I love a new year, a fresh start, a clean slate.

And making a new list!

Last week I recapped my 18 Things in 2018, a list I created by recommendation of Gretchen Rubin and the Happier podcast. Today I’m sharing my new list for 2019, but first I want to dive a little deeper into the joys and planning of this list.

Many of my friends (that’s right, not just Mom and Kyle,) got excited to make their own 18 Things list last year after I told them about it. In case you get the bug this year, I want to share some tips for planning your list and what I learned from creating my first one.

What Is a 19 Things in 2019 List?

It’s exactly as it sounds – a list of 19 things you want to do in 2019. Additionally, the 19 Things in 2019 list is:

  • A reason to do lots of cool things you’ve always wanted to do but put off for one reason or another.
  • A guide for planning your year.
  • A source of motivation for staying excited about life all year long.

I think of the 19 Things list as a quest for more of whatever you’re looking for more of in your life. Maybe that’s health, fun, career progress, connections, service – your 19 things would include activities that achieve more of that virtue for you.

Maybe you want more of a handful of those virtues, and since 19 things are quite a lot of things, you can make activities to cover all of them.

That’s how I see my 2019 list. I’m looking for a lot of things – to have more fun, make progress with my writing, get more involved in my community, embrace good health, and be more environmentally conscious. My list covers all of these areas and more.

Thankfully, we have 365 days to do only 19 things.

Tips for Creating Your Own 19 Things in 2019 List

Thinking about making your own list? Here are some suggestions to for keeping it fun and productive rather than serious and unachievable:

  • Include at least one thing you can knock out in January. Quick wins give us confidence and momentum!
  • Think about what’s missing in your life and what you want more of. Base your list off those things.
  • Think about what you’re already doing well with. How can you take it to the next level this year?
  • Include a balance of items you can do in a day as well as items that are ongoing or take building up to.
  • Think about the year as a whole. Plan for things to look forward to in each season.
  • Brainstorm about the things you always say you want to do, the things that sound fun but aren’t all that important. These are the things we ultimately put off because they’re not urgent, but doing them brings so much joy!
  • Phrase your goals in a way that reminds you that you have control over them. Instead of “Win a half marathon,” – something you can try to do but ultimately don’t have control over – write something like “Increase my training speed every week.”
  • Embrace the word “start” over the word “finish.” If you’re really new to something you’re putting on your list, starting truly is the goal.
  • For new things, start small. Making it too lofty make keep you from starting at all.

My 19 Things in 2019 List

My list includes a variety of activities that range from furthering my writing productivity to progressing in yoga, to trying new things and finding more love and appreciation for nature and the world at large. This list is weird, exciting and liberating, and I’m already having a ton of fun with it.

  1. Start an email newsletter.

In an effort to make more of a community with my writing, an email newsletter is the next step for me. Building an email list is the first piece of advice for anyone working online. It seems terribly daunting to me, but this is the year to go all in and figure it out!

2. Publish a blog post every week.

Yep, this is a wildly ambitious goal since I’ve never done consistent blogging for longer than six months, but I’m hoping the accountability of the List will push me on this one. Some posts may be a paragraph or simply a picture, but every week will have something meaningful and quality, I mean it!

3. Study 12 teachers in writing.

Following 12 teachers is another recommendation from Gretchen Rubin. The idea is to study a different “teacher” or professional in your field each month of the year. I love this because there are so many amazing authors and appealing books on writing out there that I want to dive my nose into all of them at once. Declaring a whole month to study one essayist or book gives me better focus. (I’ll share my 12 in another post!)

4. Read the entire Creative Nonfiction textbook by Eileen Pollack.

Last year I set out to complete a writing craft book and failed miserably. I tend to start these books and stop them a quarter way through because I change my mind on what kind of writing I need to work on. In 2019, my mission is to focus on creative nonfiction and essay writing. I’m hoping the relevancy of this book will have me sticking with it til the end (it’s amazing so far!).

5. Submit to an essay contest.

This goal initially read “Get published in a dream magazine.” The problem with a goal like that is that I can try all I want, but ultimately I have no control over whether an editor decides to publish my piece this year or not. I think the more important goal is to do the things that potentially lead me to getting published or reaching those dream goals, so I end up satisfied with my progress rather than seeing it as a failure.

6. Read two travel books, one being based in Arizona.

I love reading about other countries and cities, but I don’t read these books as often as I’d like. I’m hoping this goal will get me to read more than just two travel books in the year, but starting small will make sure that I do this at all.

Realizing how much I wanted to read travel, I already got started on my first book. I’m reading a memoir by my Phoenix writing friend Susan Pohlman called Halfway to Each Other, the story of how moving to Italy for a year saved her marriage. It is so good already and I just love seeing Italy through her eyes and her experience.

7. Go on a writing retreat or a solo trip.

The idea of taking a solo trip has been on my mind since listening to a favorite blogger/podcaster of mine, Ali Feller. I would love to do something like this before Kyle and I try to have kids, to embrace some time on my own before becoming a mother. The question is, where do I go?

8. Hike Mount Humphrey’s.

Bring it on, Humphrey’s! This is the tallest mountain in Arizona, and I plan to hike it with Kyle and whoever will join us for my 30th birthday.

9. Take a random Wednesday off work.

I read somewhere that Wednesdays are the best time to take a vacation day. It was something to do with the idea that we actually would do better at work with a break in the middle of the week rather than taking a longer weekend. The idea of it makes me giddy – what would I do with a random Wednesday off? Go hike? Go coffee shop-hopping? WRITE? All of the above!

10. Flow to a handstand.

That’s yoga-speak, y’all. So this is an example of something you’re doing well with and enjoying but could take it up a notch this year to keep it fun and exciting. And flowing to a handstand seems ridiculously hard, but it’s something I can work at regularly. Yoga!

11. Try a pole dancing class.

This is something I’ve nearly signed up for a dozen times and have always backed out. This is the year!

12. Complete a Whole 30.

Hello, January. This goal is well underway. The plan was to knock it out early and enjoy my oats and gluten-free pastries for the rest of the year, but I don’t know – this clean-eating thing feels amazing!

13. Refrain from binge drinking.

All. Year. Long. Drinking is fun, for sure, but I hate the feeling of being hungover or regretting having drunk too much more than I love the fun of drinking. For this year, I’m aiming not to have more than one drink in an hour, a.k.a. binge drink. Wish me and my half-empty wine glass luck, please.

14. Make a habit of deep breathing every morning and night.

I have trouble sticking with a 10-minute meditation podcast consistently, perhaps it’s too much work to get out the headphones and find the app every day (so much work, I know). But things generally go better for me when I’m regularly meditating. However, I don’t think it has to be as big a deal as the 10-minutes of a lady’s soothing voice through my headphones every day. Taking a couple minutes to focus on deep breaths can work just as well.

15. Start going to Toastmasters.

My biggest struggle in 2018? Speaking up. Struggle of my life, to be honest.

When I speak in meetings, my voice shakes and I doubt myself. I’ve been talking about doing Toastmasters for a couple years and even went to a meeting once, but I was too chicken to go back. It’s time to commit!

16. Be a Girls on the Run coach.

Our season starts in February! I get to lead up a team of 6th-8th grade girls and coach them on self-confidence, teamwork and of course, running. Can’t wait!

17. Learn hand-lettering and make crafts and gifts with it.

Going off my calligraphy goal from last year, I’ve found an activity that seems more doable for me. I love writing cursive and longhand, and I think this is my area of “craftiness” that I might be able to do well at.

18. Find out what sustainability means to me and how I’ll practice it.

Thanks to Kyle, I’ve become much more excited about nature, localism and leaving less of a footprint (honestly, I didn’t really care about any of that stuff before his passionate butt came around). This year I’ll deepen my efforts in exploring what I care about and how I’ll change my ways.

19. Michelle’s secret goal!

Sorry guys, can’t tell you this one 😉

Do All of the Things

Phew, 19 things is a lot! But we’ve got 365 days to get ’em done, and you know what, the list may even change along the way. (That’s why having a few alternates in your back pocket doesn’t hurt!)

Will you make a 19 Things in 2019 list? Please share it with me in the comments!

And now that you know I plan to blog every week and start an email newsletter, you can expect to hear a whole lot more from me this year. Please feel free to leave feedback (good and bad, but hopefully in a kind way!) in the comments any time. I’d love to know what kinds of posts you like reading and what you don’t.

Can’t wait to see what joy we’re going to have in 2019. Let’s make it a fun year!

19 Things in 2019

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