2017 Achievement Trophies

2017 Achievement Trophies

In the video game world (or at least on my Playstation), you get “trophies” of various sorts for achieving in-game successes. It’s a fun system, as there are no negative trophies and no way to lose a trophy once you’ve earned it. Last year, I decided that instead of setting goals or making resolutions for 2017, I would create a trophy/achievement chart to mark levels of success instead of the more black-and-white idea of success vs failure.

Friends, I loved it.

I found the paradigm motivating in a way previous goal-setting has not been. Most important, I never beat myself up for not doing something. That alone makes this the best method I’ve ever tried.

How I did in 2017

The chart:

Chart of things I want to accomplish

Writing, words: SILVER

I wrote around 45K new words at the beginning of the year to finish up my current novel.

Writing, new book: SILVER

I revised the book I finished, got it to my agent, and am now working on a few more edits so we can go on sub. Almost made it to gold on this one! (I will adjust this category next year, though, because I want none of my trophies to be reliant on other people, and this one relies on my agent.)


Although I stopped tracking gym visits after 45 or so, I did pretty great — especially considering that I spent almost all of January snowed in, and spent almost three months sick at the beginning of the year. I’m really enjoying listening to podcasts and audiobooks while I’m there, plus I’ve fallen hard for the stretch trainer and the rope trainer.

Cooking: PLATINUM!

This was the big surprise of the year. I signed up for Acme Farms & Kitchen’s CSA “Locavore” box and started making every recipe they recommended. Trying 5 new recipes a year is a win for me, and this year I made over 40 new things. I’m still kinda stunned.

House, painting: SILVER

Almost got the Gold in this one, but alas, didn’t quite finish the bathroom. Still feeling pretty chuffed that I got the Silver, though.

Writing: GOLD

I read a ton of books (for me) in the first half of the year, and then almost none in the second. I have no idea what happened, or if that’s how I always operate. This is the first real data I’ve collected, so we’ll see!

Knitting: BRONZE

Ha, I set these goals completely wrong. Apparently I looked at my totals for 2 years when setting goals for this one year. I will probably halve these going forward. (I also started a sweater and a blanket this year, and I will be knitting them forever because apparently I am terrible with large projects.)

T-Shirt Designs: SILVER

Another category where I did great in the first half of the year, and then completely stopped working in the second, possibly because the more lucrative areas of my freelance business required my attention.

Education: SILVER

I took five classes, although four of them were very short ones on Skillshare. The big one was a computer science class at MIT through edX.org, which took a ton of time and was tremendous fun. Not sure how often I can really do something like that, though, given the careers I’m juggling.

Freelance Work: SILVER

I made modest income gains this year, but the fate of the freelance business is still in doubt. I work hard and I don’t earn enough money from it, so I’ll be exploring other options in 2018.

Videogames: PLATINUM

I used to start a bunch of games and never finish them, but this year I dove deep and had a blast. Several of the games I finished I even played twice through, such as Mass Effect: Andromeda and Dishonored 2. I’m loving this medium so much these days, with its unique combination of game design, storytelling, and interaction.

There you have it. Tomorrow I’ll sit down and come up with my chart for 2018, because I am sure as hell going to do this again.

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Marty Gruber 3 weeks ago . Reply

Ok……I am BLOWN AWAY by your goal reaching…..and so very proud of you!!! Ive never been good at goals….I am terrific at lists and still love adding something to the list that I did which what not on the list…..just to have the satisfaction of crossing one off!! Nutty, right? Keep up the terrific work!!!

We love you!!!!
Mom and Dom
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND CHRIS! P.S.Jeff and the boys are coming over on Wednesday until Saturday for a little visit….should be fun (Genny has to work 😞)

    Jenn Reese 3 weeks ago . Reply

    Thanks, Mom!!

Charlotte 3 weeks ago . Reply

Good for you! This reminds me of a self-help book I found rather appealing–Superbetter, that recommends thinking of everyday challenges as computer game ones, so that you earn virtual in game rewards for things like paying bills, etc. and give yourself level up and achievement unlocked feedback.

    Jenn Reese 3 weeks ago . Reply

    Yes, I think the videogame/computer game people have really tapped into a great way to motivate me. I don’t think it works for everyone, but as a gamer, it certainly does for me!