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December 27th, 2016:

What can I do 2,017 of?

Yesterday I read a thread on the “running” subreddit about running 2017 miles in 2017. It seems like a lot of running, and it is. You would have to run an average of 5.5 miles every day in order to reach that goal. That is not a realistic goal for me. I ran about 800 miles in 2016. So 2,017 miles in a year isn’t going to happen. I would probably do serious damage to my knees if I tried.

Still, the idea of doing 2,017 of something is intriguing. My sister the writer commented that she could try for writing that many pages. I’m not a writer, so I don’t know if that’s a lot. I assume it is. A good-sized novel is 400-500 pages. It seems reasonable to take a year to write a (good) novel. I guess you could write a lousy novel in a few weeks. If you were a super-speedy lousy writer, you could pump out a novel in three months, and if you did four 500-page novels in a year, that would help you hit the goal of 2,017 pages in a year.

I’m not a writer, so that isn’t even an option for me. If I were a baker, I could make 2,017 cookies. Or if I were a singer, I could sing 2,017 songs. A film critic could watch 2,017 movies (that’s too many movies). With a little creative thinking, it isn’t hard to brainstorm a pretty good list of units that you can accumulate 2,017 of in a year.

You could also get abstract and say that you were going to make 2,017 positive comments in the year. That’s an average of 5-6 every day. That wouldn’t be hard. Complement someone on their outfit, say thank you (and really mean it), wish a few people a nice day (sincerely), point out the nice weather, and you could get there pretty easily, I think. Plus, by reaching your goal, you would be making the world a little more pleasant 2,107 different times.

I’m currently in language training, and will be for the next 5-6 months. I could make a goal of saying 2,107 unique sentences in Vietnamese, or learning 2,017 new words. But language training will end before the year is half over. I want a goal that I can work on all year. I want a target that will keep me motivated through 11:59:59 pm on December 31, 2017.

Whatever I decide to do, I will tell everyone that I know. I read somewhere that you can force yourself to persist in your goal if you publicize it. It’s a strategy of motivation through public shaming. If you want to quit, then you will have to quit in full view of everyone. Everyone that you told about your goal will be a witness to your failure. Human beings are social animals. Remember the old playground chant: “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” That’s a load of bullstuff. Names hurt. A lot. We really care about what our friends think of us. No one wants to be a failure in the eyes of his friends. So putting yourself out there with a public commitment is a pretty strong motivator.

I will think about this, and decide on my goal. If you have any ideas, let me know. And feel free to make your own goal. What can you do 2,017 of in 2017?

You haven’t had a cookie

Until you’ve had a cookie at the National Building Museum. 

Also, the building itself is magnificent. Almost as impressive as the cookies.