Last updated on September 21st, 2022 at 09:33 am
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We all have things we want to accomplish on our bucket lists.
The list might be long, so long that it doesn’t feel doable.
The key is to focus a few at a time.
Here is a step-by-step instruction guide on how to do things you always wanted to do.
Things You Always Wanted to Do Step #1 – Make a List
Start with a brain dump of anything you want to accomplish – things you always wanted to do.
A brain dump is where you set aside a certain amount of time, let’s say 5 minutes, for example, and you write down anything that comes to mind without filtering.
Too often, we overthink in our everyday lives. This activity takes all of that away.
Write down anything that comes to mind. Filtering is the next step so don’t think so much about this step.
Some of these might be a one-time-only thing like eating at this new restaurant.
Others will be more time-consuming such as taking an online course (Udemy has some great options) or watching a Chinese drama.
2) Choose 3-5 Activities
After doing a brain dump, the next step is the process of elimination.
The choosing part might be harder than you think.
Look at your list carefully and narrow it down to about 3-5 activities. This is just a rough estimate. It can be more or less.
If you have more things you want to do that are one-time only, you can pick 6 – 10. The number 3-5 is for those who want to pick things that take months to complete.
Put the others aside for now. Focus on those 3-5 (or 6-10) activities first.
You can always come back for the others. There’s no need to eliminate them from your bucket list. They’re just temporarily going to be on the back burner for now as these 3-5 activities are going to be a priority.
We often try to convince ourselves that it is possible to do everything.
It is but not at once.
You’re going to have to make some hard decisions about what you want to do first.
3) Decide What You Can Reasonably Accomplish
Your list is looking much smaller now.
The next step is taking time to figure out how much time to allocate for each activity. Be reasonable.
For example, when the pandemic first started, one of my goals was to finish reading two books.
I would love to read 20 books but that’s not realistic for me.
(For those who love to read – it’s not a lot but I’m not the type to read books daily.)
So I decided I wanted to read 2 books. It’s a good start for someone who rarely reads.
Then, you break that goal down even further.
There are mainly two ways of doing this.
Back to the book example – I can read a chapter a day until the book is finished.
Or I can allocate 30 minutes a day to reading.
This can even be applied to online courses.
You can choose to spend a set amount of time on a course every day or challenge yourself to finish a chapter a day.
It depends on what the activity is.
If you’re trying to improve your singing skills, for example, you can’t really do a chapter a day. Spending x amount of time on the activity per day or week is going to be more suitable.
Do the same for the other activities.
4) Draft Up a Schedule
Once you have decided how much time you want to spend on each activity, draft up a schedule.
When, during the day, will you do your chosen activity?
Is it right when you wake up? Or it is going to be a part of your nighttime self-care routine?
Schedule that time in your calendar.
Seeing a schedule right in front of you will nudge things along. It will give you an idea of how your goal will fit into your current schedule. See what your day will look like now.
5) Put Up Reminders
You might feel extremely motivated in the beginning but when life gets busy, you might eventually forget about your goal.
Put up self-reminders so you won’t let yourself forget.
You can do things like…
- Put up sticky notes on your fridge or desk or bulletin board (if you have one)
- Set an alarm on your phone
- Write it down on your desk calendar
Constantly remind yourself what you set out to do. Hold yourself accountable.
Don’t let this get buried under all the other things you have to do.
6) Give Yourself a Deadline
Give yourself two deadlines. One flexible one and one firm one.
Back to my book example. I would love to read 2 books in a month but honestly, knowing me, it’s probably going to take 2 months for me to read 2 books.
I could have a headache that day or I’m so exhausted that I can’t even keep my eyes open.
Whatever the reason is, there will be days when I can’t read.
That’s when the two deadlines come in.
The first deadline is the flexible date you want to ideally (but also be realistic) complete your goal. The second deadline (the firm one) is when you have to.
Things You Always Wanted to Do Step #7 – Do It!
The last step is probably the hardest.
All of the steps above are about thinking and crafting your plan.
The final thing to do is to put that plan into action.
I’m going to warn you now.
It is extremely likely there will come a time when you might not want to keep going. If you’re lucky, this feeling will come later on but you have to force yourself to keep going.
(I’m talking about things you’ve tried and decided you like. If you tried an activity and know it’s not for you, there’s no need to keep going. You can tick off the box on your to-do list because you’ve done it already. There’s no imagining what it would be like. You know already.)
Follow the planned schedule as closely as you can. The first few times might be tough because you’re trying to form a new habit. Adding something new to your schedule is not easy.
For days you REALLY don’t feel like doing anything, try to do at least a little. You’ll feel better about yourself too.
For example, if I’m having a pounding headache and cannot read for the day, it’s okay to skip it.
Remember the list of things you want to accomplish? What else is on your list? If you can’t read for the day, maybe you can order from that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.
Do at least one other thing on your list so you won’t be as hard as yourself.
Just remember to get back on track the next day, providing that you’re healed, of course.
Final Thoughts – Things You Always Wanted To Do
We often tell ourselves that we’ll do something later.
When is later?
Sometimes, we even forget about our bucket list because we keep saying later. Our mind only has so much space before we can’t recall anymore. Or we convince ourselves we have time in the future because it’s not urgent.
There are so many excuses we give ourselves.
Actively pursue what you want to do.
You might even decide you don’t like what you’re doing halfway through it but at least you know you’ve tried. You don’t have to wonder what it’s like because you’ve done it already.
The truth is, the hardest part is following through. You might hit some bumps in the road but if you can conquer those, you’ll feel proud of yourself.
Being in my 20s has taught me that I should go for it. You should too.
Now to You – Things You Always Wanted To Do
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