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11 Ideas for Your Bucket List to Make 2024 Your Best Year Yet


Sun, January 07

A new year brings new opportunities, but it can be overwhelming to set goals and commit to habits based on unrealistic standards. Change does not have to seem so daunting or restrictive, and it certainly is not needed to have a good year. There is no harm reaching for lofty goals, but your 2024 bucket list should incorporate small, impactful things as well. These eleven ideas are broad, but they can resonate in unique ways with each reader.

1. Start a Kindness Chain

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Spreading positive vibes and meaningful compliments can make someone's day, and everyone deserves to start their New Year strong! However, it may be uncomfortable to step out of your comfort zone and help strangers, so take small steps. You can paint kindness rocks and leave them in your neighborhood, pay for someone's drink in a drive-thru, or compliment your neighbor's outfit. You never know how much one act of kindness can impact someone's outlook on life, and 2024 can be the year where you value the importance of lifting others up.

2. Run a 5k

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Running a 5k is a challenging albeit transformative and fun way to improve self-confidence. You may not be the most athletic person, but you can start from the basics and sign up on a whim. Obviously you shouldn't stress yourself out over the race, but through the grit and sweat, you will learn more about yourself and how much you can do when you put your mind to difficult tasks. Take up a challenge this year and see it through; no matter how the event goes, you will grow from the experience.

3. Try Your Hand at a Self-Care Routine

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Taking care of yourself is just as important as reaching for all the dreams you might have for the new year, and self-care often takes the most effort to maintain. We get so caught up in our routines and hectic schedules that we put ourselves last. This year, try to challenge those norms; try out a skincare routine, journaling, or even taking the time to do a five-minute meditation in the morning.

Many activities could be relaxing, such as putting together puzzles, listening to music, or taking a well-deserved nap. By putting these activities on your bucket list, you are prioritizing your well-being.

4. Spend More Time in Nature

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Get some Vitamin D in 2024 – spending time in nature can be rejuvenating and therapeutic. Go on hikes, explore national parks, and try your hand at gardening this spring. Teens are plagued with anxiety, and spending some time among greenery and quiet spaces outside can help ease some of that persistent stress. Research has also proven that detoxing outside can improve your sleep cycle!

5. Have a Staycation

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Is there a cafe in your hometown you haven't had a chance to visit yet? Maybe you want to unwind and spend some time re-watching comfort shows. In either case, not all vacations have to be on the other side of the world.

Consider treating yourself and having a staycation sometime this year. Go to the spa, enjoy a local museum alone or with a few friends, or eat out at a local restaurant. You can also spend some time with your family by crafting together or going on a walk at a nearby park. Not all relaxing trips have to break the bank!

6. Sing Karaoke With Someone you want to get to know better

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Challenge yourself to make new friends and meet new people this year. A fun way to do this in a low-stress but playful environment is karaoke. Either host a karaoke night from the comfort of your home or search for spaces near you, and invite a few people you would like to know better.

Every year, we meet so many new people but never befriend them, though they seem genuine and kind. If you don't take a chance, you might miss out on long-lasting relationships and connections. So, take the first step in 2024.

7. Learn a new ‘life skill’

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Life skills can vary based on a person's interests, but learning something new is always fun and exciting. Immerse yourself in a skill you have always wanted to try like painting, fishing, or photography. You can even explore subjects not taught at your school such as financial literacy, emergency health procedures, or learning a new language. The world is vast and teeming with learning opportunities, especially with the free online course platforms such as Coursera and YouTube tutorial videos.

8. Learn how to cook a family meal (or create one)

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Cooking with family or learning how to cook a family recipe is a wholesome way to create new memories with loved ones in the coming year. From pizza-pasta nights to generational recipes for ethnic cuisine, sharing and treasuring food is a powerful experience and well worth a spot on your bucket list. Ask your family members about their favorite meals or make something for yourself that reminds you of a potent memory. Cook or bake something new, even if it results in a powdery explosion.

9. Attend a Retreat

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Sunset walks, beach trips, and afternoon picnics – while attending a retreat is a luxurious way to unwind and some individuals may not have the time or money to book a trip, there is no harm in envisioning the possibility. You never know what the future holds, and dreaming is a great source of motivation. Retreats are meant to be a complete cutoff from the rest of your world, and some activities include guided meditations, nature walks, and digital detoxes. If you enjoy time alone or in cozy spaces, attending a retreat is a great item for your bucket list.

10. Volunteer at a Shelter

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What better way is there to start off your year than to give back to your community? Volunteer at a community shelter, prepare meals for a food pantry, or tutor younger students at your school. Get your friends involved as well; every person's effort counts toward a large impact.

11. Inspire others…or be inspired!

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Every day is a new day, and your New Years' goals do not need to take effect during the first few weeks of the year. Make the next 366 days count, but take enough rest days and put yourself first. Don't spend your school week waiting for the weekend, and don't spend your weekends dreading the next school week. Life is often overwhelming and stressful, but struggles can become more bearable when you share moments with good people.

Whatever your resolutions and bucket list items end up being for 2024, keep your goals flexible and encouraging. You deserve to enjoy the ups and downs of the new year and make memories to last a lifetime.

Anshi Purohit
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Anshi is a sophomore from Maryland, USA. She is passionate about mental health and strives to help others in any way she can. When she is not reading or writing, you can find her cuddling with her dog, playing viola, or going on hikes.