I bet you’ve already been thinking about a big goal this year. Another big goal that you’ll completely forget about by March. Big goals are hard.
Small goals aren’t that hard. They are achievable. They can go on a list and can be crossed off once completed. And you know how good it feels to cross something off your list! And since you’re looking at a list and checking off goals every month and feeling accomplished, you’re going to stick with it way past March.
So this year, I’m asking you, begging you, do not make your resolution a big goal. This year come up with 10-15 achievable, reasonable goals that make your life better. Your small goals should be a mix of short term and yearlong, reoccurring activities. Remember, you want to cross goals off your list throughout the year.
Pick and Choose
Need inspiration for your mini resolutions? Pick a handful of the 70 small goals below to improve yourself this upcoming year.
Be more well-rounded, a better person, or more interesting
- Remember the barista’s name. The barista remembers yours. Why not return the favor?
- Have dinner with a homeless person. It is good to be reminded of what really matters in your life, and the life of your guest.
- Take skydiving lessons.
- Join a language group to learn a new language and celebrate a different culture.
- Make a promise to listen twice as much as you speak.
- Volunteer your time for a cause. Whether a social justice cause or a political cause, interesting people are passionate people.
- Join a protest group.
- Invent something. Go to creative events like Maker Faire to be inspired to create your own invention.
- Travel to a unique location. Don’t hit the hot spots this year, go to the little-known places and dive into the culture.
- Throw a party for every holiday on the calendar.
- Adopt an animal from a shelter. When you adopt, you save two lives — you brought a pet home and you opened up room for another pet to be in the shelter.
- Join a philosophy group.
- Write a thank you note to at least five people who have influenced your life.
- Read news stories from international media sources for three months. You’ll be surprised just how different the viewpoints can be.
- Try something you’re afraid to do because you think it’s too hard or too strange.
Hone your art talents
- Take one photo every day for a year. Need inspiration? Check out Project Life 365 or join a 365 group on Flickr.
- Paint portraits of your friends. They’ll be flattered that they’re your main subject.
- Learn how to sew and build your first quilt by the end of the year.
- Take music lessons or volunteer to teach lessons.
- Host a gallery in your own space. Hang up your artwork and create a temporary gallery in your home or apartment. Invite people over for dinner or drinks and discussion about your work.
- Take photos or make drawings of things that are meaningful to your friends and send it to them as a postcard. You’re sending them mail and artwork. How perfect!
- Design 3 tattoos that you would considered getting inked. Bonus goal: get one of them inked on you or a friend.
- Become a DJ. Be a connoisseur of music and melange and offer to work at parties, weddings, tango events, or whatever event suits your music niche.
- Learn to knit or crochet and by the end of the year donate 30 hats and scarves to a shelter.
- Make a music video.
- Scout out new neighborhoods and create a virtual tour through your photos.
- Join a photography group to meet pros and learn new skills.
- Learn Photoshop. (Or if you don’t have the money, teach yourself in similar, free services such as Pixlr.)
- Complete at least one Pinterest DYI or craft per month.
- Yarn bomb a historical landmark.
Become a better writer and reader
- Read 12 books and write reviews for each.
- Become an expert on your favorite author. Read all her books, biographies, and the commentaries.
- Pick up a travel writing book and write about your neighborhood or city using the techniques in the book.
- Take a journalism course online or at a local college. Nothing like writing on a deadline to get you going.
- Write a short story or novel and have two people edit and review it.
- Research how to get your book published and take the first two steps to get it on the shelves.
- Join a book club to gain new insights into literature and culture. You can find book clubs at your local book stores and libraries.
- Set a word per month goal and meet it. (NaNoWriMo for every month!)
- Brush up on your copy writing and editing skills by offering to edit, fact check, or peer review your friends’ works.
- Get into a blogging schedule. If you need help, check out Brainzooming’s blog.
- Read magazines. Grab them from the library or get a subscription so you can read writing in different styles and brush up on interview techniques.
- Buy a durable pen and a journal and write in it at least two times per week. Keep this up all year long and the words will flow from your mind to the paper.
- Contact local publications and offer your skills. Volunteer or work part time writing or editing pieces.
- Listen to, or read works from, great storytellers such as Garrison Keillor or Stephen King.
Get fit physically, mentally, and emotionally
- Work out three times a week for six weeks in a row.
- Join a class or a fitness group.
- Participate in at least 3 fun athletic events or activities this year. It could be a marathon, a 5K, a series of games for your Ultimate Frisbee team, or a day long hike at your favorite park.
- Add one healthy item in your diet every month. For example, in October you might want to add zucchini to your diet. You could substitute zucchini in baked goods, pasta, or as french fries.
- Gain weight this year from muscle mass! Set a goal to show off your Michelle Obama arms or your six-pack.
- Beat George Takei in a 100 push up challenge. [Watch him not even break a sweat doing 100 push ups on Conan.]
- Run your first 5K/marathon/Ironman. Do whatever is a challenge for you.
- Work out four times a week for 12 consecutive weeks.
- Walk outdoors as often as you can.
- Don’t skip the doctor or dentist this year. You should see your primary care physician at least once a year, and your dentist twice a year. Don’t let anything build up into a cavity or have a health issue erupt into a big deal. Sort it out and get happy and healthy.
- Take up strength training this year. Strength training gives your body a pleasing toned look and it also strengthens your bones, improves your posture, and helps you stay looking young.
- Try one new healthy recipe a week for three months. (My favorite cook book is Healthy in a Hurry.)
- Blog about your health goal progress. Your writing skills will improve, you’re more likely to keep up the hard work, and you’ll have an audience cheering you on!
- Make a list of 20 things that can lighten your mood when you’re down and out. Whenever you hit a low point, look at this list and start doing some of your favorite things to brighten your day.
- Slow down. Incorporate meditation, mindfulness, or prayer into your life twice a week.
- Make a list of 10 healthy activities that reduce your stress. Keep the list handy and refer to it before you pull your hair out.
- Change jobs. If your job causes you to have anxiety and stress and you can change jobs, then do it!
Control the money
- Read a personal finance book and set three finance goals.
- Pick one thing every month you can go without to lower your costs. For example, in July you might give up getting expensive coffee to go. In August you can go back to your favorite brews, but you’re now taking a break from something else, like buying video games, going out to eat for lunch, or hitting the movies.
- Increase the amount you give to charity. Once you give it away, you’ll be surprised how much you really didn’t need it — and you’ll be happy that you’re supporting a good cause.
- Refinance a loan. Make sure you have the lowest interest rate you can get.
- Make sure you’re still getting the best deals on insurances. If you have something extra on it that you never use, consider removing it to save you money.
- Make a spending budget for every month. A budget is what you will save. A spending budget is deciding what you will spend money on, and when. Is your brother’s birthday next month? Then in next month’s budget write down the high-end of what you might spend on the gift. Do this for every category possible: groceries, entertainment, bills, shopping, etc.
- Don’t buy a single book. Go out and get a library card. Libraries have ebooks, paperbacks, hardcovers, audiobooks, movies, and some even have video games! Wait, why were we buying books?
- Figure out what good quality of living is for you and remove the excess. If it improves your life, keep it. If you could live without it, then live without it. For example, if you have friends over to watch games on cable, then keep the cable — it’s a community building tool. If you just kind of have it but don’t really use it, cancel your service. Apply this philosophy throughout all aspects of your life.
- Downsize. Get rid of anything you rarely used last year (but you should probably keep that fire extinguisher just in case). Wow, look at all that space! Now do you really need a bigger place? Or could move into a more conservative space and save money?
What 10-15 goals did you choose? What goals did you create that aren’t on the list? Let me know in the comments below.