The New Year and the new decade are now well under way! I like to start each year with a few posts that are focused on what I want to create for myself over the course of the upcoming twelve months. I started a bit early this time when I introduced my 2020 theme, “enough,” on the final day of 2019. Today, I’d like to share a helpful practice that I started last year but didn’t write about on the blog. I decided to share it this year because you might also want to give it a try, plus the accountability of writing about it on the blog may help me to be more successful.
Happiness writer and podcaster Gretchen Rubin and her sister/podcast cohost Elizabeth Craft come up with a series of goals each year, the number of which corresponds with the current year. Last year, it was “19 for 2019,” and this year, it’s “20 for 2020.” The goals can be big or small and can be related to any area of life: health, relationships, work, creativity, home, finances, etc. Some people have opted to incorporate the number 20 into the items on their lists, such as doing 20 things for themselves and 20 things for other people, doing 20 things that include the number 20, or working on a challenging item for 20 minutes per day.
You can see Gretchen’s and Elizabeth’s lists, as well as some additional suggestions for creating your own list, on the show notes page for their January 8th podcast, when their “20 for 2020” lists were revealed. For the first time since starting this yearly exercise, Gretchen opted to divide her list into categories, while Elizabeth simply listed out her items in no particular order. If you want to find out why they chose the items on their lists, I recommend that you listen to the podcast (episode #255, around 49 minutes long).
My 20 for 2020 List
Below, I share my “20 for 2020” list, which is also divided into categories. It wasn’t easy for me to make my item selections, but I started out by listing various areas of my life and brainstorming for about 45 minutes about what I’d like to accomplish in each area. Then I put my list aside for a few days before coming back to it with fresh eyes. This allowed me to more intuitively make my selections, knowing that I can also revisit some items as the year progresses. That’s what I did last year, but when it was all said and done, I completed 15 of my 19 items. Being the perfectionist that I am, I wanted to complete all 19, but I’m satisfied with what I was able to get done and I know that it’s more than I would have done had I not created my “19 for 2019” list. There is definitely power in writing down our goals.
- Sell designated items on eBay or similar.
- Pare down out & about wardrobe to 118-137 items (see the second half of this post for more information on how I came up with those numbers).
- Complete two wardrobe/style-related workbooks (TBD – I have several from which to choose, including The Curated Closet Workbook, Love Your Wardrobe, and Style Manifesto).
- Be comfortable physically and emotionally in all of my clothes.
- Stick to my clothing budget and out & about item limit (36).
Most of the above items are either self-explanatory or have been written about in previous blog posts. I basically want to get rid of some pricey items that I shouldn’t have purchased last year, so I’m going to try my luck at selling them online. I also want to honor my commitment to pare down my wardrobe to half its size, as I still have too many clothes for my current lifestyle. Completing the two wardrobe/style workbooks will help me to better hone my style and cultivate a smaller but more workable wardrobe (I’m sure I will write about some of the exercises in these workbooks).
My overarching goal for my wardrobe is that I feel both physically and emotionally comfortable in everything I wear. Basically, I want to put on my clothes and then forget about them, as my clothes should be in service of my life rather than something to fuss about and feel that I need to create occasions for wearing. Since I’m working to pare down my out and about wardrobe, I want to drastically limit how many new pieces I bring in in that category. I’m not going to limit other types of purchases (at-home and workout items, undergarments, sleepwear, accessories, etc.), but I do want to adhere to my clothing budget, which is something that I didn’t do in either 2018 or 2019.
- 30+ blog posts.
- Re-read all Full Life Reflection blog posts from 2018 and 2019.
- New writing/creative project (book, blog, course, etc.).
I want to write more this year, both on the blog and in other respects. I’m proud to have published two books previously, but as that was over five years ago, I would like to release a new book or another type of writing project this year. I also want to re-read the posts that I published on this blog the past two years, as I know there is wisdom therein that I would like to remember and apply. It’s likely that I will end up revisiting some of those previous topics in new posts this year as well.
- Read/listen to 20+ books.
- Complete The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook.
- 2019 Year in Review exercise (the link is for 2017, but I have been modifying the years accordingly for this useful exercise).
I would like to read more, as I have a backlog of books that I want to finally get to. I sometimes enjoy listening to audio books, so I’m including that option as part of my goal #9. I’m part of a book club that meets about every six weeks, but most of those books are fiction and I want to make sure to read a number of non-fiction books (my usual preference) this year, too.
I purchased the self-compassion workbook last month, as I completed a quiz that someone posted in a comment and received a very low score. Of course, it’s no secret that I’m extremely hard on myself, but that isn’t helping my life to work better or me to be more successful. In fact, I think it’s making my life – and my health – a lot worse, so I would like to learn to be kinder toward myself. The workbook includes exercises and meditations that I look forward to experiencing this year.
I plan to complete the 2019 year in review exercise shortly. I have done this exercise the past couple of years and have found it helpful. We often think more about what went wrong in a given year than what went right, but this exercise assists us in considering what worked well and celebrating our wins. It also helps us to get excited about the year to come and to look at what we want our lives to look like.
- Memory book for my mother-in-law (like this type of book).
- Find/cultivate a local community of like-minded people.
- Improve relationships with my family.
It has been almost six months since my mother-in-law passed away. I plan to reflect upon her life and death in a post shortly, but I also want to create a memory book for the family this year. It will be quite an undertaking because there are many photos to be scanned and a lot of memories to capture from an 86-year life. I have done memory books for cats that have passed, but this will be the first one I’m creating for a person. I hope to do the memory of this extraordinary woman justice.
While I appreciate and cherish my online connections, including with the regular commenters on this blog, I need more in-person interactions. In order to cultivate a community, I will need to put myself out there more, which is scary for someone as introverted as I am. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I will likely start with visiting a few Meetup groups, but I may also opt to get involved with other types of organizations (I’m open to suggestions).
I have been lamenting the lack of relationships with most of my family members lately, so this is something I would like to improve this year. I wrote about this back in March 2018, but I still haven’t made much headway in turning things around. My parents are now in their mid-seventies, which is still relatively young, but they’re both slowing down quite a bit. I know they won’t be around forever, and my mother-in-law’s passing underscored that point. I also have two siblings who I speak to only rarely, so I’d like to change that, too, as well as interact more often with other family members (niece, nephew, in-laws, etc.).
- Watch 50+ movies.
- Visit Santa Fe.
- Daytime outing once a week M-F (alone or with someone else) & monthly day trip with my husband.
I’m a huge movie buff and watching movies makes me happy. I used to go to a movie every week back in the nineties, but now it’s more like twice a month and sometimes not even that. I want to increase how often I watch movies this year, both in a theater and at home. I’d also like to visit Santa Fe, which is a place I’ve been curious about for a long time. I see it being a long weekend trip sometime in the summer or fall, and I’d like to also see Taos since it’s not too far away.
I want to get out more during the week during the daylight hours to do something fun (i.e. not just running errands) and take more frequent day trips with my husband on the weekends. The latter is a repeat of one of my “19 for 2019” goals. My husband and I did take a number of day trips last year and it’s amazing how long and memorable those days seemed (it’s all about novelty!). We’ll have to get creative about where to go and what to do, but I wouldn’t mind repeating a few of the things we did last year.
- “Just one thing” approach M-F before noon.
- Try 25+ new recipes (2+ per month).
- Solve the cooling and heating issues in our home.
These last three items didn’t fit into any other category, so I’m listing them here. It has made a big difference for me to concentrate on one key task each day, but I’d like to “up the ante” by making sure I do my “one thing” earlier in the day. I also want to try more new recipes this year to cut down on the monotony I often feel related to food and eating. I have quite a few cookbooks and have also bookmarked a number of recipes online that I’m interested in trying.
I mentioned in my “enough” post that I want to cut down on home improvement projects this year, but I do want to make sure that the temperature is more comfortable in our house. It gets extremely hot inside during the summer months and it’s often too cold this time of year. So our one big home improvement project for 2020 will be to focus on improving both heating and cooling. I think this is going to happen relatively soon, which is great, as our first two summers here were brutal at times (and fans only help so much).
Conclusion & Your Thoughts
In addition to the 20 items listed above, I also have some “secret” items that I’ve decided to take on but don’t want to share on the Internet (Gretchen Rubin has the same sort of secret list – she calls it her “shadow list,” which is where I got the idea). It’s possible that I may write about one or more of these items at some point, but I don’t wish to share them at this time. Even so, I will have plenty to work on – and write about – with the 20 items included in this post.
I feel happy with my list and believe that it incorporates many aspects of my life. I plan to review my list at least monthly and modify it if and when I feel it’s necessary. I didn’t make too many changes to my 2019 list, but I did opt to shift a few things later in the year (i.e. I changed my target number of blog posts from 25 to 22). Reviewing my list regularly will help me to keep things top of mind and space the items out throughout the year. I don’t want to feel “behind the 8-ball” in the last few months of the year, but I will course-correct if I need to.
Now I’d love to hear from you:
- Have any of you created a “20 for 2020” list or something similar?
- Do you set New Year’s Resolutions or goals for yourself? Why or why not?
- What would you most like to accomplish this year?
Please feel free to either answer the questions above or chime in on anything you’d like to share. I’ll be back soon with a couple of wardrobe-related posts, reflecting on my wardrobe in 2019 and how I’d like to see my style shift during 2020.