You Can Too: 7 Amazing Things People Have Accomplished in Under a Year


There are days when I feel incredibly productive, and others when I do not even get off the couch. Can you relate? On those couch days, I enjoy marveling at the accomplishments of others.

Imagine what you could achieve by stringing together a few of those productive days…or even 365 of them! Here are a few incredible, inspiring, productive things your fellow humans have done in a year. Let the motivation begin!

1. Stroll the Continent

There are a number of people who have either run or walked across the United States in less than a year's time. Many embark on such an adventure to raise awareness of certain medical or social causes. Take Louis Michael Figueroa, for example. He was only 16 when he ran from New Brunswick, NJ to San Francisco, CA as a promise to a friend who was dying of bone cancer. Figueroa became the youngest person to make the trek — in just 60 days. It makes that recommended 10,000 steps a day seem like not such a big deal. (See also: 7 Simple Ways to Get Motivated for Your Workout)

2. Sail the World

Here's another distance feat: Francis Joyon sailed around the world solo in 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes, and six seconds back in 2008. To put that in perspective, he made that wicked fast time journeying nearly 21,600 nautical miles. In less than two months. Alone at sea. Whoa.

3. Pay Off Debt

I am majorly inspired by the story of Jackie (The Paleo Mama) and her husband. The duo were able to pay off more than $27,000 in debt over the course of just six months using the Ramsey Method and some smart planning. Along with taking a hard look at their budget and bills, the family made some big modifications to their lifestyle as a whole, including selling one of their cars, buying most things second hand, canceling cable and expensive smart phones, and using a cash system for most purchases. (See also: 5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt)

4. Raise Millions

We've all heard of crowdsourced fundraising campaigns, and some are certainly more successful than others. Take the GoFundMe campaign for Eliza O'Neill, a beautiful four-year-old girl with a degenerative brain disease called Sanfilippo syndrome. The amazing story, as told by photographer/videographer Benjamin Von Wong, raised more than $2 million in less than a year. This money will all go toward a clinical trial to find a cure.

5. Plant a Forest

In September 2010, a Pakistani soldier named Muhammed Yousuf Jamil planted 20,101 trees in just 18 hours and 40 minutes. As you can imagine, this accomplishment set a new world record in the Guinness book. For those of you curious about the math, that's a whopping 18 trees per minute. The previous record? An impressive 15,170 trees, held by Canadian Ken Chaplin back in 2001.

6. Lose All Fear

I first heard the term "rejection therapy" a few months ago on Invisibilia, but concept has stuck with me. Jia Jiang claims he completely broke through his fears of rejection through requesting crazy things from strangers for 100 days straight — so, less than a year. He is now featured on everything from Ted Talks to The Huffington Post to Forbes for this unusual, effective method of self-rehabilitation.

7. Read Books

Many of us set some reading goals for the new year, but I've never heard one quite like Nina Sankovitch's. She read a book per day for an entire year after her oldest sister died of cancer in 2005. That's 365 books by 365 different authors in 365 days. Sankovitch chronicled this chapter in her life by writing a memoir called "Tolstoy and the Purple Chair." 

Please share your favorite inspiring story — maybe it stars you!

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Guest's picture

Thanks for the inspiration! On days when I feel like I've gotten nothing done, I can think of these people who accomplished amazing things in a year. Yet, I'm sure during that year they had setbacks.

We shared this post on 1099 Mom.

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