4 Stupid Bucket List Mistakes To Avoid

July 5, 2010

My first bucket list was a total fail. And if you make the 4 mistakes I made, you might find yourself on the verge of popping your clogs, wondering why you didn’t achieve your bucket list dreams and goals.

Why My First Bucket List Wasn’t Worth The Moleskine It Was Written On

Luckily, I didn’t wait until I was ready for that cheap, environmentally friendly cardboard box before I realised my bucket list had some serious flaws. I wrote my first bucket list about 18 months ago but I didn’t look at it again until recently and I discovered that I haven’t achieved a single item on the list.

Ok, I’ll admit, not even giving my bucket list a glance didn’t help much but I made 4 serious mistakes that you need to avoid at all costs.

4 Stupid Bucket List Mistakes to Avoid

When I re-read my bucket list and thought about where I’d gone wrong, my mistakes were pretty obvious but these things usually are with hindsight.

Mistake 1 – It was like a shopping list. And you don’t need much detail when you’re buying half a dozen tins of spam, ten lbs of green beans and 12 bottles of merlot. But your bucket list is likely to require a bit more thought.

Solution – It’s In The Detail. Like any other plan, you need to think about how you’re going to achieve each goal. So underneath each bucket list item, write the small steps you need to take to achieve that goal. This makes your bucket list more manageable and you can add some of these small steps to your daily “To Do list”.

Mistake 2 – Size Matters. Looking at a list of 70 goals is overwhelming. It’s like putting a whole year’s work on your daily “To Do List“. You just wouldn’t know where to start.

Solution – View your bucket list as a work in progress.
Think about the bucket list items that are most important to you now and just list a few to begin with. There’s no point in listing stuff you think you might like to do in twenty years time. Your idea of bliss might have been playing with a Barbie Doll 30 years ago. But in 30 years time, your biggest goal might be winning the local pensioners zimmer race.

Mistake 3 – Too many expensive or time consuming goals. I thought well ahead in the hope that I have at least 30 – 40 years of my life left (ok maybe 40 years is pushing it). And that encouraged me to add too many time consuming and expensive goals.

Solution – Choose Achievable Short Term Goals Too.
Many of your goals should be relatively short term – any extra time you get is down to pure luck. So the majority of your goals shouldn’t require you to sell your home, or take up a year of your life. If they do, you might find it impossible to get started. But if you can achieve at least one or two of your goals in the next year or so, it will motivate you to keep going.

Mistake 4 – Not Choosing Personalized Goals. Like many people, I searched the Internet for inspiration for my bucket list. And while I came up with some impressive goals – they weren’t necessarily the ones that were most important to me.

Solution – Think About The Bucket List Items That Mean Most To You First.
The Internet is a goldmine of information. Trouble is, a lot of that gold is fools gold. So before you begin searching for other people’s bucket list ideas – think about the things that are most important to you. You’re more likely to achieve the bucket list goals that you set yourself.

I’ve arrived at the conclusion that planning a bucket list is not much different to business planning. But instead of focusing on business related goals, it encourages you to consider your goals in other areas of your life too.

Do you have a bucket list? Have you achieved any of your goals yet?

Related Reading

Don’t Be Like The Women On The Titanic
Business Success Is Only A Deathbed Away
47 Amazing Bucket List Ideas & Resources

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