As we begin a new year and make our annual resolutions, many of us talk about updating our personal and professional goals. In fact, last year around this time we wrote about how goal-setting can improve your career.
Another popular new year practice is to update a “bucket list.”
What’s a Bucket List?
Well, this how the Urban Dictionary somewhat humorously defines it: “A list of things you’d like to do before you die, like visiting the Grand Canyon, falling in love, or falling into the Grand Canyon.”
Interestingly (and perhaps not too surprisingly), I just learned that our CEO, Sheryl Barden, doesn’t particularly love the term “bucket list.” Instead, she likes to stay focused on embracing opportunities and living life to the fullest. She doesn’t want to put things off or take action under the fear that she might “kick the bucket.”
I think she’s onto something.
Sheryl prefers to create a “life list.” Meaning, she’s going to list all the things she wants to do throughout her life, without any “end-game” pressure.
And she’s on a personal crusade to forever change the term bucket list to life list.
So, what if I didn’t put off one of my life list items (e.g., traveling through Ireland before I’m age 45), and put an action plan in place to achieve it?
How to Make Your “Life List” Happen
Here’s a simple step-by-step plan to help ensure that your life list goals — both personal and professional — get put on a path to being accomplished.
1. Make a plan. Choose what you want to do now or work toward doing in the near future. Just be sure it’s realistically doable. If some of your life list goals are big or complex, break them down into steps so that they’re more attainable. Then consider how can you make incremental steps toward achieving each goal on your list.
2. Write them down. Make a written record of what your life goals are, perhaps in their order of importance to you. Define your “why” for each item, and note the people and/or resources required to making your actions a reality.
3. Tell someone. Make a pledge that you’re going to complete your goal by mentioning it to someone else. Better yet, find a friend or colleague to cheer you on and another person (perhaps a mentor or coach) to hold you accountable. Doing so will increase the likelihood of your tackling the goal and achieving success.
4. Track your progress. Don’t rest on your laurels after you’ve made your first step. Write down key dates so you can accomplish your goals. What are the objective benchmarks you’ll set for yourself? Taking that first step is often the hardest, so plan it with commitment.
5. Celebrate. When you’ve completed your goal, give yourself an “attaboy” or “attagirl.” You’ve earned it!
I thought it would be fun to ask our team here at API to list a few of their “life list” items, and here’s what they came back with:
- Sheryl Barden, CEO – Cruise the Amazon River.
- Jennifer Pickerel, Director of Client Services – Take a European vacation as a family.
- Jenny Showalter, Candidate Services Manager – Become an NBAA Certified Aviation Manager (CAM).
- Debbi Laux, Candidate Specialist – Travel to Sydney, Australia for wine tasting and a wilderness tour.
It remains to say that the most important thing you can do regarding your life list is to “make it happen.” Don’t wait around for your life list to inadvertently become your “bucket list.” As they wisely said in ancient Rome: “Carpe Diem!
P.S. Just a friendly heads up, unless you want an earful about living life to the fullest (like I did), I highly suggest not using the term “bucket list” to Sheryl Barden.