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Goal setting for 2019: check! You used those SMART goals and you have a plan. Give yourself a high-five.
This time of the year it’s easy to find inspiration and a lot of conversation around the goals for the next year plans for achieving those goals. But what about longer-term goals? I know, I know, a year sounds like a long-term goal and in some ways it is. But stick with me here. What about goals that are even longer-term than a year: your lifetime goals.
What about a bucket list?
I’m sure you’ve heard the term before, whether in the slightly fantastical Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman movie or in a conversation elsewhere that was more on the realistic side.
What Goes On A Bucket List
Well, anything you want to achieve goes on your bucket list!
Step one: brainstorm. Find somewhere comfortable and start a list. Anything and everything goes on the list, no matter how crazy it seems. Big things like traveling to all the continents and or smaller things like perfecting the perfect pie crust. This is your license to dream big. Don’t feel hemmed in by practicality at this time, think passion!
It might be hard to find a jumping off point. You can pose questions to yourself like: if you died tomorrow, what would you regret not doing? What places have you always dreamed of seeing? Is there anyone you would love to meet and how would you go about doing that? What experiences do you want to have with your spouse, or children or parents? Are there any achievements or experiences you see your friends having that make you yearn to do the same?
Now Organize The Bucket
Ok, so you’ve got a list that’s all over the place. Good! Now, see how you can categorize items.
Often many items will fall under the category of travel – I think we all dream of exotic lands and far-flung places we haven’t yet gotten to see. Put all of that in one category.
Maybe another category is education. Want to learn a new language? That instrument you’ve thought beautiful your entire life? All that gets wrapped up together!
Keep going like this finding categories and pulling like items together. At this point there’s usually a bit of clarity – you’ll probably start to see some themes running through your list.
Pat yourself on the back. You’ve taken the first huge leap toward creating a bucket list for yourself. Maybe you’ve captured the energy and want to keep plowing ahead, or maybe you want to let a few days pass and your thoughts clarify a bit.
Where the Bucket Meets the Road
Maybe it’s been a few days, maybe it’s only a few minutes but you’re going strong and ready to move ahead. You’ve got a great bucket list and it’s loosely organized by categories – what next?
Scroll through the list and be on the lookout for big items. The ones that are “get my pilot’s license to fly hot air balloons.” Who even knows what all the steps are to achieving that goal? That’s a big question, but the question for now is, “What is the first step to achieving this goal?” Maybe that’s taking a local pilot for a cup of coffee and asking their advice. Maybe it’s going ahead and registering for flight training. You know yourself best, so be honest about what your starting point is for each of your bucket list items.
Filling Your Bucket
Perhaps the most fun step of buckets lists comes now – deciding which one or ones you want to focus on! Do you have vacation days saved up at work and want to plan one of those dream trips? Or maybe you’re out of vacation time but you recently found yourself with the free time to join a French club and learn to parle Français.
Bucket lists aren’t about endings, they are about living the best life we can! I know a woman named Marci who got inspired to live her best life and ended up founding DreamsCo which is all about bucket lists. It doesn’t get any better than starting a list and before you even get to the end you founded a company all about helping other people achieve their dreams!
Once we put our mind to something and start putting energy behind that, we can achieve things which once seemed crazy. If you want inspiration, check out Marci’s bucket list that now is a list of 101 Completed Dreams.
The best part about a bucket list (or maybe the worst part depending on how task-oriented you are!) is that bucket lists aren’t always meant to be completed. It’s the kind of list that is an ever-evolving document. As one item comes off, maybe you have the ability to add another item to the list.
Frame The Bucket On The Wall
Well, maybe it doesn’t need a frame. But certainly don’t go hiding your list in the back of the bottom desk drawer. Science shows that if we write down our goals and dreams and see that regularly we are more likely to achieve them. So whether you type it up in a pretty font or write it out in your best penmanship be prepared to keep you list somewhere you will see it regularly. That doesn’t mean you have to post it on your refrigerator for all the world to see, but maybe on your vanity mirror? Or taped to the side of a computer monitor? You know yourself best but strive for a location that you’ll see frequently and bonus points for a location where you already feel inspired!
Start your list off with, “1 – Write my bucket list!” Then mark it off with gusto and find your next dream to make a reality!