The Yearly Birthday Bucket List

Posted On Apr 8, 2019 By Lisa Traugott

A woman in front of a birthday cake.

Every year for my birthday I do something to scare myself. It’s kind of like having a bucket list only instead of doing everything all at once and then dropping dead, I do one thing per year and then eat cake.

What if I told you that you only would get to see one more birthday before you died?

Would you live your life differently? Would you start that business, write that book, take a trip with your kids around the world? Would you finally get in the best shape of your life?

I had been yo-yo dieting since I was 11 years old. Even though I gained weight I could always do some crazy starve yourself thin diet. Until I had kids. Then none of my usual tricks worked. My doctor told me that at 50 pounds overweight I was borderline obese. I tried to blame it on the baby, but since my baby was 2 ½ that really didn’t work as an excuse. I remember one day walking past a mirror and being startled. “Who is that frumpy middle aged woman staring back at me?”

Maybe you can relate? Maybe you’ve looked into a mirror and asked, “Where did I go?”

I said to myself, “I cannot, I will not put this off another year.” So for my 38th birthday scare I entered a bodybuilding competition. You want to see scared? Tell an overweight, middle aged mom that in 5 months she’ll be standing on stage next to 20 year olds and she can only wear a bikini and a smile. That was the fastest 50 pounds I ever lost.

When you try something that terrifies you, you might fail, but maybe you’ll fly.

Here’s how you do a birthday scare:

  1. Pick your goal

    It doesn’t have to make sense or be important to anyone other than you. Here’s a tip: Be bold! Small dreams don’t have the power to excite you! Show me a person who says they want to lose weight for New Years and I’ll show you a person who’s sitting on the couch by January 5th. But show me a person who wants to run the New York City Marathon and I’ll show you a person who runs every day for three months until she crosses that finish line.

  2. You have exactly one year to complete your goal

    Birthday to birthday. This gives you exactly enough time to sufficiently procrastinate before you actually do it.

Even having tried and in some cases epically failed, I’m still happy I faced my fears. You know why? Because epic failures make epic stories. Trying new things make you feel alive.

This year was a milestone birthday – I just turned 45. Or, as my friend, Regina says, “That’s halfway to 90!” So I went big. I convinced my husband, Henri, to play Patrick Swayze to my Jennifer Grey and we learned the final number from the movie “Dirty Dancing”… you know, the one with “The Lift” at the end.

A man and woman performing the lift from Dirty Dancing.

We took six ballroom dancing lessons and practiced a little each night after work. Hollywood will not be knocking on our doors anytime soon, but man did we have fun! Not only was it a big goal to work on together (and keep top secret from our friends and family) but I cannot even begin to tell you the adrenaline rush we both experienced when we actually did the lift. It was like living out a movie fantasy I had since I was 13 years old.

What if you only had one more birthday to live?

BE BOLD

Take Action TODAY.

Birthday to birthday, make this the best year of your life and then eat some cake.


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Workout accessories next to a gym bag.