Why you should create your 20 for 2020

“Trying new things and breaking out of your routine is a great way to improve your satisfaction with life.”

– Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps

One year ago, I made a list of things I could do to bring more joy and greater satisfaction to my life. You can find my 19 for 2019 here. I hope this year in review will inspire you to plan for 2020.

My list was ordered so that one-time items were at then top and recurring activities were at the bottom. By then end of 2019, I completed 11 items on my list. It was fun to cross off one-time items like a new professional bag, taking a class with my daughter and vacationing in a new city.

It was surprisingly effortless to meet with friends and go to a new restaurant every month. So was the quarterly goal of visiting a museum or attending a live theater performance. Apparently I do a lot of these activities more often than I thought.

Likewise the quarterly goal of “reading one book for pleasure and one for professional development.” This year I listened to 10 Audible books (half were non-fiction/professional development), read 6 paperbacks and listened to a few dozen book summaries on the Blinkist app.

In addition, I read one young adult novel aloud with my 12-year old daughter and we listened to 10 audiobooks together in the car. This has been a great way to pass the time together and spark conversations. As much as I enjoyed reading as a child, I hadn’t considered myself an avid reader as an adult. It turns out, one of the greatest happiness boosters this year was dedicating at least 15 minutes to pleasure reading each night. It’s amazing how much more consistent I am with an early bedtime when I have a captivating book to look forward to.

However, some items were just not in the cards. The timing didn’t work out for a family meditation retreat in California, although we did start going to our local meditation group more consistently.

A knee injury kept me from training for an indoor triathlon (or running at all) and I had to “retire” from martial arts. But I did meet my goals of weekly yoga and biking to the office in warmer weather.

As a substitute for the activities I gave up, I joined a water aerobics class. I enjoy the benefits of low impact cardio and interacting with my classmates. Since the class is at 6:30 am, these days I’m up a little earlier, complete my exercise and can be even more productive and positive throughout the day.

I fell short on reconciling my finances weekly but did change to a more user-friendly accounting system. The goal of filing paperwork more consistently was also not met. I’ve decided not even bother adding this back to my 20 for 2020.

I learned that I underestimated how much I was already doing activities that make me happy. The novelty of pushing myself to go to visit new places added another layer of satisfaction.

For 2020, almost half of my list will carry over either because I didn’t complete the items or I enjoyed them so much I want to ensure I complete them again. Maybe this year I will clear the happiness stumbling block of decluttering my basement or the fun goal of taking a girls trip. Or perhaps add the arduous challenge of giving my website a makeover? Maybe this last one should go on my Annual Review which takes a deeper dive into business planning.

What are a few items you plan to add to your 20 for 2020? This year I’ve decided to share my list with the Creating Time group and I invite you to join the conversation!

Thanks to @GretchenRubin for this activity to help our year become “happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative.” You can listen to her podcast episodes #250 and #255 on the subject.

Photo credit: Matthew Sleeper on Unsplash




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