What do you want to do before you kick the bucket? Where do you want to go? What do you want to learn? Who do you want to be?
You’ve got one life to make it happen, and only you can decide what “it” is. Create your own bucket list, and design a map of life intentions that will leave you happy and satisfied when you finally reach the end of your journey.
1. Write it down. Putting your bucket list on paper makes it easier to hold yourself accountable. It moves turns your goals from empty wishes to tangible, physical reality. Whether you type it up or create a handwritten post that you’ll refer to often, writing down your bucket list is the first step to achieving your dreams.
2. Include amazing past experiences. Unless you’re a young gun or just got out of prison, you’ve probably already accomplished a few momentous victories in your life. Nothing gets a list going like a few items that are already neatly crossed off – so do so. Imagine your life from an outsider’s perspective, and delineate the amazing things that you’ve already done.
3. Give yourself time. Don’t expect to finish your bucket list in one sitting, or even one year. As you go through life, you will no doubt add new dreams to your list. Brainstorming new ideas for your bucket list can be a fun, creative task when life gets boring or depressing.
4. Look at a map. It’s a safe bet (since you’re reading this blog) that many of your goals involve travel and adventure. Pull up a world map on your computer or drag out a real one and see what destinations you’ve overlooked.
5. Be creative. Don’t just make a list of places you want to travel to: go here, go there, go everywhere. What do you visualize when you think about the destination? Write down experiences that you want to have. Use action verbs and your five senses: drink a Pisco Sour in Peru, ride a horse in Mongolia, dance a jig in an Irish pub.
6. Add little victories. Not everything on your list has to be a major goal that requires massive effort. Perhaps you want to try Ethiopian food at a new local restaurant, watch the top ten movies ever made, or dye your hair platinum blonde. Our brains experience small victories much like large ones, so be sure to account for all your little wins.
7. What do you want to learn? How do you want to grow as a person? Personal change is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. Imagine your very best self at 80 years old – what did you have to do to become that person? Write it down: learn how to bake a soufflé, stand up to my neighbor, volunteer at an animal shelter.
8. Keep it positive. Your bucket list is no place for “don’ts” or any other negative admonitions. But you can change them into positives, for example stop eating sugar can become adopt a healthy diet. Every line on your list should be something enjoyable, exciting or rewarding.
9. Don’t forget your wildest dreams. Want to go into orbit? Wrestle an alligator? Start a band with your family members? Your bucket list is no place for pulling punches. Be sure to include your wildest dreams, as long as they are actually possible (become a vampire and live forever doesn’t count).
10. Pick one item and start planning. What will your next adventure be? Your bucket list is an action guide to your life, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Choose the experience you’d like to cross off next, and then figure out the first action you need to take in that direction. Give yourself one week to make this first step happen.
Need some inspiration? Check out my bucket list here.