How to Execute Your Adventure Bucket List in the New Year


Jonathon Reed

Start the new year with greater vision for what you want to do.

I put a lot of stock in the new year. When I was in school I would have New Year's resolutions both in January and September. Not that I stuck to them very effectively, but still I really valued visioning for the upcoming year, who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I liked dreaming and setting goals.

At this point one of my most beloved tools in that respect is my bucket list. I can say with confidence that writing and maintaining my bucket list has transformed my life. I'm sharing this advice in the hopes that you can experience the same.

1. Write it down.

Write down your bucket list somewhere where it is easily accessible. It should be easy to read over, add items to, and cross items off. Mine is on a static page of a Tumblr blog. My parents' is on a piece of paper on their fridge.

In order to make your list as motivational and uplifting as possible, I recommend using it as a way to collect memories of the items you have already completed. If it's a paper list, keep it in a folder with printed photos, maps, receipts and tickets. If it's online, add links to Instagram photos, Facebook posts and other social media. This will transform it from an intimidating list of nearly impossible ideas to an ever-growing celebration of the best things you've ever done.

When I read over the challenging and unfinished items on my list, I can't help but also see number five, surfing—which is complete, and has links to Tumblr and Instagram to remind me.

2. Think of it as a to-do list.

I know several people who have bucket lists, but they're for dreaming—not doing. Your bucket list should not be a list of distant things you wish you could do but don't really think you ever will, it should be an close-up glimpse of what you're currently working towards.

If all your bucket list items are only going to become possible a decade from now, you need to scale down and add some items that you can work on here and now. By all means dream big, but think in terms of progression. What can you work on now that will in some way make the far-off dreams more possible than they were?

3. Be humble and be yourself.

No idea is too small. Your bucket list will become extremely daunting if it's full of monumental, dramatic ideas that require you to cross the world to achieve them. Those ideas are fine, but you should also have small, achievable ideas that you want to motivate yourself to do. I want to kayak in class-IV white water, for example, but I also want to make homemade hummus. Some things should be simple.

Other people's ideas are not yours. It can be easy to get caught up in other people's dreams and experiences. Totally understandable and of course it's okay to be inspired by other people. But make sure your bucket list is specific to who you want to be and what you want to do. Be authentic.

4. Find ways to gather inspiration.

Never stop dreaming. Stay open to new ideas and places and the things you could do. As long as your bucket list items are specific and you're working on at least one of them, your list can be long—and perhaps it should be. It should be as long as a lifetime. I have a list on The Outbound for bucket list inspiration, which has already influenced me to add spending a winter in the Rockies thanks to Mitch Pittman's story from Golden, British Columbia. Stay inspired and embrace the desire to do those near-unbelievable adventures that you hear about.

Along with that, never stop planning. Instead of seeing something awesome and thinking how you wish you could do that someday, think that you are going to do it and then think of how. Far be it from me to philosophize about human nature, but I think many people spend too much time wishing and not enough time doing.

I know this sounds idealistic, but you can do anything you want to. It starts with a bucket list and it ends with you exactly where you dreamed of being. So here's to 2017. Go chase that adventure.

Published: December 27, 2016

Jonathon ReedExplorer

Adventure-based photographer and videographer. Sunriser.

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