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Introduction: What is a bucket list?
A bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die. It can be anything from traveling to the moon to learning to play the guitar. The important thing is that it’s something you really want to do, not just something you think you should do.
Sometimes it’s hard to generate goals. Even if we look at both our mission statement and our wheel of life. One useful exercise I like to do is to look at my bucket list and work backwards from there.
Let’s actually brainstorm a bucket list with the small, easily realized goals, like visiting a goat farm. Or larger, more challenging goals like swim with the sharks, and then even grandiose aspirations, like maybe emceeing the Oscars.
The benefits of having a bucket list
The bucket list will be a useful tool, your own personal To Do List to help you create a meaningful life. As the years go by, you will break things down into shorter time periods, and then cross off and celebrate the things you’ve accomplished. You will also add new ideas to the list as your ideas about happiness and fulfillment evolve and respond to what’s happening in the present moment.
For example, if I want to become a best-selling author, I first need to write a book. In this way, bucket list items are just another form of goal. And that means they’re meant to be checked off.
Just like when we learned about smart goals, we need to get clear and be specific to get exactly what we want.
How to make a bucket list
A bucket list is a great way to document all of the things you want to do in life. You can make a bucket list for your personal life, or for a specific goal, like traveling. Here are some tips on how to make a bucket list:
- Start by brainstorming a list of all the things you want to do. This can be anything from visiting new places to trying new foods to learning new skills.
- Once you have a list of ideas, group them together by theme. For example, you might have a group of items about travel, another about hobbies, and another about personal goals.
- Narrow down your list until you have around 10-20 items that are most important to you. These should be things that you really want to achieve and that are realistically possible.
Some of my bucket list items (examples)
Some of my bucket list items are completely congruent with who I am, and some are a big stretch and way out there. For example, all of my life, I have had pet tortoises and turtles for pets, so it was no surprise that a lifelong dream was visiting the great Galapagus tortoise. While visiting the great Galapagos tortoise, I also swam with sea turtles, which were on my list and I swim with sharks, which was not sometimes the stretch for one takes you to other fabulous meaningful moments.
- Spend a weekend with a dear friend in New Orleans.
- Visiting an ice sculpture festival, ice bar and Icehotel.
- downloading software without having to call tech support.
- Having an art studio just for myself in my home.
- Hosting an international student.
- making scrapbooks for every single year of my life.
- Snorkel Australia’s Barrier Reef.
- Live a day with no complaining or negative thoughts.
- Buy beads in Africa and make a necklace.
- Develop a spiritual practice that sustains for three months or more.
- Grow my own pumpkins for Halloween.
After I know my bucket list items, I am ready to turn them into smart goals.
For example, I will plant three pumpkin plants in the garden by April 14. When the pumpkins grow, I check that item off my bucket list and off my goal sheet. If it’s a more complicated bucket list item, I may need both goals and supportive baby steps to get there.
To differentiate them from actual goals, I call these baby steps objectives.
Here are some examples of more complex bucket list items:
In October of this year, I will spend a weekend with a dear friend in New Orleans. To make that happen, I will need to do the following baby steps. This is where I write SMART objectives to support the SMART goals.
- So, I’d say in the next month, I will invite a friend to travel with me to New Orleans.
- Second, I must research and make a reservation at a bed-and-breakfast by June of this year.
- Third, I will order tickets to the World War two museums exclusive backstage tour by the 30th of this month.
- Fourth, my friend and I will both have airline tickets by the 30th of this month.
Bucket list conclusion
From our examples. Can you see that bucket list items come in all shapes and sizes and speak to any and all aspects of the wheel of life? Your homework for this post is to make a bucket list of 25 items. We encourage you to make at least half of them tremendously personal and some non-traditional.