Why I Stopped Making Bucket Lists

I was obsessed with bucket lists. I would create them for EVERYTHING. They were my religion. I’d create bucket lists for traveling, for music festivals, for financial goals, for career accomplishments; the list goes on and on. I would scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and Google for different ideas. I’d add them to my collection. A collection of growing lists made up of other people’s goals and ideas of accomplishments.

The unsuccessful cycle

When I crossed off an item, I felt a jolt of accomplishment. A temporary, aha, look how accomplished I am! I’m getting somewhere. But, more often, I would open my computer and stare listlessly (ha imagine that!) at the big list of goals, the mouse curser blinking teasingly back at me.

Other times, I’d give up quickly on a goal that didn’t go as planned. It would stay on my list, uncrossed. I would focus on my failure, becoming paralyzed by my rumination, blaming myself for failing and getting caught up in my head. Where was the fulfillment, purpose, and growth?

A new approach to goal making

What keeps us going when it gets hard? Definitely not an arbitrary list of goals made for someone else or with the intention to impress someone else! Resilience and the power to motivate and keep you going through hard times require purpose. Why do you want to accomplish these goals? What are the reasons driving you to accomplish them, and keep you going when you want to give up? What do you want to feel and receive as a result of accomplishing them?

Tuning into your values

Identifying your true values not only helps remind you of your why, but helps you find your how. The more connected you are with the purpose behind your goals; the clearer and easier they will become.

Let them Guide You

Your values will guide you not only in making sense of your larger aspirations and desires, but they will guide you along the path to get there. The smaller decisions and daily actions make up the process on the path to your goal. And the process is where the real growing and learning takes place. Accomplishing the goal and crossing it off the list is just the bonus.


Identify some of your top values. How do they relate to your current goals? If they don’t, think about removing those goals from your list and replacing them with something that lights you and fills you with purpose and joy.

Ex. I value my health & confidence in my body and mind, so I will start strength training consistently 3 times a week and preparing delicious whole foods in advance.

Ex. I value being close to my intuition and being authentic, so I will commit to a daily meditative or yoga practice which helps me tune inwards and practice self care and self love.

Find me at https://melissaschwartzwellness.wordpress.com/

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