Happy new year!
As 2015 started to end, talk turned inevitably to new year’s resolutions. I didn’t want to make any, knowing that any satisfaction I got from succeeding during the first two weeks of January would be demolished by the sense of failure once I inevitably failed to become a fundamentally different and better person.
But still, I wanted something. You can’t just go into a new year with nothing to drive you along except “more of the same would be fine, thanks”, can you? I wanted a little extra nudge to make the most of 2016. So I came up with the idea of a list: 16 things to do in 2016.
It’s like a bucket list, or a “30 things to do before you turn 30” list, but with less pressure. Each item on the list is a little achievement, and if I can tick all of them off, I’ll be satisfied that I had a pretty good year.
Importantly, though, they are self-contained one-off achievements. I kept the list free of resolutions in disguise – things that would require me to keep up a sustained effort over time (“do [x] at least once per week/month”; “be more [x]”). I even resisted anything that would require me to take the same action several times.
In fact, each item could, in theory, be ticked off in a single day. (Some of them I might struggle with, but it wouldn’t be impossible.) By keeping them all super-achievable I can start to tick off my successes pretty quickly and never feel that I’ve fallen so far behind that I might as well give up.
Some of them are about challenging myself and developing my skills. Some of them are about seeking out new experiences. And some are just about getting things done that I might otherwise put off for months or years. But each item on the list will do something good for my life.
Basically I think I’ve cracked it: a new year’s resolution system for people who think that new year’s resolutions are worthless. I’d love to know if anyone else takes up the idea. In the meantime, here’s my list…
16 things to do in 2016
1. Make a new friend
2. Travel to a new country
3. Write a reasonably good song
4. Go an entire day speaking Swedish
5. Read an entire novel in Swedish (200+ pages)
6. Break my running records (distance, duration, pace) on Map My Run
7. Create something functional or beautiful (or both)
8. Visit my Granny in Bath
9. Learn to drive on the right
10. Register with a doctor locally
11. Lead a solo project at work
12. Read a biography or memoir
13. Learn all of the dominant 7th chords on the ukulele
14. Organise the kitchen larder
15. Visit a new part of Sweden
16. Sort out my finances and savings
If you like, follow me on Twitter or Instagram, where I might post updates when I manage to tick something off the list (although in the true spirit of not believing in new year’s resolutions, I probably won’t keep it up consistently). Happy 2016!