I recently have grown fond of bucket lists – something I thought was reserved just for travel and big life goals to do before you die. Turns out, bucket lists are so much more than just your biggest dreams and they have a positive effect on your life and your mind. I’ll share my story and I’ll tell you why.
How I got into Bucket Listing
About 3 years ago, in early autumn, I was walking home with my soon-to-be-4-year-old daughter from a Dr’s office, when upon entering our estate we saw a pile of maple leaves on the ground. I spotted a rather huge yellow leaf and showed it to my daughter. She was fascinated with the leaf, and to tell the truth, so was I. We quickly started picking leaves, choosing the best ones, and soon we had a bunch of them neatly arranged in a sort of a bouquet that we took home and put in a small glass jar. We kept this bouquet for over 2 years until it was time to move to another house.
That day, when we were picking the leaves, I realized that there were so many things associated with autumn that I had never done before, or even if I had, I definitely didn’t appreciate them as an experience. For example, I had never chopped wood for the fireplace (why would I, when it’s a man’s job?) and I never had a picnic on a checked throw like in the pictures. I had never really sat by a fireplace listening to the wood crackle. There had been so many things that I missed out on!
So that very evening I sat down with a journal and compiled an Autumn Bucket List, with an intention to create memories and experience all those autumn-y things, including chopping the wood, lighting the fire and having a picnic. I had almost 2 pages of things written down neatly, each accompanied by a little box to tick. In a couple of months I have ticked over 2/3 of my list. I never got to complete it, but I had the autumn I remembered. It was the time when I raked leaves in my front garden, the time when we had gone to Achill Island to celebrate my birthday in the wilderness of the West of Ireland and we had a picnic in Keem Bay – oh boy was I freezing, wrapped in that beautiful checked blanket! I also tried throwing boomerang and fly a kite for the first time (even though not on my list!) and I read a book while enjoying the sunshine and the sound of the wind on a wild beach. I was even inspired enough to write poems again, which I hadn’t been doing in years! There have been so many things to remember!
After my second baby turned 1, I thought it was the time to make more memories and I had started a Winter Bucket list after yet another successful autumn list where we picked apples, drank apple ciders and spiced lattes, roasted marshmallows by the fire and took nature walks. My Winter Bucket list included baking cookies, having snowball fights and building snowmen (thanks to the Beast from the East that made it possible). We spent our evenings by the fire and read Christmas stories, knitted hats and had themed nights – one for board games, one for movies and popcorn and one for stories.
And now, once the summer has finally reached Ireland, I’m after making a Summer Bucket List. I have already ticked off veggie BBQ, planting some greens and evening walks. And I have many more things I can’t wait to do, which I will share later.
Why am I sharing all of this?
From what I have experienced and learned, bucket lists are very good for you. Not only do they have this special feel about them when you get to plan and then tick an item off, it is also extremely fulfilling to have a proof on paper that you have made your dream or goal come true. Creating bucket lists gives you something to look forward to, it pushes you to do things that turn into experiences and precious memories. They encourage you to live the life you dream of or enjoy the season to the fullest (which was my reason for creating bucket lists). It is an absolutely amazing feeling to have that list compiled and then to tick things off.
If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. To try and convince you a bit more, here are the reasons why you should make bucket lists:
Benefits of Making Bucket Lists
1. It turns your dreams and wishes into goals and plans
Whatever it is that you put down in your list, the act of writing it down is the first meaningful step of setting a goal. Without being written down, your goal is merely an idea or a dream. But on a paper, it becomes a plan that you are contemplating. Setting goals is very important if you want to live the life you dream about or want to achieve anything meaningful. I started with the seasonal bucket lists because I wanted to create those experiences. But you can make a bucket list regarding your career or self-development, or pretty much anything!
2. It boosts motivation
It’s so easy to get stuck in a routine of work and home, and lose the spark of excitement for life. Having a goal in your bucket list look at you from the page motivates you to take action and actually achieve it, especially if your bucket list is time-bound (and it should be!). It brings the excitement back to life and makes you do things to remember.
3. It sets you for success
One of the things that successful people are good at is goal setting. And bucket lists teach you to do just that. It also teaches you to commit because without commitment these goals are just going to sit there, unrealized, and weigh you down because you’re not achieving what you want. Commitment is one of the biggest factors of success.
4. It fosters creativity
You don’t always have the means of achieving your dream from the bucket list. But having committed to it, you have to find a way. It makes you think out of the box to find solutions, enhancing your creativity and maybe even critical thinking and problem solving. In any way, it gets your brain working so it’s good.
5. It increases happiness and life satisfaction
Imagine how amazing would it feel to tick off the biggest dream of your life. Of course, it’s better to start smaller. But even small accomplishments give you so much satisfaction. Especially if these are things you have never done before. Making these experiences true is how you know that you’re alive, you do exciting things, you create memories and stories to tell.
Whether it’s for your life goals or just experiencing those little things that make you happy, making a bucket list and accomplishing those goals is one simple way to enhance your life, to fill your life with joy and purpose. It is a way to become happier, more motivated, more efficient and successful and it can offer you many more benefits on so many levels.
Start one today and start living!