I know I’m speaking to a youthful audience.
Us happlings are planning for our future relationships and future careers and probably not planning on croaking anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t create and even complete our “Bucket Lists” before the threat of kicking the bucket becomes imminent!
Bucket list items are things most people “someday” hope to accomplish; but why wait for your mid-life crisis to spice up your life? I get it. You might not be able to jot down your list today and then casually complete “Go on a Safari” by Saturday – although that would be badass…
You can, however; start crushing items on your Life List.
Let’s not be so parochial here! Today, I want you to think outside of the box. I’m going to show you the steps to creating an all-encompassing LIFE LIST. Unlike a traditional Bucket List (which you may or may not ever write down OR accomplish) this list includes MORE than world travel or dining with a celebrity. It emphasizes the kinds of things that, if checked off regularly, make you into the person you’ve only dreamed of becoming.
(Oh, and good news! Some of them are FREE and many you can start working on TODAY.)
Ready to expand your mind and think BIGGER about your day-to-day life?
What’s Happyning Presents
The Guide to Creating Your Ultimate Life List
Step 1: Get a SWEET Book or Journal
I use a Moleskin notebook, with no lines (because of the optional Step 7). Before you start actually writing in your notebook, I recommend getting some scrap paper. This is your dream life we’re talking about. When you start writing, you are going to want to pull from all sorts of inspirations – including other peoples’ lists. This is great, however, all of them might not end up being true to your list. (I’ll explain that part in Step 4).
Step 2: Write Down Your Categories When I first started making my list, after 10 minutes it looked like this: Travel to The Louvre! Travel to The Grand Canyon! Travel to Machu Picchu! Travel to …….pretty much everywhere! Oh, and Swim with Dolphins! As epic as the list looked, I was discouraged by my lack of creativity and the fact that I didn’t have the money or time or regional convenience to do any of these things for at least 6 months. So, in an effort to live a larger life quicker, I came up with these categories:
- Travel (Ex. Visit every continent, including Antarctica!)
- World Treasures to Visit (Ex. The Taj Mahal in India)
- Experiences (Ex. Ride an Elephant; Go on a Yoga Retreat; Go on a Sunrise Run on the Beach; Catch my Own Lunch)
- Personal Goals (Ex. Get a degree; Place in a 5K; Audition for Broadway)
- Skills & Knowledge (Ex. Learn to Drive Stick, Learn How to Change a Tire)
- Selfless Goals (Ex. Host a Holiday; Sponsor a child; Throw my Parents an Anniversary Party)
- Experiments (Ex. Try Going Vegan for a Week; No Complaining for One Week)
- Just Because (Ex. Own an Exotic Pet; Grow a Garden)
These are my categories, but add and edit so it suits you!
Step 3: Start Dreaming This is the fun part! I hope that my examples above helped spark some ideas for what might make the cut for your Life List. Use Pinterest and Google if you start to get stuck, but try to really dig deep to add personal and meaningful items that speak specifically to YOU. We all know that “Hiking Mt. Everest” is incredibly impressive, but that’s not the point. Is that something you REALLY want to do? Or do you just want to tell people you did it? Here are some inspiring questions to get your wheels turning.
Who is my favorite TV/Film character? Why? What specifically do I admire about them?
Who’s life do I envy the most? Why? Can I start doing the same things they’re doing?
What qualities do I want people to use to describe me? Badass? Smart? Adventurous? Creative? Innovative? Unique? Fit? What activities can I do to make me become more deserving of these titles?
Step 4: Eliminate Items that Don’t Speak to YOU Once you feel pretty confident that you’ve exhausted your ideas (AT LEAST 5-10 per category) go back through the list and ask yourself, is this something that I REALLY want to do or does it just sound cool? For example, my husband and I are big movie buffs, so when I saw a list for AFI’s Top 100 Movies, I thought – awesome! Let’s watch them all! Then I looked more closely at the list and realized that lots of them weren’t our taste. I decided I didn’t want to waste my time watching 87 below average flicks just to check off a box. #noragrets
Step 5: Set a Deadline This is the scary step! Create a deadline for the completion of this list that is UNDER 10 years. 10 years is a LOT of time. YOU CAN DO IT. Creating this sense of urgency is an important step that will insure you actually start LIVING your list. Even if you don’t complete everything, you will come a lot closer with a deadline. Don’t believe it can be done? Check out my Life List and Happiness Guru Danny Dover, who is crushing his list and taking names. There is very little this man HASN’T done. If him and I can do it… trust me. So can you!
Step 6: Start Checking Your Life Off Alright, Happlings! This is your moment! Your Life List is the map to a magical life and every time you do one thing on it, you will be one step closer to the BEST you imaginable. Keep in mind that in order to actually check something off, this item has to be measurable. You can’t check “Be skinny” off because there is no real way to know when you’ve accomplished it. An alternative would be “Return to my healthy weight of -135.” After I check the item, I also note the date so that I can look back on my journey, but that part is optional! I am so incredibly excited for you!
(Optional) Step 7: Document/Scrapbook/Journal Completed Items I realize that this part isn’t for everyone, but being a sentimental craft-lover, I get almost as much of a thrill from documenting my completed items, as I do experiencing them! The result? A book of memories you have to look at to inspire you to complete more!
This is a sacred list. It is your TANGIBLE dreams. If you want a greater sense of happiness in your Passions & Projects, you CANNOT just put this in a drawer somewhere to collect dust. You have to attack it. You have to become it.
I can safely guarantee I would not have participated in a Flash Mob, learned to write calligraphy, or have become freaking ordained (It’s still on my bucket list to perform a wedding!) if I hadn’t made this list and set out to complete it. WHAT WILL YOU DO!?