As We Bring 2020 to a Close, Let’s Focus on Our 2021 Bucket List.

Ren D

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

I’ve read plenty of articles saying goodbye and good riddance to 2020. I understand the perspective. It was a crappy year. But instead of saying good riddance and summarizing all the crap we’ve had to endure this year, let’s switch our focus. What did we learn this year that we will take to 2021?

If the answer is nothing, we’ve wasted the year sleeping. 2020 was a wake-up call. A year where we were focused on health, safety, discrimination, and politics. It was a year where nothing felt fair.

While reflecting on this past year, I can’t help but feel awakened. I’ve learned to live simply. I’ve learned about systemic racism. I’ve become more self-aware. I’ve learned how to teach my children. Despite having experienced the loss of my grandmother and dog this year, I’ve gained a new perspective on life.

Going into 2021, it’s important we take lessons from this year to properly start the new year. For the past 5 years, I’ve started the year off with a healthy mindset by going on a hike on New Years Day. This year it doesn’t seem enough.

The past 9 months have shown me the value of experience. I’ve understood we need to challenge ourselves to grow. We need to feel accomplishment. It’s essential we create a 2021 bucket list. Creating this list will allow us to feel accomplishment every time we cross something off the list. It will allow us to achieve goals we set out for ourselves. And it will allow us to re-focus on energy in a positive way.

New Year resolutions usually aren’t measurable. You’ll “eat healthier” or “exercise more” but it’s rare people create resolutions to achieve something measurable.

I have a bucket list in the true sense, things I want to accomplish before death. But being that 2020 has shown me that time isn’t guaranteed, I want to create a list of items I can accomplish in 2021.

Since these types of lists are personal and should be catered to your overall goals and interests, here are 5 ideas to help you create your 2021 bucket list.

1. Books you want to read.

I’m in the process of reading two books, “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan Peterson and “Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty. I’m reading one and listening to the other on Audible. There are a dozen other books I’ve purchased that I’ve never read. I’ve started and haven’t finished.

In 2021, I want to read/listen to at least 5 of these books. Whether you’re a self-help junkie or a mystery lover, there are books you want to read that you haven’t. Maybe you have a newborn child and don’t know when you’ll get the time, or the energy, to read. Enter audiobook. I wish I had discovered this sooner. There are so many things I could have done while listening to an audiobook. I am slowly learning. I make sure I have something playing while doing and folding laundry. We can all afford to make our everyday mundane tasks more interesting.

2. Things you want to learn.

For years, I’ve wanted to home brew. This year I was gifted a beer kit. I literally have everything I need to start this hobby and yet I haven’t done it. 2021 will be the year I make my first batch of beer. I’m excited to add this to my list.

We all have things we want to learn. Things we’ve said we could do if only we have the time. We have time. Covid still plagues us. Take the time to learn in 2021. Taking the time to learn something new will add value to your life. Just the act of knowing something you didn’t know previously fills you with a sense of knowledge and accomplishment.

3. People you want to see.

As more and more people get vaccinated, your social circle will open. There’s likely people on your list you want to spend time with. Maybe this person was a friend years ago, but one you haven’t connected with recently. Make a conscious effort to do this in 2021. If there’s anything 2020 has shown us, it’s that time is not guaranteed. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We need to make the most of today.

4. Places you want to go.

People are vaccinated. Airports are packed. People travel everywhere. This is what I think will happen in the second half of 2021. For those that travel multiple times a year and haven’t gone anywhere this year, they are likely itching to travel. For those that finally decided to travel this year only to have their trip cancelled, they’ll be running to the airport in 2021.

Make a list of places you want to go, whether they are within driving distance, or international. Within that list of places, write down sights you want to see.

2021 is a relatively big year for me. I turn 40 this year. Hawaii is on my bucket list. I’m not sure of ttravel restrictions so my plan is to have Hawaii and a backup location on my list. This way I will accomplish one of these experiences this year.

5. Things you want to accomplish.

This one is purposely vague because it is different for everyone. I have started DIY projects over the last month. I want to re-do my laundry room, paint the tile on floor of an old bathroom, and re-do my bedroom. There are many projects I want to accomplish but I feel a lack of focus. In 2021, I will list out what I think is achievable for the year. By accomplishing these things, I’ll feel good about my progress. Each one of the DIY projects I’ve completed this past month has taught me something.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”. – Epictetus

Let’s change our course for 2021. We’ll take learnings from 2020 and create a bucket list for 2021 that will allow us to be the best version of ourselves. We won’t leave 2021 to chance. We’ll have a plan and execute it. There may be things that come up, there may be things that stop us from completing our lists but we’ll get through them. If we managed to get through this year, we can do anything.

What’s on your 2021 bucket list?


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On a journey to find fulfillment. I write about personal growth and development, love, minimalism and life lessons.


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