The Power of 52

52 weeks in a year and 52 cards in a deck.

Last week, I wrote about 52 being my favorite number and shared some reasons why as well as some fun facts (at least I think they are) about the number 52. I also mentioned the tie between 52 weeks in a year and 52 cards in deck and how that pleasant coincidence has made such a positive impact in my life — and possibly could in yours as well.

It was about 10 years ago that I stumbled upon what I call the “Power of 52.” As with many little things that wind up having a big impact on my life (and I’m guessing others’ lives as well), it was fortuitous, simple and at the time, I didn’t have any idea where it would wind up taking me.

I have always been an avid reader and again, it was about 10 years ago during the holidays when I decided to set a goal of reading a book a week for the following calendar year — 52 books in total. I announced this goal (I find that going semi-public with goals gives me just the right amount of “pressure” to keep working toward them) to my family at one of our card game nights. At some point during the evening, I made the connection between the 52 weeks and the 52 cards, and I decided that a deck of cards would make perfect bookmarks for my new reading venture. I could simply use one card per book and when the deck was complete, my goal would have been met.

So, I did just that and have done so every year since. I break out a fresh, new deck of cards (usually the ubiquitous Bicycle brand), toss the jokers and… voila! I have a very cost-effective, motivating set of bookmarks sitting right in my nightstand. While they certainly could be reused, I get a great sense of satisfaction from throwing them away (okay, recycling them) as I finish each book. During a year that I’m able to read more than 52 books (my record is 95), I simply open up a new box and start over. On the 31st of December, any unused cards are recycled and I start fresh on January 1st.

While this alone makes the weeks/cards connection very cool, next week, I’ll share how this idea has grown to truly impact my thought process and my life.