A Bucket List in 5 Steps

A Bucket List in 5 Steps

Writing a bucket list gives a sense of reality to the long term goals we have for ourselves. A bucket list is, thought, much larger than just a list of goals to reach. A bucket list should include not just goals you want to achieve, but dreams that you want to see become reality and experiences you would like to have before you can’t have them anymore.

A bucket list can help you gain focus on those things that are really important to you–outside of our day to day run around tasks.  We cannot get away from our daily responsibilities but we can certainly measure whether our daily activities are leading us to reach our ultimate desires.

I thought of this as I started contemplating what I would put on my bucket list.  As I have mentioned before I am not a very adventurous person so on my list I would not put such experiences that include extreme sports.  For me–my most prized desires–include time and space.

And as I was thinking of the items to put on my list, I was thinking about how to decide on which things to include and these are the steps that I took to help me make those choices.

  1. Think about things, experiences and dreams that you have had since childhood.  It is in childhood that our true dreams and desires begin, before the responsibilities of adulthood take precedence in our lives.
  2. Follow your heart when it comes to things you truly want for you, not for what others expect of you, or would want for you. What matters is what you want.
  3. List things that are within your grasp as well as loftier goals that may be seemingly harder to achieve.  Do not underestimate how many things you can actually achieve if you put your mind to it.
  4. Include everything that would make you happy regardless of how much money it may cost, time it may take to achieve, or resources you may need to acquire to reach them.
  5. Write these objective, dreams and experiences down on paper. Keep a copy of it where you can review it often.  Add to it if you like!  But keep your dreams and goals foremost on your mind to help you achieve them.

Once you make your bucket list–then the fun begins! Choose one of the goals on the list and start the plan on how you will reach that goal.  Make plans, find a way and seek out the goal.

One of the fun things of having a bucket list is crossing them off as you accomplish them.  And the joy you will receive from reaching them!

What kinds of things would you include on your bucket list?  Drop a comment below…and let me know!

Happy Monday!  Have fun!

Moving Forward

Moving Forward

I am guilty of over-planning.  I over plan almost everything…from projects I am working on to our weekly meals. Some may think it is because I like to have the control–but in reality it is because I like to figure out the puzzle of unexpected events or situations arising.

And as I like to be prepared for the unexpected I make tons of lists. Lists of books I’ve read, book to read, grocery lists, meal plans, budgets, instructions for projects and lists and lists of ideas.  I like to plan ahead and to be ready for the what ifs.

Some of my friends who know of my list making think I am amazing (I tend to agree with that)…but there are a few who think I am too organized and doubt that I can accomplish as much as I do.

I think it may be their envy speaking or their wish to be more organized themselves or to simply have a desire to want to accomplish more in their own lives.

I have to say that I do get a great deal of things done in my home, at work, and in my hobbies because I am organized and do make lists to keep on top of things.  After all these years I think my success in this is because I can work on different things each day and move my goals forward–whatever they may be.

This is how I do it:  I break my projects into small workable tasks and I keep moving through the tasks day after day–time permitting–until they are finished.  As other tasks come up I can weave them into my days without disrupting my responsibilities or my objectives.

I’ve been doing this for a very long time–I hate to think how long, as I remember being this way in high school and college–with my school tasks. (And that was well over 30 years ago!)

When I look back over this time, I am grateful and proud of all I have accomplished so far and am very excited of all the years ahead of me to plan, and to create, and to accomplish so much more.

So many people give up so early in life and stop trying to accomplish–whatever it is they dream of accomplishing. They live their lives going through the motions and staying in the same place–never advancing or learning or wanting to change and advance.

But for us over planners–we sometime do try to do too much each day–the long lists in my planner are certainly proof of that. And if we don’t check off all our “to-dos” we feel we are not enough.   I am here to tell you that we are enough. Sometimes tasks, however small, can lead you to something bigger.

People often over estimate what can be completed or accomplished in a small amount of time and under estimate what can be accomplished over the long term.

Keep moving forward.  You are enough!

Priorities, Priorities, Priorities

Priorities, Priorities, Priorities

In my last post, I shared with you how much I am enjoying using my calendar to schedule the events and tasks that are important to my life, my goals and my priorities.

I’ve received a few questions since then about how to set your priorities and how I know if they are the right ones!  Wow! Huge questions and tough ones, but I decided to tackle them.

Setting priorities can be a very difficult task–depending on what your priorities are and if they match your values and your goals.

So first you really need to decide what you really want in your life.  Do you want a job, career or calling that you are excited to get up for each morning? Or just a means to make some money to obtain the OTHER things you really want in your life?

Do you want the romantic relationship of your dreams? Do you want to travel more or have more interesting experiences? Or do you want just more TIME to do all of these things?

You see, as we get older–the things we want change and that will change our goals and the methods we use to reach them.  This happens–not because we are getting older–but because we continue to grow as long as we are still breathing!

As we grow, we have to keep examining what it is we want so we can shift–you got it–our PRIORITIES!

How do you set your priorities? The right priorities for each person will be different depending on what they value.  

If you value family, like I do, then your tasks and the events you choose to attend will revolve around family–because that is what makes you happy and so you have internalized this as a priority for you.

How do you know if your priorities are the right ones? Well…this is easier to answer and harder to answer.

I am not going to say: “if it feels good make this a priority in your life”  because sometimes we pursue or do things that feel good in the moment–but that are really bad for us.

What I will say is if something is important to you, like traveling and seeing new places, and you have to work all year to save and earn your two weeks off in order to be able to enjoy it–but you do it because you really get joy from the traveling then this is a priority for you!

So the right priorities are the ones that feel right to you and that match up with the things you values.

As I continue growing and enjoying this journey, I have done a lot of self inspection.  I have found that my life’s passions include my personal growth, my family, traveling and writing or being creative in some form of expression. I also realized that I am a fixer–or as I prefer to think of it–a helper.

I was happy to realize that most of my life I have been reaching and obtaining these experiences, even through the years that had brought hardship, confusion and disasters into my life.

Getting older and continuing to grow just means for me that I will be putting more focus on my passions–my priorities–because it is what makes me happy and what is leading me to my purpose.

So knowing your priorities is very important! Examining what your heart is telling you makes you happy is very important! And then prioritizing your life so that you are going towards those goals is what makes this life so worth living!

Never stop growing! And do not be afraid to treat yourself well by honoring the things that are important to you!  We only live one life, folks, have fun!

Comment below and share some of the things that you have made priorities in your life!

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The Joy of Living by My Calendar

The Joy of Living by My Calendar

One thing I have implemented for myself this year that has helped me grow–is my calendar.

 

I’ve gotten a new calendar every year and usually by February I have stopped putting “important” dates and “to dos by” dates on it.  But this year, I’ve taken a new approach and it has been working extremely well.

As I have been making plans for building the life I really want I realized that I cannot live the life I would like to live if I do not honor my time.

Time after all is that one commodity that no one seems to have enough of yet some people seem to get a great deal of important things done and these are things they truly love to do. And we have to realize that all of us have the same 24 hours each day.

Please understand that I am not suggesting that you fill your calendar with more events and tasks so that you are busy all the time. What I am suggesting is that you only put things in your calendar that have true meaning to you.

What distinguishes the importance of our time is defining what those things are that are important to you. Those are the things that go in your calendar.

One of my favorite quotes by Franklin Covey is:

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

What are your priorities?  This can be a very difficult question to answer. Depending on where you are in your life, your priorities may be very different.  There really is no right or wrong answer for this.

Priorities, also, are hard to define because we feel “selfish” when expressing what we really want for ourselves–often it is not what other people want for us.  If we only do things that is expected of us by others it will not necessarily make us happy or move us closer to our own goals.

Making the other people in our lives happy is important–especially if it brings you joy. But your calendar should not be filled with tasks and events of or for other people.

So, I sat down and made a list of my priorities.  This was not an easy task. But I was able to narrow it down to 6 things. Then I noted them on the first page of my calendar.  It serves as a reminder of what I want more of in my life.

And since then, before I add things to my calendar–I think about whether the task, event, invitation or effort is going to serve me and my priorities, my goals, and my happiness.

I know–it sounds totally selfish! But guess what?  I have not attended events I did not want to attend, I have not spent time with people I did not want to spend time with and I did not waste time completing tasks that have no real importance in my life.

The results is that I have had more time to spend with the people I really want to be with and I have been more relaxed and happy when with them. (I think they are enjoying the happier me! Or they might think I’m on medication!) I have not had to pretend to enjoy being somewhere I did not want to be and those useless tasks did not have to get done anyway!

Another plus is that I am learning to say no. No to things that waste time, no to experiences I do not want to have and no to people that are not part of my priorities.

Now when I look at my calendar–which I do each morning–I find the things that I really enjoy staring back at me. It helps me clearly plan what is needed to complete necessary tasks and it allows me to look forward to the events coming up because I am so excited about them.

And although it is only February, I have already planned many things well into the summer. Things that match my priorities and that bring me joy. Things I am looking forward to.

What kind of tasks or events that align with your priorities are you most excited about? Do you take the time to schedule these things in your calendar for yourself?  Comment below! And as always have fun!

 

The Plan

The Plan

When my husband and I realized that the Empty Nest was really a thing…and that ours would be coming soon…we started to formulate “The Plan”.

In other words we began to dream.  We talked about future goals and expectations we had for our lives. After all, we consider ourselves to be very fortunate to have–so far–lived a great life. The future has to be great too!

That is not to say that we have not had horrible times, struggled or made mistakes. We’ve done all of that and more! But somehow we survived it, made the best of most situations–learned a lot–and kept going.

Life is like that.  It is a roller coaster ride that takes you to unexpected places–sometimes painful and scary. And through it all we survive it and arrive at hopefully a good place.

I am finding though, as we think about dreams we have for the future that we have become complacent and comfortable with where we are and do not want to tempt the Fates with asking for more.

That is such a wrong idea. We can have more without threatening the security we now enjoy.  We can do and go and be whatever we want if “The Plan” is thought out properly.

And now with the empty nest we have also found that we have a great deal more time.  We have been filling this time with hobbies and weekend trips and doing the things we really enjoy and care about–like writing!

Others, though, see our empty nest and think we have time to do MORE for them. But MORE doing is not exactly what I had envisioned for “The Plan”. It is not busy that I would like to be but more authentic. Authentic to my true self and what I can offer others and what I can do for myself.

It is not part of “The Plan” to multitask anymore. That is not authentic! When I multitask I am not putting my full focus on what I am doing. I am good at multitasking and I can get a lot of stuff done. But over the years I’ve noticed that the better I multitask the more folks expect me to do. And by doing this I’ve allowed them to take away my joy.

Who came up with this concept of multitasking anyway? When I did a little research–(ok, I got a little carried away and read about 17 articles!)–I found that the term multi-task can be found as far back as the 1960s but was always used to refer to machines, in one article a lawnmower, and later to computers that can perform various functions simultaneously.

I also found that “Human Multitasking” is a thing! It is actually described as if the Human were some odd species!  Most article agreed that when humans multitask we are less efficient, prone to more errors and ultimately we are not saving more time.

So part of my “Plan” is to stop multitasking.  I want to be present when I am doing whatever it is I am doing. And I have been testing it out!  

I am my own laboratory rat: I had lunch today and concentrated on just eating and enjoying my meal. I turned off the monitor on my desk (where I eat at work), I put my cell phone in my bag and I just ate and looked out the window.

I have to admit that at first, it felt weird. But after a few minutes, my breathing changed, I noticed I was eating slower and how good my lunch tasted. I watched the wind blow through the trees outside and without intending to I started thinking about “The Plan”!  And all the things we are planning to enjoy and do–because we can and because we want to!

So just because we have more time doesn’t mean we have to do MORE of what others expect or want us to do. It does give us the freedom to look forward to that future we are planning and the manner in which we want to enjoy it.

And so I’ve officially included in “The Plan”:

  1. No more multitasking!
  2. Be authentic with my wants and dreams!  
  3. Give to others what I can offer them but that also brings me joy!

Look into your future.  What do you want to see there? What are you doing today that will help you realize your “Plan”? Comment below and share some of your plans and dreams. And remember, we only have one life people! Make it fun!

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Freaky Friday

Freaky Friday

One of my favorite Disney movies has always been Freaky Friday.

(Did you know there were 3 versions of the movie?)

In it, through a strange twist of fate a mother and daughter switch personalities but remain in their own bodies–forcing themselves to see their lives through the perspective of the other.

In the end, in good Disney fashion, it all ends well with mother and daughter in their own bodies and with a new appreciation of the other.

It is the type of theme that reminds us that no one is an island unto themselves. We are connected–for good or bad–to many other people, some of which we may not even realize we are connected to, and whose life we affect.

I remember this as I begin this journey in creating the life I want for myself.  

A few days ago I decided that as new year’s resolutions I should chose changes I wanted to make in my life that had a reason behind them. The ultimate reason, of course, is to live the life I want–a happy life.

And that is when things got Freaky!  Define a “happy life”! And how does your “happy life” affect or impact the “happy life” of others–especially those closest to you. Talk about Freaky!

As we think about and form what our “happy life” is, we cannot forget the others near us that do not realize what it is to walk in our shoes. Because ultimately, as Disney points out, we do not realize what it is like to walk in THEIR shoes either.

So we have to do two contradicting things at the same time.  We need to search for that thing that will bring us happiness and be selfish about it, but we must also take into account how our happiness will affect others.

That is not to say we should give up our dreams and do what others want us to do. That will not make us happy and if the people around you really care about you, they do want your happiness.

If the people around you are just takers and are not concerned with your happiness but the function you serve for them, then perhaps it’s time to take a hard look at those relationships. More freaky.

It is a matter of PERSPECTIVE after all….the what’s in it for me? thoughts and feelings.

Freakier still…this is not easy and it will take some work, but it will be so worth it in the end!

So, over the next week–I am going to go about my normal life. But I am going to be conscious at really analyzing it and discovering myself.  

I encourage you, also, to spend some time looking at your current life and to think about what your dreams are.

If you are in a marriage or committed relationship–you may want to do this exercise with that person, as most likely wherever your dreams take you so will it take your partner.

Look at the point of view of each person that is involved in this future. And see yourself in that future, surrounded by what you want, where you want, how you want things to be. And then write these things down.

You don’t have to do anything with the list right now, but it helps to have your ideas develop on paper (or in a journal or on your PC).

I am sure the things we find out about our present selves, and about what our future selves want will be beyond Freaky!  But like the end of the movie (all three, actually) it will lead us to a better beginning to the future we hope to have!

I hope you have a wonderful Freaky Friday!  

If you’d like, I’d love for you to share your thoughts on what type of future you envision or on Freaky Fridays of your own!  Please comment below.

Also, visit my Facebook page and Pinterest to join, follow or post your thoughts as well! And have fun!