. I made the mistake of starting with the HTML course, which was heaps over my head, and let that discourage me. I haven’t been back since. I am determined to finish them though.

31. Learn to drive manual
Okay, this is something I know everyone else did when they were 16. How I’ve driven for 12 years and avoided manually changing gears is beyond me. It’s a long-overdue goal.

32. Read and complete at least one book per month
I was in a book club, and terrible at completing the books, granted some of them were a bit dry and out there. Initially I thought I might re-commit to book club, but then I had a look at the list of books I want to read, and decided to just commit to one per month.

33. Publish the 3 photo books purchased on GrabOne
Again, a deal that I bought GrabOne while I was in Canada and I must not let them go to waste. Last year I made one for my grandmother, of our trip around New Zealand and sent it to her for her birthday, and another one for myself of just landscape photography that I took in NZ (that I’ve not yet even seen!). One book will be for my parents, as a late Christmas present, one will be of our Canada trip and the other, I’ve  not yet decided.

34. Write a letter to myself to be opened in 5 years
Because I think it might be cool to see if I ended up where I think I might or somewhere completely different.

35. Apply for an Expression of Interest/Residence application
I’m currently on a two year work visa. It takes a long time to process a residence application, so I’m going to get started on the process sooner rather than later.

36. Weave a kete
Thom’s mum has taught me a lot about the traditional Maori art of weaving flax. We’ve spent time on the local marae, weaving with the elders and other talented women. I’ve made my own baskets, which I’ve given as gifts many times. The next step is to accomplish a backpack. It’s tricky, but it’s something I’ve wanted to work up to for a long time now.

traditional new zealand kete

Thom’s mum made this for me, now I want to make my own.

37. Send at least one postcard a month
An effort to keep in better contact with loved ones. Even worse, I ALWAYS buy post cards wherever I travel, and NEVER send them. Sometimes I even write them, and then don’t get around to sending them. Bad habits, Procrasti-Kate.  If you’d like to receive a postcard from me, leave me a comment on the blog saying so!

38. Go on a yoga retreat for a weekend
I used to do yoga twice a week at the Otago University Students Union building, for $3/class. It was a drop-in class, so you didn’t have to commit to X number of weeks, you could just go when it suited. I miss it. There weren’t many yoga options like it in Kaitaia. I want more yoga in my life.

39. Get tattoo I’ve been talking about for years
This one still scares the crap out of me. I’m terrified of the needle factor, especially after passing out 3 times trying to donate blood. But I think I can get over that.  I know what I want, and the fact that I’ve literally wanted it for years makes me think that I won’t regret it later. But what I can’t decide is WHERE to put it. I’d like it visible, but easily hidden. Suggestions?

For our Home

40. Find an affordable place for just Thom and I
As of right now, we have don’t have a place to live. I need to avoid flatting, because honestly, I am just too old for that shit and I have been for a while.

41. Live on one income and save the other for at least 3 months
Thom and I were awesome at regularly contributing to our travel savings fund for the year and half before we left for Canada. We’ve been surviving on one savings account for the past 9 months, so I think it’s time to up the ante on our saving/spending habits. This one just requires BOTH of us to have a job. Ideally we’ll be able to do this for longer than 3 months.

42. Plant an edible garden
I freaking miss the garden that Thom planted for me for my 25th birthday. We grew so many herbs and different vegetables and I missed it all from the day we moved out of the Foreshore. Talk about not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone. I’m getting back this year and never letting go again!

43. Buy a free-range beast
I want to skip the grocery store and buy a whole cow. Okay, perhaps half a cow if we can swing it. This will also require purchasing a deep freezer too, I think.

44. Experiment with recipes to make my own household cleaners and ditch the chemicals
I just don’t want the toxic chemicals anymore. At least as few as possible.

45. Make a family tree wall from old photos of at least my family – Thoms too if possible
While I was home I copied off both my grandparents wedding photos and almost all of my great-grandparents photos. I want to display them creatively.

For a Challenge

46. Go Alcohol free for one month
Because we need at least one really challenging challenge, right? I might’ve gotten drunk a handful of times while I’ve been in Canada, so it’s not that which will be challenging. It’ll be returning to summer, catching up over a glass of wine or the after work beer on Fridays that will tempt me. Might save this one for winter in NZ.

47. Drink at least 2L water everyday for a month
This is a habit I need to make regular. I can be good at it some days, and terrible others. I’m looking for more consistency.

48. Go without phone/internet for a whole weekend
Because this video reminds me that there’s more to being connected.

49. Complete another fundraising activity for charity and raise $1000
My Do It in a Dress campaign was a huge success in 2012, raising over $500 in two weeks, just by asking friends on Facebook. With more time and a better plan and a good cause, I know I can raise a grand if I put my mind to it. Now, to just find that a worthy cause.

50. Organise the photos/files on my hard drive
I have two hard drives, one that is 120GB that I’ve had since my laptop died at Otago in 2010, and a 1 TB that I recently bought

51. Clear out any unnecessary crap on my laptop
My Macbook is I’ve already started deleting music from iTunes that I have no idea where it came from or how  it got there. Clutter is bad, and it’s getting gone.

52. Eat Meatless-Monday for at least 6 months
I’ve debated vegetarianism by times, but then I decided to buy the whole beast. I just want to get more creative with vegetables, and even Thom can’t argue with committing to one day a week. I’ll be sure to update you with  my Meatless Monday recipes on my Facebook page


So there you have it, folks! The 52 challenges for 52 weeks I’ve set for myself and for an epic year. What o you think? Achievable? Similar to your own goals? Let me know in the comments!

  1. Roisin (Ireland) says:

    Hi Kate, I love your 52 challenges for 52 weeks, its a wonderful way to achieve those new year resolutions. I have a bucket list that seems to change little from one Jan to the next so this might be a good way to achieve some of those goals. Thanks for the inspiration. I hope visiting Ireland is on your bucket list. ?.NZ and Canada are both on mine….would love to teach in either of those but hard to get a job I believe…good luck with the challenges.


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