Creating a bucket list is a popular thing to do. But I must confess, until a couple of weeks ago, I didn't have one. And I hadn’t given the creation of one much thought either, until a comment from a friend let me know that an experience I had recently, was on her bucket list. It got me thinking; maybe I should create a bucket list. But first I needed to find out, what exactly was a bucket list and what was the benefit of one?
Bucket List (noun) - a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.
Why a bucket list?
Humans need variety. Having a bucket list can help bring back the excitement and variety that we crave.
Especially when are grieving or going through a time of major transition, we can feel disconnected, overwhelmed and often, without much optimism for the future.
The simple act of dreaming up items for our bucket list kick-starts our creative minds, and also fosters a sense of excitement and hope.
And once we have even just a few items on our list, we can use them to plan and bring variety into our lives. By doing new and varied things we change-up our routine, which in turn makes life more memorable.
And as we challenge ourselves to tackle new tasks or items from our list, we build a sense of confidence, and perhaps most importantly, a renewed sense of joy in our lives.
This is particularly important when we are grieving, feeling stuck or just feeling unsure about where we want to go in our life and what to do next.
We’ve all been there; those days when the sky feels grey and we are feeling less than enthusiastic for the tasks we know we need to complete. Life feels a bit ho-hum and we are looking for something to pick us up.
That is precisely how I was feeling before I started my bucket list.
You may ask, why am I sharing this with you today? Well let me explain.
It’s that time of year, and we are often thinking about goals or our dreams and hopes for the year. As I have shared previously, having goals for the year that relate to how you want to feel can ensure you achieve them.
But these big goals can feel all-consuming, or too big to feel like you can check them off easily. Sometimes the sheer size of them can be overwhelming.
Having a bucket list helps give shape to these things and also ensure that there are smaller experiences or events to look forward to on a more frequent basis.
It's Okay to Dream - Getting Started with your Bucket List
With the definition sorted, and knowing why creating a bucket list was a good, idea plus having read a few articles, I was ready.
Rather than dreaming of the end (which is what a bucket list is named for - things to do before you 'kick the bucket'), I viewed my bucket list as experiences I’d like to do or have in order to live my best life; a life aligned with my purpose and passion.
Sitting at the dining table, with a cup of tea, as well as a notepad and pen, the dreaming commenced. As the ideas came to me I wrote them down.
And they kept coming, so I kept writing.
After about an hour, I realised I had filled nearly 8 pages! It was time for a break.
When I returned, I grabbed some coloured pens and started categorising my list into different themes or areas. Simply because, at more than 8 pages the list felt overwhelming. Plus, I had noticed some themes emerging - specifically, many of my bucket list items were travel related.
Reviewing the list changed how I was feeling. Knowing I had items that are fun, exciting and will stretch me on my bucket list, filled me with joy for the future. As well as excitement for today.
By taking an hour out of my day, and jotting down many (100+) items on my bucket list, I felt a renewed sense of hope and purpose.
Bucket lists to foster gratitude
Using Google as my support, I had researched ideas for bucket lists and read other people's lists. This part of the process was illuminating. Through this process, I realised I had already checked off many items other people included on their bucket lists. I therefore added additional items to my bucket list; items I had already completed.
This certainly put my life in a whole different perspective! I felt a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness. Checking items off a bucket list and seeing we have already achieved things others are still dreaming of doing, can give us a sense of gratitude.
Dream and create your own bucket list
If you are keen to create your own bucket list, go for it! It’s easy and you don’t need any particular skills or resources. It helps to have a notepad and pen, but you could equally use your phone, or your laptop to record the items. Allow about an hour, and simply dream of everything you'd like to do in your lifetime.
Below I have included a few items from my list (yes, some of which I've already done!), to help you get started.
Dine at a Michelin 3-star restaurant
Ride in a hot air balloon
Have a personal stylist session
Kiss in the rain
See the 'Big 5' on an African Safari
Swim with turtles
Attend a black tie ball
Step on every continent
Fly in a sea plane
See Niagara Falls
Eat breakfast in bed
Take a road trip
Read 52+ books in a year
Start a blog
Create something handmade
Holiday in a snow-covered log cabin
Help someone else with a check on their bucket list
A suggestion - add some small items to your bucket list
As you dream and start listing items, I suggest you include a few smaller items as well as larger ones. Smaller items keep you motivated and ensure you have items that are achievable within the next few weeks. Smaller items might be things you can do reasonably easily or quickly. For example, breakfast in bed. (No, I've not done this one - yet!)
This approach is particularly useful if you have been feeling stuck, due to grief or unwanted change. Having something to immediately plan and look forward to, feels inspiring.
Once you start dreaming of all the places you'd like to visit, experiences you'd like to have and things you'd like to do, you may find it's quite addictive! Allowing yourself the time and space to dream about what you'd like to achieve and do in your lifetime opens your mind to the possibilities, not just for the future but for today too.
What dreams will you add to your bucket list?
It's Okay to Dream.
I share more about checking things off my bucket list in the my regular newsletters. Make sure you subscribe so you can receive them too.
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