The 2017 Calendar

Haven’t made a bucket list for the year, but wish you had? January isn’t even over. Why not just grab a napkin, set a time for 5 minutes, and jot down a bunch of things you’d like to learn, see, try, or challenge yourself on? I usually start with a big list of around 35-40 items and trim it down to 20-25. The first step really is just putting the pen to the paper.

Once you’ve gotten that far, then what? (Hint: ball up the napkin and toss it out isn’t the answer).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about setting goals, it’s that you’ve got to have a pretty specific plan to achieve them, no matter how big or small they are. Every year I set 20+ goals and so I sketch out a calendar of when I hope to check each goal off. I can’t leave them all hanging and expect to do them in December – that’s just irresponsible.

Except that today as I sat down to make my 2017 bucket list calendar, I realized that I don’t think I ever made one for 2016 – which might explain why last year was my least successful year (the three jobs and a nightmare boss might have had something to do with it, too). I think I got a little cocky last year and thought, I’ve done this enough that I don’t need a calendar…it’s in my head. It’s not that goals got forgotten exactly, but without a plan, I didn’t set staggered deadlines.

January of 2016 was an ugly time. When I think back to my daily life, a big grey cloud was hanging over me. Of course, it didn’t take long for me to find a better working environment, but that cloud muddled my enthusiasm for my personal life, too. This year, I have zero excuses. Everything is coming up Deacon lately, and I’m ready to attack my loftiest bucket list yet.

Here’s my calendar:


The colors represent loose categories.
Orange = exercise/fitness
Blue = food & drink
Red = buying or selling
Green = all the crazy-pants miscellaneous

Notice that burpees come up twice, mostly because I feel like June might be too busy, or maybe I would rather do some birthday burpees in September. Collecting shark teeth on Topsail Island and getting a tattoo with a former student are also not listed because they require some planning with other people.


Sometimes putting things on paper (or publishing it on a blog) is a little scary; the thing you wrote becomes official. My first step was to publish my 2017 list, and now that list is calendared out and it’s time to start rolling for real.


To Bucket List, or to Not Bucket List

My 2016 bucket list has been typed up, but I’m not ready to share it until I officially close out this year. All year, I keep a running list of my bucket list ideas on the Notes app of my phone (since a lot of my ideas seem to occur at happy hour and I won’t remember them the next day). When I’m finally read to make “the list” (the literal doc title on my laptop), I go through several processes.

  1. I rate each item with one, two, or three stars depending on how much it really appeals to me. A one star generally won’t make the list, three stars is a sure-fire winner, and then I pick a few two stars to beef up the list.
  2. I categorize the now selected items into things like hobbies, work, fitness, and experiences. For me, this is where I find balance and variety.
  3. I evaluate each item for how realistic and attainable it really will be. I could put “Have dinner with Lady Gaga” on the list, but is it realistic? Is it attainable? If I don’t think an item is really possible, it won’t make the cut. I also decide whether it will be fun. That’s critical!
  4. I decide whether each item is truly measurable. You can’t say, “I want to run more.” What does more mean? 5 miles a week? a marathon? (In teacher lingo, let’s consider each item a learning target, right?)

My overall goal is to make a better bucket list, not just something that you can wishfully daydream about when work sucks. I’m talking real stuff – like that time I chose, “Learn to cook an artichoke” and my friend, Amanda, then hands me an artichoke out of her bag at the bar and says, “Get to it!”

But this is not to bash on others’ bucket lists. I really do a lot of random internet searches of bucket lists to see what other people want to do. While diving in a shark tank or cliff diving aren’t exactly my jam, I still run across interesting and unique ideas…especially when it comes to fitness goals.

Interestingly, I’ve come across a ton of sites over the last month that are all part of an anti-bucket list movement. Like seriously?! What is that?! On Lifehacker, I ran across an article, Remove Unneccessary Pressure From Your Life with an Anti Bucket List, that states:

“Chances are most of the things on your bucket list are extraordinary or possibly abstract. Take the weight off your shoulders and focus on what you can enjoy and accomplish now. Who knows, that might lead you to what was on your bucket list faster. Goals are good to have, but if you really look, the life you have right in front of you can be pretty great too. Sometimes you just need to adjust your perspective.”

Ok, we have some agreements that bucket lists are too abstract, but I guess a goal-oriented girl like me can’t imagine not living with my bucket list anymore. I’ve learned so many things and am out there taking *sensible* risks.

As the year is ending, I’m wondering what you think about this. Do you have anything planned for 2016?

New Goal! #26 – Run an Oregon State Penitentiary Race

You might be saying, Did I read that right?? Run at the penitentiary?! And yes, you did. Just the other day, my friend, Renee, sent me a link to the sign up form for a 5 or 10k race AT THE STATE PRISON. She wrote something like, “I thought of you when I saw this…” Man, did she hit the nail on the head. As a generally law abiding citizen, I’m fascinated with jails and prisons – particularly the workouts of inmates. I fully admit that I once spent a good chunk of my free time at a local bookstore poring over a book called Felon Fitness….61eW1qbpKZL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_
I didn’t buy it, but I sure wanted to.

On a less ridiculous note, I have also been very interested in the programs that work to humanize and rehabilitate inmates since the process of being incarcerated is so absolutely dehumanizing (just today I read a news article about inmates and unwanted pets finding love – awwwwww).

What I have now gathered, with Renee’s help, is that our state prison holds several races a year, where community members come run races with inmates to give them something to work towards, as well as help them feel normal again. Apparently this program was spearheaded by Steve Prefontaine in the 70s, and after he died it continued. (Read more details here).

Running? Prison? A commemorative race bib? I’m sold!

At the beginning of the year I was racking my brain to come up with a creative fitness goal for myself (since the normal stuff never seems to appeal to me). I think a 10k through the state prison is about as creative as it gets.


My Nevermind Goals

While reviewing my goals of the year (and browsing my list of possible goals for 2015), I started to think about possible goals from previous year that didn’t make it. Obviously they were important enough for me to write down on a list (I keep a separate brainstorm list for each year on the “Notes” app on my phone), but I ended up not committing to them.

Today I thought I would revisit them and think about why they didn’t make the cut, and if they would ever come up in the future.


Run all the “Stairs of Portland” –  While a lot of cities are known for their hilly geographies, I think Portland often gets overlooked, and we have a bunch of giant old staircases that would be monster workouts. Last year at this time, I was running the epic Mt Tabor Staircase every Sunday with friends, and every Thanksgiving we do a stair challenge. I was inspired by a booked called “Stairs of Portland” and I’m wondering why I didn’t set this goal. Wow! I actually kind of want to do this one now!

Put together a “Spy Kit” – This was silly. After making disaster preparedness kits, I read an article about how to make a sweet spy kit. Sounded fun, but I was thinking realistically when would I use it? And if I did, would I accidentally get myself into trouble?

Make my own calendar of traditions – We aren’t going to have kids. For sure. That allows us a lot of personal and financial freedom to do whatever we want. But I feel like a lot of people have fun seasonal traditions every year based on their children – well why couldn’t we have them as adults? I like that kind of stuff and we already have a few traditions of our own (like Tabor Stairs on Thanksgiving), but I want more. Maybe I’ll do this one next year………….


Learn how to throw a knife – After learning to throw a ball, my father-in-law suggested that I up the ante and learn to throw knives. Wouldn’t that be an amazing skill to add to your resume? But knowing my clumsiness, I began to envision a terrible accident and scratched it off.

Learn to love sauerkraut – Ugggghhhhh. My husband, Thor, loves sauerkraut. It feels like the world loves sauerkraut. It smells like death and I can’t even handle the sight of a jar. I thought maybe I could tackle this heinous food and join in the fun, but then I realized my goals are intended to be fun, and this just sounded gross.

Learn to make butter – Growing up in Oregon means you know people who grew up in the country, or people who are really into the history of pioneers. Translation: a lot of people know how to make butter. I am not one of those, and this still interests me, but not enough to make it a legit goal.

Go a day without my phone – HA! Yes, a fleeting thought. That being said, this would be a serious challenge for me. Technology makes my life easier, more efficient. Why would I take that away?

Protest something – People in Portland are always protesting something. It’s actually really annoying. Yet I still think holding a witty sign and yelling at passers-by sounds entertaining. However, I would most likely stand outside Taco Bell protesting the new absence of green onions on their Mexican Pizzas, soooo….

Make a Mexican Pizza – (Whoa, speaking of which!)…I read a blog post somewhere of someone who figured out how to make a decent Taco Bell Mexican Pizza from home without truly terrible ingredients. It sounded genius! And then I had two competing thoughts: 1) if I could make it from home, I would eat it everyday, and 2) why would I make something from home that takes 2 minutes to get and only costs $2?

Learn Latin – I think I was watching a lot of LOST when I picked this one. I envisioned myself speaking in code with others. Haaaaaaaaa.

So there you have it. A window into my “nevermind” goals. Now tell me, what goals do you have that you changed your mind on, or just aren’t ready to tackle?