I don’t know about you, but New Year’s resolutions kind of stress me out. Each year January rolls around, and I feel obligated to set goals for the new year. Illusions of grandeur fill my head as I consider aspirations notable enough to be considered resolutions.
Let’s see…In 2020, I’ll give up yelling at my kids, forgo eating carbs and stop binge watching Netflix shows. Instead, I’ll finally get into yoga, read five books a month, join the PTO, train for a marathon and only feed my family homemade, organic meals. Let’s be honest, as a mom sometimes just surviving the day feels like a resolution in and of itself.
At this phase in my life, I need smaller goals that energize me. When I heard about 20 for 2020 in Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast, I was instantly inspired. The premise is simple: Rather than setting a handful of ongoing resolutions, you create a list of 20 tasks that you want to accomplish throughout the year. Each item on your list should elevate your happiness and focus on making life a bit more fulfilling.
The beauty of the 2020 list is that it’s a mix of little goals, big aspirations, one-time to-dos and pursuits that never become a priority. The goal is to challenge yourself to try new activities, tackle nagging to-dos and be intentional with your time. Since the items on your list require varying degrees of effort, it’s easier to fit the goals into your busy mom life. Unlike New Year’s resolutions where success can’t be measured until the end of the year, this list gives you the feeling of accomplishment through the entire year.
Creating Your 20 for 2020
To keep yourself motivated and to avoid burnout, create a mix of goals with varying timelines and levels of effort. The majority of your items, about 12-15, should be tasks that you can complete in less than a week. Focus on both the “I really should” tasks and the “I’ve always wanted to” desires.
The next level of activities should take anywhere from two weeks to one month to accomplish. Pick 2-5 items that require a greater level of commitment like 30-day challenges, multi-week classes or bigger projects.
Lastly, you’ll want to choose 1-3 long-term initiatives, which last from two months to one year, that focus on habit change or personal development. You want your list to be sustainable, so be sure to limit yourself to 3 big goals at the very most.
So we know our framework, but what items should we put on our lists? Focus on what will make you and your family happier in 2020. What accomplishments will bring the most pride? What projects do you most want to complete? Can you tackle any bucket list items? Think beyond obligations and include some fun items on your list. There will never be another year exactly like this one, so make time to enjoy life and those you share it with.
Your 2020 goals can be tackled in any order, so don’t worry about perfectly arranging your list. Instead write down ideas as they come to you, knowing that you’ll have the flexibility to jump around the list throughout the year.
Ready to create your list? Here are a few 20 for 2020 ideas to get your wheels turning.
Start the year strong by tackling a couple of tasks that require minimal time but never seem to get done. Donate unused items sitting in the basement, unpack that final box from your last move, hang pictures, replace batteries, clean hard to reach places. Accomplishing easy to-dos early in the year will help build momentum to tackle the rest of your 2020 list.
Is there a hobby you’ve always wanted to try, or a favorite pastime that’s been pushed aside? Use your 2020 list to make it a priority. Join a running club or a softball league, learn how to paint, take music lessons, master a new cooking skill, take up ballroom, salsa or belly dancing. With countless clubs, community education courses and online classes, your options are limitless.
Break up the monotony of the everyday by exploring the hidden gems of the Twin Cities. Challenge your family to visit four new museums throughout the year, or discover a new park every month. Expand your palate by visiting new restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops. Get inspired by the Guide to the Twin Cities section of this site and get ready to discover new family favorites all around the metro.
Escape the everyday demands of mom life by exploring new places in 2020. Your travel goals can be as big as an out-of-state vacation or as small as a day trip. Organize a weekend getaway with girlfriends, take your kids to a favorite place from your childhood or plan a staycation to visit one of Minnesota’s amazing state parks.
We all have nagging tasks that we avoid. Tackle them as part of your 2020 list. Work with a lawyer to create a will, close old bank accounts, make that doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off, cancel an unused membership or subscription. Give yourself some relief and get these tasks off your mind once and for all.
Life with kids seems to be synonymous with piles of stuff everywhere. Get a bit more organized in 2020 by focusing on the spots that annoy you the most. Create a filing system for kid-related papers, organize the overflowing coat closet, clean out your kitchen cupboards, install shelving for your kids’ toys.
Make yourself a priority in 2020 by spending some time focused on you. Your self-care goals can range from trying a new workout class, to getting regular massages, to simply buying a pair of jeans you LOVE. Consider signing up for a retreat, creating a nook in the house just for you, or scheduling more “me” time.
Cherish those closest to you by intentionally planning quality time with them. Set monthly date nights with your kids, discover a new hobby with your significant other, coordinate quarterly dinners or happy hours with friends, regularly talk with your mom, or visit your favorite relatives outside of holiday celebrations. These interactions will fill you up and satisfy your soul.
If you’re feeling ambitious, make your entire 2020 list a deep dive into one central theme. Visit 20 different Twin Cities donut shops, restaurants, coffee shops, parks, music venues, or book stores. Cook 20 new recipes, network with 20 people, read 20 nonfiction books, watch 20 classic movies. Pick a theme that excites you and get ready for a year full of adventures and memories.
So tell me, what items will be on your 20 for 2020 list? Share your ideas in the comments below. It’s time to make 2020 a year to remember!