Building your bucket list


11 December 2017

‘The Bucket List’ is a heartwarming movie about two terminally ill strangers (played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) who shared the same hospital room and their desire to discover what kind of people they really are. They realized that they had a list of things they wanted to accomplish before they “kick the bucket” and subsequently set out to fulfill their ‘bucket list’ by embarking on an adventure together.

While the movie is thoroughly enjoyable and takes us on an emotional journey with the characters, it also leads us to take a deeper look at our lives. Surely, all of us have a list of goals we want to accomplish in our lives; of places we want to visit and of activities we want to experience. However, do we really want to wait till we’re old or dying before ticking off the items on our ‘bucket list’?

If utilized well, having a bucket list can add tremendous value to our lives. After all, the items on the bucket list are a collection of the things we most want to do and that which would make us feel “alive”. Rather than waiting till we’re in the twilight years of our lives to complete our bucket list, we should start working on getting the items on the list checked off one at a time. We usually associate bucket lists with dying but what we don’t realize is that it’s actually a way to live!

We’ve included a quick, three-step method to develop a bucket list that we will actually do.

Make sure that the items are clearly defined
The items that you include should be specific rather than vague. For example, instead of stating ‘travel the world’, make it more specific like “stay at a game reserve in Namibia”. Instead of saying “eat healthier”, define it as “eating fruits at least once a day”.

Seek inspiration, but don’t be unrealistic
Sure, we can all dream big but we have to make sure that our goals have personal significance and understand how much time and money we have to commit to achieving the stated goals. “Owning a football club” requires eight or nine figures of capital to make a reality, so unless you intend to spend years of your life striving to reach that astronomical level of income, leave it off.

Filling your list with frivolous fantasies are a sure-fire way to make sure that you don’t follow through with the list. Pick items that inspire you and which will add value to your life. If the thought doesn’t fill you with enthusiasm, don’t add that to the list.

Instead of wanting to check off BBC’s top 100 books of all time – you are committing thousands of hours to read books that you may not enjoy -, tone it down and identify books that spark your interest from the list and read those books instead.  

Be willing to change your list as you progress through life

Inevitably as you go through life and develop your self-identity, there will be items you realize are no longer important to you and items you want to add. If we understand that we will change as we go through life, then our bucket list has to change along with us too!

Remember, the list is a work-in-progress, bound to change a little as you change. You don’t have to finish the entire list. You will realize that as you endeavor to cross the items off the list – even if you don’t finish it – you will begin to lead a much more fulfilling life.




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