Taking the Bucket Out of the Bucket List, Part 2 by Karen S. Wiesner

Taking the Bucket Out of the Bucket List,
Part 2
by Karen S. Wiesner


In this final of a two part article, I discuss the wisdom and benefits of, and strategies for, drawing up a personal bucket list as early as possible--long before the curtain of a life is drawn.

Thanks for my fellow blog mates Rowena and Margaret for inspiring this impromptu article with their suggestions for potential topics I could cover on Alien Romances. Also thanks to those who critiqued this article for their suggested improvements and enthusiasm before it was posted.

Last week we went over what a bucket list is, and I discussed my own realizations of wanting to achieve my most desired goals early enough in life to enjoy them throughout all the days of my life that followed. Let's continue with actual strategies for forging ahead.

Taking the Next Step--Are You Ready?

Coming up with a formal or informal bucket list as early in life as possible will help anyone focus their time and energies in areas they're already passionate about as well as provide excitement, inspiration, and the push toward finding purpose and a sense of accomplishment long before the curtain of a life is drawn.

While I was working on this article, I was asked a couple questions that are worth considering on your own as you consider whether you're ready to take the bull by the horns yourself.

Had I been making bucket lists since my twenties, or did I just start making them recently? All things considered, I’d have to conclude I’ve actually been making them mentally since I was 20 and I just never really considered that was what I was doing all this time.

Would I have benefited in my twenties by formally writing my goals down? Have I benefited now for writing them down versus just thinking about my plans in my head? I suppose the blanket answer to these two questions that feed into each other is about the same: It might have benefited me to formally write down my bucket list goals at any point; however, I’ve always had a mind like a relentless robot seeking out all the dark corners of my own soul. For me, it didn’t really make a huge difference to officially spell out my goals for myself. What you've seen presented in this article is what I saw in my head from the beginning. That said, I think most people probably will benefit greatly from actually make their bucket lists formal plans with loose or definitive goals.

I have several pieces of advice to those wanting to forge ahead into a life lived with purpose:

A.     Choose wisely. You don't have to feel like you're required to have a certain number of goals on your list. I have four, which is a nice, even number, but if you only ever have one, that's fine. You can add to it if you want to (no pressure) at any time as you complete or become proficient at priority items. This thing isn't set in stone, nor should it be. If you discover one of your wishes isn't really something you like after all, well, you've learned something about yourself you didn't know before, right? That said, you do want to include on this list only things that you're strongly zealous about and are deeply committed to fulfilling. This is another reason why limiting the list is advisable. There's no point in having a checklist of this kind that includes a bunch of things you're not serious enough to actually make deliberate preparations in undertaking. I don't think anyone needs another random to-do list lying around collecting dust.

B.     Prioritize your bucket list in the order of the things you want to accomplish first and last, and don't try to take on the whole list at once. That's a recipe for failure. Start with the top one, the most important to you, and make a serious go of completing and/or developing it over time, perhaps even years. Make this part of your daily or weekly life. The whole reason for doing this long in advance of having an actual deadline (especially one as final as death!) is to accomplish things you enjoy and may spend the rest of your life taking pleasure in and cultivating. In many cases, the items on your list will require an investment: Of time, discipline, energy, money, and frequently all of the above. Trust me, you're embarking on a labor of love with any one of these.

C.     Make a plan for how to go about fulfilling the items on your bucket list, one at a time. Set goals over time so you're doing something toward making the wish reality. Make a commitment to forging ahead with your goals. Start small, if you need to, and make initially small investments of time, energy, and finances. Work into the passion that can motivate you to keep going bigger and better. I know a lot of people can't think of long-term projects that require large investments of time, energy, or money because their lives are busy, complicated, and/or they're financially unable. In those situations, creativity may be needed to get started. Devote just five, ten, fifteen minutes--whatever you can eke out every day or once a week to advance your project. Take free classes at your local library or online. Ask close friends and family to gift you with an item you need for a birthday or Christmas. Small, slow, and frugal can produce results eventually, too!

D.     Define your reasons for what you hope to accomplish with each item on your bucket list if for no other reason than that you set yourself on a path toward seeing where it's going, or where it could be going. I wanted to understand my motivations clearly from the start, whether I intended to advance in these areas for individual edification or for something more--such as, my drawing could potentially lead to an exciting new career for me in the future.

E.     Only you can decide if your pursuits are worthwhile. Don't let yourself or anyone else tell you that something you've chosen to do isn't meaningful or significant. The goal of personal development is valuable--whatever your chosen aspiration. At the very least, anything you achieve is one regret you'll never have to feel.

Nearly three decades after I started pursuing the wishes on my informal bucket list, I find myself realizing that as I look back over what I've managed to accomplish, I'm satisfied. If my time in this world ended tomorrow, I would feel as though I lived with purpose and that I'd accomplished something worthwhile. Instead of waiting until I was close to kicking the bucket, you might say I took the bucket out of my bucket list. I took the bull by the horns, and I'm reaching for previously categorized "don't even bother wishing 'cause they can't come true" things and I'm making them a passionate part of my everyday reality, one at a time, step by step, until my time runs out.

If you're interested in taking the bucket out of your own bucket list, jumping in now on the things you've always wanted to do, the worksheet below might be helpful in getting you started. You can and should come back to this often in the future to revise and hone your goals, re-strategizing as you make progress from one item to the next. Remember, small, slow, and cheap still means moving forward.

My Bucket List

Date: (may include the dates of whenever revised)

What's in My Bucket

Wishes: (listed in order of priority, #1 being the one I'm most passionate about and the one I'll get started on first)

#1

When and how will I begin to reach for things in my bucket?

a)    How long do I want to experience this goal? 
Circle one: Once | Ongoing | Until I'm finished

b)    Detail the first step to beginning:

c)     Describe later steps to developing my goal:

d)    Specify the time(s) and day(s) I'm devoting to the undertaking:

e)    Brainstorm strategies to help accomplish my wish:

f)      Identify why this is in my bucket and what I hope to get out of it:

#2

When and how will I begin to reach for things in my bucket?

a)    How long do I want to experience this goal? 
Circle one: Once | Ongoing | Until I'm finished

b)    Detail the first step to beginning:

c)     Describe later steps to developing my goal:

d)    Specify the time(s) and day(s) I'm devoting to the undertaking:

e)    Brainstorm strategies to help accomplish my wish:

f)      Identify why this is in my bucket and what I hope to get out of it:

You can find a PDF of this worksheet here: https://karenwiesner.weebly.com/uploads/2/3/5/5/23554234/bucketlistcourtesyofkarenwiesnertypeb.pdf

For those who are more goal-oriented, Type A personalities like myself, you might want an even more vigorous plan of attack. For that, I offer a more in-depth worksheet, which you can find here: https://karenwiesner.weebly.com/uploads/2/3/5/5/23554234/bucketlistcourtesyofkarenwiesnertypea.pdf, or you could even incorporate the heart of the bucket list ideals into a SMART goals program (a simple internet search will hook you up for that).

"Seize the life and the day will follow!" ~Linda Derkez

Karen Wiesner is an award-winning, multi-genre author of over 150 titles and 16 series.
Visit her website here: https://karenwiesner.weebly.com/
and https://karenwiesner.weebly.com/karens-quill-blog

Find out more about her books and see her art here: http://www.facebook.com/KarenWiesnerAuthor

Visit her publisher here: https://www.writers-exchange.com/Karen-Wiesner/