Friday, December 30, 2011

35 Things 2012: Tips

So I've had quite a few people tell me that they want to implement the idea of having a "35 Things To Do" list instead of New Year's Resolutions.

First of all, awesome! I'm fully convinced that this is the way to do it. This is a list that I've been working on all year long. I don't think I've ever worked at something for a whole year before. It feels goooood.

Second, I wanted to leave some tips and ideas to those of you who want to create your own list. So here are some tips that I just came up with in about a minute. Which means that if you don't like them, I'll only have a minute's worth of heartbreak. I can handle that.

1. Don't forget the little things.

"Little" things count. In fact, they're awesome. Has the porch light bulb been burned out for months? Put changing it on your list. Do you have a whole bag of clothes sitting in the garage waiting to be donated? That is a "thing to do." Don't think, "Well, that light bulb is going to get changed whether it's on the list or not, so I won't put it on there." Um, if it's been waiting to be done for weeks/months/whatever, you need a kick in the pants. If a "little" project comes to mind, put 'er down.

2. Limit recurring things

Don't get me wrong - some of my favorite things from this year's list have been things that I do every month (e.g. bake a new cookie every month). BUT one of the best parts about making this list is being able to cross things off of it, of course. And if you're limited to the number of things you can cross off because they are things you have to do every month, it could get a little sticky. At least, it would for me. If you want to make it a "list of things to do every month," more power to you. Also, RESIST the "every day" urge. In my experience, saying you're going to do something "every day" (unless you're already VERY close to doing it every day) is recipe for discouraging disaster.

3. Things to do, not things to be.

To me, this is THE big difference between having a list of things to do and making "resolutions." My resolutions always ended up being things like "Get better at x" or "Be a better y." Worthy goals, to be sure...but not SMART goals. What are SMART goals, you ask? Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-bound. If you commit to be better at keeping your house clean, for example...well, what does that mean? Does that mean your home is spotless all the time? 4 out of 7 days of the week? And what is "clean," anyway? Is it mopped floors and sparkling bathroom mirrors? Or is stuff picked up off the floors good enough? How are you going to realize that you've become "better" at this?

If, on the other hand, you say that you're going to mop your floors at least twice a month, organize "that" hallway closet, and clean your ceiling fan blades for the first time since you moved in two and a half years ago, well, you've been "better" at cleaning your house.

So, in essence, you're becoming what you want to BE by DOING related things.

It makes perfect sense in my head.

So, if it makes perfect sense in your head, too, then I guess maybe you should start making your 35 Things for 2012 list. I know I'mma start mine.

***Side note: Correct spelling of "I'mma?" Anyone? Is the way I wrote it the English major's way? Should it just be imma?

I'mma/imma/i'mma/i'm-ma stop now. Side note over.***

Also, I have a list of possible ideas for your 35 things list. Anyone want it?


  1. I love the idea of a "things to do" list, and I'm totally doing that this year. But why 35? Is that just a random number you picked?

  2. I would love to make a 35 things list for 2012, but with a baby coming in mere weeks I feel like my whole list would be 'survive your first year of motherhood'....any suggestions for the soon-to-be mommy??

  3. Lisa - I got the idea from someone doing a 101 things to do in 1001 days, but I only wanted to do one year, which is almost 1/3 of the amount of time, so I figured I should do almost 1/3 of the number of things. Does that make sense? I think, mathematically, it comes out closer to 36 things, but 35 just sounded better. You can do as many as you want, of course - even if it's only 1 thing a month.

    Ashley - There's a lot you can do with a new baby! And I'm sure you'll be a super-mom anyway so you won't have a problem. But I would say this: resist the urge to make everything baby-related. Do things that you want to do, along with the things you feel like you "should" do.

  4. I cannot wait to start on my list. Well, I kinda already have, but I've never been this excited for the new year before!

  5. Me too. I want your ideas and liked your suggestions. I started making a list last month and am excited. I have cleaned my fan blades twice but neglected other things... :P


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