I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I think I tried making New Year’s resolutions a few years ago and then forgot what it was I resolved to do a few months into the year and gave up. So much for that.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but every year (since 2008 at least), a few days before my birthday, I make a list of things I want to accomplish before getting another year older. This seems to be a better system for me. I’m goal-oriented, but I like to have several small, manageable things to work on for a year instead of one big goal that I’m likely to get bored with quickly. So instead of resolving to work on one big thing like eating healthy or saving money, I break it down into more specific goals like trying new vegetables and saving to move out. Then, I throw in a few “for fun” goals, so in case I drop the ball on the loftier goals, I don’t feel like I completely failed.

Before I reveal this year’s list, I want to take a second to toot my own horn and highlight a few things I managed to cross off from last year’s list. These include: taking the GRE, finding a job I love, taking a trip somewhere (California, holla!), and running a half marathon. I am proud of all of these accomplishments to varying degrees because all of them took time and effort to complete. I didn’t get around to doing everything, so some items made it back onto this year’s list so I can try again for next year. And now, on the eve of my birthday, I present:

23 Things to Do Before I Turn 24

1. Research, choose, and get into a good graduate program

2. Run a marathon

3. Become a regular volunteer somewhere (literacy/education, animal shelter)

4. Take at least one French class

5. Learn how to make at least 7 new dishes and learn how to make them well

6. Learn how to snowboard

7. Surf again

8. Go overseas

9. Save enough money to move out, pay the bills, and still have enough to save and spend a little every month

10. Make 2 year and South America study abroad semester photobooks

11. Better myself professionally by staying up to date on news, attending workshops, and reading up on work-related topics

12. Compete in a triathlon

13. Go kayaking or canoeing

14. Pursue stress-relieving activities instead of getting angry all the time

15. Plant and take care of an herb or vegetable garden

16. Find frames for diploma and posters

17. Drink the recommended amount of water every day

18. Bake a cake

19. Try different vegetables until I find a new one I like

20. Read at least 2 books a month

21. Go to a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert

22. Create a monthly budget and stick to it

23. Visit a farmer’s market

I can tell you right now that #1 and #9 will be the hardest for me to complete (although #9 is already in progress!). I’ve been dragging my feet with both of those goals for the past year, but I know I have to push myself now or I’ll be holding myself back from other things I want to accomplish. No more excuses, it’s time to get started.

Happy birthday to me!

(photo credit: R, my study abroad buddy. I don’t know if you read this blog, but HI!!! if you do)

What are some of the goals you’ve been working on?