“22 for 2022” List Suggestions

Typewriter writing phrase "This year I will..."

In the tumult of everyday life, it can be hard to take the time and energy to reflect.

For that reason, I embrace any prompt that helps us to think about what we might do to make ourselves happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative.

That catalyst can be a date (like January 1 or a birthday), an event (like a medical diagnosis or a job change), or a new idea (like an idea from a book or someone’s comment).

On the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, we love to explore different approaches to making change. We’ve talked about joining the yearly challenge (#Rest22in22), identifying a one-word theme for 2022, and making a “22 for 2022” list.

If you’re refining your 22 for 2022 list, here are a few ideas. Over the years, we’ve seen the creative ways that people approach these lists.

You might…

  • Use 22 as a target number, like “Try 22 new recipes”—on my list, I aim to “Delegate 22 tasks”
  • Divide the list into categories, like “Family,” “Work,” “Adventure”
  • Build the entire list around a single important aim, like “Start my side hustle” or “Finish my Ph.D. thesis”
  • Build the entire list your one-word theme—for instance, “Less” or “Health”
  • Do a beautiful visual presentation of your list
  • Keep your list displayed where you’ll be able to review it frequently
  • Make a list of only fun, enjoyable things! This approach is especially helpful for Obligers, who may need accountability to do the things that they’ll enjoy
  • Divide your list into “easy” and “stretch” aims—like 11 and 11
  • Make a list as a family, with a sweetheart, etc.


Some things we’ve learned from previous years:

Pay attention to your vocabulary. The same activity can be much more appealing—or not—depending on how we frame it, the vocabulary we use, and how it suits our individual nature, values, and preferences.

Would you rather “practice piano” or “play piano?” Would you rather “Turn out the light by 11 pm” or “Get more restful sleep by going to bed by 11 pm?”

Don’t worry about whether you’ll be able to cross off all 22 items. In the many years we’ve done this exercise, neither Elizabeth nor I have ever managed to do that! The key question is: Does making this list help us to be happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative by the year’s end? And it definitely does.

Both of us have rolled over many items from one year to the next. Sometimes, it takes a few years to get something done. But keeping it on the list means that it doesn’t fall completely out of view.

Sharing lists can be a great ice-breaking exercise. People’s lists reveal a lot about interests, values, and aspirations—it’s an interesting glimpse into someone’s personality, but it’s not so intimate that it feels inappropriate.

Have you made a list of your “22 for 2022?” Download the free PDF here. We love to see people’s lists—it’s fascinating to see what people do with their list—so if you’re so inclined, post it to #22for22 on social media. We can get good ideas and encouragement for each other.

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