Let me begin this article with a confession. I don't have a bucket list and I am probably not going to make one.
I have always seen the concept of a bucket list as rather a fad that started with the film of the same name, which was released in 2007. A film about two old men dying of cancer and trying to complete a list of things they want to do before they die. I don't think it is necessary to have a bucket list just because everyone else seems to have one.
But I do agree it is a good idea to have a list of things I would like to do, places I would like to visit etc. A list that isn't set in stone. On the contrary, one that will constantly change as I grow. Yes, at the time of writing I may be 63 but I am certainly still growing, mentally, emotionally and spiritually even though not physically, and I hope you are too.
I also agree it is a good idea to write it down, so it is a proper list, rather than just have a vague idea of what I would like to achieve some day. If you practice the Law of Attraction you should be doing this anyway, to help bring those things closer, but if for some reason you are not a believer in the Law of Attraction you should still write those things down or you are bound to have some you simply forget - especially if you are close to my age or older!
The reason the word "bucket" is used here is because of the euphemism "kick the bucket", meaning "die", hence a list of things to do before you die. When I thought deeper about this recently I looked up what are the commonest expressed regrets of those who are dying. What do the dying say they most wish they had done. Here is the list I found:
- I wish I had lived a life true to myself, not to what was expected of me
- I wish I hadn't worked so hard
- I wish I had expressed my feelings more
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my family and friends
- I wish I had let myself be happier
Now THAT is a bucket list I can work with! Not as the list itself, but as a starting point to produce a list. As a list of areas to work on so I don't have any regrets when I die. My Personal Evolution Strategy.
Take a look at each of these regrets in turn. Make sure you do agree you would regret it if at the point of your death you had to say any of those things. One good way to do this is to re-state each of the regrets as its opposite.
For example, "I wish I had done what was expected of me instead of living a life true to myself!" Can you honestly say that? I hope not! If it feels absolutely wrong to you to say it, then you know "I wish I had lived a life true to myself, not to what was expected of me" would be a genuine regret.
Take 5 sheets of paper (or more if you have come up with some other broad concepts which don't fit into any of these 5) and, at the top of each sheet, write a positive statement reflecting the appropriate wish. Make sure it is positive and written in the present tense so you are visualizing it as a reality, something which is a part of your essential being right now, not at some vague time in the future. You have a birth certificate so you know the exact day you were born, but you don't yet have a death certificate, so you don't know the exact day you are going to die. It could be tomorrow! In fact, not wishing to be morbid, but with the number of people who regularly read my blog articles it is very likely it WILL be tomorrow for at least one or two! So if you want to avoid having those regrets this needs to be a new "you" starting today, not next week or next year!
Here are my suggestions, although you may choose slightly different wordings:
- I live a life true to myself
- I take plenty of time off to spend with my loved ones doing the things we love
- I always express my feelings fully
- I spend lots of time with my family and friends
- I always allow myself to be as happy as I can be
Now reflect on each of them and tease out exactly what they mean to you. You will need to spend quite a long time teasing some of them out, as they can be very broad. Also it may be very difficult at first even to understand what this particular heading really means. What is "a life true to myself" for example? The answer to that may take a few hours of reflection rather than just a few minutes.
I suggest you do each of these as a form of meditation at first, and then when your brief meditation has finished you can write copious notes.
Once you have done this, use those notes to identify particular things you wish to achieve so you fulfill much better what you have written in the heading.
Finally, on another 5 sheets of paper, write each heading again, and underneath write the specifics, again in a positive manner in the present tense. Staple the pages together and you have your Personal Evolution Strategy. Resolve to yourself that this is your strategy and start doing the specifics you have written. In the space of just one day you will probably find you have made an enormous jump forward in your personal evolution. Keep making these quantum leaps and there will be one fewer people in the world who will have real regrets when he or she dies!
By all means create a traditional "bucket list" if you wish. Certainly have your growing and evolving list of things you wish to achieve, places you wish to visit etc. But far more powerful than these is your Personal Evolution Strategy which is now the starting point for what you really wish to and can accomplish in this life.