A bucket list is not helpful if all the goals just sit unfinished forever. It is time to start turning your dreams into a reality.

Time and time again we hear people mention the wish lists for their lives, wide-eyed with an excitement in their voices, the crackling of the wheels turning in the brain and an overwhelming feeling of hope. Then what happens? Unfortunately, that thought needs to turn to action and that’s where the need for “instant gratification” scores a touchdown while hard work is left to watch from the sidelines.

Don’t worry, it’s happened to me too. But, there are some techniques to help ensure your success.

1. Be Accountable

Want to have better odds at keeping the commitment you made to yourself? Hold yourself accountable. You can do this by publicly announcing the contents of your bucket list or at least your active pursuit of one of your goals—share it with your family, friends, and even a couple of acquaintances. Not only will your enthusiasm be contagious, but sharing will make you feel obligated to complete a goal; you don’t want to be seen as the person who goes back on their word.

Even better…

If you have started your list with friends, your children, or a spouse, make a plan to meet once a month to discuss the progress you have all made and to determine steps you will take before the next time you meet.

Having monthly bucket list get-togethers with friends causes you to be answerable to someone, and it could be a huge support when you encounter challenges with a goal you are working on.

2. Pick Starter Goals

You are probably looking at your long list of aspirations, confused at where to begin. Focusing on too many goals can be distracting, so start by picking two to three to work on, at least one long-term and one short-term. If you can’t decide which ones to start with, read your list again to identify what excites you at the moment, what gives you goose bumps or a thrill in the pit of your stomach.

My first tandem goals were going to the movies by myself and driving through the hills of Tuscany. Of course, the theater task was completed almost instantaneously, which made me feel like I was making progress, whereas traveling to Italy took over a year and a half.

Once the short-term goal was completed I immediately replaced it with another easier item while still continuing to make progress on the larger goal.

3. Deadline Your Objectives

Setting deadlines can help escape the “someday” syndrome, a common excuse for why you won’t begin today because you will get to it someday. The goals you choose to currently work on should have a deadline different than “in your lifetime,” as it will create a sense of urgency to propel you forward.

Push yourself, but also be realistic.

If you have just accepted a demanding new job that will require six months of training, then your dream of going to a month-long silent retreat in Bali may have to have a longer deadline than a year. Spend some time calculating what is practical: if you are committed to a half year of training for your position, then allow yourself three months for full transition into the new position after the training period. Then assess how long it will take you to complete the goal from this point, and that’s what your deadline should be, keeping in mind that you will be able to complete little steps along the way.

I recommend creating mini-lists within your list, for example, 30 Before 30, 40 before 40, or 50 before 50 – Choose goals that you want to do before reaching a certain age.

4. Break Down Goals into Actionable Steps

Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not worth even beginning if you are only able to make a small start. If your bucket list goal is completing a marathon, put on your running shoes and walk around the block. If it is learning how to speak Italian, memorize one word a day or even a week.

Creating these types of baby steps is especially helpful when you are trying to tackle a larger, long-term goal. It is less daunting to focus on each small task, plus you will get a confidence boost with each little milestone reached, as you will realize that you are one step closer to your goal. When you are looking at the big picture in its entirety, it can seem overwhelming and intimidating, which can promote procrastination.

5. Start Today

The more you procrastinate, the less likely it is that you will be able to do all the things in life you wish. Change that procrastination into determination by starting today. Make the first step of your chosen starter goal something you know you can complete within the next twenty-four hours.

If your dream is to walk the Great Wall of China, begin by researching the best path. If your wish is to learn to crochet a scarf, start by finding a nearby class or set of instructional videos.

Someday is not a guarantee - It is never too early to begin, don’t wait for that someday that may never come.

About the blogger: Anna is an Italy based travel blogger and speaker. She runs an award-winning travel and lifestyle blog,



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