As we look at the new year, do you have an Anti-Bucket List?  Why not, right?  The following is an anti-bucket list.  These are things with red flags that you should avoid like the plague. Things that you absolutely promise not to do. This is a great list to begin the New Year!  It helps to finally, and permanently, avoid negative personal things in your life at all costs.


1.         Try to avoid the intake of sugar. I know it is in almost every product that we ingest, however, just cutting your sugar intake in half is a huge step toward good health. One benefit of cutting sugar is weight management but it is also extremely important in maintaining oral health. You are at a greater risk for heart disease, obesity and other serious health conditions.


2.         If you are dealing with any particular addiction, try to adhere to a list of things you must avoid at all possible costs. Know your triggers. The goal is to recognize and accept the feelings and urges leading to addiction and how to “relax” them away. Make certain you have social support, diversions and ways to manage your emotions, so you don’t have a relapse.


3.         Make a list of what is not perfect in your home so you can let it go. Welcome to “The World of Dust” since most people can identify. Don’t let dust or dirt keep you away from laughing and enjoying life with others. We do not have to stage our homes, it’s all about the warmth and hospitality, not the latest sofa or washing machine. Our goals should not be to impress but to create and maintain meaningful relationships in a caring and safe place.


4.         Make a list of people who are toxic to you and avoid them totally. Even if it ends long-term relationships.  The key is that if certain people make you feel bad about yourself, they need to be eliminated. Life is too short. Just because we grew up with people it does not mean we must connect again. People don’t change; let them go.  Remove yourself from the drama and chaos. Try to surround yourself with healthy relationships, it is so worth it.


5.         De-clutter your stuff. You are the first to know if you have too much stuff around you. Make a list of each thing that needs to go, from the tiniest item to the largest. Get a yellow marker and mark each one that you pitch out. With each piece, you can breathe more easily.  Clutter effects more than your surroundings, it promotes peace and organization within your life.


6.         Whatever you are curious about, make a note of it. During the year, take time and research each one monthly. You will find you are learning new things unexpectedly in your life. Stay smart and challenge yourself, those synapses must be snapping. You just might accidentally acquire new skills and one never knows when job hunting becomes a necessity.


So, by creating an anti-bucket list, it might remind you to pay attention to the nuggets of family stories that you will want to remember. Even in a toxic family, stories can be turned inside out and made laughable. After all, it is a coping mechanism. There is nothing like a good story to share with others and the more bizarre, the better.


Forget those lists of places to travel in the future. Do it now. Anatomically speaking, our bodies do deteriorate and change. Backs and knees cannot always make it to the hills of Guatemala or “The Great Wall of China.” It is best to be spontaneous, even if you can only afford a small trip. At least you are exploring and not waiting for the right moment. The right moment can be no moment and life is short. Don’t wait until retirement.  Accumulated leave at work equals travel. I did most of my European travel while still gainfully employed, taking advantage of a younger body and inquisitive mind.


Write less on your calendar. Busy does not equate to being productive. Forget that yellow highlighter; that only means you “must” do something. I know you must write meetings down but produce more social things with friends, things that count. The lighter the calendar, the better time you will have in life. Your anti-bucket list is extremely personal, and it only scratches the surface of concentrating on what is best for you. It is all about listing things to look forward to while you are alive. Don’t think of what you want to do before you die, but a life list of what you don’t want to do, keeping you on track mentally and spiritually.