The 18 Before 2018 Challenge

With about 100 days left in the year, it’s starting to feel like things are coming to a close. Evenings are growing darker, temperatures are cooling down, and the internet is full of pumpkin spice.

This is the perfect time for all of us to readdress new year’s resolutions because it’s not yet too late! We still have three months to get things done, make progress on big goals, and give a last-minute effort. This is the time of year that Laura from starts a yearly challenge inspired by Lisa Jacobs: small goals that may (or may not) be finished before the new year hits. Take a peek at Laura’s goals for this time around here, or read on to see which goals I’ve created for myself!


Mandi’s Take on the 18 Before 2018 Challenge

  1. Read at least 12 books. This will let me finish the year out with completing 45 books, which was one of my new year’s resolutions! I’d love to get to 50 if possible, but that’s above and beyond.
  2. Teach Leben a new trick. Now that we’ve tackled our basic obedience training goals, I’d love to start working with Leben more on tricks (sit pretty, distinguishing between objects, shake, pray, or roll over) to help us keep training together!
  3. Take an entire weekend without YouTube. I think if I can do this, it will be great. If I can do more, it will be a miracle. I’m determined to try!
  4. Hike River Place again. Between the anxiety of dog altercations on the trail and the unbelievable heat we’ve had until now, I haven’t hiked this trail in a long time. I’d love to get back into it.
  5. Sew my first choir concert dress. My goal is to sew my dress for the SOCO Women’s Chorus concert on December 9th/10th. I hope it’s the best choir dress I’ve ever had in my entire life, because it will be the perfect cut, fit, and shape for me!
  6. Cook a meal for Abi and family. This small goal is one way that I’d like to help out more with my lovely family here in Austin.
  7. Visit Bowie and Granny for a weekend. I want to spend more time with my Granny, in general. I’d love to make a weekend trip up to see her at least every quarter!
  8. Try a brand new braid. While I have been doing well with improvising and combining braiding techniques, I haven’t tried a brand new braided style in quite a while. I’m excited to learn something amazing!
  9. Eat out at a new Austin local restaurant. A small but important goal that will get me out of the house to explore my new city.
  10. Make a Keeping the Flame EC for the entire 2018 year. This is a big project… but following through with the Editorial Calendar is a much bigger challenge. I love brainstorming and dreaming, so I think this one will be as fun as it is productive!
  11. Blog redesign/cleanup. I’m starting to find little inconsistencies in the blog that I’m not happy with. I’d love to take a weekend or so to fully revamp this site. 
  12. Re-read my entire journal from 2017. I like to do this every year before making my new year’s resolutions. Hopefully, if I have it on my radar early enough, I will be able to read carefully without rushing.
  13. Read a poem every day for a week. I’ve had the desire to start getting into poetry for a few years now, but I’ve never been able to fully commit. I have the books, I have the time, and I just need the impetus. Maybe this week will be a good start!
  14. Have a Sunday Night Movie Night. After Game of Thrones ended, my Sunday nights returned to being full of the Sunday night blues. I thought that maybe if I schedule myself a special movie night, I’ll have something to look forward to.
  15. Delete my social media apps. I’d love to do this again. I know it may not be sustainable forever, but the simple act of deleting the apps from my phone may act as a little bit of a reset.
  16. Go on another date. Yes, dating feels a bit like work at the moment. If I make it a goal to get out there and take the chance on another bad first date (what are we at, like 60 by now??), who knows what could happen. It’s a small goal that will get me moving in the right direction.
  17. Start an altered book art journal. I was so incredibly inspired by my new choir director, Janey Hall, and her gorgeous altered books. I’ve never tried using an old book as an art journal, and I’d love to give it a shot.
  18. Watch Rent again. Because it’s about time. I watch this movie every so often because it serves as a compass, a conscience, a touchstone for my life. It’s been too long since I’ve last been within a story that means so incredibly much to me.

As Laura expresses in her own video, this is a huge list of goals—and the expectation that you will accomplish every item on this list should be low! It’s just a way to help yourself along, motivating you to have the life you dream of. It’s the daily decisions, after all, that make up how your entire life feels in the end.

How are you doing with your new year’s resolutions as this year draws to a close? If you’re inspired to tackle the 18 Before 2018 challenge, definitely let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear which goals you’re most excited about reaching!


“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”
― Thomas Jefferson