We’ve all heard of a bucket list. It’s essentially goal setting by creating a list of experiences you want to have at some point in your life. There was a movie about this concept (appropriately called The Bucket List) starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and there are countless websites and books dedicated to helping you identify and achieve these must-try adventures in true “things you must do before you die” fashion.
Often the idea of a bucket list is reserved for people who are growing older or have fading health, and they use this list as a way to make the most of the time they have left. And while we totally respect that motivation to check things off your list of goals, why should you wait to start doing what you dream about? There’s no wrong time to make a bucket list, and there’s definitely no wrong time to start goal setting, whatever they may be.
The bucket list is personal
There’s no wrong time to make a bucket list, and there’s definitely no wrong time to start goal setting, whatever they may be. But how do you make a bucket list? Where do you begin? Well, for starters, you need to be willing to dream and start thinking about the prospect of being able to really do what you want. Making a bucket list isn’t about considering what your life is already like—it’s about thinking of something you wish you could experience, and then agreeing that you can and will do it. According to Vanessa Van Edwards, author and behavioral expert, you might call this phase “dream storming” (aka a combination of dreaming and brainstorming).
Think big, and dedicate some time to writing down your ideas of what adventures and experiences would make you happy. Don’t be embarrassed about what you write, there is no wrong way to set goals for yourself. If you need a little inspiration, then you’re in luck…there are tons of resources to help you think about your dreams and adventures
Variety in life
After all, it can be hard to wrap your head around what you are capable of when you’re stuck in your daily routine. You can peruse other peoples’ bucket lists, ask a friend who happens to be a tad more adventurous than you, read books about trying something new, or check out online tools that can help you start to craft your list. Whatever tools you use, use them with an open mind, free of judgment and “I could never do that” doubts. If you dream it, you can do it. Never underestimate what is possible if you think big and are willing to work for something.
Ok, so you have your bucket list, now what? Some people are incredibly strong and independent—they’re able to embark into unknown territory without the comfort of a loved one by their side. Other people need a little push and a little support by having a partner in crime to tackle their bucket list with. (Guilty.) So pick a friend, grab your sibling, or make a pact with your partner to kick off your adventure together. After all, you’ll feel most accomplished and proud when you don’t only push yourself to your limits, but you help someone else achieve a goal as well.
Consider the timing of your bucket list. Some items might be better to save for another time in your life, especially if you currently have financial limitations or a job commitment. On the flip side, other items might be best tackled now when you are young and healthy (and possibly child-free). So stagger your list and break it out by things you want to do now, things you will do before you start a family, things you’ll do in your 40s etc.
And be specific; the more detail you use when you plan your list, the more likely you are to actually make it happen. As for the items you want to do now, don’t wait until it’s urgent. There’s never been a better time in your life to actually feel alive. And when you have your doubts (and you will), just follow the advice of motivational speaker and author Mike Robbins: “don’t take it or yourself too seriously—it’s just life. You’re allowed to make mistakes, screw things up and fall down (which everyone does and always will). Be kind to yourself in this process. Remember your intentions (those states of being and authentic desires) are what you’re truly after, not the specific outcomes or actions.” Be open to the adventures you’re about to have, and go for it!
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