A group of guys turned 100 to-dos into a #1 New York Times bestselling book and later an inspirational documentary series on MTV called The Buried Life. You’ll watch one list take terminally ill patients–played by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson–around the world (including motorcycling along the Great Wall!) in The Bucket List. Case in point: If you’ve got big dreams but no motivation, follow these next 10 points and let your new, classy bucket list nudge you in the right direction.
1. Who are you?
Sometimes life gets in the way of you clearly seeing who you are, but spending quality alone time examining your thoughts and beliefs and chiming into your spirit will help the process. It’ll make figuring out what you want much easier.
2. Who do you want to be?
Assuming you have an idea (or a bunch of ideas) of who you want to be when you grow up, use the almighty bucket list as a stepping stone to get there. Dreaming of CEO assertion or having the drive of a successful entrepreneur? Jot down “Brainstorm business ideas. Finalize a name by the end of 2012.” This provides a concrete goal and a time constraint, which should boost your motivation to make it happen.
The boys of The Buried Life.
3. What do you fear?
Being afraid is entirely mental and it’ll hold you back. Focus on the feared object/idea/action hard enough and boom, you have anxiety. Think about how babies crawl onto unknown territory or naturally swim if tossed into a pool. It’s because fear hasn’t registered into their developing little brains! If public speaking catches your tongue, force yourself into public speaking forums. Start with, “Write 12 poems. Read one poem at least once at month at poetry readings.”
4. What do you enjoy?
Turn the notches up on what gives you breadth and joy. Enjoy running? Get doused in colored powder throughout The Color Run, a 5K marathon of sorts where the point is fun, not how fast you go. Love heights? Ride the tallest coaster in the world, Kingda Ka, at Six Flags Great Adventure, and do it this week, this month, or at least this season. It won’t take an entire year to conquer something you love!
5. What’s missing?
Does your life feel complete right now? No? Fill in those blanks. Maybe you need to be honest with a childhood crush. Or it might be smart to switch your major. Either of these probing issues can be life changing decisions to make. Place them on your bucket list and get them done.
6. Think long term
You can make a seasonal bucket list with long term goals. Prep a list for fall 2012, but include some items which might take longer than one season to accomplish. In other words, keep your eyes on the prize even if it’ll take you a few years to gather the funds, support, or even courage to do so.
Participants in The Color Run!
7. Stop telling yourself “No”
As you get older, it becomes easier to say “that’s impossible.” Tap into your inner child who thought it was possible to be dentist by day and Sailor Moon by night! Let your imagination go, and come up with some outrageous ideas. The crazier the merrier.
8. Be selfish
Travel alone all summer if you never got to study abroad in college. You have free reign to make yourself into a better you.
9. Be Selfless
While it’s ok to be selfish sometimes, don’t forget to be selfless. If a young neighbor is an only child, hangout with them once a week or whenever you’re home from college. Have fun, teach ‘em something valuable (how to fish, how to play volleyball—whatever it is you do well!). They’ll hold onto those memories, and you’re making them a better person this way, too. It’s a cycle.
10. You have seven months to live…
What would you do with it? Not sit down and wallow in misery! You’ll write a memoir even if it never gets published, you’ll smash a guitar on stage live and you’ll be a mascot for one night at a high school football game. And it’s all because you can.