Article #8. Creating My Bucket List (& Actually Crossing Things Off!)

To be a good sport, I’ll just tell you right off the bat: I don’t actually have a running “Bucket List.”  I’ve created them in the past, but they either seem to get lost in the shuffle or my interests grow outdated.

Sky diving?  Honestly, the risk and terror would never be worth the “thrill” or bragging rights for me.  Living abroad for a time?  I’ve done that twice already – and hardly as a bucket list item, though they were great experiences.   Complete a triathlon? (ARE. YOU. JOKING?)

So I’m setting out to not only create a worthy list, but to set some key perspectives & plans in place to make sure I actually cross them off.  Here’s my big plan.

My key word is going to be DELIBERATE.

One thing I’ve noticed about myself is that when I jot down some of my big ideas, my mindset is anything but deliberate.  “Someday, it would be nice if ___.”  That word someday is a dream killer, isn’t it?  It’s a wishful word, not a scheduled word.  What if I wrote things down as if I was creating a plan instead of sending Santa my wish-list?  What would it look like for me to plan a bucket list?

First, I’d brainstorm.

I guess I’ve never moved past the brainstorming session before.  I’d write down anything and everything that came to mind.  All of the big things and all of the small things.  All the things I’m not even sure I even want to do.  Here goes:

  • Visit Bora-Bora
  • Go skinny dipping (Edgyy. Am I the only person who hasn’t done this?)
  • Publish a book (Already begun the writing process!)
  • Get involved in a drama production
  • Become a mom (in due time)
  • See my six-pack abs
  • Learn to play piano by ear
  • Take an adult ballet class
  • Learn to sew basic things
  • Become an event planner

I think that’s a good start!

Then, I’d weed my list.

I listed “Become an event planner.”  But on second thought… I got paid to plan an event for a business once, and it turned out to not be so enjoyable for me.  The stress of working within someone else’s limited budget and their vision for their party kind of cramped my style.  Maybe I’ll strike that item for now: Become an event planner.

Next, I’ll categorize my items.

Nothing is too far-fetched for a bucket list, but this thing has got to become doable in my own mind.  First, I have to decide which categories I’m going for, and which ones best fit my list.  I’ve already thought of a few:

  • Order of importance to me
  • Easiest to most difficult
  • Most affordable to most expensive
  • Long-term items
  • Short-term items
  • Items that require specific training and/or education
  • Items with narrow window of opportunity

I should probably also decide whether I’m the kind of person who color-codes with different highlighters or whether I would just pick one way of categorizing…  I’ve noticed that many of my items are long-term goals that involve learning & potentially lengthy processes.  (That actually surprises me! I thought I’d tend to choose more once-and-done sorts of things.)  In that case, it makes sense to me to rank them easiest to most difficult.

Plan the first cross-off

As one of the few once-and-done items, skinny dipping could be the type of thing where an ideal opportunity randomly presents itself.  Or maybe I just need to recognize that if I don’t deliberately (there’s my word again!) plan it, there will never come an ideal moment to plunge into some pool naked as a fish!  After all, are “risks” ever “ideal”?

I’ve just go to DO it.  Sneak into my neighbor’s pool at midnight and…. well never mind.  Disclosing my plans kind of defeats the purpose, right?

As for the long-term items on my bucket list, planning the cross-off starts with planning and executing a first step.  Whether the first step is saving $100 per month until I am able to afford that Bora-Bora trip, or planning one friend’s birthday party at a time to gather a portfolio of event planning experience, I’ll be that much closer to reaching my goal.

And who knows, with efficient planning, I might be able to kill multiple birds with one stone and cross two or more items off the list at once!  I could motivate myself to get that six-pack beach body by planning a trip to Bora-Bora …where I can skinny dip!

Keep them before me

Finally, it’s important to remind myself of my goals.  Posters of places I’d like to go or things I’d like to see, email subscriptions that remind me periodically of my goal, journaling my process, and asking someone to hold me to them are all fantastic ways to get serious about crossing items off my list.

As long as the word someday stays far from my vocabulary.

What are your three favorite bucket list items, and how many have you already crossed off from your entire list?

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