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All of us have goals we’d like to achieve and dreams that we’d like to fulfill before we die. By reflecting on your aspirations and organizing them into a “bucket list,” a list of things you’d like to do over the course of your lifetime, you can get excited about your future and inspire yourself to achieve your wildest and most ambitious dreams.
Many people don’t begin actively pursuing their greatest dreams until they’re ill or otherwise shaken up by major life events. Don’t wait until it’s too late to start making your ambitions a reality!
No fantasy is too big to include on your bucket list! Here are some tips for getting started.
Give Your List a Name & a Format
The term “bucket list” is murky in its origins, but likely refers to the medieval practice of kicking a bucket out from under someone’s feet at the time of an execution. Some people prefer to give their lists other titles, as the original term is a rather bleak reminder of one’s own mortality! Come up with a name for your list that’s inspiring to you. You can call it your “lifetime goals,” your “dream list,” your “life’s to-do list” or something else that speaks to you.
One oft-neglected aspect of creating a bucket list is deciding where to store it. Recording your hopes and dreams represents a sincere commitment to achieving your goals, rather than simply pondering them. Research has shown that people are significantly more likely to achieve their goals when they write them down and share them with others. When starting your list, you might choose a simple notebook or online document to begin jotting down ideas that appeal to you. A bucket list, however, is something that will likely accompany you for the rest of your life. Consider storing your list in a permanent way that’s visible to you. Print out a copy and hang it somewhere where you can see it, using it as a source of daily inspiration. Consider posting your bucket list online, sharing blog posts or videos of your tasks as you accomplish them. The more often you look at your list and talk about it, the more likely you’ll be to achieve your goals.
Think About Length & Organization
There’s no required length for a bucket list. Some people find that they have only a few dozen major goals and dreams; others have bucket lists with well over 1,000 items on them! No dream is too big or too small to include on your bucket list. Even if something seems impossible, include it! If you put your mind to it, almost anything is potentially achievable.
Consider starting with a list of at least 30 goals. It’s best to mix smaller, more achievable goals with larger, more ambitious dreams. By checking smaller goals off of your list, you’ll likely find yourself feeling more confident and motivated to achieve your grandest fantasies.
Once you’ve added a few items to your bucket list, consider breaking your main list down into “mini lists.” Consider making a short-term list with items that you want to accomplish within the current calendar year. If there are certain items that are seasonal, organize and prioritize them so that you can accomplish them at the right time of year. Are you approaching 60, 70, or 80? Consider flagging your most important goals as ones that you’d like to achieve before you reach your next milestone birthday. By doing so, you can determine how to best allocate your time and financial resources towards achieving these dreams.
Get Inspired & Discover Ideas
Some ideas for your bucket list might come naturally. Most of us have a few dreams, such as visiting an exotic location or learning how to dance, that we’ve always dreamed of but never set about achieving. After getting these ideas down on paper, however, you might be stumped.
Though it might seem morbid, consider writing out a eulogy for yourself. What would you want someone to remember about you? What would you want them to say about your life? By performing this exercise, you can see the ways in which you wish to transform your life. Do you want to be remembered as someone charitable? Add more charitable activities to your bucket list, such as donating blood or volunteering to help the less fortunate. Do you want your peers to remember you as someone who was daring and adventurous? Add exciting vacations and daredevil activities to your list! Live your life the way you’d like to be remembered.Many individuals have listed their own bucket lists online. Consider looking at others’ lists for inspiration! Be sure to consider all areas of your life, too. Though many people focus on travel, adventure, and experiences when adding items to their bucket lists, there are many more areas of life that are worth addressing, too. Do you have any educational goals you’d like to achieve? Perhaps online classes can help you learn something new. Would you like to improve your health or try a new sport? Are there exotic foods or foreign cuisines that you’ve never tried? Perhaps you have a professional or financial goal that you’d really like to achieve, too. Maybe you’d like to focus on bonding with your family, or improve your personal well-being through a practice like meditation. Try to include a mix of different goals on your list.
If you still find yourself stuck, consider seeking out a list of introspective questions and writing down your answers. Ask yourself what you’d do if you won the lottery, or if you found out you only had a short time left to live. What were your dreams throughout your childhood and young adult life? Are there any people who particularly inspire you? Are there any cultures you’d love to explore, animals you’d like to encounter, or events you want to attend? Do you have any projects that you can begin right now, from the comfort of your own home? Maybe there’s something you’ve been dreaming about and have simply been postponing until now. Inspiration can be found both internally and externally. Seek out outside resources, but also turn inwards. You’ll likely find that you have lots of hidden goals and dreams.
Seek Out Support & Get Motivated
Your bucket list shouldn’t be something you write and accomplish alone! Those who involve others in their goals and plans are far more likely to accomplish their dreams than those who work alone.Consider meeting up with a few friends, chatting and swapping bucket list ideas. If you’re dating or in a relationship, talk to your significant other about dreams and goals you’d like to accomplish together. Maybe your family has some ideas, or perhaps there are goals you’d like to accomplish with your own parents, siblings, or children. If you’re feeling really inspired, consider holding a “bucket list party” in which you and your friends and family members brainstorm ideas and make plans for the future.
As you work your way through your bucket list, continue connecting with those you care about. Sometimes, enlisting an adventurous friend or family member can help you achieve a goal that you’d otherwise struggle to accomplish on your own. Working with others can help you achieve your dreams.
Once you’ve written out your bucket list, start by focusing on something small that you can accomplish. Focus on your goal and strive to achieve it! Consider taking steps to accomplish at least one of your biggest dreams, too. If you’ve always wanted to travel to a foreign country, for instance, start saving up money and learning the local language today.
Don’t be shy about changing your list, too. New goals may come to mind, or your priorities might otherwise change. The most important thing is to simply focus on making your dreams a reality. You might feel anxious, or pushed outside of your comfort zone. This is to be expected! Don’t be discouraged, however. When you finally check those big dreams off of your list, you’ll be proud of yourself and glad that you achieved something special.
Don’t delay! Get started with your bucket list today. Simply jot down the first few ideas that come to mind. When you have more time, you can sit down and refine your list, adding to it and planning out which goals you’d like to achieve first. Get dreaming and then start making your dreams a reality!What is your wildest bucket list dream? Share it in the comments below!
Photo: freely / adobe stock