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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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