Climb Kilimanjaro, explore the ruins of Machu Piccu, go on a safari in Kenya, make cupcake soaps, learn the art of Thai Massage….The list of items goes on and on but these are some of the awesome things to do on my bucket list!
Many of you probably have a similar list of things to achieve and places to visit before you ‘kick the bucket’ but how many of you are actually living out your lists and crossing things off?
How many buckets are overflowing because they’re not getting emptied regularly? How many of you have a hole in your bucket, letting these great ideas drip out and become forgotten about dreams?
Fill the Hole in Your Bucket List
It’s awesome to write a bucket list, but its even more awesome to do the things on your list and be bucket living!
I’ve got a few buckets, some with travel plans, some with personal goals and some with easy to achieve things that can be done easily and cheaply. I think it’s important to have goals and big ambitions to work towards but it’s just as important to have smaller, simpler things to strive towards, things that are well within our grasp, that are achievable without a huge amount of money, or taking loads of time to complete, for whilst we must work towards future goals and dreams it is important not to lose sight of today.
We Need Goals, Ambitions and Dreams
“Positive Psychology practitioners are interested in the things that make life worth living, the things that give our lives meaning, and the actions and motivations behind the things that ultimately make us happy.”
Positive Psychology founder Martin Seligman proposes that one of the main principals of happiness is ‘living the good life’ which is achieved through a combination of factors that hold value to us. In his theory of happiness he states that accomplishment is a fundamental factor in achieving fulfillment.
Having goals and something to strive towards such as a bucket list drives our positive emotions and gives us hope for our future whilst past achievements give us confidence for achieving future goals.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow (one of the 5 Founding Fathers of Positive Psychology) suggested that paramount to a happy life is to seek fulfillment and personal growth. He is quoted as saying,“What a man can be, he must be” in which he refers to man’s desire for success and to reach our optimal level. When we have reached this level of fulfillment, Maslow suggests we have self actualised and can live life happily.
Nobel prize winner Psychologist Daniel Kahneman has proposed a peak-end theory to life and happiness suggesting that we remember the peaks of life and this is what makes life meaningful. By creating positive experiences and things that make us happy, such as those on our bucket list, we are creating more peaks leading to more happy memories and a more fulfilled life.
The Benefits of a Bucket List
In short, having a bucket list of achievable dreams and goals helps to:
- Give us focus
- Make us take action
- Give us self confidence
- Bring happiness
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score a goal.”
– Bill Copeland
”Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
– Thomas Jefferson
‘Dr Happiness’ Ed Diener (2015) agrees that having enjoyable goals is an important ingredient for happiness. Having goals, dreams, ambitions and something to work towards helps give our life purpose. They prevent us from drifting through life dreaming of what could be but never taking action.
Developing the right mental attitude to accomplish our goals can make us stronger, more confident and ultimately happier. We need goals, but more importantly we need motivation and an action plan to turn our goals into reality, turning positive thoughts into positive actions resulting in a happier, more confident, more successful, positive you.
What is Standing in Our Way?
How many times have you heard yourself say – I’ll do it when I get around to it…… And then never gotten around to it?
Most dreams are not cheap. With the costs of day to day living eating up most of our hard earned cash it’s difficult to save enough to do the things you want to do.
The only person stopping you from achieving your goals is you.
The Psychology of Bucket Living
- Get more energy.
You will function much more efficiently, with more energy, eat a healthy balanced diet, get enough sleep and drink plenty of water to maximise your bodies energy, concentration levels and brain power and surprise yourself with how much you can actually get done in less time, leaving more time for the fun stuff.
- Plan your time off:
Plan your evenings, weekends and holidays in advance, find out what’s on, how to get there, prepare everything you need to take the night before then wake up and go. The last thing you want to do is to waste your precious time trying to decide where to go and spending half of your day off trying to decide what to do and where to go.
- Make use of bank holidays
Book annual leave around bank holidays and turn long weekends into even longer weekends, more time to do the stuff you love to do.
Far too many people wait until they retire to travel or to live out their dreams, they spend their lives working for the future dream, but retirement may never come, or when it does you may find yourself too ‘tired’ to do the things on your list, so why wait until then? Life is for living, we should be bucket living now!
About the Author
Psychology Student, Holistic Therapist, Positive Lifestyle Promoter and Adventurer.
Gemma and her partner Glen are positive lifestyle promoters, researching and experimenting with ways to get the best out of every day and to live a life that they love. Along with their baby Benjamin they spend as much time as possible traveling, adventuring and pursuing projects that make them happy then writing about their experiences to encourage others to love the life they live also.
Gemma is currently training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming with the intention of pursuing a PhD in Positive Psychology, continuing her mission to promote positive, healthy living; helping others to live a life that they love.
Diener, E (2015). History of happiness/ed-diener Retrieved from http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/ed-diener/
Jefferson, T (2015) Retrieved from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/thomasjeff120994.html
Kahneman, D (2010). The riddle of experience vs memory. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahneman_the_riddle_of_experience_vs_memory
McLeod, S. A. (2007). Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
Whitbourne S. K (2012). Happiness: It's all about the ending. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201209/happiness-it-s-all-about-the-ending
Whitson, G. (2011). The trouble with not having a goal. Retrieved from http://lifehacker.com/5868799/the-trouble-with-not-having-a-goal