The start of a New Year has many of us setting goals and New Years’ resolutions that we may or may not keep. I’m not a good goal setter, and I’m even worse at sticking to my New Years’ resolutions. But last year I changed things up, and instead of a set of specific goals, I made a bucket list of things I wanted to do in 2019. Some of them were fun and others were your more common goals but I found framing it as a bucket list so much more motivating. I didn’t check off everything on last year’s list, but I went back to it numerous times throughout to year to track progress and make plans.

Since it was a success, I’m doing it again this year. Instead of 20 BEFORE 2020, it’s 20 FOR 2020 bucket list. I know, super creative. I put a lot of thought into that one.

1. One Social Media Free Day Per Week

I am on my phone too much; it’s a problem. Social media is addictive, and it never ends. Not being in the know is stressful for me so I’m constantly checking for new notifications and scrolling the feed to see what’s new in the world. It’s not healthy, and it distracts me from important things. One day per week I want to check out of social media and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing.

2. Listen to More Music

My focus during the last few years has been on finishing as many books as possible. And to do that, I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks. But I’m realizing that I don’t actually enjoy audiobooks. Some audiobooks work for me (usually if it’s autobiographical and read by the author), but I tend to enjoy a book more if I’m the one reading it. No more audiobooks will free up time to listen to other things. I still love my podcasts, but I want to get back into listening to music. I used to listen to music regularly but just don’t anymore. The year-end Spotify recap is going to look a whole lot different; I hope.

3. Keep Fostering Dogs and Puppies

As most of you know, we started fostering dogs for a local animal rescue group a few months ago. We are currently on our second puppy, who will be heading off to his permanent home right away. It has been a run, crazy, heartwrenching, but rewarding process, and I want more! We’ll be taking a short hiatus because we’re traveling for most of February but will be back at it in March.

Current foster boy Mistletoe (aka Monty)

4. Read for Fun

For as long as I can remember, I have completed the Goodreads Annual Reading Challenge, but this year I’m out. I want to read for fun instead of to hit a predetermined number of books. I also want to read books I want, not ones that everyone else is recommending. That means you’ll see a lot more ‘trashy’ fiction and a lot less ‘better yourself’ non-fiction. I’ll still be keeping track of what I read but won’t worry so much about the tally.

5. Increase Retirement Contributions by 20%

I didn’t set any money goals last year because I was happy with what we were doing. This year though, I want to increase my retirement contributions by 20%. It’s not a huge, lofty goal but will help keep lifestyle inflation in check. I’m never going to be the person that saves crazy amounts of money. If I have a specific goal, then I’ll save, save, save, but once I’ve hit my planned out amounts, then I like the freedom of spending.

6. One In / One Out For Clothes and Accessories

I know some people hate shopping for clothes, but that’s not me. Browsing the racks and wearing a new outfit brings me joy. However, having too many clothes does the opposite. This year I’m sticking to the one in one out rule for all my clothing and accessories.

I’ve also been thrifting way more than I used to and would like that trend to continue in 2020. Guys, it’s so cheap and you can find some real gems!

7. Take Horseback Riding Lessons

Kitty from Bitches Get Riches posted on Instagram about how she started taking horseback riding lessons in 2019, and I am inspired! I rode horses for years when I was a kid, and it’s always something I wanted to get back to. It’s expensive and not super accessible, but I think I found a stable that offers lessons for adults. I am so registering.

8. Drink Water More Consistently

I do this thing where I drink barely any water all day and then chug multiple water bottles at night. Not exactly a brilliant idea to avoid getting up to pee multiple times a night. I want to be better about drinking water more consistently throughout the day.

9. Focus Up When Watching TV Shows and Movies

I’ve already committed to taking one day off social media per week but I also want to stay off my phone when the bf and I are watching a show or movie. Half the time we watch TV I’m only semi paying attention. I ended up hating everything we watch because I never know what’s going on.

10. Go To The Grand Ole Opry

The first weekend in March we are going to Nashville for our annual hockey trip, and while we’re there, I want to go see a performance at the Grand Ole Opry. I’m not a country music fan but did watch the TV show Nashville, and it got me hooked on that whole lifestyle and the importance of the Opry. I’m super excited, and maybe those darn Oilers will actually win the game this year!

11. Beautify The Front Yard

When you have a 100-year-old house there are always projects to complete. This year we are happy with what is going on inside the house, but the outside needs some work. Our front porch is pretty crooked, so we need to get that fixed up. We have a flower bed out front as well that we cleaned out last year (it was super overgrown) and will be planting new perennials and shrubs.

12. Create a Cleaning Schedule that Works

I’m sick of wasting my weekends doing chores. We don’t have a huge house, but it still feels like we waste at least half a day every weekend cleaning the house and doing laundry. I want weekends to be for fun. This year I’m going to try out a cleaning schedule where we accomplish one of two tasks each night of the week, leaving the weekends free. Have I created this yet? No. It’s going to be a work in progress, but I’m hoping that it will stick.

13. Devote Five Hours a Week to Blogging

I am not an efficient blogger. I have a long list of things I want to accomplish with the blog, but most of the time I’m just trying to create a decent post every week and rarely get around to anything else. The only real fix for that is time. I tend to blog sporadically throughout the week and usually, it’s in front of the TV. Clearly that whole focus thing is an issue. Instead, I want to commit five REAL hours a week. Distraction-free writing, creating, promoting, etc.

14. Lie on a Beach

We use to go somewhere tropical every year for a winter getaway, and oh my gosh, it was such a treat. The last few years we’ve stayed home and it has made the winter feel unbearably long. We are off to Portugal for two weeks in February, which will be AMAZING, but it’s not a chill beach vacation. We’re looking at the calendar in November for maybe a one-week all-inclusive trip to Mexico.

15. Reduce Single-Use Plastics

I’ve been making a conscious effort to make greener choices, but I still find that single-use plastic creeps into our home too often. We have our reusable shopping bags and recently purchased reusable mesh bags for produce but a lot of things still come packaged in plastic. I’m going to look for options that are plastic-free and hit up Bulk Barn with my own jars more often.

Why I'm throwing out the idea of New Year's Resolution and writing my 2020 bucket list.

16. Say Yes to More Events

Going to events with a bunch of strangers is not something I love. I’d much rather stay home or go out with just a couple of close friends. Small talk is not my forte and I find meeting new people stressful. It’s something I need to practice though. So, say yes to more things that make me uncomfortable is on my 2020 bucket list.

17. Trade Screen Time for Board Games

Not only do I want to make my screen time more worthwhile, I also want to reduce it in general. You know what doesn’t happen when you’re watching TV and scrolling Instagram? Communication. I want to play more board games with the bf and with friends so we can spend time chatting.

18. Complete Couch to 5k in the Spring (again!)

Well, this is nothing new. I don’t love running, but it’s an effective and cheap way to exercise so I try to get into it every year. So, when Spring weather comes around, I’ll be hitting the sidewalks again with my trusty Couch to 5k app.

19. Watch All the Oscar Best Picture Nominees

I have multiple goals about decreasing screen time, but then here I go adding in on that is about watching movies. My blog, my goals, my call. I’m never going to eliminate TV and movies entirely, so I want to make sure I’m watching the good stuff. Not all Oscar nominees are going to be my thing, but it’s a good place to start and makes watching the Oscars that much better.

20. Chill Out and Be More Patient

If you ask the people in my life to describe me, the word chill will not come up. I have zero chill. I like things organized, I stress about things I have no control over, and I like things done now. I am never going to be super chill, but if I can at least be kinda chill then, I’ll be happy. And so will everyone who has to deal with me.

What do you think about replacing typical New Years’ resolutions with a bucket list? What would be on your 2020 bucket list? Share your thoughts in the comments!

This post was proofread by Grammarly.

Image Credit: Evie S.



    #1 is #1. I’ll do this too. It’s so easy to get sucked in eh?

    • Sarah Reply

      I love a lot of things about social media, but it is such a time suck!

  2. Sarah, I love this list! There’s so much unique stuff here! Framing it as a bucket list is such a great way to entice you to want to do them. On a very specific note, we also have to fix our porch this summer. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that it is a straight forward and budget friendly project.

    • Sarah Reply

      House projects…ugh. Good luck with your porch too!

  3. No. 2: While I actually do love audiobooks (learned last year that I actually can be a bit of an auditory learner? I always thought I was just a visual learner but…apparently not), I am also with you on listening to more music in 2020! What type of music are you into?

    I like you bucket list concept! If I was making one…ummm. I would definitely need to think more about what might be on it. Right off the top of my head, I think the biggest item on it would be finishing my Nanowrimo project. And maybe finding a non-writing related hobby? I’ve been thinking about that for a bit, too. Not sure what that looks like, but it might be worth considering.

    • Sarah Reply

      A hobby is a great one, I actually thought about adding something similar to my list.

      As for music, I tend to listen to indie/folk music the most.

  4. Love this! Your 2019 20 before 2020 bucket list inspired me to come up with my own 20 goals in 2020. Your list is much more creative than mine but it’s still a process. I’m interested in following our progress to see how we do.

  5. Love this list! And I’m happy to know that I’m not the only one put off by the Goodreads annual challenge. I want to enjoy reading again. I’m going to adopt some of your Bucket List challenges – they’re fantastic! Creating a cleaning schedule is one that I’ve been considering but I never contemplated making it a challenge. I just figured I should a little something every day so that it doesn’t seem like a monumental task on the weekends. Project Declutter-My-House is my version of your one-in-one-out item. The older I get, the less stuff I want to have in my home!!!

    • Sarah Reply

      Decluttering seems to be a constant in my house too, and I don’t even feel like we buy a lot of excess things! Good luck on reading for enjoyment this year 🙂

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