If there is a computer program, secretarial system or life coach inspired declutter mantra that will organise my life more effectively than the humble pen and paper list, I’ve yet to find it.

In my experience the world is divided into list people and people who always run late and forget to take the DVDs back to Blockbuster in time.

Without lists, I would cease to function. Shopping lists stop me getting carried away in the pastry aisle and ensure there’s always milk in the fridge. Packing lists keep me from having to buy a new swimming costume every time I go on holiday.

And of course, there’s the ever present To Do list, which gives me at least a fighting chance of achieving more than reading another chapter of Maeve Binchy’s latest novel and watching another episode of House.

For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than scratching another bullet point off a list, seeing the visual representation of having gotten something done.

But it’s not just chores that make up my lists. I have lists of books I want to read, cities I want to visit and presents I might like for Christmas. I once started listing all the promises God makes in the bible, an incredibly encouraging project.

What I realised this week is that, with almost two month gone out of my final year as a 20-something, I still haven’t fully defined the things I want to do before my 30th birthday.

So, I’ve been having a think, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

 See the sunrise lift off at the Balloon Fiesta

 Eat something I grew myself

 Enter a short story into a writing competition

 Cook a three course meal for my entire family

 Get published in a national magazine or paper

 Cycle from Bristol to Bath

 Go to Alton Towers or Chessington

 Complete a teaching course

 Read a biography

 Go for a picnic with a big group of friends

 Translate my great grandfather’s old letters

 Knit a jumper for myself

 Bake a pie in my Pampered Chef pie dish

 Go outdoor ice skating at Christmas

As well as this, I want to apply something of a Yes Man principle to my life, agreeing to outings and adventures that I might otherwise have thought twice about.

On the surface there’s nothing life changing about many of these points, but some represent important steps for me: entering a short story into a competition, for example, will be a huge breakthrough for this insecure wannabe novelist.

Other goals will simply involve getting past my natural lazy streak: there’s not a lot that will get me up before dawn, but I think that seeing dozens of hot air balloons filing the skies above Bristol will be worth it.

I’m bound to add to this list as the year goes on – no doubt you’ll have a number of suggestions too, dear Reader – and hopefully by 9th February 2010 I will have achieved every single one of my challenges, no matter how big or small.

Now I just need to copy the list into the back of my diary so I can start scratching points out. It wouldn’t be the same simply deleting them from a computer document.

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