Almost anyone that I have ever encountered has had some sort of list of things they hope to do “Someday” or “Before I die.” These are most commonly known as a bucket list. Some people, such as myself, choose to write out a bullet point list of these goals. I even go as far to try adding date of completion to mine. Other people do not write down their goals and they float through the realm of their mind lost forever. I’ve always found that writing down my goals or things to do, makes them more tangible. Writing down goals allows you to clearly see what it is that you want to accomplish.
However, simply making an effort to write down your goals is not enough. Recently, I found an old “Life List” that I made as a teenager but hadn’t seen in years. Looking back on it seven years later I did see that I had managed to accomplish quite a few things that I set out to do. This is awesome but there are also many items on this list that are exceptionally unclear and therefore will never be completed.
Some unachievable goals.
Sure, delving into my personal psychology or breaking my destructive patterns were noble wishes of an 18 year old. However, how will I know when I’ve completed them? If you want to be able to complete a bucket list the items you add must be tangible and have clear outcomes. Make the items on your list actionable items. “Go to the Grand Canyon” I did that, I know when I did that, I can cross that off. You could even go as far to have multi-part items: Learn to Scuba Dive, Scuba Dive in the Great Barrier Reef, Scuba Dive in Belize, etc, But all items must be clearly actionable and have a clear end point. There is no point if having a bucket list that you cannot complete!
When the item has clear end goal it is much easier to say you’ve done it.
Give yourself some timelines. A great human error is always thinking that we have more time. Oh, I’ll get to bungee jumping some day. Sure, I’ve always wanted to white water raft but I just don’t have time right now. Thinking you have more time and making excuses will prevent you from ever completing your bucket list. Try choosing 1-3 items a year that you will complete. You can make the time to do three things a year that you have always wanted to do. Even just completing one is a big step towards living the life you want. I will be transcribing my list into my Filofax so that it is always with me.
It is perfectly okay if your goals change over time. Rewrite them so that they fit your new life trajectory or simply remove them. People change over time and our ideas or lifestyles change. For example, I see that at one point I wished to get married. I no longer find this to be important. Sure, I want a partner someday but I don’t find the formality of marriage to matter so much. If five years down the road you see an item that you no longer care to do then change it up.
Many of my Bucket List items are travel related but not all of them have to be.
Five Easy Steps for Creating a Bucket List:
- Actually take the time to write the items down. Better yet, make them fancy, a list that you can be proud of or write them down in their own special notebook. Your dreams and goals are important.
- Make them tangible, actionable items. How will you know when you have completed them?
- Give yourself some timelines. For example, I want to learn how to scuba dive by 2018. I want to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef by 2020.
- Revel in the feeling of success or happiness when you have achieved something that you have always wanted to do. You are amazing! Look at what you have accomplished! This will motivate you to keep going.
- Adapt your goals to your current life. Desires can change but never lose focus on doing what is best for you.
Side Note: Many of the ideas in this post are also translatable to lists and goals outside of bucket lists.