As hour gives way to hour and day gives way to day, it’s easy for time to slip through your fingertips. If you’re like most, you’ll arrive seemingly all-too-quickly at your next birthday. On this day you’ll find yourself a year more exhausted, in possession of, perhaps, a few new wrinkles, but largely unchanged.
Instead of allowing your life to slip by in this fashion, dedicate yourself to exploring, living and experiencing the world around you. To really make this happen, you need to have a quantifiable goal. Set your goal today, promising yourself to complete the 24 items on this list – that’s only two things a month; seriously, you can do that. With commitment, you may find yourself refreshed, recharged and reinvigorated the next time your birthday rolls around.
1. Re-read A Favorite Book
Remember that book you loved in 4th grade? The one where the girl died and you cried your eyes out? Experience that again. Pick up your dog-eared copy – or get a fresh one from the book store – and dive back in to that magical world.
2. Visit A New State Or Country
Taking that annual trip to the nearest beach is certainly relaxing, but it’s hardly expanding your horizons. This year, plan a trip somewhere new. Go to a new state or – if your wallet is deep enough – a new country.
3. Call An Old Friend Or Family Member
Although it might be hard to believe, in this day of social media saturation, you can lose track of people as you move through life. This year, renew one of these relationships. Look through an old yearbook or photo album and pick a person with whom you’ve lost touch to reach out to.
4. Take A Class
You can, actually, teach an old dog new tricks. Pick something you’ve always wanted to do, be it painting or yoga, and take a class in it. Try to commit yourself to attending at least a few classes to ensure you pick up some lasting skills.
5. Give Up Something
Self-improvement isn’t always about doing something new. It can also be about ceasing destructive behaviors. Whether your vice of choice is that daily Mountain Dew or, more damaging, smoking, make this the year you get that monkey off your back.
6. Try A New Food
Have you ever tried an ugli fruit? How about squid ink? Select something you’ve never tried and add it to your menu. You might just discover a new favorite.
7. Get Your Picture Taken
You’ve likely got loads of selfies, but how many real, quality photos of yourself do you actually have? Visit a photographer and get some portraits taken. Remember, you’ll only look this young for a while. How about you capture it?
You’re busy; that’s understandable. But the pride you will feel after volunteering makes doing so well worth it.
9. Keep A Journal
You’d be surprised what you forget. Try to document more of your life by keeping a journal. Set a goal to write in it every day or every other.
The stars are up there – every night – and they are free to look at. Pick a clear night and give them a gander.
11. Display A Skill
What are you good at but afraid to share? Maybe you’re a secret shower singer, or perhaps you’ve always wanted to write. Whatever it is, this is the year to do it, and where other people can see you. Head to a karaoke night and belt it out, or send a short story to be published.
12. Take A Hike
Even if you’re not outdoorsy, spending some time in the woods can be highly therapeutic.
13. Have A Movie Marathon
After your hike, relax your muscles and watch a never-ending stream of movies.
14. Write To A Famous Person, Alive Or Dead
Pick someone you’ve always admired and pen a letter to him or her. Mail it to the person you have chosen if you can. It doesn’t matter if the person is alive or dead, just so long as you speak your heart. You do, however, have a substantially better chance of getting a response if you pick someone who is still alive, obviously.
15. Throw A Party
Play hostess. When you organize it, forget the stress and focus on the fun.
16. Visit A Museum
Take time to really see the world. Select a museum to visit and make a day of it.
17. See A Play
You remember plays? They’re like TV but without the box? Go see one. If you really want to get fancy with it, select one in which a celebrity you have always admired is starring.
18. Learn A Language
Okay, this isn’t one that you can do in a weekend, but it will be SO worth it. Select a language – not the one you studied in high school, cheater – and start to learn it. Take a class or use a self-guided program. Set a goal to at least pick up some useful phrases, as quick fluency is obviously unrealistic.
19. Make Something
Whether it’s a delicious casserole or an impressive art installation, making something – anything – can be highly rewarding. Pick something you’ve always wanted to make but never actually have and do it. Finding inspiration for this one shouldn’t be difficult. Just explore the 4,000 things you’ve pinned on Pinterest.
20. Read A Newspaper
While some die-hard paper aficionados may still dirty their fingers with newsprint daily, this is becoming increasingly rare. If you haven’t read a paper in a decade, pick one up and explore it. It’s a lot like reading the internet, but, instead of scrolling, you turn the page.
21. Say Hi To A Stranger
If you find yourself in a dark alley with a stranger, don’t say hi – run. Otherwise, reaching out to someone you don’t know, while scary, presents no real risk. Select a stranger and exchange pleasantries.
22. Buy Something You’ve Always Wanted
Open up your wallet. Seriously. Especially if you are generally quite frugal, you owe yourself a splurge. Select something that you’ve always had your eye on and actually purchase it. Owning it will be much more fun than visiting it at the store again and again.
23. Apply For A Different Job
Unless you’ve already landed in your dream job, you probably have aspirations to advance. Instead of satisfying yourself with the status quo, at least apply for a position you would love to have – even if you are certain you won’t get it. Don’t go crazy or anything; keep your current job in the process.
24. Make A Time Capsule
Capture this fleeting moment in time. Fill a metal box or canister with mementos of this year. Select a location that you believe you will be able to access in a decade or so and bury it. Make a note to dig it up in the future, when the experiences of today have faded into just distant memories.