Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, Do You Have a 2023 Bucket List?

Nov. 13, 2023
If you end the year checking items off your annual bucket list, does it strengthen your resolutions for the new year?

Each January we publish a piece about New Year’s Resolutions, and we usually try to focus on generally beneficial performance improvements instead of specific goals to attain. Recently it occurred to us that, just as resolutions tend to be approached annually, perhaps bucket lists should be approached the same way. What if, instead of waiting until January for a list of resolutions, we put together a list of potential bucket list items that could be aimed at for completion prior to the end of the year? Let’s take a look at this where it might be applied to on-duty law enforcement items and then perhaps a few off-duty items you could consider.

One of the biggest yearly concerns for all law enforcement professionals is training mandates. Each year there are firearms qualifications to perform and in-service requirements to complete. Have you gotten both of yours done for the year? Beyond meeting the minimum standards, have you considered setting a goal of doubling it? You have about seven weeks left in the year (as this is written) – do you have time to get in another set of qualifications with the goal of improving your scores or pass ratio? Can you get another day or two of in-service?

Have you purchased or updated your uniforms this year? Put that new pair of patrol boots on your wish list for Christmas? What could you do that would put you on better footing for the coming new year? How can you set yourself up for success where your professional appearance is concerned? Remember that applies to your patrol vehicle as well as your uniform and whatever workspace you might have at your agency headquarters.

Have you reviewed your personnel file lately? Is it up to date? Have you made sure all of the training you completed for the year is noted appropriately? What we’re driving toward is this: Have you ensured that your records are updated sufficiently to support your career goals? If not, take the opportunity, prior to the end of the year, to make sure you correct any deficiencies.

Finally, there’s your off-duty life to consider. Were there any activities that you wanted to enjoy this year that you were too busy to make time for? Again, you have about seven weeks left in the year to make them a reality.

Was there a camping trip you wanted to take? A fishing trip you had to reschedule? It’s hunting season and if you’re a hunter, you need to make sure you schedule the time out in the field. Was there something you wanted to do with the family, or the kids and you didn’t have time because staffing is severely short? Make time to do it before the silly season gets much sillier.

Did you have a hobby you wanted to start? Or one you didn’t make enough time to enjoy? Make the time to check it off your bucket list. Think about the seven weeks you have left and figure out what’s on that bucket list that you can get done. Commit to shortening the “not done yet” list, and then take that into consideration as you prep that resolution list for the new year. It’ll help move you toward your goals.


About the Author

Lt. Frank Borelli (ret), Editorial Director | Editorial Director

Lt. Frank Borelli is the Editorial Director for the Officer Media Group. Frank brings 20+ years of writing and editing experience in addition to 40 years of law enforcement operations, administration and training experience to the team.

Frank has had numerous books published which are available on,, and other major retail outlets.

If you have any comments or questions, you can contact him via email at [email protected].

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