How to Create a Reverse Bucket List

By Liz Froment •  Updated: 06/27/23 •  7 min read

There’s no doubt you’ve heard of a bucket list.

In fact, here at Location Rebel, we’re kinda obsessed with them (see here, and here, and here).

There’s a reason for that, and no, it’s not to humblebrag. Well…most of the time.

We love bucket lists because there are so many positive things associated with them.

In fact, creating a bucket list can help you do things in life you never thought you’d do.

It’s a fun way to push yourself. It helps you get yourself outside of your comfort zone and try new things. It can lead to all sorts of great experiences and friends.

They are great for moving us forward. Sometimes we get excited and pumped just by the concept of thinking about all of the things we want to tackle on our bucket lists.

Getting happy just planning?

Yea, it’s actually a scientific thing. People are found to get positive feelings based on the thought of doing something before they even actually do it.

Here’s the thing, though, at the end of the day, a bucket list really is nothing more than a list of stuff you’d like to do in your life. Items can be crazy, like travel to every country in the world. Or they can be relatively simple, like reading 12 new books in a year.

Where some people feel meh about bucket lists is when they feel like these unchecked items hover over them, reminding them of the things they haven’t done.

There’s a growing discussion that we spend too much time looking at the things we haven’t done and not much time appreciating the things we have accomplished in our lives.

Well, there might be a solution for that.

Enter: The Reverse Bucket List

This is a relatively new phenomenon that’s been growing in the past year or so.

Essentially, it looks to flip the script and changes your focus and your mindset. Instead of focusing on the things you haven’t accomplished (yet), it has you focus on the things you have done.

For a lot of people, the reverse bucket list has been embraced as a mindfulness exercise. It’s a way to look at being grateful for all of the things you have done.

A good way to look at it is from this quote:

reverse bucket list emerson
Today, it’s easy for people to get overwhelmed. We’ve got a lot going on. Everyone’s schedule is jam-packed, lots of people are trying side hustles, and then throw in family, friends, and kids (if you have them). Whew.

It’s also shown by studies that for all the great things social media brings us, it also contributes to people feeling increased levels of anxiety and depression.

Think about your own life. How many times have you scrolled through Instagram and started feeling a little bit down or jealous of people who have some awesome photos doing cool things?

Probably more often than a lot of us would want to admit.

Those feelings of being left out, or FOMO, or frankly not being successful enough can add even more pressure to our already stressful lives.

So one solution is to look at how we can be happier and more grateful in our lives without completely disconnecting. That’s where the reverse bucket list comes into play.

Being Grateful is the New Hotness

Mindfulness is something that is increasingly important to people, especially those in the entrepreneurial and lifestyle business world.

And this isn’t just people being all ‘woo-woo’ either. For a lot of people, this small bit of significant mindset change works.

How about a bit of science to back it up?

Science, you say?

Oh yes.

The Journal of Positive Psychology found in a study that the concept of ‘grateful recounting’ helped to improve participants’ overall well-being. Basically, the study had participants sit down every day for a week and write down three good things that had happened to them, or they felt in the previous 48 hours.

Not only did the practice become easier over time for those who wrote down their grateful recounting it also found that they subjectively felt better when asked about their well-being.

That sounds like a pretty good result for spending a little bit of time each day focusing on the positive things around us.

Learn How to Make Your First $1,000 Freelance Writing (in 30 Days or Less)

Join over 40,000 people who have taken our 6 part freelance writing course. Sign up below and let’s do this together.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Location Rebel. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

How to Create a Reverse Bucket List

So do you want to try getting your own reverse bucket list up and running?

Here’s how you get started.

Clear out an hour or so of your time, grab a pen and paper (or your laptop), and start writing.

Think about all the things you have done in your life.

Don’t get caught up in having these be just ‘big things.’ Think of the stuff that you’re proud of, even if it’s the tiniest thing or from years ago.

When I did this exercise, one that jumped out at me was winning the “Hustle and Desire” award at a basketball camp during my junior high years.

Yes, it sounds silly to a lot of people. But I was one of only a handful of girls at the camp and short (did I mention I’m not quite 5’1″ even now as a fully ‘grown’ adult) and had to hustle my butt off in order to hang with the boys.

The prize was given to me by Celtic’s guard Dee Brown, which was a pretty big freaking deal for a kid from Boston since he could do stuff like this:

My basketball career is no more, and Dee Brown is long retired, but you’re damn right I had that memory on my list. I’m still proud of it today. (And the marketing worked; I had those Reebok Pumps too!)

All too often, we end up brushing off the things we’ve done, thinking that they are no big deal, ‘Oh everyone I know graduated from high school’ or something like that.

Get those thoughts out of your head. It does matter, and it is a big deal.

You’ve accomplished something, so write that stuff down. Think about the smaller moments or milestones that you’ve hit in your life and write them down.

Here are a few reverse bucket list examples:

Now look at this list. None of these are totally out there or impossible.

In fact, millions of people do them. But let yourself have a moment of reflection and appreciate the success you had with these and the hard work you put into them.

Embracing gratefulness moving forward.

You can use those positive vibes to really help push yourself forward. So, consider not only creating your reverse bucket list but also putting this mindfulness action into practice. Set a time every month or quarter to add things to your reverse bucket list.

You might be surprised that when you start taking the time to think about your past accomplishments, you’ll be more motivated to attack your future goals.

Liz Froment

Liz Froment is a full-time freelance writer and the one who keeps Location Rebel running like a well-oiled machine. If she's not writing something informative or witty for her clients, she can most likely be found reading a good book.
Learn How to Make Your First $1,000 Freelance Writing (in 30 Days or Less)

Join over 40,000 people who have taken our 6 part freelance writing course. Sign up below and let’s do this together.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Location Rebel. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Keep Reading

Comments on "How to Create a Reverse Bucket List"

  1. Jimmy-John says:

    Thanks for reminding me how this seemingly been-there-done-that list and starting a business from a blank page is actually worth being proud of.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *