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Bucket lists: How to get the most out of life

Bucket Lists

We all want to get the most out of our lives. From top celebs to your quiet colleague, you might be surprised what is driving them in their lives. A bucket list is a way of articulating your goals and maybe even setting a parameter for when you want to achieve certain things on your list. For example, you might have a bucket list associated with things you want to achieve by age 40, or before you settle down to have kids. We want to explore the idea of bucket lists, the good and the bad, and maybe how you can enrich your own life in a way that suits you. 

A realistic bucket list? 

Swimming with dolphins, perhaps? Or reaching the top of Everest? It's a common trait of the bucket list to have exotic or amazing life experiences on there. The problem can be how realistic these might be to achieve. For instance, if you're not doing much climbing or stamina training now - your Everest climb might be a while away! But it's not that you can't achieve this goal if you really want it, it just might require some adjustments to your expectations. Failing to reach an unrealistic goal can leave you feeling deflated and not good about yourself, but if it wasn't realistic to begin with then you're being too hard on yourself. If you want to add exotic destinations or feats of stamina to your list - go for it! But build yourself up to it. Maybe for that holiday of a lifetime, you could start with a savings goal with a realistic timeframe. If you really hope to achieve a big physical achievement but are not currently very active, maybe your goal could be to complete Couch to 5K or joining Parkrun. Maybe a bucket list that you change year on year based on your achievements would help you feel like you are accomplishing smaller steps towards your overall goal. 

It is good to be ambitious and to challenge yourself though. And the good thing about having big goals is just that: ambition. Things that are easy to achieve won't be nearly as rewarding. You have to find a balance between reaching for the stars and setting yourself up for disappointment. Be realistic, but don't be afraid to challenge yourself.  

Experiences that are 'once-in-a-lifetime' 

It's common to have bucket list entries that are 'once-in-a-lifetime'. Achieve, tick and move on to something else. But is this really the best way to get everything you can out of your goals? What is the motivation behind choosing this goal? 

Maybe you have 'visit Nepal' on your list. But why? Do you have a special interest or connection to Nepalese culture? Is it somewhere that caught your eye because of a movie or book? It can be interesting to find the motivation behind choosing your bucket list goals. And figuring out why and how important it really is to you. 

But further than that, why would it need to be 'once-in-a-lifetime'? That's rather limiting! You could plan to visit more than once, build on your love of the place, learn more about the culture, maybe even become part of the community while you're there and build relationships. Take what you can from every experience and build on them to make them even more rewarding. 

Picture-perfect memories that last

Today's world is all about picture-perfect moments. And sharing them as often as possible, sometimes to the detriment of enjoying the moment when it's actually happening. It's great to capture memories, but don't lose focus on what you want out of the experience. Often we hardly look back at our own reams of photos once the thrill of attracting likes on social media has passed. In the future, you'll probably find that you talk to people about the amazing experience you had rather than gaze at photos. 

Having said that, of course, it's great to have photos to look back on. But maybe try taking fewer, and don't worry about getting the perfect shot or pose. Seize the moment. 

Make changes

One thing you commonly hear when people talk about bucket lists is: "something I always wanted to do". Fulfilling a childhood dream has its charms! But if your interests have changed over time don't feel like you can't make changes to your life dreams. It's not giving up on something if it's something that's just not important to you anymore. And it's okay to be adaptable and realise we all change all the time. 

Your life may have turned out very differently than childhood you ever thought. Maybe you've got lots of children or a partner to think about. Maybe you just don't fancy the risks associated with the high adrenaline dreams of your childhood. If your inner adrenaline junkie still really wants to throw themselves out of a plane - then again, go for it! But if your idea of a good time has changed then don't feel guilty about it. 

And remember what we said earlier, maybe you have smaller goals leading up to a big one, so update your list. Every time you achieve a goal, you can update or upgrade to the next stage.  

How about throwing out your bucket list?

A bucket list can be a great way to articulate and define your life goals. We all know life is short, and you don't want to hold back. But what about flipping that idea round, life is short - so live NOW. Don't limit yourself to things on a predefined list. Say yes to experiences you never thought of and maybe you can expand your life experiences. 

And more than that, if you aren't finding your bucket list as enjoyable as you thought. Let it go and release the pressure on yourself to be having amazing experiences all the time or achieving certain things by an unnecessary deadline. However, if you're the kind of person who thrives from ticking things off your list, then do just that! Have you been inspired to do something exciting? Read our 25 Experiences to Try Today to get some ideas!

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