To Bucket List, or to Not Bucket List

My 2016 bucket list has been typed up, but I’m not ready to share it until I officially close out this year. All year, I keep a running list of my bucket list ideas on the Notes app of my phone (since a lot of my ideas seem to occur at happy hour and I won’t remember them the next day). When I’m finally read to make “the list” (the literal doc title on my laptop), I go through several processes.

  1. I rate each item with one, two, or three stars depending on how much it really appeals to me. A one star generally won’t make the list, three stars is a sure-fire winner, and then I pick a few two stars to beef up the list.
  2. I categorize the now selected items into things like hobbies, work, fitness, and experiences. For me, this is where I find balance and variety.
  3. I evaluate each item for how realistic and attainable it really will be. I could put “Have dinner with Lady Gaga” on the list, but is it realistic? Is it attainable? If I don’t think an item is really possible, it won’t make the cut. I also decide whether it will be fun. That’s critical!
  4. I decide whether each item is truly measurable. You can’t say, “I want to run more.” What does more mean? 5 miles a week? a marathon? (In teacher lingo, let’s consider each item a learning target, right?)

My overall goal is to make a better bucket list, not just something that you can wishfully daydream about when work sucks. I’m talking real stuff – like that time I chose, “Learn to cook an artichoke” and my friend, Amanda, then hands me an artichoke out of her bag at the bar and says, “Get to it!”

But this is not to bash on others’ bucket lists. I really do a lot of random internet searches of bucket lists to see what other people want to do. While diving in a shark tank or cliff diving aren’t exactly my jam, I still run across interesting and unique ideas…especially when it comes to fitness goals.

Interestingly, I’ve come across a ton of sites over the last month that are all part of an anti-bucket list movement. Like seriously?! What is that?! On Lifehacker, I ran across an article, Remove Unneccessary Pressure From Your Life with an Anti Bucket List, that states:

“Chances are most of the things on your bucket list are extraordinary or possibly abstract. Take the weight off your shoulders and focus on what you can enjoy and accomplish now. Who knows, that might lead you to what was on your bucket list faster. Goals are good to have, but if you really look, the life you have right in front of you can be pretty great too. Sometimes you just need to adjust your perspective.”

Ok, we have some agreements that bucket lists are too abstract, but I guess a goal-oriented girl like me can’t imagine not living with my bucket list anymore. I’ve learned so many things and am out there taking *sensible* risks.

As the year is ending, I’m wondering what you think about this. Do you have anything planned for 2016?


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