seventeen things to do in 2017


1. Do it yourself
Show the rest of the world (or just your Dad) that you can do it. Building a new shelving unit? Just bought a new TV? Assemble it, program your remote and hook up your cable, without asking for help. You will feel like you can rule the world (or at least I did yesterday).

2. Find what makes you happy
Like truly happy. Is it alone time? Is it having a mini concert in your room? Is it going for a run? Is it volunteering your time at the animal shelter? Write it down and do it once a week. Fill your schedule with the things that make you happy.

3. Simplify your life
Physically and mentally. Clean off your nightstand- keep a lamp, clock and two things that make you happy. Unsubscribe yourself from those pesky sales emails that flood your inbox everyday. Do what you can to simplify your daily routine and to help you breathe a little easier.

4. Give someone a gift, just because
Buy those cute wine glasses and gift them to your roommate. Drop off flowers on your best friend’s front porch. Brighten someone’s day with this little act- it will probably brighten yours too.

5. Make a standing date
Dreaming of writing a book? Make a standing date with your computer and write for an hour once a week. Miss catching up with a former neighbor? Meet them for dinner one night a week. Don’t have a chance to see your best friend as often as you both wish? Block out time each week to making it happen.

6. Splurge on a fancy dinner
Just do it. Dress up, grab your girlfriends for a GNO or your boyfriend and go to one of those expensive restaurants where you order side dishes separately and share them. And get dessert too. You deserve to splurge on a night like this every once in awhile. Treat yourself.

7. Date yourself
Buy something for yourself once a week. Take yourself to Starbucks for an hour, just to have an hour of alone time. Pick out flowers for your house every Sunday afternoon (my personal favorite).  

8. Cook for yourself more
You don’t have to make fancy meals, but cook for yourself rather than go out to eat or skip meals (I’m guilty). One weekend, pick out 10-15 recipes that are relatively quick and easy and keep them on hand. It is cheaper and healthier than eating out for every meal. Plus leftovers make for easy grab and go meals. Double win.

9. Give yourself permission
Sometimes it’s okay to take a day off and catch up on personal responsibilities. It’s okay to binge watch Netflix the weekend after your huge project was due. Go get a drink on a Tuesday night with your friends because that’s the kind of day you had.

10. Do something big
This could be applying for a new job or buying your first house or running a half marathon. But set one big, daring goal, and do it. Don’t give up. Don’t back down. Find someone (or someones) to hold you accountable and to be your encouragers.

11. Give your time
This year, challenge yourself to find one organization that you are passionate about and serve there. Giving our time can be easier said than done, but find one free Saturday morning to run to the Women’s Shelter and help them organize their space, or teach children’s Sunday School once a month, or volunteer through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in your community once a week. Make it a priority to give back.

12. Send birthday cards
Yes, like paper birthday cards. You have to admit, there is nothing better than getting something in the mail that isn’t a bill in general, but receiving a birthday card is extra special. Buy a whole bunch of cards at once, that way you can just write in them and send them out when the time comes.

13. Write down your victories
Big or small, write it down. Start a running list and date them. Write a description or leave it as a one-liner, but write those victories down.

14. Be an adventurer
Be an adventurer in your own city, in the country and in the world. Go on day trips to  cool places in your area. Take a weekend trip with your girlfriends to a nearby city that is filled with your type of adventure. Plan a trip (and go) to another country that you are dying to go to.

15. Learn something new
A new recipe, a new skill, anything that you see and think “Man, I wish I could do that.” Watch a video or enroll in a course and learn how to do it! You don’t have to be perfect at it, but give it your best shot. You won’t regret it.

16. Put your phone down
While you are at dinner, while you are shopping, while you are in class (the hardest one- I know), while you are driving (!!!!), while you are trying to get things done. Put your phone down. An hour or two without the constant buzzing is good for your brain.

17. Be intentional
This is the thread between a lot of the “things” listed above. Be more intentional this year- with your relationships, with your work, with your self-care, with your eating habits, with your spending habits. Why are you doing what you are doing? Are you fully invested in your work? Are you mentally present when you are in the company of others or are you on your phone?

Annie Bradshaw