5 Ways Get Your Bucket List Back on Track

I’m just 1 person with a short bucket list.  Considering I have gone through five rounds of 101 Things in 1001 Days, there’s certainly a lot I want to do. So why is my actual bucket list so short? 

I’d like to say that the reason is that I am selective about what goes on my bucket list. I put significant, long-term items on my list, such as the trip to Paris I want to go on or the fact that I want to see the Northern Lights in person. These items are large (to me, a person who goes on a large vacation only every three or four years). These items have no set deadline (apart from my death, I suppose). 

But I think the real reason my bucket list is so short is because I have a really tough time envisioning the future. I’ll discuss this in another article this month. Short-term goals, or goals that I can see myself realistically accomplishing right now, are easy for me to envision. I will often have an idea for a new project or new story and want to dive right into working on them. It’s much harder for me to imagine goals I’ll still be interested in doing ten, twenty, or even thirty years from now. Of course, there’s no reason I can’t add something to my bucket list and them immediately accomplish it. But somehow that doesn’t feel like the point of a bucket list. I have a lot of lists of things I want to do from daily to do lists to things on my 101 things list. My bucket list is for those big things I’d love to do that don’t seem to fit on any other list. 

One more reason my bucket list is so short is because I work on the list itself often. No matter how busy my life is, it’s at the back of my mind. I know it’s always there, containing things I want to get to some day, so I try to keep it in good order. 

My Bucket List

  1. Have a novel professionally published
  2. Attend the Glenfinnan Games in Scotland
  3. See the Northern Lights 
  4. Visit Scotland and Kintail
  5. Visit the GPO in Dublin, Ireland
  6. Visit Shakespeare & Co in France
  7. Visit Papua New Guinea
  8. Visit a lighthouse
  9. Visit all 50 states
  10. See Dar Williams in concert
  11. See Billy Joel in concert
  12. See The Barenaked Ladies in concert
  13. See RENT on Broadway
  14. Get hit in the face with a pie
  15. Own my own house
  16. Plant a garden
  17. Jump in a ball pit or in a bounce house
  18. See the Stanley Cup in person
  19. *****Private*****
  20. Learn to play Mah Jong
  21. Release 100 books into the wild through BookCrossing
  22. Build something incredible out of LEGO and show it at a convention

That’s it. That’s my whole list.  Strikethroughs are ones I’ve already accomplished. I keep them on the list so that I can remember different dreams I once had that I accomplished. Currently, I only have 7 items left. Just 7 big things I want to do before I die.  Seems like I could knock those out pretty quickly, right? Haha! You don’t realize how little I get out (especially now, during a pandemic). 

I love my bucket list and all my items on the list. It’s It contains my dreams and the deep desires of my heart. I created it from myself; it’s a little like my child. And, like a child, I know that it’s important to let it grow and change over time. It’s all right for me to remove items that were once dear to me but that I no longer want to do. And it’s all right for me to choose one item over another to work on at a time. It’s important for me to keep it updated, current, refreshed, and alive. 

The pandemic has caused a lot of us to rethink our priorities and interests, and it’s also meant a lot of us have fallen behind on some of our bucket list items. So here are some tips that might help you keep your bucket list current:

5 Ways Get Your Bucket List Back on Track

  1. Think beyond travel. Even travel addicts most likely have a few other things they enjoy in life. Or maybe some frequent travelers already travel so much they might use their bucket list for non-travel goals. Having some non-travel-related items on your bucket list will keep you from feeling stuck during times (like during the pandemic) when you’re physically stuck in one place. So think outside the travel destination box when you’re putting together your list.

  2. Get rid of obsolete goals. Don’t be afraid of removing a goal from your list if it no longer “sparks joy” for  you. Just because younger!you wanted to hike Mount Everest doesn’t mean future!you is required to make it happen, especially if current!you has developed bad knees. There are all sorts of reasons a goal might no longer be worth pursuing. It’s okay to give  up on a dream you no longer relate to, especially if it makes room for a new dream to take hold. I recently removed “skydive” and “swim with manatees” from my bucket list. I am still curious about the unique sensation I would be able to feel when skydiving, but I’m not going to go out of my way to pursue it. And given the treatment of animals in many of those “swim with” programs, I no longer want to do that; seeing manatees in person was fulfilling enough to me. It felt good to remove them from my list so I can focus on the things I really want to do. There’s no shame in removing goals that should no longer be on your list.

  3. Find inspiration for new items to add. This is one time in live when it’s okay to copy off another person’s paper. Use sites like DevelopGoodHabits.com and BucketList.net to get ideas for new items to add that you might not have considered before. There are many books to help you come up with ideas as well, such as The Big Bucket List Book andThe Wish List. My favorite way to find inspiration is Pinterest. I have a board for bucket list ideas that I add to whenever I come upon something I want to consider adding later.  I like having this sort of middle “think about it” stage where I can be sure not to forget about it while I consider if it’s better for my bucket list, right for my 101 Things in 1001 Days list, a goal I might want to complete some other time, or not something I ultimately want to do.

  4. Create independent goals. Add items to your bucket list that you can accomplish on your own. Don’t wait around for the perfect travel buddy or someone else who wants to join you in a new hobby. Create life goals that you can do yourself and don’t depend on other people’s interests, commitments, and timetables. This is an especially good things to learn for those of us who live alone and/or do not have a significant other. You control your own happiness, and your bucket list items are for you; make them yours. 
  5. Put together a plan. It’s great to have a list of things you want to do, but the list is just the first step. In fact, a list is almost useless without an idea of how to turn your dreams into realities. You could start by deciding which item on your bucket list to pursue next and figure out what you need to make it happen. Maybe what you need is a special savings account or  to do some research. Maybe you need to break down your goal into smaller steps or maybe you just need to set aside one weekend to take the leap and get it done. Your planning might be different for each item on your bucket list and will almost certainly change as circumstances in your life change. Plan but be flexible and adaptable as well. 

What is the newest item on your bucket list? 

Photo by Amir Ali Haeri Asadi on Unsplash

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