In the last ten years, the phrase “bucket list” has become more and more popular, an impressive list that highlights all the goals and dreams you want to achieve before you well, hmmm…..kick the bucket. It is a wonderful way of clarifying and focusing on many of the things that are important to you.
However, the trouble with bucket lists is that often people wait until their golden years to start completing them. I am sure that you have heard someone say, “When I retire….” In fact, I am betting you have heard that said many times as it is another phrase that is quite popular.
Unfortunately, as people age and finally retire, they frequently give up on the hopes and dreams they once were passionate about. Perhaps this is because the dreams have change, circumstances have occurred, or yesterday’s goals are simply a little out of reach at their age. It is normally with a heavy sigh and a lingering thought, that they surrender their past goals to the wind.
The whole idea behind creating a bucket list is to make the most of the life God has given you. It’s a reminder that our life on this earth is precious yet short, and it helps us concentrate on living that life to the fullest each and every day.
While I’m sure several of you have created your own checklist of things you want to do, see, and accomplish, there are many people that don’t know where to start or perhaps think it is too late. Not only is it not too late; it is the perfect time. Think about it! How do you want to spend the rest of your life? What is on your bucket list?
Complete this little exercise and soon you will have a bucket like that is personal, tangible, and achievable.
The first step to creating an ultimate bucket list is to do a little soul searching. So grab a pen and some paper and jot down a few answers to the following questions. Be careful; sometimes the hardest part of this exercise is putting out all the negative barriers that might flood your mind.
Do not allow factors such as time restraints, having a partner, or money stop you from writing down your thoughts. Remember this is a simple brainstorming exercise. It is not a commitment to achieve the items, but just a starting point. Also, keep in mind to write everything down that comes to mind, no matter how great or how small. Just have fun with it. Are you ready? Let’s begin.
Quiz part 1
Please read each line and write down any that you would enjoy. If you like more than one item on the line, write them all down. If you don’t like any of them, don’t write any down.
1. a) ocean b) mountains
2. a) city b) country
3. a) relaxing while watching the sunset b) kayaking c) hiking
4. a) art museum b) battlefield
5. a) wine tasting b) pro-sports game
6. a) live concerts b) theater c) festivals
7. a) reading b) writing stories, poems, or songs
8. a) foreign language b) other cultures c) architecture
9. What genres do you enjoy the most?
a) Biographies e) Mysteries
b) Histories f) Self-help
c) Love/life stories g) Spiritual
d) Fantasy/Sci Fi h) Science
10. Other interests:
a) crafts j) family
b) gardening k) genealogy
c) eating out l) outdoor adventures
d) painting/drawing m) fashion
e) pottery n) decorating
Now that you have completed part 1, look over your answers. The list in front of you should help you answer the questions in part 2.
Quiz part 2
Please read each question and write down everything that comes to mind.
If you found out you only had 3 years left to live, what would you wish you could do before you die?
What have you always wanted to do for as long as you can remember?
Are there any countries, states, or sites you want to visit?
What are your goals?
Your hopes and dreams?
What do you want to experience in person?
Are there any foods you would like to try? Restaurants you would like to dine in?
Are there any shows or performances you would like to see?
What adventures would you like to have?
What hobbies or groups would you like to get involved with?
Are there certain cultures that you find exciting, mysterious, attractive?
What acts of kindness would you like to participate in?
What activities do you want to try?
What achievements do you want to accomplish?
If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
Are there any special festivals, events, holidays you want to enjoy?
What skills do you want to learn?
What do you think would be the most important thing you can ever do?
What do you like to do with the people your family?
What do you like to do with the people your friends?
What things have you often been curious about?
Analyze & Edit
Now that both parts of the quiz are completed, it is time to examine it. As you read through the paper, add anything else that comes to mind. Also remove any item that is not doable. Again be careful with this step. For example, don’t remove an item simply because it is expensive. Remember expensive doesn’t mean it is unattainable. If the expensive items are truly bucket list quality goals, you can figure out a way to have the adventures you crave. What normally makes an item undoable is if you have to rely on someone else doing most of it for you.
Also before erasing an item completely, consider if it can be altered to be more attainable. It is important to remember that your list will evolve with time. As you complete some of your goals, you will probably desire to add additional goals.
Make it Professional
Transfer the items that have remained into a notebook. Make this a special notebook that will contain plans of action, information, etc. Make it neat and as professional as possible. This states you mean business. For men, this might be a leather notebook. For women, it might mean that you decorate the cover. Whatever it is; make it personal. This is your book. It holds your dreams and desires.
Prioritizing is determining which things hold the most interest, desire, and excitement for you. It is not a chronological order of pursuit but more of an order of desire. I have found this task easier if I numerically rate them from 1 – 10, with 10 meaning, “Yes, Yes, Yes…. I have got to do this” and 1 meaning, “I would like to do this but if I don’t, it really doesn’t matter”.
Set Some Dates
Did I just hear you gasp? Choke on your drink? give the computer a blank stare? Yes, sometimes people find this the hardest step of all. Keep in mind, dates aren’t set in concrete. Instead they are simply stepping stones that help us begin working towards our goals. Of course, some of your bucket list items might seem rather easy and mild for you; quit putting them off. Set a date, do a little research, make a few phone calls, and start your adventure.
Other items might take a little doing such as saving a little money, more research, making reservations, overcoming some fears, etc. Setting general dates for these items help motivate us to take the little steps needed to achieve them. For example, a goal of zip lining can be completed easily in a month or two, while a goal of hiking the Grand Canyon might take quite a lot of preparation. Setting a general date such as the summer of 2018, will help you start making a plan of action and taking the steps listed on the plan to ensure you have a wonderful trip.
This step is the most exciting one. Start on that list! Don’t feel like you have to go out and tackle mountains. In fact, it is wise to tackle a few of the easier items first. This will give you the feeling of accomplishment and will motivate you to continue your journey. It’s an old cliché but true….”you’re not getting any younger”. So what are you waiting for? Just get out there and start living your dreams and adventures.
I would to hear from you. Have you made a bucket list? If not, then today would be a good day to get started.
If yes, then tell me what are the top 3 things on your list? Have you started working towards accomplishing them? If not, what is stopping you?