For many, bucket lists come about in response to a life-altering event, which in turn brings perspective and urgency. But why should we wait to be dealt such a hand before giving a bucket list some well-deserved thought?
The college where I work houses a “Before I Die Wall”, which is part of a greater global art project. It is an unique avenue for individuals to express their life goals and dreams; a bucket list of sorts. You may have seen them in cities around the US and internationally. If you are curious or in need of inspiration, you can check out examples at www.beforeidie.cc.
I probably pass by this wall a hundred times or more each week, but I’ve admittedly become blind to the majority of postings. I had just dropped off some paperwork one day and was headed back toward my office when I caught one particular post out of the corner of my eye. “Run Naked in Public,” it read, plastered on the wall.
Bold. Daring. Running related.
As a runner myself, it got me thinking, what are my bucket list items in regards to running? Admittedly, I drew a blank. What running goals did I have for myself that I so daringly wished to complete?
As runners, we tend to become creatures of habit. We have our standard set of routes, or preferred race distances, and so forth. With each New Year we may resolve to make some minor adjustment or add a goal to our list; however, by and large we remain predictable and comfortable in our patterns. The underlying problem with most of these resolutions (as we now realize mid-year) is that the goal was either a fleeting thought, unrealistic, or no action was taken toward accomplishing it.
So what can you do to generate and check off your own running-themed bucket list? As you brainstorm, be sure to let these five questions guide you.
1. Have you told anyone?
If you only think to yourself, “it would be cool to complete an ultra,” how likely is it that you will commit this to action? Communicate your goal. Write it down. Tell a friend. Accountability and excitement will be the result. Find a “Before I Die” wall near you, and make it public!
2. Is it realistic?
For the sake of satisfaction, your bucket-list should be filled be activities that can be accomplished. With a half marathon PR of 1:49, winning Boston might be a tad optimistic.
3. Is it within your control?
What factors might be involved that may pose as obstacles to achieving your goal? Are these factors within, or outside of, your control? Make sure you have control over attaining anything on your bucket list. Winning the lottery might be nice, but too many variables are out of your hands.
4. Is it unique to you and your interests?
Are you really interested in this goal, or are you pursuing it out of influence of others? You should have a genuine intrinsic motivation to accomplish the task.
5. What’s the first step?
The best way to guarantee it will remain on the bucket list, is to never take any action toward it. If it is on your bucket list, that means it has been significant enough to elude you for this long. Consequently, it is challenging enough to require some significant changes. However, making several dramatic changes all at once may be overwhelming. Instead, make a list of steps in a natural progression toward your goal, and introduce one change at a time.
So what is on your running-themed bucket list? As for me, I will have to give it some serious thought, but I do know what won’t be on there: “Run naked in public.”
Featured photo credit: Jogging at beach/Barn Images via flickr.com