A bucket list is a list of all the goals you want to accomplish (or would like to accomplish) during your lifetime. There are sure to be things you’ve seen and thought ‘I’d like to do that’ or ‘I’d like to try that’ but you may have thought it unattainable or a fantasy, or, most likely, held it in your mind but done nothing more with it. There is a popular saying ‘you regret the things you don’t do’, so in this guide, we want to help you establish some lifetime goals and we’ll help you to action them too.
Tracking your bucket list
When it comes to ‘things you want to do in your life’ are they things you’ve actually noted down, or are they just ideas in your head?
When we keep the ideas in our head they can easily be forgotten, appear unattainable or simply are not prioritised. So, the first step in creating a bucket list is having a means to track them. Personally, I have a literal bucket list. It’s just a word document of the places I want to see, the things I want to do, and the places I want to eat. You could pin it in the fridge to always have in mind or get a specific journal that’ll help you to not only monitor, but action them too. If you’re someone who likes to work quite visually, you could screenshot stories or pictures you come across that inspires you. I often do this as I see a lot of things through news reports and social media, I then add them to my list when I can.
How to organise your list
Once you’ve determined the best way of tracking your goals, it’s a good idea to organise and then prioritise them.
When it comes to organising, you could organise in, or a combination of, the following ways:
- By year, e.g., for 2021-2022 I’d like to achieve the following…
- By goal, e.g., travel, work, eateries, skills, life admin (e.g. wills, pay off debt…) etc.
- Attainability- there are going to be things easier to achieve than others.
Then arrange them based on the priority in which you’d like to achieve them. Work on the things you’d like to do most and then work down.
Be sure to update it regularly and be understanding that it’s ok for your list to change with time. What you wanted to do last year, may not appeal to you anymore and that’s more than ok. I’d also recommend keeping a list of what you’ve achieved alongside it so you can see what you’ve accomplished, which will give you a huge thrill and sense of achievement.
Finding inspiration for your list
Inspiration is everywhere. As mentioned, I use social media and news and magazine stories to inspire a lot of the things I’d like to do. But movies have played a huge part in the places I’ve wanted to travel (namely Adam Sandler movies!); Leap Year inspired my Irish travels, my planned trip to Hawaii has been inspired by Forgetting Sarah Marshall and 50 First Dates, and next on my travel list (when I’ve ticked Hawaii off) is South Africa which has been inspired by Blended. Pinterest and the internet are full of ideas if you just type in ‘bucket list’.
Finding inspiration isn’t the tricky bit but of course, taking action is.
Achieving things on your bucket list
Coming back to the way we organise our list, it’s a good idea to have several lists in one as one giant list of life goals will seem overwhelming and unachievable. Mine is coordinated by life goals – financial goals, destination goals (what I want to do when there), goals for the year, goals for the season and overall goals (whale watching, Northern Lights etc.), I then review once or twice a year and organise it.
Some of the items on my list are inexpensive or require practise over time, e.g. learning a new language (which I am doing through Duolingo) or learning calligraphy so I can write our invites in good penmanship. I am doing those things at the moment and so fall into a goal for the year or season.
With both of the above goals I am using tools that help me to monitor the progress without having to create mini goals. Duolingo for example (a free, multilanguage learning tool), has mini lessons with a daily target and reminders that help you to keep going. You could spend 5 minutes or hours on it, depending on quickly you want to excel or the time you have to dedicate to it. With calligraphy, I am using a book that has different styles and practise sheets I can use to learn.
It is likely though that you will have goals that require baby steps to achieve the overall big goal so it’s important to outline the steps to achieving it or breaking it down. For example, when it comes to the larger goals that require financial support, namely, big ticket holidays or experiences, there will be a lot of preparation required to get you there. You may need to set a saving or financial plan up and it may take a few years to get there. However, the desire to visit that destination or to have that experience, will help you to achieve it.
Tips to achieving your goals:
- Break them down if the ultimate goal is too large. Set yourself small daily, weekly or monthly tasks to get there.
- It may mean making a sacrifice. Forgo your daily coffee, weekly takeaway, or cancel a subscription to achieve your bucket list item.
- Take pride in every achievement. The sacrifices you make will be wholly worth it. Be sure to cherish and celebrate it.
- Review your goals and list regularly. It can be easy to get lost in the day to day demands of life and therefore hard to keep up with, and achieve your goals. Personally, I use my birthday as a benchmark to reflect on what I’ve managed to achieve over the last year. It may not always be bucket list things (though I often proudly achieve one or two things), but I often marvel at what I did do that was not on the list. Come my next birthday for example, I can proudly say that I launched the print edition of our magazine!
What’s on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for inspiration when it comes to travel? Check out our travel guides for ideas.