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Pouring Out the Bucket List

Like most people, I have a few things on my bucket list I would like to accomplish before I reach the end of my mortal coil: I want to travel to India and Ireland, I want to make a living doing what I truly love, and I want to climb to the top of a mountain. A big mountain. I haven’t decided which one; I just want to climb it. A couple of years ago I did train to climb Mount Hood but ended up not going because while I was strong enough to do it, I just didn’t have the cardio training to complete the hike. I missed the window to climb Mount Hood and have since put the goal aside and allowed it to get dusty.

Recently I received a newsletter from a writing coach who talked about what’s on her monthly and yearly bucket list. The phrasing gave me pause because my bucket list is so grand it’s not something I can complete in the next year. I see it as something far off in the distance (like Mount Hood) which keeps me longing and hoping my $1 Powerball ticket will pay off.

But what’s the point of having a bucket list of I’m not going to work toward any of my goals? Now the Lutheran part of my brain looks at my checking account and says, “Sure you’re going to India next year!” but the smart part of my brain says while India is a great goal, how ‘bout chunking it down into manageable goals?

That is where having monthly and yearly bucket lists come in.

Each year my friend Jaymi works on what she calls Elemental Goals. She chooses an element in her life that needs tweaking like being more physically active or investing more time into her tarot business. Each month she takes an aspect and chunk of that goal and focuses on it. I had previously tried doing this elemental working but I failed because I didn’t chunk my goals into manageable parts and I didn’t incorporate it into my daily life. I just wrote a long manifesto of what I wanted and then put it in a notebook under a pile of stuff.

If I really want to go to India in the next five years, I might print out a picture and put it on my fridge or bulletin board at home (or even on my desk at work) and set a monthly goal of how much money I need to save. Using the power of technology, I could set calendar reminders on Google to remind me to set weekly goals or even take some time to check in and write about where I’m going and how I can tweak the process.

There are many things I want to get done before I leave this planet but just having a bucket list isn’t enough. It’s time to start acting on the list and even adding to it. What about you? What’s on your bucket list and how can you start acting on it? Let’s exchange some ideas and motivate each other as we work toward out goals.


About Anna Alexander

I get ideas. I write things. I sometimes follow through with those ideas. I also run long distances and live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband cat who lets us pay the mortgage on his house.

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