It is a well-known fact that when something that we’ve been looking forward to/preparing for over weeks and maybe months comes and goes, it can be difficult to move on to the next thing and the post-event blues set in. Lots of people talk about the post-holiday blues, the post-wedding blues, the post-adventure blues. But it can also be the case Christmas time. Once the presents are unwrapped, the food is eaten and the extended family has gone home, we are left with a dusty and empty home with nothing unusual or exciting to fill the day – it’s back to everyday reality. Even though we’ve already crept into the New Year, lots of people may still be feeling a little empty now all the festivities are over.
If you are suffering from the post-festive blues, or maybe even just the “it’s January, do I have to go back to work” blues (I bet you don’t have those… of course you don’t…), here’s an idea that might just help. Short lists of things we have done, want to do, or just love can help us move on and move up. A very simple task that could work after pretty much any event in your life that took over and leaves you with a hole, but at New Year it seems even more sensible. As a huge list-writer I thought it was worth a go.
It should be said that these little lists aren’t supposed to stress you out or make you feel the pressure of time, rather they are designed to help focus your mind on something more productive than feeling in a bit of a slump. Use them as an opportunity to be productive with your mind, to motivate or encourage yourself, or simply to make you smile inside.
Ten Short Lists for the New Year
In the spirit of this little written challenge, here are ten short list ideas from me to you – along with a few ideas to get you started on each one. Grab your notebook and then read on…
01. Ten Easy Things for January
I have been known to set big goals and challenges for the New Year, and I’ve also been known to drop those within just a couple of weeks. So for my first list I am simply going to make a note of ten easy things I want to do in January. Things that don’t take much time or effort, other than actually getting up and getting them started. My list includes using my slow cooker to batch cook some meals to go in the freezer, getting a pedicure (which is already booked), meeting a friend for a walk and a catch-up, choosing a new blog theme (just choosing it – implementation can wait), servicing my bike so I can use it to commute, getting some tester pots and putting them on the dining room wall, taking a load of stuff to the charity shop, and a few other things. If I can get all those jobs done in January I reckon that will make it a very productive month.
02. Ten Fun Things I Did in 2018
Lots of people will tell you that looking back is not good for you, but I disagree. While we shouldn’t dwell on the past, it can be an excellent source of smiles and is the only way to see how far we have come. Why not use one of your short lists as an opportunity to reminisce? I am certain it won’t take long for you to create a list of ten fun things you did in 2018. Or ten things that made you smile? Maybe you should write this list as a family to see what different things you each remember.
03. Ten Books to Read
I’ve never been much of a reader, but have recently discovered audio books and am absolutely hooked. I have them on in the car on the way to and from work, and listen to them when I’m on my lunchtime walks. I’ve recently finished and would highly recommend Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children trilogy – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City, and Library of Souls. Both Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist also had me gripped. Next up, I’m continuing to listen to the Harry Potter books as narrated by Stephen Fry – I’m about to start Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. What books would you recommend I pick up next?
04. Ten Favourite Films
Saturday night is movie night in our house. We get a takeaway, and sit on the sofa to watch a movie. But which one? Now that is not always an easy to answer question when there are so many movies available at the click of a button. This list might be easier for some than others. What are your favourite ten movies of all time? Or how about “ten favourite films right now” as that means you can discount a few old classics that you can’t quite recall right this minute. On mine I have Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (I love how dark it is), Galaxy Quest (by Grabthar’s hammer…), Back to the Future, Toy Story, ET, Jurassic Park, The Green Mile, Contact, Men in Black and Chicago. Yup, cheese and easy watching!
05. Ten Favourite Foods
Ah food, one of my favourite topics. In this short list, write down your ten favourite foods. On mine there is pizza (I’m a “with pineapple” kind of person I’m afraid), raspberry marshmallow, coconut ice, Yorkshire puddings, southern fried chicken, minted green veg, sweet potato curry, Percy Pigs, eggy bread, and pretty much anything cooked on an open fire. Maybe yours will be a mixture of snacky things and full on meals. As a second part to this list, you could promise yourself you’ll cook each thing at least once between now and Easter… that’s one a week.
06. Ten People Who Make Me Smile
This is a great opportunity to appreciate some of the people in your life who make you happy. They could be family, people you’ve known for years, those you chat to online or by text because you’re far away from each other, or even people you’ve not actually met but who have done things that inspire you. One you’ve written your list, why not drop each person a line – text, tweet, postcard – and let them know you love them? It might be exactly what they need to hear today.
07. Ten Hopes and Dreams for the Future
Oh a really serious one. This list might gee you up and get you motivated, or it might make you feel a bit thoughtful and sad – some people love a homes and dreams list, other people hate them. Spend a bit of time on this one. Write down ten things you really want for the future. Try not to think or worry about time or money as you write – make it a list from the heart. It might be things you want to do, places you want to go, adventures you want to have. It might be health and wellbeing related, wishes for yourself, wishes for your family. Writing lists like this might fill you with melancholy, but you can then use them to motivate yourself to do something small towards them every day. Small steps.
08. Ten Local Places I Haven’t Visited
When we moved to Gloucestershire we started a list of all the places people have mentioned that would make good days out, and we’ve been gradually working our way through them whenever we’ve had a free Saturday or Sunday. It’s been a very good list to have – no excuses for getting half way through a day and complaining that we’ve not done anything. I highly recommend writing one for your local area – think country parks, National Trust properties, nature reserves, castles and ruins, beaches, woods, museums and random things you spot on the map. Keep it to hand so you’re ready at your next opportunity.
09. Ten Photos of Me I Love
We’re very good at dismissing photos of ourselves because we don’t look perfect. I never look perfect – don’t think I ever have in my whole life. But I have learnt to love photographs of me in recent years because I realise they always have a memory attached that gives me a warm feeling inside. My favourite photos of me almost always involve me being a little bit silly in some way – because cheesy grins are the best smiles.
10. Ten Things I’m Thankful For
Take this one at whatever level you like – or all levels. Life, a home, love, family, opportunity, money, transport, health, travel, adventure? Or a leftover mince pie and instant custard, winning at Monopoly, a waterproof coat that works, enough money in the bank to fill the car with fuel, someone else doing the washing up, the fact that the days are getting longer. Writing down the things we are thankful for is an excellent way to put life into perspective and give ourselves an opportunity to smile. I know people who make this list throughout they year – they jot down whatever it is they are grateful for on a piece of paper and place it in a box or jar, and open up that box at the end of the year and go through all those happy memories. But for now, just write down ten things you are thankful for in this moment. Life might seem challenging or sad at times, but there are always blessings to be found.
I would love to see your ten lists – and read your goals and challenges posts if you are writing them this year. Let me know if you write any of these and if they help you this month.