Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Bucket List (Instead)

Thought it might be fun to revisit the whole "New Year's Resolutions" thang for a minute. Just so that you'd have another option. Those of you who've been here a while know that I don't do NYRs. For those who are new to these Meanderings, I'll give you a brief overview:

In my estimation, NYRs don't usually work. Most folks last about a month (tops!) and then everything goes back to the way it was. Whether they're trying to lose weight, stop smoking, go to the gym, or simply break an annoying habit, most folks forget about the brain wiring part. It takes a minimum of 21 days to form a habit. That's not counting the chemistry part of things. Also, Merriam Webster defines the word as "the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc." From where I sit, the word really doesn't suit. Not if you're wanting to make stuff better. It's the attitude that bothers me.

Einstein said that we cannot find solutions to problems with the same mind that created them. In my experience, he's right on the money. If you want to "solve" something, you've got to approach the problem from a different angle. So to speak.

That being the case (that is, if you're buying Einstein's theory. And I haven't lost you ...), what if, rather than making a list of NYRs, you made a Bucket List instead.

Whole different attitude.

Whole different feeling.

A Bucket List is generally thought of as a list of things you'd like to do before you leave the planet. Stuff you've always said you're going to do, but haven't. Some folks think a Bucket List is a bit on the morbid side, since they're talking about the whole "before I die" thang. Again, it's all in the attitude. We're not focusing on the dying part. We're focusing on the "fun stuff I want to do" part.

Still with me?


So...a Bucket List for the year 2015. We'll put a time limit on this one. As in, "between now and December 31st, in the year two thousand fifteen, I will...."

And then you write down all the fun stuff you want to do this year.

{Aside #1: Examples:

  • take a pottery class
  • learn another language
  • take a class at a local or online University in a subject I know nothing about
  • hike through a Rain Forest 
  • learn how to draw a horse
  • make up a children's story, complete with cartoon-ish characters

end of Aside.}

Here's the thing about Bucket Lists versus Resolutions: one is a list of things we want to do. The other is a list of things that are, most likely, dreaded. AND...when we focus on the fun stuff, there are physical and psychological by-products. Our bodies actually secrete different chemicals (can you say "endorphin"?) when we're having fun; as opposed to the ones secreted in a state of dread, angst, anger, fear, etc. With the secretion of the former (endorphins, that is), our bodies will quite naturally respond with a whole host of "positive" changes.

Fun fact: happy people are much more likely to lose excess weight than depressed people. No kidding.

{Aside #2: that is, if they move a little more and eat a little less.}

The point is, by doing the fun stuff more and the dreaded stuff less, we end up being more productive on all counts. Fun = productivity. Just ask the folks at Google.

{Aside #3: if you've never seen the Google complex, do go have a look around. Click HERE}

Another terrific by-product: we're focused on those things that bring us JOY, which, in turn, leads to gratitude. Which leads to more of what we want and less of what we don't. Another fun fact.

To summarize: make a Bucket List. Read it every morning. Make arrangements/plans/phone calls/whatever it takes, to enable yourself to start checking things off that Fun List. By New Year's Eve (of this year), you'll not only feel better about your next trip 'round the Sun, you'll probably be in much better "shape", all the way around.

If you don't give it a go, you'll never know.

{Final Aside: Always choose Joy over Angst. ALWAYS.}

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