This is an idea I heard about from a friend of a friend who introduced me to Leonie Dawson‘s 2013 Create Your Incredible Year Planner. (Arwen’s review is here on Youtube. Hi Arwen! You’re a doll!) While I ultimately decided that the planner was not my cup of gin, I did find a heck of a lot of appeal and inspiration in the concept of making the list. It’s like a bucket list for your year, as opposed to “maybe someday down the road, hopefully before I bite it.” Arwen’s review gave me the impression that the list should be about things you will do for yourself, but should not be naggy or shaming.
An example from my list is “Keep working on barefoot running – every bit helps” instead of “Lose ten pounds by March, lardbutt.”
The focus here is on health and doing something I enjoy, not on chiding myself for failing to do something I know I should be doing; positive reinforcement rather than continuing a cycle of shame that only leads to more unproductive negative emotions. (Not to say that they never have their place, but that is a topic for another time.)
Coming up with one hundred things can be a challenge. At first I thought there were only fifteen or twenty things I would care about accomplishing in a whole year. I wanted to give myself reasonable goals I knew I could achieve. But then I realized that I was short-changing myself, that my expectations of my ability to manifest were were waaaaay too low (I’m a fucking Wizard, dammit!) and that it is totally okay to DREAM BIG. Maybe even to be ridiculous. The point is to admit to yourself that you want to have a certain experience, however impractical, and then move toward that experience. Be silly and grandiose. Why not?
Here’s another sparkly thing about the list. You have to be okay with not achieving some of the things on your list. It’s totally okay not to get to them all this year. You can transfer them to your list for next year! Or you can decide that you’ve grown and changed and that you want to go in a different direction and discard some or all of the items you didn’t get to. Instead of feeling disappointed by the things you didn’t get to, think about all the things you were able to achieve. Think of how you might get closer to manifesting your desires in the coming year. Most importantly, forgive yourself and move on.
The list is a tool for focusing on what you want to get out of life and encouraging yourself to go toward those things. You might not get to have a gallery opening, but in the process of going toward that goal, you will probably have made some art and some contacts. Every bit accrues. You get more experience. You spiral ever closer to that which you desire.
Below are some of the things from my list! I hope they will inspire you to dream of doing great things, but even the little things are wonderful and a necessary part of the process. I haven’t made it to 100 yet, but I’m putting “finishing this list” on the list right now!
- Read as many classics as possible.
- Start using my sewing machine!
- Do the Five Tibetan Rites as often as possible.
- Float in an isolation tank.
- Go to a kava place.
- Try Chartreuse! (This will likely be my birthday present to myself this year.)
- Smile genuinely at strangers more often.
- Make eye contact more often.
- Write more opinion pieces.
- Make more YouTube videos.
- Write short stories to publish. (Because dammit, my brain makes beautiful stories!)
- Make melomel or metheglin.
- Work on learning a language. (Preferably Swedish if I can get Rosetta Stone to work again. Ja!)
- Host an unusual theme party. (Lady Gaga poker night, anyone?)
- Go to BizarroCon, if they have one this year.
- Flirt with girls more often.
- Cross dress and use the men’s room. (Scandalous!)
- Try dim sum.
- Get first aid & CPR cards. (I feel a great need to be qualified to help should an emergency arise.)
- Take Portland’s WomanStrength free self defense course.
Guess what else is on my list? Updating my damn blog! CHECK. Some of the things are my list are much more silly or much more risqué than anything here, but you get the idea. Just because it’s silly doesn’t mean I shouldn’t acknowledge my desire and move forward. One of my most-used mantras is: Positive Forward Motion. Always, always. Okay, stop reading this post and go make your list!
And again: thank you, thank you, thank you, Arwen!
Love love love,