Do you have a “bucket list?” You know, things you absolutely want to do at least once in your lifetime. Your list might include things like “Backpack Europe” or “Go Skydiving” or even “Write the Great American Novel.” Most items on our bucket list take a little planning and a lot of time to accomplish. And hopefully, in time, you will eventually be able to cross each item off your list.
Of course, most of us also come up with a list of New Year’s resolutions. These are things we hope to accomplish in the next 12 months. There’s the usual self-improvement goals (lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more) and those where we resolve to enjoy life more (take an exotic vacation, learn to ballroom dance, spend more time with family and friends.) And we usually start off strong, but unfortunately somewhere around February, our good intentions get lost.
With the New Year fast approaching, we thought it would be fun to make a “bucket list” of resolutions that are achievable and useful (and may even make a frame-able moment!) We’re suggesting 10 things you can easily accomplish before the new year is over and be better prepared to ring in the new year!
10. Deep Clean Your Home
You might have been putting this task off, but now, more than ever is the perfect time to tackle some of those dirty jobs. This isn’t the weekly dusting and vacuuming kind of cleaning. This is the roll up your sleeves and use some serious elbow grease cleaning! Just because you can’t see the top of your ceiling fan doesn’t mean it hasn’t accumulated a lot of dust over the years. Rent a professional steam cleaner and give your rugs and furniture the deep cleanse they deserve. Go through your kitchen cabinets. You will be amazed at how many expired items you’ll find in the back.
9. Donate Unused Items
Obviously those expired food products go in the trash, but as you’re deep cleaning take the opportunity to declutter and get rid of unused items. Then donate them to national or local charitable organizations. You can be sure that your gently used clothing, duplicate pots and pans, and books already read will be used and appreciated in a new home while helping others who may be in need.
8. Practice Self-Care
Yes, this year has flown by, but you packed a lot into it too. Now may not be the ideal time to take a relaxing vacation, but you can still make a little time to treat yourself to something that will make you feel rejuvenated. Maybe you’d enjoy a professional massage, a new hairstyle, or even some retail therapy. For something a little more exotic, maybe try a salt cave. They are said to improve breathing, promote healthier skin, and lead to better sleep. A little R & R won’t take much of your time or money and after a busy year, you certainly deserve it!
7. Read A Book
Maybe you need a little less screen time and want to either be entertained or learn something new. Borrow a book from the library (or a friend) and you’ve found the perfect way to unwind. Sit by the fire or just snuggle up in a cozy chair and spend some time by yourself. If you have a favorite author, pick up their new novel. Or check out the classic that somehow you never read. Reread a favorite! Turn off the electronics (unless you read on a Kindle!) and enjoy the simple pleasure of reading.
6. Call An Old Friend
Yes, the years seem to go by faster and faster. Our lives are busy, and even though we have good intentions, we never did connect up with old friends as we promised. So pick up the phone and make plans for lunch or dinner. If they are far away, just pick up the phone to chat. Reconnecting with old friends is a great way to catch up, get some perspective, and share some laughs.
5. Take A Long Walk
Another zero-cost way to boost your spirit….go for a walk! Whether it’s by yourself at a brisk pace or a leisurely stroll with a friend, getting out of the house and getting some fresh air is a great way to clear your mind, reflect on the past year, or make plans for the new one. If you prefer, download a podcast or music to listen to while you walk. Whether you go it alone or bring a friend, whatever pace you go, taking a walk has both physical and mental health benefits.
4. Watch The Sunrise
This may require getting up a little earlier than you normally do, but it will be well worth the minimal loss of sleep. The benefits of UV rays produced by the sun are well known, but watching a sunrise brings about additional rewards. Yoga principles call the hours between 3:30-6:00 a.m. the “ambrosial hours” which promotes the strengthening of the mind, body, and spirit. Why not give it a try? If you don’t quite get an energy boost, at the very least you will have a peaceful, glorious way to start your day.
3. Learn Something New
You may have learning a new language on your Bucket List or as a New Year’s Resolution, but you don’t have to go quite so big to check learning something new off this list. How about learning a new word each day for the rest of the year? The skydiving lessons can wait, but maybe you never learned how to ride a bike. That’s doable in the next few weeks. They say you’re never too old to learn something new, so get learning!
2. Buy Yourself Flowers
Flowers are often our go-to gift when we want to cheer someone up, express congratulations, or show appreciation. Why not buy yourself some? It doesn’t have to be an expensive arrangement. A few flowers from the local supermarket can do wonders for your frame of mind. You’ve had many accomplishments this year, both big and small, so congratulate yourself with a fresh bouquet.
1. Take A Mini-Vacation
That extravagant vacation out of the country will have to wait, but there is still time to take a long weekend before the hustle and bustle of a new year. You don’t want to spend a lot of time actually traveling if you only have two or three days, so try to visit a neighboring state or even an area of your own state that you haven’t explored before. A mini-vacation is a wonderful way to end your year on a positive note and gear up for the next one.
Well, that’s our countdown to the new year! We hope our list of things to do before starting the new year has inspired you to do something productive, new and/or fun.
And, since we are big fans of framing cherished memories around these parts, don’t forget to take a picture during your visit with your friend, the sunrise you watched, and your mini-vacation moments. We’d love to help you frame them so you can continue to enjoy the memories for years to come.