We all have a mental “bucket list” that includes all those things we want to do, places we want to visit, people we want to meet before we die.

The fact that these items are on our “bucket list” indicates they mean something to us. Likely, they are the very things that would further enrich our lives. But we often wait until disaster strikes to make actual plans to achieve the items on our bucket list.

I recently had a chance to talk with someone who is living her “bucket list.” At 26, Rebekah Erickson’s achieved what most of us would not, even in a lifetime. 

Sky diving in Portugal, volunteering in Nigeria, pursuing a double Master’s in Europe, and riding through the Sahara Desert by camel, surfing in Morocco. All within a year! These were just some of the dreams on her bucket list that she can now say she has done. 

What’s on Your Bucket List?

Going to art school, traveling to Morocco, launching as a stand-up comedian, completing a Ph.D., publishing a novel, setting up your own business… What do you desire to do, experience, or have that would make life feel a little more abundant or more meaningful?

Here are 10 steps that can help turn your dreams into reality.

Create the List

Let your imagination loose. It may take a while to write down all that you desire but don’t let it stop you. Give yourself permission to dream.

More than Your Goals, Know Your Outcomes

You must be clear about the outcomes you are hoping to achieve. If you want to go back to school for a degree – what degree would that be?

Be Specific About Your “Why”

How does that item on your bucket list fuel your passion? If it’s a writing retreat, why this particular one? What is pulling you there? Is it the traveling or the writing?

Create a Timeline for Your Goals

Have a clear vision whether each of your bucket list items should be complete in three years, five years, or beyond. Your time horizon will dictate how you should invest.

If you have long-term financial goals – e.g., those you hope to achieve in 10 years’ time – you may get a better bang for your buck by investing in the stock market instead of a bank account.

Set a Priority Table

Pick three goals that resonate most deeply for you, not in terms of what is “important” but also what will enrich your life most. It may mean delaying the last payment on your mortgage to go on that Safari trip you have wanted to do.

It does not mean you are ignoring the rest. It just means that you are choosing to focus on the goals that mean the most to you.

What Would Those Three Goals Cost?

If you’re hoping to complete your degree in fine arts, find out how much it would cost to do that. Do your homework and be as accurate as possible.

Find Our Your Dedication Level

How much time or money are you willing to devote to achieving this goal? A dream remains a wish until you show a firm commitment by doing something to achieve it. Separate items that are mere “wishes” from what is a burning desire. Focus on the latter!

Set Time Aside for That Particular Dream

If it’s a goal you plan to achieve in five years, then divide required time by 60 (60 months over five years).

If you want to run your first marathon, diarize how often you will be practicing each week. It’s unlikely you’ll do the entire length at the first practice. Pace yourself. Start with five kilometers at the first go and work your way up from there.

Automate Your Savings

Save a set amount towards an item on your bucket list. Have this done on the days you receive your paycheck.

Many apps can help you keep track of your money, and some go a step further and help you save! The Digit app is great at keeping track of your expenses. You can also set it to make regular transfers of money towards your goals.

For long-term goals, meet with a financial advisor. They will be able to tell you what investments you need for long-term goals. Instead of spending money on incidentals or succumbing to compulsive shopping, be intentional. Direct a part of your income to items on your bucket list.

If what you’re hoping to achieve requires regular practice, then make it a regular habit.

Keep Track of Your Achievements

Celebrate once you’ve achieved that goal! And start planning for the next item on your bucket list. By now I’m sure you don’t want to wait another minute.

Do you have a bucket list? How many items have you achieved by this point in your life? How many more are there? What are you planning to do to mark them DONE? Please share with our community!

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