≡ Menu

The 50 by 50 Project

A couple of months ago when I realized that I’d be turning 49 on my next birthday (and that would be today, January 1st – Happy Birthday to me!), it also hit me that I’d be celebrating the big 5-0 in just one short year. As I mused on how I might mark that milestone birthday to come, I also started thinking about how I wanted my life to look when I reached 50 and what I might do in the coming year to make that happen. Ideas started flying and goals began to emerge and before I knew it I’d come up with my 49th birthday present to myself…

The 50 by 50 project

The 50 by 50 Project is a list of 50 things I want to accomplish in the coming year: things I need to do, things I want to do, things I keep saying I’m going to do but never quite get around to it, things that will make me a better person, things that will get me out of the house more, things that will help me get my house in order.

Some of the things on my list are big, ongoing, and challenging while others are short, sweet, and easily accomplished. Some are serious, others are frivolous. Some are tedious, others are a delight. All are realistic, doable, and life-enhancing.

The intent of the project isn’t to somehow attain perfection by the age of 50 (if that were even possible!); rather, as Peter suggested when I explained the project to him, to hit the ground running when I reach that milestone, happy and healthy and ready for a vibrant, fulfilling life to come.

So without further ado, I present to you…

The 50 by 50 Project

Ongoing (until complete!)

  1. Lose 50 pounds.
  2. Read 50 books for the 2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge.
  3. Within my 50 books read, include one from each of the 24 categories in the Read Harder Challenge 2016.
  4. Read and complete the exercises in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (book and workbook).
  5. Create art for a colouring book.
  6. Purchase 12 (i.e., one per month) items from friends with online shops.
  7. Promote 12 (i.e., one per month) friends’ online shops on social media.
  8. Learn to play “Morning Has Broken” on the piano.

Anytime projects

  1. Make a video of me playing “Morning Has Broken” and upload the video to YouTube.
  2. Buy and set up a bookshelf in my arts & crafts room.
  3. Display my art for sale in a public place.
  4. Organize my internet bookmarks.
  5. Organize my Flickr albums.
  6. Reorganize my iTunes music library.
  7. Make a new $25 contribution to Kiva.
  8. Sort through clothing; organize/repair/discard/donate as necessary.
  9. Sort through shoes; organize/repair/discard/donate as necessary.
  10. Sort through bags and purses; organize/repair/discard/donate as necessary.
  11. Sort through accessories (scarves, gloves, etc.); organize/repair/discard/donate as necessary.
  12. Sort through jewellery; organize/repair/discard/donate as necessary.


  1. Renew my passport.
  2. Make a new will.
  3. Make a financial contribution to the Syrian Refugee Crisis.
  4. Set up a WEVolunteer profile and find a way to give back to my community.
  5. Learn to draw ZenGems.
  6. Visit the Art Gallery of Windsor.
  7. Host a craft/project night for friends at my house.


  1. Work with Peter to plan and set up a vegetable garden.
  2. Spend an afternoon taking photos of spring blossoms.
  3. Visit Ojibway Nature Centre and Ojibway Park.
  4. Take a walk in Jackson Park.
  5. Host a games night for friends at my house.


  1. Complete the training to become a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT).
  2. Have a logo designed.
  3. Have new business cards designed and printed.
  4. Create and launch a personal web site.
  5. Go to the beach and walk barefoot in the sand.
  6. Visit Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site in Dresden.
  7. Visit Kingsville.
  8. Host a backyard barbecue for friends.


  1. Publish a colouring book.
  2. Teach a Zentangle class.
  3. Create a new design for a Christmas/holiday card.
  4. Spend an afternoon taking photos of fall foliage.
  5. Blog daily with NaBloPoMo (November).


  1. Send/give Christmas cards to family and friends.
  2. Find a cat-proof (or at least cat-resistant!) way to decorate the house for the holidays.
  3. Host a Christmas cookie decorating party for friends at my house.
  4. Spend an evening touring the city to look at Christmas lights.
  5. Gather with friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve and my 50th birthday.


So how am I going to accomplish it all, you ask? By following my own advice!

A couple of days ago I shared my 2016 Word of the Year which, appropriately enough, is Progress. I also wrote a post for BlogHer (3 Ways to Use Your Blog to Stick to Your Resolutions) which presented the idea of writing a resolution-based blog series to help you achieve your goals through accountability, support, and inspiration.

So that’s what I’m going to do!

Today’s post is the introduction to my new blog series, and going forward I’ll be writing a monthly “Progress Report” post (usually toward the end of each month) with updates on how my 50 by 50 Project is progressing.

And I’d love it if you’d follow along – to keep me accountable, to offer support and encouragement, and to be inspired!

Are you with me?
Please share!

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.