In 2017 I committed to making no New Years resolutions.
I know not only statistically, but also personally, that making New Years resolutions rarely ever works or leads to actual results. Instead, I told myself that I was going to focus on self-growth, allowing myself to evolve naturally through the experiences of this year.
So, as with anything else, I made a giant list on a poster board of all the things I wanted to accomplish, try, or experience in 2017. I looked through magazines, Pinterest, various websites, anything that triggered any kind of inspiration and considered what would be valuable enough for me to put my energy towards. I wrote everything down and then crossed things off the list as I did them. This process turned out to be one of the best, most fun things I could have done for myself. It kept me intentional all year long, gave me things to look forward to, challenged me, and pretty much did away with any possibility of boredom because I always had ideas on hand. A lot of people follow this same concept with pictures (as you are essentially making a vision board), but I connect better with words, hence the list.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your own list:
- Write it all down – Have you been wanting to try out a new restaurant? Write it down. Have you noticed a character flaw in yourself that you’ve been wanting to improve on? Put it on the list. Are there people in your life you’ve been wanting to spend more time with? Add it to your board. My goals ranged from “Get closer to God” to “Watch all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies” and everything in between. No goal or desire is too small or too big. Just write it all down.
- No pressure – This list is meant to be personal. There is no right or wrong way to do it; you are doing it for you. It doesn’t matter how many things are on your list or how many things you do or do not accomplish by the end of the year. It doesn’t matter if you share it with others or keep it to yourself. It is simply a way to remind yourself of the things you want and to keep you on track.
- Focus – I look at my list daily and keep a picture of it in my phone for when I’m not home. This helps me to stay focused on the things I’ve written down. You will either control your day, or your day will control you. When you have something to focus on, you are more likely to better utilize your time and resources.
- Include things that you have no idea how you will accomplish – If you know how everything will work out, there is neither faith or adventure involved. When you include things that are your true desires and you put prayer, positive energy, and hard work into seeing them manifest, life has a funny way of conspiring to ensure that they do. I included things like “Positively impact at least 100 people” and “Find my area of competence.” I had no idea how either of those things would come to be, but as the year progressed, I found myself in positions that allowed me to spread positivity and love in both traditional and non-traditional ways. Toward the last few months of the year I started to feel like maybe I had found my thing as far as what I feel I am best at. Two of next years goals stem from these goals and are written on my 2018 board as “Positively impact at least 1,000 people” and “develop and master my area of competence (creativity, connection, and positivity). I have no idea how I will do either of those things, I just know that I will.
- Don’t worry about rank or order – For some people this won’t be a problem, but I feel this is important to mention for anyone who is super particular like me. The point of this list isn’t to try to get things done in any kind of order or pattern; it is more important that you let your ideas come naturally and write them down as you think of them.
- Leave room for the unexpected – Through this process, I found that many of the things on my list ended up being things I didn’t really care about doing, which worked out in my benefit because I was able to disregard them before doing them and instead put my energy toward something else. I also found that there were things I ended up serendipitously accomplishing in ways different than I had originally imagined. For example, number 81 on my list read “Get a new car (Maserati Ghibli).” I didn’t end up getting a Maserati, but I did unexpectedly get a new car that is not only beautiful, but works so much better for me at this stage in my life. Depending on the length and depth of your list, leave room to be okay with not crossing everything off. My 2017 list was 123 lines long- many of the things I listed did not get done. However, I still did many additional things that were not originally listed, and I know for a fact that I would have accomplished so much less had I not made a list at all. Go with the flow, this is all a learning and growing process.
If you’re looking to make next year full of growth, adventures, and intentionality, grab a poster board and get to writing. May the coming year, be our best year yet.