Every one has a list of things they want to do before they die. Whether it is written down or not, there is something in this world that you would like to do, but have yet to experience/accomplish. Writing out a “bucket list” is the first step you can make towards accomplishing some of these goals. However, this can be a harder list to write than you might expect. If you use the following tips, you should be able to not only write a meaningful list, but actually accomplish it as well. For reference, here is the beginning of my list. Mine still has a ways to go.
1) Don’t try to write it all at once. This isn’t an easy list to write. You may get to 20 or 30 things, and start drawing a blank. Don’t get discouraged, just take some time off before you come back to it. This is an evolving process. It may take you weeks or months to actually finish a complete list. Many people will never have a completed list, because it will constantly be added to. So just think of it as a working document. Whenever you think of something, write it down and add it.
2) Think outside the box. Some of the most interesting things on your list are going to end up being some of the most random. The ones that set you apart from everyone else. For me, a big one is #27: Golf at Augusta National Golf Club. It is the most difficult course to get on in the world, and many view it as a mecca of the sport. I want to play. It certainly isn’t easy, but hey, I have a lifetime to fulfil these goals!
3) Target different areas of your life. Usually when people start their lists, the vast majority of the first things they write down are things related to travel. I want to go here, and here etc. This is great, I know a very large portion of my list is devoted to this. But try and expand in to other aspects of your life. Hobbies, finances, careers, relationships, activities, these are all great things to consider when building out a lifetime list. Rather than I want to go to Buenos Aries, break it into two items. I want to learn to Tango, and Tango dance in Argentina. Having a purpose for the locations you want to travel to can make your trip that much more fulfilling when you actually accomplish it.
4) Read other people’s lists. Maybe you have hit a road block and you need some ideas, check out what other people are wanting to do. You may not add their specific goals to your list, but I bet you will at least get some ideas. There are dozens of sites out there about lists people have created. The most popular is 43things. Another one that I really like is Project 183. A guy sets out to accomplish 183 random tasks by the time he is 30. This is a great example of a list that does things a little bit differently.
5) Make some easier to achieve than others. If all of your goals are difficult to accomplish (expensive, time consuming, un-realistic) your list isn’t going to be very effective. You will quickly get discouraged and not make the progress you should be. So make some easy! As you start checking things of your list, you will be surprised how much momentum you can gain, making it easier to accomplish some of the ones that require more effort.
6) Include something you can do TODAY. In order for you to be successful you have to get rid of the “someday” mindset. Where it is always “Someday I am going to do ________” or “Someday I am going to go _________”. Life is short, better get started. So pick something easy. Maybe it is taking a dance class, maybe it is writing a letter to someone you admire. There are plenty of things you can do right now that you have always said you wanted to do, but just never made the time to start. Well now is that time.
7) Post it publicly. If you are being held publicly accountable, you are going to be much more likely to actually do it. Point in case: this blog. The blog was started to 1) Fulfill one of the items on my list and 2) Hold me accountable for the rest of the list.
8) Set goals. Without goals the list doesn’t work. If you don’t set a timeline or don’t start taking action, you never will. So create a goal of accomplishing 5 things a year (depending on your list). Maybe you want to do everything by the time you are 40? Come up with a realistic plan for how you are going to do it, and stick to it.
9) Use both broad and targeted goals. So you want to see the Eiffel Tower, go to NYC, great, add them to the list. Those are very targeted items. Also include some things that aren’t as well defined. For instance #38 on my list is “Do Something Newsworthy”. I have no idea what that will be, or what qualifies. But at some point I am going to be able to check that one off. This leaves the door open for the unexpected and adventure. You could wake up one morning having no idea that you are going to be able to cross something off the list that day. And when you do, its a pretty cool feeling.
10) Have fun! The whole idea of this is to start making steps to do the things you want to do with your life. So don’t stress about it, this is all about you and your life. Every one is going to use their list differently, so if you are finding it hard to accomplish a particular goal, work on something else! You have plenty of time.
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