Tag Archives: New Year’s

2017 Bucket List Year in Review

2017 Year in Review.png

I’ve never really made New Year’s resolutions, but every year, I do make a list. It has the bucket list items I accomplished during the previous year (2017), and a subset of items to work on for the current year (2018), as a way of both reviewing and looking ahead.

In 2017, I went to Alaska on a cruise, completing two things on my bucket list (I’ll add links as I write the posts).

I also made a little progress on two long-term list items:

And… I did a few more things that were bucket-list worthy but not actually on my bucket list (added to the retrospective list), but for the first time since 2003 (when I started my list) I didn’t add any new items.

I’m kind of disappointed in myself, both in my progress and in how little I made new dreams. I feel like this has been a year where I didn’t really focus a lot on personal goals and I think I felt it. (It’s kind of like a closed-in, stuck feeling.)

Also, I didn’t really spend as much time on the blog as I wanted to, but I think these things were pretty cool (and after writing this list I now see why I didn’t have as much time to blog!):

Most popular post:
This year, the most popular post on the entire blog was “Writing letters to strangers” (in case you want to feel warm fuzzies: based on search terms, it seems a bunch of people suddenly wanted to know how to write encouraging letters to perfect strangers!)

Fewer, but higher quality posts:
Overall, I wanted to write fewer posts, but focus on making them more interesting and/or more useful. I’m particularly proud of the one about me facing my fear of spiders.

Couldn’t do it without help:
I’m so grateful for all the support! Some posts were possible with the help of groups like the Woodland Park Zoo (read: Tarantulas feel like puppies) and the Western Montana tourism board (read: I wrote off an entire area as “not for me” but I was wrong). Other posts, like the interviews and the 4 Steps to Accomplishing Your Goals series were made possible by people willing to share their stories with me (and you). And of course, a blog without readers is really just an online journal. So thank you for reading!

Writing in other places:
This year I had the opportunity to write or be featured in several blogs and online magazines, both for professional and bucket list/travel related writing. Here are some of my favorites:
Learning to Love the Lobster Roll in Boston – Lyf&Spice
What To Expect When Going To A Plant-Based Burger Joint – Seattle Greenlaker
7 Tips for the Best Stargazing – All Mom Does

Facebook group:
I enjoyed seeing the growth and camaraderie in The Goal List Community, a group of people who love travel and goal accomplishment. We had discussions, did the Intentional Life 5-Day Challenge, made a crazy round-the-world itinerary, and even had a virtual coffee date! I’m excited to see where we go in 2018 and beyond. Join us today!

The 2018 Bucket List Subset

In the past, I’ve chosen a subset list of 10 items for goals I want to give myself a little extra pressure to finish before the year’s over. But this year, I want to choose just two, not because those are the only two I’ll do this year, but because they seem doable given all the other (non-bucket list) things I’m planning on doing.

So, here’s the (very short!) subset bucket list for 2018:

  • Plan a plus one event
  • Complete a photo project

What’s on your bucket list this year? Let me know in the comments!

Join The Goal List Community, a free Facebook group for those who love bucket listing, travel, and goal achievement, and want to support and be supported in their goals and adventures. As mentioned, we do lots of cool things throughout the year!


2017 Bucket List Subset + 2016 Review


As part of my New Year tradition, I make a list of the list items I accomplished in the previous year, and I pick a subset of items to work on for the current year. This past year was especially fun because in one road trip I did 5 things on my list. I’m also happy that although it wasn’t an official list goal, I had a personal goal to post something at least once a week on this blog for the whole year – and I did!

In 2016, I accomplished these 8 things from my bucket list (I’ll add links as I write the posts):

  • Learn to surf
  • Live in a mansion (I stayed one night each in two separate mansions during the road trip, so not really “living there” but given the likelihood of it actually happening, I’m counting it)
  • Go on a road trip with friends
  • Go skydiving
  • Visit Hollywood
  • Have coffee with a stranger
  • Learn a magic trick
  • Make a Youtube video

This is still in progress:

  • Learn Japanese and visit Japan (started learning in preparation for Hokkaido trip, but actually went before I was functional in the language)

I also did many more things that were bucket-list worthy but not actually on my bucket list (added to the retrospective list).

And I added 5 new items to my bucket list this year (and one’s already done!):

  • Learn to fence/sword fight
  • Make a YouTube video – Accomplished! See link above
  • Learn to do the splits
  • Stay in an ice hotel
  • Complete a photo project

The 2017 Bucket List Subset

Every year I make a subset list of 10 items for goals I want to give myself a little extra pressure to finish before the year’s over. The purpose is to move me closer to the chosen goals, even if I don’t complete them that year. These aren’t the only goals I work on during the year, and they may not even be the most important goals to me. They also don’t include any goal I know for sure will happen this year (that’s almost like writing a to-do list with things you’ve already finished!)

So, here’s the subset list for 2017 (as with my full list, some are hidden until I complete them, and this is in no particular order):

  • Ride in a train (travel by train)
  • Act in at least one movie
  • (hidden)
  • (hidden)
  • Eat rabbit
  • Ride a motorcycle
  • (hidden)
  • (hidden)
  • Get a sponsor for at least one thing on my list (click here for general inquiries)
  • Learn to do the scorpion pose

What’s on your list this year?
If you have a list or bucket list blog of your own, please let me know in the comments!

If you’re excited about joining me on this journey, click here to join the Insiders list, where you’ll get summaries of blog posts, cool surprises and printables throughout the year, invites to insider-only online events, and chances to be featured in the blog.

5 Steps for effective life reviews


Many of us enjoy the excitement of setting a new goal or working on a new habit, but it’s a good idea to take time to review your current situation before rushing to create new goals. An effective review helps you realign your progress with your priorities, identify barriers, create solutions, and document success and lessons learned so you can be more effective in the future.

Although it’s common to review our lives at certain points, like at the end of a project, the end of a life phase (like graduation, job transition, etc), and around birthdays or New Year’s, I’d recommend also doing a review in the middle of a year or a project. This way, you can change anything you discover that’s preventing you from making progress, before too much time has passed.

Here are the steps and questions I’ve found work well for me when I do any review.

5 Steps for effective life reviews

Refresh yourself on goals and priorities

What do you want? What’s important to you?

Sometimes, no matter how much we want something, we get off track because it’s hard to stay focused on the goal. Having a regular habit of reviewing goals for a project or for the year is a good way to stay motivated and focused. Reviewing your priorities is just as important, because that will help you create better goals and give you a reminder of what to say “yes” and “no” to.

I review my bucket list a few times throughout the year, along with my goals for my business and personal life, so that I don’t lose track of the direction I want to go. Reviewing my priorities makes it easier to make decisions about how to spend my time, and who to spend it with. In a job situation, this helps me use my time to do the things that matter most to my business and the people I work for/with (because there’s always more work that can be done than there is time).

Status report

Where are you in relation to your goals?

You won’t know unless you periodically check in with yourself (and whoever else is involved). Once you remind yourself of what you want to accomplish, figure out how far away you are from those goals. If you’re really far away from the goal, or haven’t made any progress since your last review, you may also want to ask yourself if you actually want to pursue this goal, or if your priorities have changed (and then so should your goals).

When I see that I’m still on track to achieve a goal, for example: to post something every week on this blog for a year, it gives me more motivation to continue. When I notice that I’m far from a goal, for example: exercising the recommended 150 min per week, then I know there’s a problem.

Identify problems

What are the barriers keeping you from crossing that finish line?

It’s one thing to nebulously say there’s a problem, but it’s hard to do something about it if you never discover what’s causing it. Or, if you’re having success so far, but can see that there may be trouble on the horizon, take this opportunity to identify potential pitfalls so you can maintain your progress.

Continuing with the example of exercise, one of my barriers is my approach to it. I’ve been trying to get it done in 30-60 min chunks of time, because then I only have to do it a few times a week, but that means I have to block out larger chunks of time. While health is a priority, exercise hasn’t been (although I know it affects other areas of wellness). This means that every time something unexpectedly comes up in my schedule, and I don’t have 30 min to exercise anymore, I decide that it’s not going to happen.

Make changes

What’s the plan? What will you do to make progress despite challenges?

When you figure out what’s making progress difficult, you can start to come up with plans to work around those barriers and push through the challenges you experience. Identify specific actions you can do to change the situation or your reaction to it.

For me, this usually involves thinking about the situation in a new way. Sometimes I have to ask other people for help and advice (outside perspectives can give fresh eyes), and other times I just need to try a new strategy (or an old one that’s worked for me in the past). To do more regular exercise, I did a few things: layer exercise on activities I’m already doing (making it a part of my normal life, for example, a walk around a lake with a friend instead of talking at a coffee shop), and breaking it down to smaller, more realistic chunks of time (10 min twice a day is much easier for me to schedule than a 20 min session). Now I do one session as part of my morning routine and one in the afternoon as a break.

Track progress and lessons learned

Is what you’re doing working? Compared with the last review, did you make progress?

Seeing a string of successes, no matter how small, can be helpful for those times when it seems like there’s no forward movement. Also be sure to record the lessons you’re learning so that you don’t have to relearn them (because let’s be honest- lessons are mostly learned from uncomfortable situations, and who wants to repeat that?). Recording lessons learned can also be helpful for the times when you feel like you’re a total failure (it happens) because then you can see that it’s not wasted time–you’re learning from what you’re experiencing now so you’ll be one step closer to success on the next attempt.

I know that 10 min chunks are more realistic for me to schedule because I’ve done it successfully in the past and been able to maintain the habit for a long time (lesson learned, but why did I stop? I lost track of my goals. Another lesson learned). Now I’m restarting, and so far I’m a few days in (yes, only days – every accomplished goal has to start somewhere). I’m keeping track of every 10 min, because monitoring these small successes really works for me (yet another lesson learned from accomplishing goals like posting weekly to this blog, or writing 50,000 words on a story in a month, or any number of other goals). It also gives me a record of the process of accomplishing a big goal, which is more challenging to value while I’m experiencing it, but is always the part I learn the most from in retrospect.

So… do you do regular reviews? Leave a comment with your methods, and share something you’ve learned from your most recent review.

Or… Are you a person who never stops to do a review, because – why live in the past? Let me know that too, and share what you do instead to learn from your experience. If there’s enough people who comment on it, I’ll write a post about it.