Happy New Year to you all! I took a couple of weeks off from the blog and semi-checked out when it came to social media, but now it’s time to get back at it. I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful holiday season and were able to take some time to yourself to recharge.

The beginning of the year is always a time for setting intentions and resolutions. I’ll be honest; it’s not really my thing. I have a history of sucking at goals. And that’s why I’m changing things up this year! I saw this idea on Instagram (shoutout to another Sarah for letting me steal it!) and knew right away it was a better fit for me. Instead of setting traditional resolutions you create a bucket list for the year. It gives you more flexibility and lets you add in some fun items instead of the standard eat better, lose weight, pay off debt, etc.

So, that’s my way of avoiding resolutions but still inspiring myself to make 2019 a good one.

My 20 Before 2020 Bucket List

1. Commit to (almost) daily writing

For the entire time I’ve been blogging I have never had a backlog of more than one or two posts. I want that to change. Sticking to my weekly schedule is important to me, but it’s also the part of blogging I find the most stressful. I want to write at least 100 words five days a week. That might not sound like much, but it’s more about creating a habit.

2. 3 Million Steps in 2019

To save you from doing the math, this breaks down to 57,692 steps per week or 8,210 steps per day. I wanted to make it 10,000 a day, but I’m just not sure I’ll hit it. Can I whine for a second about how sucky winter can be here?  My average from last year is about 7,000 steps a day, so this will bump that up a bit. I was thinking of buying a knock-off Fit Bit but don’t want to wear it. This also accounts for where I’m setting my goal. I only use my phone, so it misses out on some steps when it’s sitting on the counter and not in my wrist.

3. Complete a 30 Day Yoga Challenge

This one is already in the works. I’m currently on day seven of Yoga With Adriene’s 2019 challenge and so far so good. I always enjoy her videos and look forward to her annual challenges. Even better, all the videos are entirely free and available on YouTube so you can join at any point.

4. Make Eating Out an Event

The bf and I have a bad habit of getting lazy and grabbing food out. Sometimes we’re out running errands and go for a burger, or grab take-out because we’re blah about what’s on the meal plan. I love eating out, but doing this makes it less of a treat. This year I want to be more conscious of deciding to eat out and make it an event instead of a cop out.

5. Read 45 Books

In 2018 I read 40 books, and this year I’m upping it by 5. I’m competitive with myself. Forty felt like the right number, but I need to do better. I do want to decrease the amount of TV I watch. I enjoy reading, but I find when I’m feeling lazy I’m more likely to watch mindless junk on the TV than pick up a book. Maybe by stretching my reading goal a little it will help inspire me to read more and watch less. And nothing against TV! I will still be an avid watcher; it’s just the endless reruns of Grey’s Anatomy that I want to nix.

6. Take Bree on a Road Trip

Our travel plans this year are up in the air right now because of the situation with Baxter. With his cancer diagnosis, it’s unlikely he’ll be with us for all of 2019. Right now he’s in remission, and you’d never know anything is wrong, but he’s already come out of remission once, so time is not on his side. It breaks my heart, but this is life with dogs I guess.

To help heal all our hearts, we’d like to travel more with Bree. Bax is not a good traveler. He gets car sick and is anxious in new situations. We did take Bree to the mountains last year and left Bax with my parents, and she was a total all-star. Nothing is set in stone, but we’re thinking another weekend in the mountains and then maybe evening driving out to Vancouver Island.

Jasper Road Trip with a Tag-a-long Pup
Look how happy she is!

7. Volunteer

I do not have a good history of volunteering. I find it much easier to open my wallet for charity instead of giving my time. It’s the whole social thing; I often have a hard time putting myself out there. This year though, I want to find an organization I support and put in the hours.

8. Get a Massage Once a Month

Self-care is important. That’s a statement I think all of us should repeat to ourselves more often. Sitting at a desk all day takes a toll, and regular massages make the world of difference to how I feel and function. Seriously, if you’ve never been for a massage, it can be a total gamechanger. I even have coverage, so there is no excuse for making it a regular part of my healthcare routine.

9. Donate Blood

I have never donated blood. I know, I’m terrible…judge me harshly. I’ve talked about it, a lot, but never taken it any farther than that. I’m putting this out there so you guys can make me accountable ok? Feel free to hassle me until it gets done.

10. Make Greener Choices

I like to think that we’re pretty good when it comes to being environmentally friendly, but then I look at others (Angela from Tread Lightly Retire Early) and see how much more we could be doing. The biggest focus for me is reducing waste. I love the convenience of online shopping, but I am always shocked by the amount of material Amazon uses to package up one small thing. So less of that. And less buying in general. If we need something, I want to first look at resale sites or thrift stores.

11. Go to FinCon 2019 in Washington DC

It is happening, enough said. (Will also help make number 17 a success)

12. Bike 500 KMs

Last year I tracked my bike usage to see how much money it saved, and this year I want to improve on that. This is a spring/summer/fall goal for me. I am a fair weather biker. The bf has been bike commuting all winter, but it’s not for me. In 2018 I logged about 300 KMs on my bike, and I want to up that to 500 KMs. Instead of biking just for transportation, I want to bike more for fun an exercise this year.

13. Actually Use Our Cookbooks!

We have a huge stack of cookbooks in our kitchen, and I don’t even remember the last time I cracked one open when meal planning. I use the internet to find 99.99% of the recipes we use. In 2019 I want to go old school and pull recipes from the cookbooks. If I hate it, then fine, we’ll get rid of them. But at least I won’t feel guilty about tossing them without ever using them.

14. Be More Focused

I’m bad for doing ten things at once and not doing a good job on any of them. This is especially true when it comes to blogging. I’ll be writing a post, checking Twitter, watching Grey’s Anatomy, and have a cat sitting on my lap. That’s not the set-up for good work. This year I want to commit to focus. If I’m writing them I’m writing; if I’m watching TV, then I’m watching TV. It’s so frustrating (to me and the bf) when we get three episodes into a new show, and I have no clue what’s happening because I’ve been more plugged into my phone.

15. Renovate the Bathroom

Our new house has been work. Mostly the fun kind, but still work. Next up on the list of projects in the bathroom. We want to paint, change the terrible lighting, and improve the storage situation.

16. Eat Smoked Meat in Montreal

We are going to Montreal the first weekend in February. Remember last year when we went to Dallas with my work to watch the Oilers play? Well, that’s now becoming an annual tradition and Montreal is next on the list. We’ll be catching the Oilers game on Saturday and then eating our way through the city the rest of the time. I’ve never been so I can’t wait!

17. Turn Internet Friends into Real Life Friends

Last November I attended the first Cents Positive retreat and was able to meet people I’d only ever connected with on the internet. It was such a positive experience that I want more of that. As I said above, I hate putting myself out there and find the internet a far more natural way of connecting. Making connections in real life is just different though, and I need to do more of it. I’m already registered to attend FinCon in September and have also RSVP’d to a local event bringing together a bunch of female Oilers fans.

18. Grow a Better Garden

The yard at our new house is quite a bit smaller than our old one, but I’m determined to make that a good thing. We have a raised garden bed for planting veggies, and other space that we need to figure out. Boring maintenance work like mowing the lawn, weeding, etc. wasted a lot of time at our old place. Those chores will now be a lot faster so I’m hoping to flip that time into a more successful garden that can help feed us.

19. Complete a One Month Shopping Ban

The month is yet to be determined, but one of my big picture goals is to be more mindful about my spending. I think a great way to kick that off is by eliminating all unnecessary spending for a month. I’ve been following with Cait Flanders’ journey for years, and her shopping ban has inspired me.

20. Wear Everything I Own

You know that shirt that sits at the back of your wardrobe that you never wear but never want to toss? Same. And it’s more than one shirt. Usually, I’m pretty good about purging my wardrobe, but there are always a few things I have a hard time parting with. This year I’m forcing myself to wear every single item in my wardrobe. Then, if I hate it, it immediately goes into the donate bin. No more ‘someday’ clothes!

You might have noticed that not a single one of these is a money specific goal. It’s true. A few are loosely finance related, but that’s not my focus this year. Our budget was in limbo for a few months after moving, but last month we did a thorough audit of our budget and investments. We bumped up our savings rate and made some minor tweaks to our investments. The market is crazy town right now, but we’re in it for the long term, so I didn’t want to do anything rash. I’m happy with what we’re doing and the current balance we have between saving and living. So really, if there were a money goal, it would be ‘keep doing what you’re doing.’ And that didn’t make the cut.

I’ll keep you posted throughout the year on how the 20 before 2020 bucket list is going, and I’d love to hear what you have planned for this year. Share in the comments one or two things that would be on your own bucket list. 

New Years Resolutions are overrated. To change things up for 2019 I've come up with a 20 before 2020 bucket list! #goals

This post was proofread by Grammarly.

Image Credit: Nicolas Tissot


  1. This is such an awesome list! Hooray for FinCon! We are trying to tackle our food waste and come up with a better solution for composting in the frozen winter.

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks Penny! Food waste is a problem for us too. We do compost with worms (in our basement because winter) and that for sure helps but I’d like to start a second tub.

  2. I’ve been procrastinating on writing a 2019 goals post because I’m having a hard time coming up with or committing to year-long things. I’ve considered quarterly goals but those don’t quite feel right either. I love everything about this list and it’s looking likely that I’ll steal this idea haha.

    Yes yes yes, more single-tasking this year! I spend way too much time not accomplishing anything because I’m not focusing on one thing and then I get stressed because I don’t have enough time.

    And hooray, can’t wait to see you again at FinCon!!!

    • Sarah Reply

      This was way more fun than normal resolutions for me. I liked being able to throw in some easy wins that will hopefully help motivate me. And that is so me! Why do we do this to ourselves?

  3. Great list. Lots of good and doable goals. It has inspired me to make a list as well.

    Good luck.

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks Anthony, and good luck on your goals as well!

  4. I’m so with Erin. A “goals post” is on my to-do list but I just can’t seem to find the enthusiasm for it. (Probably because I sucked at achieving my 2018 goals and feel embarrassed.) I’m kinda digging the bucket list thing and LOVE yours! My favorite is 17. I’d like to actually meet 1 or 2 internet friends in person this year. FinCon is a bit too intimidating for me but I live in LA. How hard can it be?!? LOL Anyway, love the list and good luck with it. I’m off to clean out my closet. 😉

    • Sarah Reply

      You should look up @FiConfessions on Twitter. I met her at Cents Positive this year and she is a super connector in California.

  5. I loooove this list. And my biggest regret of Cents Positive is not taking advantage of more face time with you. Not sure if I’ll be able to swing FinCon, but you better believe I’m hunting you down if I do.

    • Sarah Reply

      I really, really hope you can make it to FinCon! If not maybe I’ll hunt you down in your neck of the woods one day.

  6. Great list. I totally relate to # 4. We eat out every weekend, but it’s just part of our routine. Not sure when eating out becomes a “date” and something more special.

    I know it’s a ways off, but I hope to meet you at FinCon!

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks Patrice, I’d love to meet you at FinCon 🙂

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks Nathan. I’ve been watching Marie Kondo so I’m definitely feeling inspired.

  7. Great list I love it. Donating blood is not as hard as you think. It’s a straight forward process and you get pempered throughout the process by the Canadian Blood Services nurses. This is coming from someone that has donated over 60 times already. I’m aiming to hit 100 donations in another 6 or 7 years.

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks Tawcan, I know you’re right I’m just being a wimp about it! And that’s so impressive, go you.

  8. Awesome list, Sarah! It seems so well thought out and you covered so many different areas of focus. I set financial goals and created a basic blogging goal list, but this inspires me to want to blog my personal goals too. Good luck with your goals!

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks so much RTC. This year my list ended up being mostly personal goals and I’m ok with that. I didn’t set any big blogging goals for myself (other than writing more) because I want it to stay fun and without too much pressure.

  9. This is a great list Sarah!! Really impressive that you read 40 books for all of last year, I love reading books as well but I don’t know if I could read that much for a year. Maybe I’ll give that a try and add that for a goal this year. Hopefully you can reach 45…heck maybe 50 books this year.

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks Kris. I’m really trying to choose reading over watching TV this year, we’ll see how it goes.

    • Sarah Reply

      I’m in Montreal this weekend and Schwartz’s is on the list!

  10. Divya mishra Reply

    You are amazing… I really thought your bucket list is very helpful for me because it helps me for doing better 😀thank you sir…

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