If you’re anything like me, your New Year’s Resolutions list looks something like a superficial list of goals supposedly leading to a healthier, financially-smarter, more disciplined and forward-thinking version of your current self. Year to year most New Year’s Resolutions revolve around eating better, exercising more, putting your career first, sticking to a budget, and some sort of goal about how to spend your spare time more effectively. Some extremely goal-oriented people knock off a few of their resolutions seamlessly while others may begin one and never quite stick to their other goals throughout the year. Health and fitness businesses profit in the first few months of the New Year until, naturally, things wind down and people revert back to their “old ways”. We live in a caffeine-driven, pack-everything-into-24-hours type of world, so obstacles can make it challenging to build resolutions into daily routines.
So, why set yourself up for failure? Instead of thinking up resolutions that create an ideally “better” version of you, why not try and think out of the box for 2016? My proposal is to stick to a non-resolutions bucket list of spontaneous and adventurous ideas. You can be you by being realistic. Make sure your goals are within reach. Instead of trying to eat more vegetables, why not sign up for a cooking class in the city and learn to cook like a pro at home? Or instead of going to the gym everyday, why not utilize Airbnb for a weekend with your pals and go for a hike or ski? A list of exhilarating trips and places to enjoy yourself in 2016 is much more fitting to learn your limits and live on the edge versus vicariously living through gurus on Instagram.
If this idea panics you because you don’t have the time or the money – stop worrying! Being spontaneous is an art, and a choice. Finding the “boring” in your routine is vital to un-masking your spontaneity! Early mornings, evenings from 7pm-2am, and weekends are KEY to re-utilize with less boring activities! I’ve thought ahead this year (weird, I know!) and devised a 2016-bucket list that takes into consideration these very factors that make it challenging to live freely and in the moment. So have some fun and take what you need from this list to build your own! We’re done making false promises to ourselves. We work hard day in and day out, so why not treat ourselves with a few out of the ordinary adventures?
- Call up an old friend and grab a drink- It can be quite pleasant to call up estranged ex-nanny Mildred to catch up over Manhattans (god bless hardy drinks for chilling experiences). Relationships lead to connections and connections lead to opportunities-maybe Aunt Mildred is CEO of a robotic companion company and needs someone to trial the life-like robotic pups. Do yourself and the former acquaintance a favor and give them a ring. Go grab a drink you’ve never tried alongside a meal you’ve dreamed of having at some new bar in a part of town you’ve never been.
- Drop work and go for a walk-If you need a breather or take lunch at the same time every day at the usual café down the street, bring lunch to work and go for walk. Creativity lives in the paths un-taken and in the quiet moments when you give yourself the mental and physical space to just breathe. Let your mind wander, leave your phone behind, and just enjoy the outdoors. Take what you need to carry on with you day. You’ll be surprised how much better it feels to bang out the next couple grueling hours at work.
- Pick up a hobby-Considering the amount of times I’ve wanted to start taking paint lessons, I should really take my own advice here! The sudden urge to try something new is quickly set aside when we prioritize our daily routines. Make it happen and try something totally absurd. New challenges can be refreshing and a great way to meet interesting people. Get inspired and join a co-ed sports team or go on YouTube and pick a how-to video among the millions of ’em. Make your time alone exciting and pick up a hobby that brings you that much closer to your biggest, most wild dreams.
- Go to a comedy show-My goodness there are so many funny people out there. Wine and wine at a stand-up comedy show! Sometimes the most hysterical performances are by chance the unknown, absurdly cheap Boston comedy shows I decide to drag my roommates to. Listening to jokes and allow yourself to laugh is healthy and can leave you feeling much more at ease.
- Dance!-Dancing is a great release and can be as spontaneous as you want it to be. Jam out in the car with a pal or be constructive and serious about it and pick up salsa dancing. Drop in on karaoke night and sing your heart out in front of a bunch of strangers. Be brave and be bold on the floor.
- Drive-I always fly passed the exit to Maine on the trek to see my aunts and uncles. The amount of times I wish I just drove without intention to Maine to see a lake or go on a forest walk are countless. I say ask a buddy to go for a drive on impulse and cruise to a place you’ve never been. Grab a beer or bring your camera. The trips unplanned are often the ones that are most memorable.
- Be friendly-Say hello to a stranger or start a conversation with someone in passing. Assume everyone is well meaning and the camaraderie is reciprocated. Talking to someone older has always been a great way to feel at ease in a city. Look up from your phone on the subway and ask someone about their college baseball hat or what book they’re reading (tough in Boston, I know). Stories from strangers can broaden your horizons and inspire you to make a story become a reality in your own life!
- Treat yourself-Indulgence is a great reward. Don’t hold back. If you want that egg and cheese sandwich from your favorite French bakery or you’re just aching to purchase those state of the art roller blades at the Garment District, just do it. Don’t think, act. It would be unrealistic to cut out desserts from your life. No one can judge you for putting your happiness first- so commit 100 percent to the things that make you smile.
- WINE- If you’re in the middle of a texting conversation with a friend who seems utterly heartbroken or feeling low, pick a time when you know they’re home and show up on their doorstep with wine. I prefer a delicious bottle of French Bordeaux. If it is an all-time crisis you should definitely opt to bring a block of cheese and crackers, as well. Not only will you make someone’s day but also it is an EXCUSE to sit back and have a glass of wine. Health benefits included!
- Say YES– Commit to your decision. The truth of the matter is that yes, when you make a decision, you also lose out on the options you didn’t choose. This is surprisingly progress! Instead of going 50-50 on every opportunity you take, go all in and recognize the learning opportunities that come with sticking something out. If you love it or if you hate it, you learned something, so don’t sweat it!
Being adventurous and fun is not achieved through binges. Spontaneity is achieved through small spurts of ultimate risk-taking in the exact moments when you feel you shouldn’t commit to a random decision. I’m only 24 years old, but I can say with confidence that no one on this earth who committed to his or her life plan succeeded with perfection. Life is about the decisions we make, not the options we didn’t choose. There is no better time than the present to do something crazy. Make 2016 memorable and be naughty!