As I sat on my family’s comfy couch in my fleece Christmas pajamas contemplating my life choices, more particularly my hangover from the previous night’s festivities, I got to thinking about bucket lists and resolutions. The end of the year causes us to review our lives over the past 365 days as well as reevaluate and recalibrate for the upcoming year.
New Year’s Eve is a day that inspires the masses to most commonly set unreachable goals that are overly optimistic, resulting in a day or month long high, until said resolution comes crashing back into reality. Looking at 2016, it could be said that it sucked. Everyone from John Oliver to Reddit agreed. If the internet deems it so then it must be true, right? If you got through 2016 unscathed, consider yourself amongst the few lucky ones.
What I am wondering now is how do we avoid a massive mess like 2016 in 2017? Do we set more realistic goals? Should we consider it a fluke and keep moving forward? Or do we need to take a hard look at our life choices?
The best place to start is by considering what you want and what you need, because nobody ever checked everything off their bucket list without setting some priorities. If you want to travel the world but need to get that promotion to be able to move forward in your career, you must consider what your priorities are. This is not only reserved for what matters to you or doesn’t, but what matters most and what you need now rather than later. Also contemplate if you can hit two birds with one stone (metaphorically of course). If you want to travel the world and your career path provides traveling positions, then you have a greater chance at being able to have the best of both worlds. *Cue Hannah Montana theme song.*
If you’re reviewing your 2016 bucket list and feeling disappointed that you weren’t able to scratch off everything on it, evaluate what the common themes are of the resolutions you weren’t able to achieve this year. Are you setting the bar too high for the period of time allotted? Are your goals mostly long term? Are they possible or reasonable? Were there factors that were out of your control that prevented you from completing those goals?
Making resolutions and creating bucket lists are great methods to assist you in achieving your dreams, but setting too many goals that are out of your reach can lead to disappointment and failure. Unlike 2016, we don’t need anymore failure, so let’s fill 2017 with goals that are achievable, possible and bring us closer to our life long dreams. This means creating stepping stones to achieving long term goals in addition to setting smaller goals to fill in the gaps.
Try mixing in goals which don’t require you to rely heavily on others in addition to ones that do. Setting goals that require others to participate just like you would have a higher possibility of complication than ones you can achieve without the assistance of others. By setting both types of goals, you can receive the satisfaction of doing something on your own while continuing to pursue goals with your friends, coworkers, family, etc.
This applies to setting resolutions of varying sizes, too. Rather than making a bucket list full of ten lofty and incredibly challenging goals, sprinkle in some smaller goals that will help to boost your confidence, keep you going and motivate you to achieve some of your larger milestones. This could be anything from finally buying that new coffee maker to working out three days a week. Setting a goal of becoming the CEO of your company is wonderful, but if you’re 25 and working an entry level position at your workplace, setting that as a goal for 2017 alone is not entirely reasonable. What do I know though? Maybe you’re the unicorn of your job field and will rise to über success in only a year. Only time will tell.
Whatever the items on your bucket list, don’t forget to have fun! We tend to be so goal oriented and achievement driven that sometimes we forget to set some personal goals. If fifteen of your bucket list items are work related, toss in five that are fun ones, like learning how to surf, going skydiving or traveling to a new city. Successful people create a manageable balance between work life and personal time, so after you get that big promotion for all of your hard work, scratch off another bucket list item, but this time make it a fun goal!
Go forth and create inspiring bucket lists that would put Oprah’s lists to shame! This year is almost over, so let’s dive right into 2017 and put 2016 in the past, right where it belongs.