What might you accomplish in a year | my ’50 by 50′ fitness goals

It’s been a long time since I set myself any specific fitness goals.

My primary goal this year was just to get back regular exercise after a post-trauma-induced hiatus from exercise.

I’m happy to say that I’ve more than met that goal. A minimum of 3 workouts per week (most often 5) every single week since January 1st (with the exception of the ten days I spent in Hawaii over spring break).

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By recognizing that I needed a coach of my own (someone else to program for me and keep me accountable; even coaches need coaches 🙂 ) and a supportive community to exercise with (props to my Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday morning Twist buddies), I’m once again feeling strong and capable in the gym. Feelings that often spill-over into the rest of my day and help me manage the sadness and loss that seem to be becoming permeant fixtures of the ‘new’ me.

So what’s next? The prospect of setting new goals in the gym got me thinking about what I’d like to accomplish in other spheres of my life.

What types of experiences would I like to have with my family? How can I create a legacy for my daughter?  How can I give back to my friends and community? Are there areas of personal growth and self-care that need attention? In what direction do I want to take my online business? Are there ‘fun’ things that I think everybody needs to do in life that I still haven’t done? (Zip-lining, anybody?).

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Inspired by a friend’s recent ’40 by 40′ list (a kind of bucket list of things she wanted to experience and accomplish before her 40th birthday), I decided to start my own ’50 by 50′ project.

A list of 50 experiences, goals and accomplishments that I’d like to work through over the next 365 days. (Yep, today’s my 49th birthday). It feels like the right approach to keep me moving forward and creating little slivers of happiness in my life.

At first, the task seemed daunting. I couldn’t think of more than half a dozen items to add to the list.

But when I broke it down into categories (Arts, Crafts and Culture, Community, Friends and Family, Physical Fitness, Indulgences, Professional Accomplishments, Personal Affairs, Books and Movies, Experiences and Travel), I suddenly had more items than necessary (and more things than I could possibly accomplish in one short year).

Note that these aren’t all ‘feel good’ things.

Some are simply tasks that I’ve been putting off for way too long; #40 and #44 respectively, update our wills and paint the inside of the house. Satisfying, yes, but not nearly as exciting as #46, driving in a convertible with the top down or #48, taking a winery tour.

I won’t share my entire list here, it’s very long and has some items that are quite personal and not at all related to fitness, nutrition or health. But I will share with you (for accountability and perhaps, to inspire you to imagine what you might accomplish in a year…) the five that fall under the rubric of fitness and health.

What might you accomplish in a year?
  • perform 5 unassisted pull-ups; currently I can’t even do one, but have been working on resistance-band assisted chin-ups and pull-ups and have a training plan for reducing the resistance over time.


  • squat my body weight (3 sets of 5 reps at 150 pounds); as I’m neither trying to lose or gain weight (I like to say that I’m training for the sport of life 😉 ), this goal will be fixed.
  • dead lift my body weight (3 sets of 5 reps at 150 pounds); this will be more challenging for me than the squat goal, both because I have some weakness in my lower back and I’m a bit afraid of triggering and old injury. Slow and steady progressions on this one should get me there.
Setting up for a barbell dead lift

Setting up for a barbell dead lift

  • run a charity 5k (preferably for a charity that Clara would find worthy); as many of you know, I’m not a runner. So while I’m pretty sure I could just go out and run 5k, I’d like to do it well and without injury. This will require a bit of training, starting in the fall, once the weather’s a bit cooler. Know of a charity 5K that might be appropriate? I’m open to suggestions!
  • go on a yoga/meditation retreat; while this experience isn’t as purely ‘physical’ as the above four, it still falls within the realm of fitness and wellness. Ideally this will be something local, although I’m always up for a fun travel experience if the opportunity presents itself.

I’d love to know what you’d put on your “50 by 50” list (or “X by X” list, depending on which decade is your next big one 😉 ).







  1. Kristie Flanagan says:

    Happy Birthday Tamara? Great post. I will sit down and brainstorm some goals ?

  2. I’m 44 so thinking about a 50 bucket list too & a chin up is on my list as well. I also can’t do one. I want to get the assist to get started but I’m going to believe I can do it – & this is from someone who said I’d never be able to do one pull up. I’m switching my mindset 🙂
    Rebecca Jo recently posted…372 day fix? What have I learned….My Profile

  3. I am working on the 100 Dreams List I made for turning 40 last year. It make take me to 50 to get them all done but that’s ok. I am working a big one…hosting a fitness/wellness retreat in October. I would love to see you there!

  4. Happy Birthday Tamara! I am turning 55 this year, I may ponder a 55 item list. There are some photo shoots that I would love to experience. I like the idea of breaking it down into categories.

  5. You got me thinking! I’m 43 so 5-0 is the next biggy! I’ve done a dozen marathons, but I’d like to do one for fun…..no time goals, take the camera and enjoy….maybe even a Disney marathon. Definitely want to get my online biz off and running. I’ll be thinking on this!

  6. Merideth says:

    Awesome idea, Tamara. My 49th birthday is next month and I will definitely do this. You are inspiring!

    • Merideth, I’d love to see what you put on your list! It’s been fun sharing lists with a few friends. Surprisingly, we have many items in common 🙂

  7. Hi Tamara!!

    Happy Birthday! You make 49 look good and I look forward to reaching it. You look great and I know you will accomplish everything you set your mind to do. You are amazing!

    Have a wonderful birthday celebration!!

  8. Wonderful post Tamara!!! HUGE HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am limited by resources & time right now but something to think about as I head to 60!!! YIKES I am getting old! 😉
    Jody – Fit at 58 recently posted…Gratitude Monday, Toddler Day Care, Pull-Ups and Push-UpsMy Profile

  9. Happy birthday, and I hope you accomplish all your goals! You may have inspired me to start a 60 by 60 list!

  10. With your focus and self-insight I am going to bet you accomplish your 50 by 50 items. Hire a painter, for one! Now I am inspired to create a list, though I’ll go with 60 by 60 to give myself a couple of years. Happy (belated) birthday Tamara! What did you do to celebrate?

    • Thank you! We had a low-key day. The boys made dinner and we enjoyed a walk by the ocean and a visit to the newest craft brewery in town. PS I actually enjoy painting. It is very calming and repetitive and gives me a sense of accomplishment!

  11. I love this idea, Tamara. I’ll have to give it some thought. There’s always something satisfying about seeing our goals written out and crossed off rather than just ticking them off in our mind.

  12. I just turned 30 and my over-arching fitness aim is to be more PC (progressive and consistent).
    My specific fitness goals for the coming year are:

    1) Consistently work out 3x per week (I’m doing Youtube follow-along workouts which will get harder over time).
    2) Consistently run once per week (it would be great if I added one or two sprints every now and then)
    3) Do a full-body stretch or yoga session or pilates session or taichi session at least once per week
    4) Average over 10,000 steps per day
    5) Continue cycling to work on a regular basis (it’s less than 4km each way and i have good waterproofs- no excuses)
    6) Avoid all use of lifts/escalators where there exists the alternative of stairs (exceptions allowed if I’m with kids or if it’s over 10 floors)
    7) Get up and move at least once an hour from 9-5.

    I’ve been doing 4, 5, 6 and 7 for over 6 months, and 1 and 3 for about 6 weeks.
    2) has been sporadic and the weather here is not fun at the moment- around 30-32 celsius and 90% humidity!

    Some side-goals are 10x chin-ups (underhand grip- can currently do about 6), 10x pull-ups wide, overhand (can currently do about 3). Also, be able to hold a decent bridge position for a minute, to be able to do a press handstand.

  13. First, I am so sorry to read about your devastating loss. I hope you will be able to continue your life and work in spite of the stings of griefs and loss you always will feel. I’m sure your husband and you are old and wise enough to try to take care of your sons through the surprisingly long time it actually takes to recover from suddenly losing a loved one.
    I found your website today after hours of searching after some realistic facts and suggestions about women’s (+40) health and training. The web is flooded with girls in their twenties with skimpy (but pretty) training outfits or beauty or fashion blogs.
    I loved your website! This was the kind of facts I was after and not the polished nonsense. So I really hope you will continue your inspiring work!
    Hanne Schrodter recently posted…WHAT MAKES DAILY LIFE EASIER IN THE TEXAS HEAT?My Profile

    • Hanne, thanks so much for your comforting words. I’m so glad that you find this site and look forward to reading your thoughts about upcoming blog posts!