A new year, a new decade, a new start, and with it, a whole host of promises and goals about the changes we will make in the coming months.
The problem is, that for many of us, these affirmations get consumed by everyday life, or our old habits take back control; and even when we do try to stick to them, it’s a miserable experience compounded by the sullen post-Christmas mood and dreary weather.
So, this year, I’m trying something different, something that my clients have already started as an alternative to the New Year’s resolution roadshow.
Instead of being deflated by the collapse of insincere declarations, I’m writing a ‘living list.’
Not a bucket list, they’re usually associated with an imminent death.
No, a living list, something we create that gives us credible goals to achieve throughout the year and maybe beyond; a list of things that we can look forward to, that can motivate us and maybe even help us increase our self-confidence and sense of worth.
The living list
So what is a living list?
Well, it’s really just that.
A list, made up of things you’ve always wanted to do but never felt you had the time, that you dismissed due to the opinions of others, or that you’ve dreamed about but never took the plunge.
The list is about creating a memo of things that you want to do throughout the year, things that are fun, exciting and maybe even scary.
It’s about achieving something and feeling good about yourself, not feeling pressured or deflated by the thought of failure.
An example of a living list
Your living list might look like this:
- Climb a mountain
- Watch a classic film that I’ve never seen before
- Take a dance class
- Read a book
- Try a different food
- Sing on stage (even if it’s karaoke)
- Swim a mile
- Bake something new
- Visit somewhere I’ve never been
The list is endless and obviously bespoke to the person writing it.
Advice on structuring your list
A living list will help add a sense of control to your life and a spirit of adventure, but before you rush off to get your ideas down, there are a few tips you might want to consider, so that the points on the list become possible:
Make your list specific
Firstly, make sure the things you write on your list are specific, it’s okay saying climb a mountain, but which one?
When you have a specific aim, you can plan more precisely, giving you a better chance of putting it into practice and carrying it out.
Decide how to measure your progress
Decide on how you will track your progress.
What evidence will prove you are making the right steps to completing your living list?
With this, you’ll be able to recognise if you’re on the right path and how far you are from achieving your goal.
It will also act as a motivational factor.
As they say in business… “what gets measured, gets managed.”
Consider how achievable your list is
I want you to reach for the stars, but I don’t want you to lose faith chasing humongous objectives.
If you do have big dreams, break them down into smaller, more achievable goals.
For example, wanting to tour the world is a fantastic aim but you may need to achieve smaller goals in order to ensure you have the funds, time and health necessary for long-term travel.
The list differs from a resolution, I want you to note down things you can achieve, that will motivate you, not deflate you.
Ask yourself – how achievable are the tasks on my list?
Set a time limit for things you want to do.
Adding a time limit to the points on your list adds commitment.
Planning when you will do each one will make sure you get them scheduled in your annual diary.
If they are important to you, you will make time for them.
You don’t have to set dates for everything at once, you may want to do one at a time and tick them off as you go.
This will avoid the overwhelm of trying to do everything immediately.
Take some time during the year to reflect on what’s been achieved – What did you enjoy? How was it done? How could it be improved next time?
Reflecting on the list allows you to recall positive memories, to set better goals, bask in the fact that you’ve done something different and reward yourself for your successes.
The most important thing is to have fun. You don’t have to complete everything on your list, it’s a guide.
My old English teacher used to say that if you only complete one or two tasks on your to-do list, it’s still a success.
Carrying out items on your list may even be a catalyst to meeting new people or participating in new or related experiences.
But most of all Enjoy!!!