7 Things You Need To Have on Your Everyday Bucket List

Ash Jurberg

Image by michelle flowers from Pixabay

Bucket lists are usually a long list of things to do before you die. Many are extraordinary activities or once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Go bungee jumping. Travel to see the gorillas. Perform stand-up comedy. The problem is for too many people it takes a severe illness, hitting retirement age, or a life-altering event to start compiling a bucket list.

In many of these cases, it will then be too late to turn these dreams into a reality. Most items on the list are fantastic endeavors but are what I would term big “out there” goals. They may take a whole lifetime to achieve. Or they may seem so big and audacious that they remain on the list for eternity never to be struck off.

Recently I decided to start what I call my “Everyday Bucket List.” This list would include more accessible and achievable tasks while also improving some aspects of my life.

I read a lot of articles and books and determined seven things that would have a positive impact and could be implemented within a few months. They could be thought of to some extent as New Year’s resolutions, but as you will see, some of these are one-off tasks rather than ongoing habits. When I hear New Year’s resolution, I think of stock standard items like being healthy or losing weight, that are forgotten by mid-January. By using the term bucket list, it feels more significant and something I would act on and aspire to.

I share these in the hope of inspiring you to create your Everyday Bucket List — either by choosing some of these or creating your own.

1. Turn off your phone for 24 hours

This seems both easy and challenging. I must confess, I am an iPhone addict. There is rarely a moment when I am not glued to the phone.

I am obsessed with checking email, texts, social media. Craving notifications like an addict craves a fixing.

It got to the stage where it was affecting my relationship with my family. Recognizing this, it was the first item added to my list.

Twenty-four hours. 1440 minutes. I could do it.

I confess, the first seven hours, was easy — I was asleep. After that, I thought it would be an eternity. Instead, it was a blessing. There were times when I would subconsciously reach for my phone, then I would remember my bucket list and do something else.

And guess what — my world didn’t end. When I turned on the phone after one day, like a smoker rushing off a long-haul flight and seeking their first cigarette, I saw that I had missed very little. I try to do this every so often.

The next bucket list challenge — 48 hours!

2. Smile at everyone

How often do we walk past people, heads down, staring at a phone? Two strangers are passing each other by without acknowledgment.

In a busy, rushed society, this is the norm. I did some reading around this and came across many articles stating the benefit of the simple act of smiling. This resonated with me. Countless scientific studies have confirmed that a genuine smile is generally considered attractive to others around us. Other studies have shed light on how the act of smiling can elevate your mood and the mood of those around you.

It continued, showing the benefits on a person's health by merely smiling more. I knew immediately that this had to be on my Everyday Bucket List.

Now, I smile at everyone. No matter what my mood is. No matter who the other person is. As I approach anyone in the street, or at the store, I smile and say hello.

I may look like the Joker. But it makes me feel good. And it creates a connection with a stranger who nine times out of ten will smile back.

“A smile costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.” Dale Carnegie

3. Undertake one creative endeavor

How many of you are reading this and thinking — I have always wanted to write? What is the excuse for not writing? Not enough time? Too much distraction?

Well, we solved the distraction part with the first item on our bucket list. Take the time to write down your thoughts, whether it be in a journal or an online channel. Take the step to write.

It may not be great, it may not even appeal to many people, but writing is an excellent way of getting your thoughts out. It is a non-competitive hobby that helps mental health, and for many, like me, it is a form of therapy.

Maybe you aren’t a writer. Choose any creative outlet. Perhaps it is to make one face mask. Build a new bird feeder. Draw a bowl of fruit. It doesn’t need to be physical, and it shouldn’t be competitive. It just needs to be something you haven’t done before that allows you to be creative.

It can be small. It should be achievable. This is your Everyday Bucket List — so no “I want to run a marathon before I am forty.” That belongs on a different list.

4. Try a new wellness practice

We all need to invest in ourselves — it is often the last thing we think about.

I went through serious mental health issues last year. I was always in a bad mood, suffered from insomnia, and my work and social relationships suffered.

I was worried about small things, things that happened in the past, but with inaction, nothing was going to change. I needed to recognize my issues and focus on personal growth.

I decided to focus on my wellness and trying something completely foreign to me — mindfulness meditation. As someone with a short attention span and a wandering mind, this was as far from comfortable as I could get. It was my version of jumping out of an airplane.

I added it to my Everyday Bucket List, and therefore it had to be an action that I undertook. I spoke with people and found a practice that was beneficial to me. In a mindfulness meditation session I attended, I found a simple step that resonated.

The speaker advised that for the two minutes it took to brush my teeth, just block out all thoughts and listen to the sounds, take in the feelings. Be mindful of your surroundings. This has worked for me as it is short, easy to fit in my day, yet effective.

Find a new wellness practice and try it. Like mine, it can be two minutes twice a day. Or it could be a more prolonged action. It can be anything related to your physical or mental wellness as long as it is something new and benefits your health.

5. Seek feedback

Get as much feedback as possible and then use this feedback to reflect on and improve.

I wanted to be a full-time writer. I thought I was a good writer, but far from perfect. So the solution for me was to undertake a writing course. The one I selected I chose due to the amount of peer feedback involved. We would submit our assignments online, and our writing peers would comment and offer feedback.

This was invaluable to me. With fresh eyes, they saw things that I missed. They added value to my words. And it provided engagement and connectivity. I found myself eagerly awaiting what my classmates would say.

Feedback can also be gained within your personal life. I asked my partner and children where I needed to improve, and the feedback was loud and clear — spend less time on my phone and more time with them.

That was the spur to create my Everyday Bucket List. If not for them, and their feedback, I would have languished in despair and mediocrity.

Of course, once you have feedback, it is vital to learn from this and implement it if possible.

An interesting statistic is around the self-help industry. 80% of people who purchase self-help books are repeat purchasers. This would indicate that they aren’t taking action but continually researching for new ideas. Inaction won’t make a change. Inaction has no place on this list.

Here is some free self-help advice — ask for feedback from friends, colleagues, and peers and use their words to help shape your list. By seeking feedback, you will have the added benefit of completing something on your list before you even begin! Seek feedback — tick.

6. Talk and connect

This was my #1 lesson learned over the year. The circumstances of 2021, have led to isolation, anxiety, disconnection for many.

Never before have we needed to talk and connect more. And this means using the phone to (drum roll please…..) speak to people.

When I was going through my issues, I withdrew and kept them to myself. It was only when I acted on item three on this list and wrote an article about my struggles that I realized I needed to add a new thing to my list — to talk and connect. I wasn’t brave enough to speak so took the first step of writing.

My article was published, and many people reached out to me. To share, they had similar issues and had also been afraid to talk about them. I formed a discussion with a small group of close friends, and we all talked about our experiences. Some had been suffering in silence for years.

I was ashamed and embarrassed that despite texting each day, we were talking about superficial daily matters and never genuinely connecting.

Each week, I make sure I call someone and take the time to check in with them. To connect and ensure they are OK.

If you do nothing else on this list, please undertake to do this one. One call once a week. It can change your life — or someone you know.

7. Celebrate every success

Most people, instead of appreciating the positive sides of life, they are continually searching for the negative.

We are looking at what went wrong or what could go wrong. Let us flip this around and focus only on the positives. And the best way to do this is to celebrate every single success. Big or small.

Complete something on this list? Then congratulate yourself. As the millennials say “take the W!” (My sons told me this saying — I hope it’s correct!)

There can be a success in almost any task. And they all should be acknowledged. We are our own harshest critics, but I like to treat the real world as the social media world.

By this, I mean, on Facebook or Instagram, everyone posts positive aspects of their life. Take that into real life. Talk about all the positives in your life. To friends and even to yourself. Practice self gratitude and positive affirmations. Enjoy also the little moments.

“I did great today.”

“I met my goals.”

Every little success should be celebrated like a football player who has kicked the winning goal in a World Cup!

The Takeaway

By all means, create a life bucket list with a long list of things to do before you die. However, also, create your Everyday Bucket List.

It should always be a list of actions that you can and will accomplish in the short term. A list that helps you and those around you. Make the list fun, and when you achieve an item, celebrate the success. Some of them will be repeatable items, and some may only be one-off occurrences. Your list should always be evolving, as you will be evolving with it.

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San Antonio, TX

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