20 Things to Try in 2020

I talked about my resolutions and goals for 2020 already.  However, there are still so many things to do, to watch, to read, and to try!  I made this list thinking of my 3 overall resolutions and things I enjoy. I especially focused on things I do not get enough of these days with my busy schedule.  My friend Tabitha at Tabsy Wabsy always is a boss at completing her New Year’s Resolutions.  I do not always have the same direction with them. So here are my 20 ideas for positive things to incorporate in 2020. 

20 Things to Try in 2020 from My Sassy Starfish:

 1. Learn something new.

No day like today to start a new skill.  I began learning Chinese in 2019 through a company called Verbling.  I would meet once a week with my teacher in Taiwan via the websites classroom feature.  It was like fancy face time site. Each week we would laugh and I would learn new words in Mandarin.  My practice served me well by helping us navigate China. Pick something you want to learn and find a way to do it.  There are so many apps, websites, and resources out on the world wide web now.  

2. Dust off your library card.

If you do not use your public library, you are letting a valuable resource go to waste.  Even if you are not a traditional reader there are many things to take advantage of at the library.  The system in my county has recent DVDs of blockbuster movies, free children’s programming, and even an online app for free e-resources.  Through the app, I am allowed to download 4 ebooks, audiobooks, movies, or music albums a month. Many libraries also do community outreach with free adult classes in art, yoga, and many other things.  Also note, library funding is dependent on use. The less it is used the lesson money libraries receive to keep operating.  

20 Things to Try in 2020
Go see what the library has to offer!

3. Watch a documentary and/or read a non-fiction book.

As an avid lover of a good story or romantic movie, I often balked at watching non-fiction.  This went for documentaries and reading. I thought the material dry, but now I have found a whole range of interesting reads that are in the non-fiction drama.  Eight of the 35 books I read in 2019 were non-fiction. Take a look at the documentary category on Netflix or take a look on Goodreads for some recommendations on where to start.  

4. Pick up a hobby that you have wanted to try.

In the back of our brains, we each  have some secret desire to try something.  It may be simple like crocheting a scarf. Sometimes it is loftier like yours truly wanting to write a book.  You can start anything by looking it up on YouTube. Seriously, I know so many people self taught in knitting, ukulele, and Pilates from online videos.  There has not been an easier time to find information on something you are interested in learning. Best of all, you can usually find the basics for free!

20 Things to Try in 2020
Give something new a try!

5. Go an entire day without complaining.

I have to admit that this one is tough for me.  Some days I just do not have anything nice to say or positive outlook on life.  However, force yourself for a day to not complain about one thing. Take it in stride if your coffee order is wrong, have a few deep breaths waiting on traffic, and go into work with a smile.  Somehow, starting this exercise in the morning lifts the whole day up and allows us to find the good around us.  

6. Start a gratitude journal.

My gratitude journey began in 2019 and is continuing onto 2020.  I wrote a guide to begin it for yourself in November.  One key component is to write your gratitude points down somewhere.  The journal can be a focal point of all the good things in your life.  If you begin it now, by this time next year, you will have a treasure trove of positive thoughts.  

7. Go internet free a morning a week.

Screen times have breached hours (mine included) and some research shows we check our phones of 200 times a day!  Take back some of your time for a morning by putting your phone on silent or turning it off. Make an effort to do this more often when convenient.  I find a good day is one I can lock my phone in a car in order to go paddling or hiking. Do the same, and let me know how it makes you feel!

8. Try a new tea that does not need sugar.

I have and always will be a dessert first kind of girl.  Sweet treats are always my preference. However, sugar has proven major health consequences. So after looking at the amount of sugar in sodas and specialty coffee drinks like frappuccinos, I decided to stop drinking calories all together.  It involved training myself to drink black coffee and give up sodas completely. (More on that later.) Tea has turned into a good way to give some cozy and comfort to cold nights. There are several flavored varieties I like, and I look forward to trying more like Tazo Tea’s Glazed Lemon Loaf.  Pick up a variety pack and give some new teas a try!  

20 Things to Try in 2020
Tea can be a great source of comfort during a busy day.

9. Find a new way to move.

I have been able to squeeze in my daily walk less frequently lately.  Now, I am thinking of ways to incorporate movement into other daily tasks.  Some ways I will do that is incorporating a yoga video before bed and converting to a standing desk.  Think of ways to get moving and where that can fit into your day.   

10. Make fruit infused water to replace sodas.

In order to not pick up a soda habit again, I will infuse water with fruit.  There are literally hundreds of combinations online. My favorite is simple with lemon, cucumber, and mint.  I also enjoy using blood oranges into my water infusions. Think of your favorite flavors, fruit, and herbs. Use that list to try out your own creations.  

11.  Find a volunteer opportunity with something you love.

I did a lot of character building community service throughout high school.  It was a great way to learn new skills and grow an appreciation for the overall community.  However, now as an adult, I have fine tuned skills and participated in studies that make me a better fit for certain groups.  For example, I am CELTA certified to teach adults English. I would love to find the time to teach a free adult ESL class with a non-profit. Therefore, using my skills to the best of my abilities.  Everyone has something to contribute in areas that interest them most. Think of yours and keep an eye out for areas of need in your community.  

12.  Set a friend date night.

For my friend Leah and I it was Wednesday for several years.  We would meet for dinner at my house and watch Gossip Girl. In the 1960s, ladies would meet weekly for card games.  Now, I have trivia on Thursday. I find it difficult to squeeze in the time, but I appreciate these evenings the most. Try to find a friend date night with your closest friends and do something you love even if it is just one a month.    

13. Send a surprise handwritten letter to someone you miss.

This is a cheap, personal, and easy way to brighten up someone’s day you care about.  I have sent and received several in the past year. The ones I received have sat proudly in my living room and then my inspiration board in my office since then.  It means so much that someone took the time to write a letter by hand to tell me how they feel. Share some of that love in 2020!  

20 Things to Try in 2020
Dust off the stationary and send a letter snail mail.

14.  Have a social gathering and leave all phones in a basket at the door.

Going along with number 7 and 12, when you are with friends and loved ones make a point to turn off your phone.  Leave them in the car or place a basket for them to ‘rest’ at the door. If you are very handy and have spare cords you can create a charging station to make use of time well spent!

 15. Find a free local event or festival to attend.  

Chances are there are free local events in your own community.  The Mississippi Gulf Coast’s various groups host plenty! The City of Gulfport and  other sponsors host a free movie in Jone’s Park each week during the summer months. Public libraries often host free events in their meeting rooms as well as Chamber of Commerce groups.  Take a look at events near you on Facebook to start.

16. Sell or recycle unused technology.

Instead of letting old phones, chargers, iPods, and other electronics sit in the ‘junk drawer’ try to find creative ways to dispense of them.  It is not a good idea to throw them in the trash due to acidic batteries, etc. Apple will recycle most used phones, tablets, and computers for free.  Sometimes they qualify for an Apple gift card pay out as well! Otherwise, check with your state’s waste disposal facilities.  

17. Pick one room and declutter it.

I am sometimes overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in our house.  (Especially since it is only 1,950 square feet!). There are bits of piles of random that accumulate on a chair, under the night stand, and especially in my VIPKid classroom.  Instead of focusing on all the things. Take one room and focus on it until it is clear of clutter and to your liking. THEN you can move on to the next one.  

18.  Clean out junk email in your inbox.

Most of us have more than physical clutter, but we also have digital clutter as well.  Take some time to delete old, spam, and promotional emails. If it is older than a month, it is probably not important or relevant.  Author Brian Tracey in his book Eat that Frog! Discussed how he saved time by mass deleting all the emails he received while on a business trip.  He realized it was a big waste of time and if it was important they would email them back. My method on Gmail is to scan the list in batches of 50 then ‘select all’ and delete that batch.  

20 Things to Try in 2020
We can declutter our homes and technology.

19. Try some 5 ingredients or less recipes.

I am so put off by recipes with 20 ingredients.  (Even if it contains ingredients I already have!)  Therefore, I scan cookbooks and Pinterest for the simplest version I can find.  If I want to make taco soup, for example, I will scan through Pins until I find one that looks good with the least amount of ingredients.  Websites like All Recipes and Food Channel are chock full of variety.  

20. Find a way to save time on a daily or weekly task.   

Make a list of the hours a day or week you do certain things.  Look that things that really drain your time and keep you from the things you want to do.  Example: My commute is over an hour total. Instead of dreading the time, find an audio book or podcast to enjoy on the way.  Think of ways apps and technology can help as well. My Instant Pot has a timer feature to begin cooking that I have not used.  I would like to test it on a day off. Then use it as a way to have a warm meal cooked before I get home on my late days at work.  

Finally

That list seems daunting now that I have written it!  However, I feel like it is obtainable when incorporating a few things a month or focusing on one in a week’s time.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

What would you like to try in 2020?  Could you find anything on this list?  

20 Things to Try in 2020
Pin Me!

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