How to Use a Task List to Accomplish Projects in the New Year

This is Part 2 of the series: Solutions for Making and Accomplishing New Year Goals 

In yesterday’s post, I explained why many New Year resolutions typically fail, and I offered a 4-Step process to devise a goal plan that can actually work. If you have one primary goal where you desire success in 2022, I explain in four steps, using strategy and tactics, how to make it happen.  

While that 4-Step method may be perfect for some, for others, it may not. Maybe you don’t have one significant goal you want to work on throughout the year. Instead, you have many minor projects you need to complete or special activities you want to try.

My second solution to accomplish your new year goals is to create a task list or checklist.  

In 2018, I began listening to the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft. Each year, they create a list of things they want to accomplish, with the number of tasks coinciding with the year. So for instance, this year is the “22 for 2022” list.

Listen to the podcast where Gretchen and Elizabeth reveal their 2022 lists,
and get the link to a free PDF to download and make your own list.

There are no actual rules for what to put on your list. It can be as simple or complex as you like. List activities you have wanted to do, events you’d like to attend, or specific projects you want to complete. The purpose is to write the list to remind you of your plans and post it where you see it continually. It’s a reminder to schedule them and make time to do them.

Doing a checklist of this type at the start of the year is exceptionally workable for many. The best items to add to the list are more specific and not benign (such as losing ten pounds).

When I began my first list in 2019, it mostly contained things to complete for homeschooling, reading, crafting, and minor home improvement. In 2020, my list was similar, but when the pandemic hit, I had to revise the list with more activities that could be done mostly at home.

For 2021, I crafted my list a little differently by adding deadlines for some items. For instance, one task was to have all my annual medical appointments completed by March 31. Since March is also my birthday month, it was easier to remember.   

(Don’t love lists? Check out #4 in my list below.)

Here are some items I have had on previous lists:

  • Repaint the laundry room
  • Start a new skincare regimen
  • Learn to use the Instant Pot
  • Finish Goodreads Challenge
  • Generate $200 using rebate apps when shopping online
  • Complete the Ultimate Blog Challenge each quarter
  • Volunteer at the food bank

Get the idea? 

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

4 ways to create your checklist  

Make it a simple task list.

If you have a personality who loves to make lists and enjoys the challenge of checking off each completed task, stick with making a simple list of 22 things you want to accomplish in 2022. Keep each item attainable, and put your list where you can see it daily.

Add deadlines to some tasks.

Do you do better with more specific deadlines? Organize your items by monthly or quarterly deadlines. And don’t be discouraged if you are unable to finish a task. Just move it forward and keep going!

Last year, I had a deadline to paint my laundry room by March 31. Because different situations arose, I couldn’t meet that date but moved the task ahead. If I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have finished my laundry room in 2021.

Organize your items by category.

Those who prefer a more organized plan may add their items into categories. For instance, you may want to create categories for a hobby, home refurbishing project, cooking, or another area where you want to concentrate in 2022.

As you write out your list, you may find that you have several items that fall into similar categories. That happened to me this year, so I assigned my 22 tasks into the categories of  Health, Ongoing Education, General, and Blogging & Writing. (I don’t work outside the home, so I add my writing goals to my list.) Categorizing helps me because when I complete one item in a category, it is easy to move to the next item to work on.

Create fun activities incorporating “22.”

Not a list maker at all? Then this idea is one to try! Make your goal for 2022 by using 22 as inspiration. Want to read 22 books this year? Make that your goal! Here are some more ideas:

  • Walk 22 minutes a day (or maybe 3 times a week)
  • Spend 22 minutes a day journaling
  • Try 22 new recipes (perfect if you love to cook!)
  • Volunteer 22 times (find something you can do at home if you cannot get out)
  • Designate 22 minutes a day for self-care
  • Complete 22 random acts of kindness

To be successful, assess your list regularly to see where you are. Is there an item you know won’t be possible to complete this year? Or do you later remember something essential for your list? Well, you have the power to change it!

While you assess your list, or when you review your list at the end of the year, don’t smack yourself on the head if there are things you forgot or didn’t finish. Keep going. I have yet to complete an entire year’s list and have often moved projects forward to the next year if they are still important to me.   

Creating a list for the year has always been helpful because I need reminders, but I also need some built-in accountability. The list prompts me to intentionally schedule things when it fits in my schedule and encourages me to take time for an activity strictly for my enjoyment. This type of checklist helps. Without this type of plan, I only have good intentions quickly forgotten after a couple months.

Do you use this type of list to plan your year? Let me know in the comments what you have found that works best for you.