Don’t Let Your Bucket List “Pail” in Comparison

July 17th, 2014 by Jason Hartman | 2 Comments »

bucketlistMaybe it was the movie starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, or maybe it’s the simple fact that the only two things that are certain are death and taxes—but it seems like folks have been talking a lot about their bucket lists. Perhaps it is the only way we can think about death while still celebrating what we hope are long and happy lives.

A bucket list, if you don’t know, is a list of things you’d like to do or accomplish before you die. But it isn’t morbid—instead, the best bucket lists focus on establishing goals for the living. They can include career goals, travel goals, financial goals, and personal life goals.

The pros

Having a bucket list can be a great way to motivate yourself to try new things and can certainly help you broaden your horizons. For this reason, they’ve been popular within the general population and the famous–Bill Clinton has spoken at length about his. For many, they provide a great way to commit to goals.

Others see bucket lists as a helpful way to commit to helping others and set up lists that don’t demand things like swimming with dolphins, instead focusing on making dreams happen for others. No matter how you look at it, bucket lists are a useful tool.

They can be extremely specific or focus on the general–it all depends upon the person. And if you’re the sharing type, there are plenty of ways to do so. Bucketlist.org and bucketlist.net allow you to share your goals with the world. This way, others may even help you to achieve them.

The cons

While the bucket list itself provides a tool for organization, the pressure can be too much for some. For many, it pigeon holes their goals into something they may not achieve–and will feel guilt or shame as a result of the perceived failure.

Bucket lists at once encourage conformity to similar types of goals and individuality in choosing them, which can be troublesome for some people. Certain people find it difficult to form or adhere to a list and become consumed with filling a void instead of living a satisfying life. It can be easy to become so focused on achieving certain goals that the process ceases to be fun. Bucket lists can be a useful way to brand yourself, but they can also present a narrow view of an entire person.

One could also argue that the bucket list fails to address death in a real way, instead focusing on postponing it by way of cool stuff. Instead of thinking about the fact that we all someday must die, a bucket list encourages us to think about something else–which isn’t always bad. Of course, to everything there are extremes.

So what?

To make the most of your bucket list, it might be wise to keep things manageable and to focus on something outside the self. Here is where the bucket list has the potential to excel–so long as it includes a few things you might do for other people. As with most things, the key is in keeping your focus reasonable, recognizing that the bucket list is meant to improve life and not take it over, and establishing goals you can share with others.

If you’re interested in making the most of your bucket list, read on!

How to make the best bucket list

If you’ve yet to write a bucket list, you’ll want to get started as soon as possible—no matter your age! Follow our simple tips for putting together a great list that will give you some great goals!

Think big, full bucket (list, that is)

Before making an official list, begin to think broadly about the kinds of things you want for yourself. You’ve probably been asked to describe your ideal next five or ten years during a job interview, and it likely caught you off guard. It can be difficult to imagine just exactly where you’d like to be, but in writing a bucket list that is best for yourself, you’ll want to really give thought to these things.

Think and brainstorm about your biggest ambitions—perhaps you want to live outside the United States for a year or a lifetime. Perhaps you’d like to give up your 9-5 and work from home. Think big and think extravagantly, even if you aren’t if a place to accomplish them now.

Get specific

Take these larger goals you’ve established in step one and really get specific with them. This will comprise your list—instead of vowing to travel for one year, pick a place and the year in which you’ll attempt to do it. Decide what kind of self-employment you’re looking for. Identifying specific goals makes them something you can actually work to do. But make the list manageable—the best bucket lists are relatively small in size. Think 20 items or so.

Get going

Now that you’ve got a great list started, get started! It may be helpful for you to break each bucket list item down into smaller goals, complete with objectives. If you’ve got a great plan to help you accomplish all of your goals, you’ll likely be able to cross each of them off you list.

Don’t let a bucket list add stress

Think of a bucket list as a nicely laid out and fun to describe list of your goals and let it inspire you to be your best self. If you don’t accomplish absolutely everything on your list, cut yourself some slack. The best bucket lists are meant to inspire you to accomplish your goals, but they shouldn’t make you feel bad if you haven’t met every single one of them—that’s next to impossible!

Above all, remember that a bucket list is meant to be a fun exercise in accomplishing your dreams!

(photo credit: sniggie via photopin cc)

Read more from Jetsetter: 

Defining and Exploring Expatriates and Tax Law

Income During Retirement

The Jetsetter Team

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