This article was last updated on December 31, 2015
One of the biggest struggles with bucket lists is that people write a huge list of scenarios they want to see themselves in before they “kick the bucket” and don’t actually attain any of them. There are some fundamental flaws they make in their lists. These, fortunately, are easy to overcome. When you’re ready to compile your ultimate to-do in life list, use this as a guide to ensure that you are actually going to get things done.
10 Ways To Write a Meaningful Bucket List
1. Take the Time to Actually Write Out Your Bucket List
How often have you heard someone say, “Seeing X concert live is on my bucket list,” or, “before I die, I want to visit X?” You would be amazed how many people have a mental list and have never actually written any of it on paper. Writing anything down and reading it helps your brain process and solidify the information. Your thoughts become things. Take this a step further and make a mini-list that you carry with you in your purse or wallet, and take it with you everywhere you go so that you can re-read it as much as possible. Go even further by creating visuals such as vision boards and collages that represent your bucket list goals.
2. Use Detailed Planning to Increase Your Life Quality
One thing to keep in mind is happiness. If you’re like most people, you’re happier while working toward your goals. A dominating percentage of humans are happier while working toward goals than they are when they actually attain them. This makes planning things out a very important part of bucket list writing. If one of your list items is to have a book published, you should include a planning breakdown with categories such as literary research, manuscript completion, editing, cover design, working with an agent, proposal writing, etc. If you’d like to go to France, be specific: write about the cities you want to visit, the cafes you would like to dine in, and what you want to eat while vacationing. These details are a sure way to make attainment more realistic.
3. Don’t View the List as a Morbid Reminder of Mortality
If you’re viewing your list as a reminder that you’re going to someday going to die, reframe your intention. By looking at your list of experiences you want to achieve to increase your life quality, you will, A. Be more likely to start working on your list right away rather than someday in the future, and B. Have a generally more positive and excited outlook on your goals. If it makes you feel better about striving for your goals, rename your list anything but “bucket list.” Try something like, “My Life Map,” or, “Living Like Royalty List.” Use a title that makes you feel positive about achieving the items listed.
4. Understand that You Don’t Have to Write it all Right Now
You can try to write your list all in one day, but you will find that you will be constantly coming back to it, adding items, and making improvements to your current goals. Save yourself the stress of thinking you have to get it perfect. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is that you’re going to create excess stress by trying to perfect it in a single sitting. Secondly, you are more likely to start actually doing if you know that this is an open-ended document. So, write out what you can, and come back to your bucket list often to make improvements and to add new experiences.
5. Include Something that You Can Accomplish Today
Starting on your list right now makes it more believable for you. If you have a certain pair of shoes you’ve been coveting, and you can afford them, put it on your list to order a pair today. If there’s a club you’ve been wanting to check out, put it on your bucket list and go out dancing tonight. These experiences are ultimately going to enhance your life, so you should start this adventure by making things happen beginning today.
6. Target Multiple Areas of Your Life
You are not a one-dimensional being and neither should your bucket list be. Whether, at this point, your checklist is organized or not, make sure that you have items on the list that enhance your social, mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Making it to a confession booth for the first time can be just as nourishing for your health as trying the paleo diet. Think about finances, hobbies, family, relationships, forgiveness, creativity, travel, adventure, beauty, fitness, and more. Mix things up, and try to diversify your list to stimulate you in all ways.
7. Utilize Social Media to Your Maximum Benefit
Social media can be very valuable to you when you are trying to accomplish goals. You can use groups on Facebook like Bucket List Beasts, which has over 2,000 members, to read other people’s lists for ideas, or share your own for motivation from others. Try seeking-out online forums for the same reasons. If you share your list in a public post where your friends and relatives can see it, you are likely to get a lot of encouragement. This can only be helpful, and you might catch the eye of someone who can help you achieve one of your more out-of-reach goals. You will be gaining extra willpower and motivating others at the same time.
8. Set Goals for Your Goals
This might, at first glance, seem a little obsessive. Really, though, setting a timeline or a rule such as, “check off one item each month,” you can solidify your intent, and ensure that you get everything on the list done. An attainable plan for how you plan to execute this plan is all we’re suggesting. Seriously, though, consider some motivational rules for getting things done, then make it happen.
9. Be as Silly, Random, and Creative as You Please
This is your life, these are your plans, and you are the only one who decides what the boundaries for ridiculousness are. If you catch yourself not writing something for fear of how others might feel about it, without a doubt, write it down anyway. Your job is not to make others happy – it’s to make you happy. People who have accomplished extraordinary things will tell you that they faced opposition from others who, at times, thought they were absolutely crazy. Remember that you get to make the rules, and this list of yours can be as outrageous as you can imagine.
10. As Far as Difficulty Goes, Variate Your Checklist
Some of your items should be easy to attain, making you realize that you can make things happen. Others should be so difficult that, once you finally accomplish them, you realize that you can move mountains when your will is strong. Checking things off the list will give you the momentum to keep going.
You should end up with a list that pushes your anxiety and makes you a stronger, more fulfilled person. By following these guidelines, you are sure to make the most of your bucket list and your life. Share your own advice and tips in the comments.