I used to make resolutions. They were always things that were good for me. Like, “this year I am going to floss my teeth.” Or “this year I’m going to go to the gym regularly for sure.” At some point, (after years of making them) I realized that no matter how great my enthusiasm come January 1st, by the time March rolled around I had all but forgot my resolution.
So this year I decided to do something differently. It’s a technique my sisters and my step-mother have been using for several years—and it seems to work. It’s fun and it makes each year count in a way that is inspiring to you.
Every year they make a list of the things that they would like to do this year. It’s a sort of bucket list if you will—but a tiny one pertaining to the 12 months ahead. Its short (i.e. realistic) and filled with things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t gotten around to- or things that you would just plain like to do for yourself- or even for others. And, as I mentioned it’s short. It’s not filled with everything you’ve ever wanted to do in your life- it includes a handful of experiences you would like to have.
Last year my step-mother’s included “cook lamb” (which she did on December 31st!) and my sister’s said, “make pesto from scratch.” In both cases these were things they had never done but had always wanted to do. My sister grew basil in the window of her downtown apartment, and then made a whole batch.
They also had harder things like my sister’s “do 30 days of yoga in a row”, “go somewhere new”, and “run a marathon”. My step-mom had on her list going on a cross-country ski trail by our cabin that she had never gotten around to doing. You get the idea. The gist is it’s filled with things you want to do—for your own sake—because they inspire you and make you feel good.
This year my list includes: write a short story, grow zucchini, fill the road-side fence of our yard with an abundance of wildflowers, make fun placemats and napkins, and learn at least one song on the piano. I’ve got 11 ½ months left to fit these in and so do you.
Then come December 2012 you’ll be sitting back and making a toast to your accomplishments (and possibly even checking a couple more off the list before the calendar year changes) instead of thinking about how you never got around to flossing your teeth! Either way, you will have made the year count in a way that is meaningful to you.
P.S. My step-mom recommends writing your list on a nice piece of paper. You’ll be referring to it many times throughout the year, and it’s more pleasant if it’s pretty.