How to Make a Bucket List That You Will Actually Do
braAccording to experts, a bucket list is essentially a list of goals, and goals help motivate us to accomplish tasks that are challenging. The issue is most bucket lists are unobtainable, filled with items like making a billion dollars or becoming a rock star — things that don’t happen to most, no matter the amount of effort expended.
Follow the three steps below to create a bucket list you will actually do.
Step 1: Brainstorm Your Ideas
When it comes to an effective bucket list — meaning one you’ll complete — search for ideas that are near-and-dear to your heart. Think about your future and what you want it to look like.
Become Debt Free
In the United States, the average person is up to $38,000 in debt, not including a mortgage. This financial burden can linger over your head, causing anxiety and restricting your budget. Resolve to pay off your debt in full, whether it’s student loans, credit cards, car payments or something else.
Buy a House
Renting offers flexibility to those who want to move around easily. But others prefer the quiet and convenience of owning a home. A home is also an investment that could grow in value. Add saving for a house as a long-term goal on your bucket list.
Trace Your Heritage
Many people find joy in discovering where they come from and who came before. Heritage and ancestry can take time and patience to research, but the effort is worth it when you develop a full family tree you can show off to others.
Plan Your Dream Trip
Do you have the urge to travel? Turn your dream trip — whether it be basking on a sunny beach in Thailand, taking a cross-country road trip or cruising across the Atlantic — into reality. Choose a bucket list destination that speaks to you.
Volunteer With a Cause
One way to feel more fulfilled in life is to volunteer with a cause that’s important to you. Invest your time building schools in third-world countries or develop a community-wide program for at-risk youth. Be sure to choose a charity with a mission you can get behind.
Advance in Your Career
Moving up in your career could mean managing a team, getting a raise or earning a new title. It could even mean starting your own business. Consider how you want to move forward in your career and how you can make that happen.
Remember your bucket list should be as unique as you are. Don’t be afraid to include uncommon or nontraditional goals.
Step 2: Set Clear Deadlines
Once you have your bucket list, it’s time to set realistic and flexible deadlines. Create a strategy with steps on how you can reach your goal and on what dates you’ll complete each step.
For example, say you want to buy a house. To get a loan, you will need to save up a down payment. In 2018, more than 43% of home-buyers used a down payment of at least 20%. For a home that is $200,000, a 20% down payment would equal $40,000.
Now, consider your income and expenses and create a plan for how long it will take to save that amount. If you want to save up a down payment in eight years, it means setting aside $417 each month. In the end, you’ll be able to cross buying a home off your bucket list.
Set clear deadlines like the one above for each of your goals, no matter how small or simple they might seem.
Step 3: Keep Motivation High
It can be easy to get demotivated, but don’t let small setbacks keep you from completing your bucket list. Remember that the unexpected can always happen and you won’t accomplish each task on the first try.
If your goal is to save up a down payment for a house, you likely have a strict budget. But emergencies, like a pet needing veterinary care or an accidental fender bender, can wipe out savings fast. Be prepared to face challenges and keep deadlines flexible.
To stay focused and motivated, always keep your bucket list in sight. It’s easy to get distracted when you don’t have your goals in plain view. Your bucket list will act as a constant reminder on what you want to accomplish — both short- and long-term — and how you can get there.
Don’t let your bucket list turn into a cliche. Start by researching ideas and picking items that make the most sense for you. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, create a detailed plan on how to achieve your goals, including a flexible deadline. And don’t forget to keep spirits high by displaying your bucket list in a place you’ll see every day.