For those of us who have a big long list of goals, experiences, and highlights you’d love to check off during your lifetime, the current moratorium on travel and activities has probably been a big wake-up call. Even without a pandemic, the reality is that you might not have time to do all the things on your bucket list. Not only that, but your constant pursuit of the next big thing may also be robbing you of the ability to enjoy living in the moment.
I remember a time when my bucket list had to be organized by category and sub-categories. Travel. Health. Finances. Unique experiences. Then I got blindsided by a yucky reality show style divorce that took years to sort out. Once that was done, I realized my priorities, timeline, and budget had all changed. So too, had my bucket list goals.
Here are the top 3 lessons I learned about balancing my day-to-day routine with my bucket list goals, to figure out which ones were really worth my time.
- Resist societal and peer pressure. There are as many bucket list items as there are ice cream flavors. The internet and social media explosion have only added to this list. Just because a favorite influencer has “Going to a Hookah Bar in Casablanca” on their bucket list, doesn’t mean you have to put it on yours. Your idea of a thrill might be running a marathon before you’re 40.
- Know thyself. To resist peer pressure and follow your own dreams, spend some time getting to know who you are and what truly motivates you. This includes having the courage to say “no” to putting things on your bucket list that doesn’t fit your values. That way, you can say “yes” more often to those that do.
- Stop chasing. Just because you can do something doesn’t always make it a good idea. When my personal situation changed and I went from married and financially secure to single mom and “What happens now,” I had a serious chance to re-evaluate my bucket list goals. I’m not sure I would have done that otherwise. The result? A way more focused and achievable travel, health, and financial goal list with plenty of time built into just chill with my loved ones, not to mention some totally unanticipated new hobbies. I never had “Make a jewelry art piece with Home Depot washers” or “Sew an asymmetrical faux leather skirt” on my bucket list! Much to my amusement, they made it here.
Don’t get me wrong. Comparing your bucket list to others’ can be super motivating. It gives you ideas of what’s possible, likely, or deeply satisfying. However, the dangers of comparing your list to others are revealed when you use your examination results to pass constant, inaccurate, negative, or unnecessary judgments about yourself or others.
Resist this pressure and focus on your own values and growth. You’ll make fewer demotivating or self-defeating decisions, and instead, make way for fun and personally meaningful experiences.
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