Make a Yearly Bucket List Instead of Resolutions

Every year we are encouraged to make New Year’s resolutions. Usually they involve improving health by eliminating bad habits or creating healthy ones. A high percentage of resolutions are broken by February.

Last year I tried something different. I decided to create a small bucket list of things I wanted to do before the year was over, instead of before I died.  I had only two bucket-worthy items on my list but they were realistic, so I knew they were doable before the year ended. My first item was to start budgeting. I know budgeting may sound like a silly item to have on a bucket list,but the bigger picture was to have good control of my finances in order to accomplish other fun goals (like take a fun trip). Even though I have always been pretty responsible with money, I didn’t have the control or insight I wanted. I began researching budgeting and programs to help me achieve this goal. I had tried budgeting in the past and I was unsuccessful. I finally  found a program that worked for me, called YNAB (You Need a Budget).  I began budgeting March 1st and have tracked every penny since. I now have 9 months of data and know where our money is going and can make changes in order to accomplish those fun goals (yes, going to Italy and Hawaii could be an upcoming bucket list item for me).

My second bucket list item was to run a half-marathon.  After long runs and hard work, on Halloween day I laced up my sneakers and ran 13.1 miles at a pace faster than my usual. Yes, I was proud but more importantly I realized I could accomplish anything I wanted!

At the end of the year I realized I did the two things I said I would. I didn’t fall in to the resolution fail statistics.  I’m continuing to run and budget. Because of this, I believe whatever I put on my list next year WILL be done.  I will continue to add items to my list so each year, I can continue become a better version of myself.

Resolutions and bucket lists are similar but that bucket list may be more positive from our own perspective. Instead of focusing on eliminating a bad habit, think of it as creating new good habits (big or small)!  Make sure whatever it is, there is something in it for YOU.  Budgeting may be boring, but having the money set aside for a nice vacation is not so boring.  Running a marathon may be hard work, but feeling healthy as a result is not too shabby. Instead of making a resolution to quit smoking, put “become a runner” on your bucket list.  Chances are you will quit smoking to become that runner!

Here are some bucket list ideas:

  1. Train for a 10k in a city you’ve never explored (killing two birds with one stone)
  2. Track spending (budget) and save for a memorable family vacation
  3. Run a mile without stopping
  4. Climb a mountain
  5. Try a new sport
  6. Pursue a passion
  7. Start a side business
  8. Volunteer
  9. Take someone in need under your wing
  10. Learn to meditate

Doesn’t it sound more fun to create a bucket list instead of a resolution? Get out the pen and paper and make one now! Death isn’t your deadline, December 31st is! Have fun.

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