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How to Create and Manage Your “Bucket List” Before You Kick

How to Create and Manage Your “Bucket List” Before You Kick
Create and Manage Your Bucket List

There’s a new movie out promoting the idea that we should all be jumping out of airplanes, eating caviar and visiting the Wonders of the World before we finally croak. But is preparing a bucket list full of cliché items the right thing to do? Is it productive?

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman star in The Bucket List. It’s a hilarious flick about two terminally ill men who escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. The movie is generating all sorts of interest among the millions of people who have dream lists. Bucket List items include all the usual things that one would expect to find in a Hollywood dream list: skydiving, driving fast cars, indulging expensive tastes. It includes visiting the usually considered ultimate travel destinations like the Great Wall, Great Pyramids, Taj Mahal, etc.

The movie’s premise may resonate with many, but it is a flawed one unless the “bucket list” is created and managed in a way that reflects our individual true passions, interests and desires.

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If you are going after the bucket list items, but going through long arduous processes to get to the items, than what the heck are you doing? What’s the point? Isn’t that like playing golf in the rain where you are walking around 99% of the time getting soaked and only 1% of the time swinging at the ball? Wouldn’t it be better to golf on sunny days and find other things to do on rainy days? Wouldn’t that make the whole golfing experience a better one? This is similar to people who hate their jobs but continue in them anyway, while always looking forward to weekends and the occasional holiday. How do they justify it? Are you among them?

A bucket should not be full of impulsive stuff that we pick up as we go along through life. It shouldn’t be like grabbing a chocolate bar off the display rack. Nor should it be filled with stuff that other people talk and dream about unless it truly resonates with your aspirations. Chasing other people’s dreams would be like having a hole in your bucket.

The most satisfying things to go into the bucket for most of us are those that are part of a larger context. For example, visiting the Great Wall as part of supporting a family member or friend competing in this upcoming summer Olympics in Beijing would likely be a more meaningful experience than buying a package Great Wall tour from a travel agent. Developing that larger context or framework is something that can and should take careful and thoughtful consideration. It often takes hard thought and hard work to develop.

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Here are our suggestions for creating and managing your Bucket List:

1. Make sure you get satisfaction and joy from your day to day stuff. Don’t suffer the 99% to get to the 1% you enjoy. Make the whole experience an enjoyable one.

2. Don’t buy into your ideas and turn them into goals right away. Mull them over. If you weigh them carefully, you’ll probably find you can improve, replace or cancel them while enhancing your overall life experience.

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3. Make a plan and enjoy the process. Planning is not optional. It is a generally accepted as being a requirement by most of the experts in the field of setting and achieving goals.

4. Review list items often to make sure you still want to do it. The bucket list should be open ended. Maintain enough flexibility that you don’t become a slave to your own list. Make sure you keep working on adding new items while completing others.

5. Find ways to make each goal more meaningful. Include dimensions of quality within the items on your list. If you involve like minded people in group activities, you’ll likely get much more from the experience than if you don’t. For solitary pursuits, take steps to ensure you get the most from the experience.

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6. Document and share your goals for added enjoyment. If life is worth living, it ought to be worth writing about so commit some of these planning steps to writing. Writing the stuff down is a proven technique for turning goals into reality. Sharing them with others helps to cement your commitment to the goals and to bring others into the process. Don’t involve pessimists or nay-sayers in the process.

7. Don’t get obsessed with big “retail” goals. You are not required to share your secret fetish goals, or any goals for that matter, with others if you don’t want to. One strategy is to identify public and private goals and only share the public ones. Keep quiet about the private ones. Financial goals are often ones that are wise to keep private. But do celebrate your private accomplishments as you would your public ones. Don’t worry about it if they aren’t big or flashy.

8. Ensure your goals are consistent with who you are. Or reshape them to suit your style and preferences. For example, introverts and extroverts alike can enjoy a certain travel destination like say the Eiffel Tower, yet experience it quite differently.

The bottom line here is that you should find meaning and happiness in everything you do. Don’t get hung up on trying to compete with Nicholson and Freeman to get through their Hollywood list before the bucket tips.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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