Should We Still Be Making Bucket Lists?
There is a belief that within life, if you dream about doing something, you can probably do it. Society often tells us that if we start setting our minds on the unbelievable, the unattainable things that we crave in life - like our private island, that second house on the lake, winning gold at the Olympics - can become a reality. Frankly, there is some honesty and true-to-life thinking behind this idea. There is a delicate balance between working hard towards your goals and never giving up on your dreams, no matter how crazy they may seem.
Somewhere along this path, the idea of bucket lists started to become a reality. What exactly is a bucket list? Simply put, it is a collection of goals, dreams and aspirations that you would like to accomplish within your lifetime. The basic purpose of a bucket list is to keep track of your goals and to take steps towards achieving these goals in order to maximize the incredible experiences in your life. For some, these goals are things such as the second house on the lake or their own private island, but for many, it can be as simple as wanting to travel to their dream destination or seeing the Northern Lights.
However, the problem is that we like to fantasize about what could be. We're often busy working or participating in our social lives - we're focused on the things that really matter, but we think there's something new and exciting beyond that, so we make a bucket list. Here's my advice. It might help to make a reverse bucket list. Or to kill it entirely. Let me explain.
The Reverse Bucket List
Let me first start off by saying that I do not think bucket lists are entirely a bad thing - they allow people to create a clear trajectory towards their goals and dreams. However, when a bucket list is filled with too many unattainable or seemingly impossible goals, it can become something hazardous. For example, one of the most common items that appears on most people's bucket list is climbing Mount Everest. The thing is, most people in the world do not have the skills or the time (and perhaps even the budget) to pull this off.
When it comes to an aspiration like this, many people would normally put that first on the list, the one thing they want to do before they die. In reality, it's not really that big of a priority - In fact, things like visiting Italy or buying a second home on an island are not really that rewarding (or practical). Those items, the big ones that won't give you a lasting sense of accomplishment, should go dead last.
In creating a reverse bucket list, we can begin to prioritize the things that truly matter in life - for example, things like love, companionship, family, and community. We begin to learn what is more valuable to us in life - understanding that some things that are more materialistic aren't worth working towards as much as these other priorities.
In visualizing what to make for your bucket list, there is a strategy I read that wants you to imagine yourself in a hospital bed (I know, maybe not the most comfortable of visions). But you have a pen and paper in hand, giving the right to think about what you are grateful for in your life. Would you really list anything about visiting a foreign country or buying that lake-house? Not really. People in that actual situation usually think about loved ones, grand kids, children, their spouses. It's seemingly and perfectly human. All of those typical bucket list items like going on a cruise have nothing to do with other people, usually. The point is, not everyone is going to put "having children" on their bucket list, but in might be something to start considering in the long run of things.
Making A List That Focuses On Long-Lasting Joy Rather Than Quick Perks
In going off of the previous paragraph, you may begin to realize that there is an occurring theme here: Pick things that bring lasting joy.
In your list, it's also important to think about the things you might regret not doing in life. Do you want to write a book? That's on my list (memoir perhaps?). It's OK to have items that are career-oriented, although "rising the corporate ladder" is also not normally something you'd think about in that hospital bed. Donating a month of your salary to charity? Maybe. Tutoring a college student? For sure. Pick things that will be highly rewarding, the long-term big picture items. And it can be cheesy - no one is going to laugh if "getting married" is on that list. Hopeless romantics are always welcome here.
Are There Things To Learn From Bucket Lists?
As stated before,bucket lists can be quite useful when actually used properly! As I said, creating a bucket list what matters to you can be a very helpful tool towards attaining your life goals. Even more so, making your own bucket list allows you to sort of plan out goals in a step by step process. It also gives you the ability to break down your goals into smaller and more doable activities. Apart from these, there are other reasons why you should create one, here are a few:
- Boost your drive towards a goal: Creating a bucket list of places you want to go or things you want to do can be a very helpful tool towards attaining your life goals.
- Helps you remember things you actually want to do: With a bucket list, you can write down the things that need remembering at the moment you are thinking about them. You can then have no worries about forgetting your thoughts or ideas because you’ve already documented them. Though, it does help to occasionally you should revisit your wants and figure out if they’re still relevant in your life.
- Become more productive and efficient: When you have a bucket list, you already know the things you want and need to do. You automatically eliminate the time you spend thinking and remembering them, thus you become more efficient. Additionally, when you have a bucket list, you break down your goals into doable activities, which makes it easier and faster for you to achieve your goals.
Why is this all so important? These are the things you care about most, and it helps guide you in life. What are you waiting for?
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