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What’s a bucket list? A list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket” or die. At first, making a bucket list sounds macabre. Once you consider that a bucket list is really about identifying the things you want to do most while you’re alive, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not scary or depressing at all. It’s exciting! You make a bucket list to help you live the life you really want to live.

Ask the important questions. “What do you most want to do before you die?” Or, “What things haven’t you done that if you don’t do them your life will feel incomplete?” Some people never ask this question, until it’s too late. Those that do ask and answer these questions have a much greater chance of living the lives they want to live than those who don’t.

Start your list. It’s never too early or too late to start a bucket list. Younger people often think there’s plenty of time to ask these questions and make their bucket list – later. Don’t count on it. Start now. Imagine the life you will live if you do! Older people sometimes think it’s too late for them to start a bucket list. It’s never too late. It’s likely that as you grow older your list will become shorter – and quite likely more important than ever.

It’s your list. Only you can answer what you want to add to your list. Still, looking at other people’s bucket lists may help you identify things that you’d forgotten or had never thought of. It can be both enjoyable and meaningful to compare lists with your friends. Doing this may help you clarify your thoughts and feelings and make important decisions.

Make your list a garden of possibilities. Grow your list. Weed your list. Train your list. Long is good. If you don’t list everything, important things may be missed. Unmanageable isn’t. Your list may quickly grow so long it becomes impractical and unmanageable. Rather than making your list shorter and limiting your possibilities, rank your list, sequencing the items in order of importance. Put the most important items at the top of your list. Identify the most important thing, the three most important things, the six most important things, and the twelve most important things. For each item, ask yourself, “What is so important about this?” Remember, the only right answer is your answer. By thoughtfully considering what’s on your list, your thoughts and feelings about yourself and your life will become clearer. Align your goals with them. You may find that when you identify important qualities and outcomes you find other ways, possibly even better ways, to satisfy them.

Work your bucket list. It’s not written in stone. Your list is there to serve you, not the other way around. Instead of writing your bucket list once and putting it away, revisit it – frequently. Visualizing the things on your list will increase the likelihood that you will accomplish them. You can do many things with your bucket list –remember things, clarify goals, set and revise priorities, add new relevant items and remove outdated ones. Though it may grow shorter, your bucket list is never finished – until you’re finished.

Take action. Making and managing a list isn’t enough. You have to start making things happen. For the most important items on your list, ask “What thing(s) do I need to do to make something happen?” “Are there other people who can help me make it happen?” While it’s most important to identify the most important things on your list, it’s also important to identify the easiest things to do. At any given moment, there’s always a new balance to be struck between effort and resources. Don’t let the little stuff get in the way of the big stuff, but do enjoy it. Doing these things will quickly give you a sense of accomplishment. You can do this! Once you start making things happen for yourself, you’ll find this becomes habit forming. It’s a good habit!

Give yourself a timeline. It’s easy to get distracted or make excuses. And, there are some things that can only be done at specific times, sometimes for a limited time only. Often, the distractions or excuses come from other people. Make time for yourself. Having trouble rationalizing this? Add up all the time you spend doing things for other people. Now add up all the time you spend doing things for yourself. If you’re like most people, you’ll quickly see that an imbalance. So, don’t you deserve a little more time for yourself? Imagine what the benefits to both yourself and everyone you help or spend time with will be, if you make time for the most important things in your life and become the best you you can be.

Record your accomplishments. List the items you do and the dates you did them. (You may even want to make notes on the benefits of having done them.) I recommend you make this a part of your bucket list. Then, whenever you look at your bucket list, you’ll see that you’re moving forward. In time, looking at this part of your bucket list will probably bring back many fond memories.

Still don’t have a bucket list? What’s stopping you? After all, it’s your life. A bucket list will help you make it more so.

Read more in my Creativity Planning resources.

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Get our DPD Buck List Destinations ebook free.

Plan for success.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I make those kinds of commitments at any time of year, whenever it becomes clear they’re necessary. But I do make plans at the beginning of every year. I review my Mission, Goals, Projects, and Actions lists. While I do this at the beginning of the year, this isn’t the only time I do it. I also do this every time I find something significant has changed in my life. Doing this helps me clarify where I want to go, make sure I’m on the path to getting there, outline the steps necessary to get there, and set realistic timelines. Doing this consistently has helped me more than double my productivity, in a meaningful way. It has also helped me make tough decisions when I’m faced with too many choices. It’s not that I didn’t have a life’s calling before I wrote my mission. It’s just that I wasn’t clear about it. Now I am. As a result, I feel personally empowered. To find my mission took a lot soul-searching, a little time, and it’s still a work in progress.

Make your plan.

Whether you’re engaged in your creative life professionally or simply as a vehicle for personal growth (an important distinction to make), I recommend you make a creative plan. If you do this, you too will find both your productivity and fulfillment will increase, in a way that’s meaningful to you. Having defined what you need to accomplish, your unconscious will go to the work of fulfilling it, generating many ideas over time. You’ll find yourself ready to make the most of unexpected opportunities as they arise. Put this all in writing using your own words. Writing increases retention 72%. If you write something down, you’ll be 75% more likely to take action on it. Remember, while other people can help you discuss and refine your plan as it develops, no one can do it for you. For you to truly understand and benefit from it, you have to do it. More importantly, for it to be right for you, it has to be yours.

Break it down into clear manageable pieces.

Set a mission (why you’re doing it), goals (what outcomes you want), projects (the big things you do)(set goals for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years, and end of life) and actions (the small steps you take to getting your projects done)(detail your 1 year next actions list) for your creative life. You’ll have one mission, several goals, many projects, and innumerable actions.

Many people use a metaphor of varying altitude to describe the relationship between these parts; the mission is cruising altitude where you see the big picture while the actions are on the runway where you see more specific details. Moving from why to how to what, the higher levels are inclusive of all the lower levels, while the lower levels point toward achieving the prime directive. The specific words you choose for the higher levels are often more important than the words you choose for the lower levels, so it’s likely you’ll revise them many times. As you drill down, the items get more concrete, specific, timely, and numerous. For this reason, many people find that the most difficult part of the plan to do is the simplest, least detailed, but most abstract portion – the mission. Some like to work bottom up, rather than top down, because they can sink their teeth into something more concrete. You can work it either or both ways – top down or bottom up.

However you get there, make sure that when you arrive that your mission really resonates within you and is something that you would consider an inner calling, not something generated out of today‘s particulars and practical realities. A mission should call you to a higher ground of your own choosing and activate new inner resources along the way. Many find that by aligning their efforts with something greater than themselves (i.e. service to others), they do better work and derive more satisfaction from it than they could have first imagined.

I review my past year’s progress before I set a new year’s projects and action lists. Over time, I’ve found I’ve become more realistic about how much to take on and how long it will take to get things done. (But don’t be afraid to dream big! Blue sky thinking is important for connecting with your deepest values.) I always find a few things on my list that have been postponed (and I ask why) and a few get dropped altogether – because I decided to prioritize even better opportunities along the way. I also find that things get added to my past year’s list that weren’t on it at the beginning of that year. It’s important to be open to new opportunities along the way. For that reason, I recommend you review your lists periodically, especially when new major projects are considered. You’ll find this process gets easier every time you do it. The first time you do it is always the hardest; it requires a lot of soul searching and some setting up; once you find your answers and you set up your system it’s much easier to do the next time. A plan is a work in progress. The best plans are be flexible and evolve over time as you grow your vision with new information and perspectives.

The plans you make are there to further your progress. But if you don’t make plans, life just happens and you may not make the time for the things that matter to you most. Make that time.

What plans will you make for your creative life?

Start now!

Read more in my free PDF ebook Make Plans.

Learn more about creative planning and goal setting here.

Learn more in my creativity and digital photography workshops.

David Allen does an excellent job of describing this process in his books Getting Things Done and Making It All Work. I highly recommend them. They changed the way I live my life. And they’ve helped me be even more effective and fulfilled. But don’t wait to read his books to get started! Just get started!

39 Quotes On Goals

February 13, 2014 | Leave a Comment |

Quotes_Goals

 

Here’s a selection of my favorite quotes on goals.

“There is one quality more important than “know-how” and we cannot accuse the United States of any undue amount of it. This is “know-what” by which we determine not only how to accomplish our purposes, but what our purposes are to be.” – Norbert Wiene

“I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut.” John Wolfgang von Goethe

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” – Japanese Proverb

“You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have.” – Zig Ziglar

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. ” – Zig Ziglar

“When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” – Lucius Seneca

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Yogi Berra

“This one step – choosing a goal and sticking to it – changes everything.” – Scott Reed

“You must take action now that will move you towards your goals. Develop a sense of urgency in your life.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“Begin with the end in mind.” Stephen Covey

“If what you are doing is not moving you towards your goals, then it’s moving you away from your goals.” – Brian Tracy

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” – Diana Scharf Hunt

“Goals help you channel your energy into action.” – Les Brown

“I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” – Zig Ziglar

“The shortest distance between two points assumes you know where you’re going.” – Robert Brault

“A straight path never leads anywhere except to the objective.” – Andre Gide

“The road leading to a goal does not separate you from the destination; it is essentially a part of it.” – Charles DeLint

“You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures.” – Charles C. Noble

“Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” – Anonymous

“We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” – Robert Brault

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius

“Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

“One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.” – Sidney Howard

“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.” – Brian Tracy

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” ― Bruce Lee

“Sometimes the path you’re on is not as important as the direction you’re heading.” – Kevin Smith

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ― Ernest Hemingway

“Establishing goals is all right if you don’t let them deprive you of interesting detours.” – Doug Larson

“Success is 10% inspiration, 90% last-minute changes.” – Anonymous

“Map out your future, but do it in pencil.” – Jon Bon Jovi

“Without some goals and some efforts to reach it, no man can live.” – John Dewey

“What keeps me going is goals.” – Muhammad Ali

“If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.” – Lou Holtz

“People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.” – Tony Robbins

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Goals determine what you’re going to be.” – Julius Erving

“If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us.” – Jim Rohn

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

“Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.” – John Dewey

Find more Creativity Quotes here.

Read more quotes daily on Twitter and Facebook.

 

“In her New Orleans neighborhood, artist and TED Fellow Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard asking a fill-in-the-blank question: “Before I die I want to ___.” Her neighbors’ answers — surprising, poignant, funny — became an unexpected mirror for the community. (What’s your answer?)

Candy Chang creates art that prompts people to think about their secrets, wishes and hopes — and then share them. She is a TED Senior Fellow.”

Watch more creativity videos here.

One of the things I do at the beginning of every year is review the accomplishments of the past year.

I take my projects list from the last year and color code it, assigning one color for done, one color for soon to be done, and another color for not done.

I want to know what happened. It feels great to see a list of everything that got done, especially when you get a significant surprise windfall. It can also be disappointing to see what didn’t get done, especially when the items that weren’t accomplished are important. Seeing it the items collected in one place is always revealing.

I want to do more than just see clearly what happened. I also want to know why things happened.

I find the vast majority of things that got done were things I identified as important and scheduled time for – wishing won’t make things happen. If something great and unexpected happened, I want to know why it happened, so I can make similar things happen again. If at the end of the year, I’ve completely rewritten my plan for the year, but it’s been substantially improved, I’m delighted.

If something important didn’t happen, I want to know why. I want to learn from my failures.  How many items are close to being done? (A calendar date can sometimes be arbitrary.)  Was something delayed for an important reason? Will the delay make it more successful? Did I not see the problem clearly? Were my expectations unreasonable? Did I not perform at peak? Did I overextend myself, taking on too many projects? Did I not allocate enough resources? Did I have the wrong team? Was the timing not right?  Did I get distracted? What I can do to avoid this in the future? How can this apply what I learned on one project to my other projects?

This yearly review helps me mentally consolidate everything I’ve accomplished and everything I’ve learned. Often, while I’m doing this review, I learn more things and find more ideas. At the end of the review, learn from my failures and repeat my successes. I want to know if I’m on track and moving forward toward my long term goals.

With those insights fresh on my mind, I make a new projects list for the next year.  (I copy last year’s list and delete everything that got done or is no longer relevant, add new items but be careful not to add an unrealistic number, and prioritize them.)

What plans will you make for your creative life now?

Learn more about creative planning and goal setting here.

Learn more in my creativity workshops.

Make A Plan

January 2, 2012 | 3 Comments |

Plan for success.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I make those kinds of commitments at any time of year, whenever it becomes clear they’re necessary. But I do make plans at the beginning of every year. I review my Mission, Goals, Projects, and Actions lists. While I do this at the beginning of the year, this isn’t the only time I do it. I also do this every time I find something significant has changed in my life. Doing this helps me clarify where I want to go, make sure I’m on the path to getting there, outline the steps necessary to get there, and set realistic timelines. Doing this consistently has helped me more than double my productivity, in a meaningful way. It has also helped me make tough decisions when I’m faced with too many choices. It’s not that I didn’t have a life’s calling before I wrote my mission. It’s just that I wasn’t clear about it. Now I am. As a result, I feel personally empowered. To find my mission took a lot soul-searching, a little time, and it’s still a work in progress.

Make your plan.

Whether you’re engaged in your creative life professionally or simply as a vehicle for personal growth (an important distinction to make), I recommend you make a creative plan. If you do this, you too will find both your productivity and fulfillment will increase, in a way that’s meaningful to you. Having defined what you need to accomplish, your unconscious will go to the work of fulfilling it, generating many ideas over time. You’ll find yourself ready to make the most of unexpected opportunities as they arise. Put this all in writing using your own words. Writing increases retention 72%. If you write something down, you’ll be 75% more likely to take action on it. Remember, while other people can help you discuss and refine your plan as it develops, no one can do it for you. For you to truly understand and benefit from it, you have to do it. More importantly, for it to be right for you, it has to be yours.

Break it down into clear manageable pieces.

Set a mission (why you’re doing it), goals (what outcomes you want), projects (the big things you do)(set goals for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years, and end of life) and actions (the small steps you take to getting your projects done)(detail your 1 year next actions list) for your creative life. You’ll have one mission, several goals, many projects, and innumerable actions. Many people use a metaphor of varying altitude to describe the relationship between these parts; the mission is cruising altitude where you see the big picture while the actions are on the runway where you see more specific details. Moving from why to how to what, the higher levels are inclusive of all the lower levels, while the lower levels point toward achieving the prime directive. The specific words you choose for the higher levels are often more important than the words you choose for the lower levels, so it’s likely you’ll revise them many times. As you drill down, the items get more concrete, specific, timely, and numerous. For this reason, many people find that the most difficult part of the plan to do is the simplest, least detailed, but most abstract portion ¬– the mission. Some like to work bottom up, rather than top down, because they can sink their teeth into something more concrete. You can work it either or both ways – top down or bottom up. However you get there, make sure that when you arrive that your mission really resonates within you and is something that you would consider an inner calling, not something generated out of today‘s particulars and practical realities. A mission should call you to a higher ground of your own choosing and activate new inner resources along the way. Many find that by aligning their efforts with something greater than themselves (i.e. service to others), they do better work and derive more satisfaction from it than they could have first imagined.

What plans will you make for your creative life?

Start now!

Read more in my free PDF ebook Make Plans.

Learn more in my creativity workshops.

After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it’s better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them.

View more creativity videos here.

Read more in my creativity ebooks.

Learn more in my creativity workshops.

Make a plan.
Whether you’re engaged in your creative life professionally or simply as a vehicle for personal growth (an important distinction to make), I recommend you make a creative plan. If you do this, you too will find both your productivity and fulfillment will increase, in a way that’s meaningful to you. Having defined what you need to accomplish, your unconscious will go to the work of fulfilling it, generating many ideas over time. You’ll find yourself ready to make the most of unexpected opportunities as they arise. Put this all in writing using your own words. Writing increases retention 72%. If you write something down, you’ll be 75% more likely to take action on it. Remember, while other people can help you discuss and refine your plan as it develops, no one can do it for you. For you to truly understand and benefit from it, you have to do it. More importantly, for it to be right for you, it has to be yours.

Break it down into clear manageable pieces.
Set a mission (why you’re doing it), goals (what outcomes you want), projects (the big things you do)(set goals for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years, and end of life) and actions (the small steps you take to getting your projects done)(detail your 1 year next actions list) for your creative life. You’ll have one mission, several goals, many projects, and innumerable actions.

Align your creative mission with your life’s mission.
Most people need at least two missions; one for their life in general (which includes many things – health, family, finances, etc) and one for a specific area, like their career or creative life, which may or many not be the same. Make sure that your missions share something in common – something other than yourself. The more you can align the them, the more likely you are to achieve them, increase your productivity, and be more fulfilled.

Set priorities.

Set timelines.

Chart your progress.

Be flexible.

Update your plan.
A plan is a work in progress. The best plans are flexible and can be modified. If I don’t learn something new from a process, often something that shifts my perspective significantly enough to start doing something better than before, then I feel I haven’t truly excelled at what I’m doing. I expect to improve my plans.

The time you spend clarifying why you’re doing what you’re doing and what you’d like to see come of it will save you hours, months, even years by ensuring that you’re going in the right direction – a direction of your own choosing. When you make a plan, you take control of your life.

Read the extended version in AfterCapture.

Read more in my essay Developing Personal Projects.

Read more in my Creativity lessons.
Learn more in my Creativity workshops.

Robin Sharma shares valuable advice designed to help you focus on what’s most important.

I don’t make new year’s resolutions. I make those kinds of commitments at any time of year, whenever it becomes clear they’re necessary. But I do make plans at the beginning of every year. I review my mission, goals, projects, and actions lists. Doing this helps me clarify where I want to go, make sure I’m on the path to getting there, outline the steps necessary to get there, and set realistic timelines.

Read more


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