Your Bucket List: How To Make One And Why You Should

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A bucket list, also known as a life list, is a record of the things you’d like to do or accomplish before you die. Research suggests that people who write down their goals are more likely to accomplish them. So, creating a bucket list is a powerful tool for reaching your life’s goals.

Creating a life list is as simple as taking out a piece of paper and a pen and brainstorming. But there are key things you can do to help you create a bucket list that excites you — and will help you to keep checking off those completed items!


Use these 8 tips to create your list and reach your goals:

1. Take your time
You don’t have to come up with your bucket list in an hour or a day. Instead, think about it over a period of a few weeks. Start your list and keep it handy so you can keep adding to it or revising it. Not only do making goal lists help you accomplish your dreams, but the practice of thinking about our goals helps us reflect on our life. Between work, family, and other obligations, many of us don’t stop to pause and think about what we want more of in our lives. Creating a bucket list helps you do that, so enjoy the process.

2. Go broad
According to an article in Fast Company, the most popular bucket list items often include travel. When you’re making your list, definitely think about traveling and the places you’d like to see before you die, but also contemplate other areas of your life and your goals regarding work, community, family, fun, fitness, and more.

3. Focus on the everyday
You might think you need to include extraordinary goals like completing an Ironman triathlon, writing a novel, or joining the Peace Corps. If those are things you truly want to accomplish, include them. However, think of small things that you’d like to make a part of your everyday life. For instance, maybe you fantasized about drinking your morning coffee on your front porch, but you never actually do it. Or you’d like to plant a vegetable garden one day. Make those small, doable goals a part of your list too.

4. Be specific
Just like with a New Year’s resolution, the more specific you are, the better. Goals like “travel the world” or “include more music in my life” are too nebulous. Meanwhile, goals like, “take a bike tour through Tuscany” or “learn to play my favorite song on the piano” are things you can make happen one day.

5. Go as long or short as you like
Because you’re including a variety of items on your list (some commonplace, others spectacular), you may have a long list. That’s OK! You don’t have to have a perfectly round number of items. Make your list as long or as short as you like.

6. Divide to conquer
Look at your list and create sub-lists. You can add time parameters around your goals (such as things you want to accomplish or do by the end of the year, within the next 5 years, and things you want to accomplish at some point in your lifetime). Or you can divide it into sections devoted to work, home life, travel, etc. Organize it however works best for you.

7. Put it out there
Once your list is in a good place, share it! Post it on social media, email it to friends, or upload it to BucketList.org. Other people may be able to connect you with a person or organization that can make some of your goals achievable. And sharing your list will add some accountability to accomplishing the tasks.

8. Revisit and revise
Just like life, your bucket list is a work in progress. Over time, you can cross things off that you’ve accomplished (Go you!), tweak goals that no longer fit your life or that you no longer desire, and keep striving toward others. Feel free to add and remove goals as time goes on. If you don’t keep your list in a place you’ll see it often, make sure to take it out at least once per year for revising.

Do you have a bucket list? Tell us some of the things on it or share the bucketlist.org link to it on Facebook or in the discussion!

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This content is made possible in part by the generosity of Sodexo, supporting Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ in Quality of Life and Nutrition.

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Posted by Holly E Carpenter, RN, BSN on Oct 1, 2018 1:06 PM CDT

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