In Come Away With Me Tegan and Gabe — still reeling from a horrible tragedy — embark on an Eat Pray Love-type of journey to three destinations from a wish list they came up with in happier times. The inspiration for this part of the story came from my own wish list, which I started when I was 17. It now has about 120 items on it (including my goal of writing and publishing a novel *CHECK!*), and has motivated and kept me looking forward for years. I love adding to it nearly as much as checking items off.
Maybe you have your own list – and maybe you’ve even written it down somewhere…if you could only remember where you put it…sound familiar? Or perhaps you want to start a bucket list but have no idea how. It sounds simple — write down the places you want to go, and the things you want to see and do — but like so many things simple doesn’t always = easy.
I believe a lot of people have bucket lists inside their heads, just waiting to be put on paper. So the first thing I would say is WRITE IT DOWN. You don’t need to go overachiever on your first attempt and make it one of those “100 things to do before you die” kind of lists. Although if that’s how you think about it, go for it. When I started my list it had about 15 items on it. And I just kept adding to it. Now it’s much bigger and categorized by Travel, Goals, and Experiences, which works for me.
So if you want to generate your own list, or dust off one you’ve already done, here are a few tips for creating it AND checking items off:
- Start with a top 10. You could even do top 10 in different categories, like Travel, Health, Family, or Hobbies, for example.
- To generate ideas, ask yourself questions: If I could quit my job, or take an extended leave, with no financial consequences, what would I do? Where would I go? Why is that important to me?
- Break the list up, regardless of number of items, into the top 1-3 things for a specific time period (like six months or a year). It’s much more likely you’ll get traction on at least one item if you look at it this way.
- Revisit your list every month (put a reminder in your calendar!) and keep it convenient to add items as they come to you. I have a hard copy in a journal my mom brought me back from Thailand, and a copy in a file on my laptop.
- Find a bucket list buddy. Invite friends or family in to join you. This makes you more accountable and there’s nothing like a shared experience for fun and lasting memories!
- Tell people what you’re doing. Putting it out there keeps you accountable for doing what you say you’re going to do, and you never know who can support one of your goals!
Along with these tips I have two must-haves for creating a wish list:
Make sure everything on your list is within your control.
Only write items down that either really excite or really inspire you.
Finally, write a list of 10 things that scare the living crap out of you but that intrigue you at the same time. I guarantee those are things you HAVE to do.