17 Before 2017 – Finish Your Year Strong!

A fun little challenge to help you finish your year strong!

Last year, my creative business mentor, Lisa Jacobs of Marketing Creativity, wrote a blog post about her “16 Before 2016” Challenge.  Inspired by the idea of tackling unfinished business and finishing my year strong, I embarked on my very own 16 Before 2016 around the same time.

While I didn’t accomplish everything on my list last year, I still felt a great sense of accomplishment. Taking care of projects that had been looming all year set me off on the right foot when the beginning of 2016 rolled around.

This year, I’m excited to take on the challenge once again; to create my own 17 Before 2017 list, and to do my very best to finish 2016 just as strongly as last year.

A fun little challenge to help you finish your year strong!


While coming up with ideas for my 17 Before 2017 list, I considered a few things:

  • What projects have I been procrastinating on this year?
  • What areas of my life do I want/need to improve?
  • What would make me feel like 2016 was an absolute success?

(Check out Lisa’s thought-provoking prompts right here)

Here’s my list and the reasoning behind each project I decided to include this year:


With Boho Berry Paperie taking off in a HUGE way when it opened back in May, I knew that I would (very soon) need to hire a local employee to help me with production. Hiring an employee is something that I’ve been putting off for a little while now, but it’s getting to the point where I definitely will be needing some help soon.


My vision for Boho Berry Paperie from the very beginning was to not only sell cute planner stickers but to also create a full line of stationery for all of you paper and pen lovers out there. I’ve been working on some designs behind the scenes here and there, but I want to have them officially launched before the end of the year.


Hosting a meet-up is a project that has been on my list for a long time! With my hectic schedule lately, I haven’t had a chance to pull something together. But I want to SO bad!

Philadelphia Area Bullet Journalists

Are you in the Philadelphia area? Check out the Philadelphia Area Bullet Journalists group on Facebook and let’s get a meet-up started!


Another project that has been looming all year. I’ve begun to sketch out what I want Boho Berry to look like in the near future but haven’t had the time to give the re-design my full attention. My goal here is to fix some known navigation issues as well as making the site more user-friendly.


For the longest time, I have been dreaming of having professional headshots taken along with some fun brand photos for my blog and shop. Although I think I’ve done a pretty good job of DIYing my photos, I know that a more polished and professional look can go a long way.


My home office is where I spend the vast majority of my time during my working hours. Besides my adorable DIY desk makeover, I haven’t taken the time to make my office a fun and inviting place to work. I’ve been pinning ideas like a mad woman lately, and I even started a collection in my Bullet Journal to get my butt in gear!


When any new member joins the Boho Berry Tribe, they receive a handy little welcome email with information on how to access the Resource Library, the Tribe Facebook Group, as well as the current coupon code for my shop. Although this email is very helpful to new members, I’d like to expand it into a series. The idea here is that I’d continue to show up in their inbox (automatically) every few days to give them a little bit more info, useful tips, etc.

The ability to create a welcome sequence was one of the main reasons that I switched over to *ConvertKit as my email provider, so I’m excited to dive in and get this one done!

* This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love! (Learn more here)


Speaking of email…

If I had to choose ONE thing that I am the proudest of over the past year, it’s the Boho Berry Tribe. What started out as “just my email list” has grown into a vibrant community of like-minded people looking to improve their lives through organization, personal development, and community support.

A large part of my personal mission statement is building a community of curious, courageous, and compassionate people.

The Boho Berry Tribe is now just over 28,000 strong. While I know that getting to 50K by the end of the year is a daunting goal, I’m going for it! Won’t you help my dream come true?


Last year I embarked on my very first Whole30, and the benefits I gained from it were amazing! This year, I decided to push myself even further by going for a Whole60! I’m currently on day 19, and I’m feeling fantastic!


Joining a yoga studio is one that I had on my list last year that I just never got around to. While I love doing yoga at home (usually Yoga with Adriene), I’m still craving the experience of going to a studio and reaping the benefits of a guided classroom setting.


Keeping with the health & fitness theme here, I’d really like to invest in a personal trainer. I’ve tried (and failed) to get back into a running routine several times over the past couple of years, and although I love the idea of becoming a runner again, I think what I need is some accountability. Having a personal trainer will help to fill that gap for me… I hope :)


I have a confession to make. I hate shopping!

Well, let me be clear… I hate shopping for clothes. I could shop for stationery and cute office supplies all day long, but something happens when I walk into a clothing store, and I just can’t get into a groove. There are so many options, and I never really know what I want, so I usually end up with something that I don’t end up wearing or nothing at all.

The result is that I have a closet FULL of clothes that I never wear and a select few outfits that I wear all of the time.

I’m thinking that a Capsule Wardrobe might be just what I need going forward.

13. PLAN A TRIP WITH MARK (somewhere hot & sunny!)

Since our honeymoon in Maui over three years ago, my husband Mark and I haven’t really taken any big trips together. Travel is something that we both have a huge passion for, so we decided to start planning an escape sometime in the beginning of next year.

As of right now, our short list includes Peru (Machu Pichu anyone?), The Maldives, and Bali.


Ever since I started my YouTube channel back in November of last year, I’ve wanted to create a channel trailer. You know, a short little video for new visitors to give them an idea of what my channel is all about.

I’ve already got this one scripted out; it’s just a matter of getting it filmed and edited.


The KonMari Method is another project that I embarked on last year and never completed (do you see a theme here yet?).

I’m gearing up to dive back into getting my home and all of my possessions de-cluttered and organized at the beginning of October. There’s just something about a clean and organized home that allows for creativity to blossom in me, and I can’t wait to get there!


Back in May, I did something a little crazy. I shaved my head. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision and one that I would gladly make again. I loved having a shaved head throughout the hot Summer months, but with the seasons changing here in the North Eastern US, I’ve found myself with a severe case of hair envy.

Here's my shaved head back in June. Kara - September

I’ve been letting my hair grow for the past month, and I’m happy to report that I’ve already achieved pixie status. I finally went and got it cut earlier this week, and I’m excited to continue the growth process over the next few months!


The last item on my 17 Before 2017 list is to learn DSLR photography. I’ve already signed up for a couple of courses on CreativeLive, and I’m excited to start improving my photography skills over the next couple of months.

A fun little challenge to help you finish your year strong!

How about you? Are you planning to do a 17 Before 2017? I’d love to see your lists, so tag them on Instagram or Facebook with #17Before2017 :)

Kara Benz
Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.
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  • Hannah

    I just started my capsule wardrobe and absolutely love it! Plus you can make so many cute spreads while you are planning for it! Un-fancy.com has some great worksheets to help you get started. Another thing to think about if you hate shopping for clothes is a subscription to stitch-fix. You create a Pinterest board of outfits you like and then they send you 5 items every 3 months and you can keep what you like and send back what you don’t like. Its a super good way to get clothes that you like without shopping.

  • I did a whole three-part series on my blog about Capsule wardrobes. I also just started attending a yoga class 2x a week at our local rec center (not as fancy as a yoga studio, but it gets me out of the house and forces me to spend 2 hours a week taking care of myself). Let me tell you, from someone who has done yoga/pilates/the whole bit at home for years.. it’s soo nice. You should totally just get on the ball about that one. Also, I want to commit to a 17 before 2017, but I’m afraid I’m so in over my head with life and school right now, that it would be one more thing I can’t handle. I might just go back and look at my big goals for the 2nd half of the year and see how I can knock those out, and maybe add in a few small things. I dunno.. maybe I’ll just have one goal “Survive this year”. ;)

  • Judy Hudgins

    While I am not planning a 17 before 2017, I have actually starting thinking about 18 before 2018! I think this will narrow down my focus a bit and cut down on the number of things I want to accomplish during the year. Thanks for passing on the idea.

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  • Rachel Skinner

    Thank you for this! Earlier in the year i started to make a 30 before 30 list (I’m turning 30 in a few weeks) but a) couldn’t come up with 30 things I really wanted to do and b) totally failed at completing anything. I am going to rebrand my list as 17 before 17 and work to get those items done!

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  • Huge goals, but if anyone can do it, you can!

    • Thanks, Kristine! I’m plowing ahead full steam… we’ll see how it goes :)

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  • McKenzi Taylor

    I love your work and your goals. Big fan! I’m a pro photorapher and would be more than happy to do a complimentary sessino for you if you are ever in Vegas!

  • Love this list! I’m still reeling from launching my first e-course (yesterday!) and my head is a serious case of mush and I think this challenge may be just what I need to get back on track and also accomplish a few more things before the end of the year. What a great idea. Oh, and I love your pixie hair, it really suits you :) Thanks for continuing to be such an amazing inspiration and for being so humble about it xo

  • Emily Brown

    This is nosey, but did you move??? I thought you were in New Jersey? I’m a native Texan so my understanding of northeastern geography is limited – the closeness and proximity of the cities/states really boggles my mind…

    • I’m still in New Jersey :) I’m pretty centrally located between Philadelphia (about an hour away) and NYC (about 1.5 hours away)

  • I love this! I’ve been working on my email welcome series too. Have you checked out Meera Kothand’s blog? She has great information about what to include in your welcome series.

    • Thanks, Emma! I haven’t heard of her blog so I’m off to check it out now :)

  • Thanks for sharing, Ingrid! I’ll absolutely go check her out :)

  • That’s a great list – good luck with it. I’m now thinking about what I’d like to achieve too

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  • Melissa Suhonen

    Too bad you didn’t live closer to me because I would have happily provided you with a professional photo shoot for free!!! You are so inspiring so I’m so bummed I can’t return the favor by doing that for you!!! If you ever want any help learning photography or have questions feel free to just ask away!!!!

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  • Zuzanna Białowąs

    Great idea! I should definitely do my own list

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