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What? No Bucket List?

Written by: Sara Coulter |

What is a bucket list?  And why should I have one?

I’ve always had a bucket list.  But I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older that people tend to think of a bucket list as a pipe dream, pie-in-the sky – you choose the cliché.  Maybe I can change your mind.  Stick with me…

First, let’s look at the dictionary definition of “bucket list”:

noun, Informal.

  1. a list of things a person wants to achieve or experience, as before reaching a certain age or dying: What’s on your summer bucket list?

I don’t see anything in that definition that indicates unattainable, unachievable or pie-in-the sky, do you?  So let’s agree on one thing – don’t give up.

Two men skydiving.

In the book The Happiness Advantage, author Shawn Achor talks about the benefits of having something to look forward to.

Often, the most enjoyable part of an activity is the anticipation.  If you can’t take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar – even if it’s a month or a year down the road.  Then, whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.  Anticipating future rewards can actually light up the pleasure centers in your brain much as the actual reward will.

Here are 4 tips to get you closer to making your bucket list a reality.

The Great Wall of China

Start or manage your list.

If you don’t have a bucket list, think of one thing that you would like to do or have (a bucket list item can be something material too).  If you already have a bucket list, but most of your items are things like “win the lottery”, be realistic, and clean up your list.

Women running a race.

Look at it every day.

If you have an idea of how much your bucket list item will cost, write it on post-it notes and stick them up at home and at work so that you see them multiple times per day.  Or find a photo on the internet and print it out.  Better yet, frame it and hang it in your office.  Buy a travel guide for $20 and start making notes or marking pages.  The point is that it should motivate you to make it happen.

Picture of ocean.

Do research.

Explore the internet and build a plan, whether it’s a business plan, a step-by-step project, a travel itinerary.  Even if it takes you 10 years to save for it, you’ll be ready when the day comes.  And you may find ways to cut costs along the way.

Man playing guitar.

Save for it.

Open a savings account and have whatever amount you can afford directly deposited into this account every payday.  You won’t miss it, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to making it REAL!  (Most of my bucket list items are travel.  I just got back from 10 days in Iceland, and I’m off to South Africa in February.  All because I save a little at a time.)

We will be featuring future articles on how to maneuver through the obstacles that get in our way when trying to make a bucket list come true.  So stay tuned.

Do you have a bucket list item that you would like us to research for you?  If so, comment below, and we may just help you get there!

Topics: Happiness, Travel, Entertainment, Personal

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