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▣ A BUCKET List for 2012

posted by admin on January 15th, 2012 at 10:42 AM

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BUCKET 2012
Richard Parker, Psy.D

 

Well here it is another year in my life has wrapped up. I obviously made it through 2011 and in relatively good health and high spirits. So now I start the 2012 New Year by saying to you and yours “carpe diem.”

 

 

There is a tradition that most Americans are well aware of that involves making New Year’s resolutions. You review your current life and habits and develop a few written statements regarding things you want to change. However, in reality, most of the resolutions listed turn into failures.  There are numerous rationalizations about why these desired changes fail because people are infinitely creative in explaining their basic lack of motivation. Okay, so you fail and that is somewhat of a shame, but, in reality, you expected to fail on many of the resolutions you developed for yourself; and, while I could write about dozens of rational reasons for your failure, it still might not cover your particular circumstances.

 

 

 

BUCKET 2012

Richard Parker, Psy.D

 

 

Well here it is another year in my life has wrapped up. I obviously made it through 2011 and in relatively good health and high spirits. So now I start the 2012 New Year by saying to you and yours “carpe diem.”

 

There is a tradition that most Americans are well aware of that involves making New Year’s resolutions. You review your current life and habits and develop a few written statements regarding things you want to change. However, in reality, most of the resolutions listed turn into failures.  There are numerous rationalizations about why these desired changes fail because people are infinitely creative in explaining their basic lack of motivation. Okay, so you fail and that is somewhat of a shame, but, in reality, you expected to fail on many of the resolutions you developed for yourself; and, while I could write about dozens of rational reasons for your failure, it still might not cover your particular circumstances.

 

Now, there are a couple of things that concern me about the resolution-failure cycle each year; that is, whenever you develop such a listing and fail, it is a blow to your personal trust and integrity. Yes, you can claim that even as you developed your resolutions, you either (1) are making a promise to yourself and then bombing out – it does hurt your emotional self when you make a promise to yourself or to another and you do not keep the promise; or (2) you know you are going to fail from the get-go so you think that is a justification that allows lying to yourself – but, in fact, that is a lousy thing to do to yourself.  

 

Let us remember those of you who make several New Year’s resolutions and actually keep them, you should give yourself a gold star.

 

Does this mean you shouldn’t do anything regarding the improvement of your life? There is a metaphor that goes “doing the same thing and expecting different results is a sign of insanity.” Or, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”So no, deciding to make changes in your life is not by any means wrong; but let’s do something different this year. Let’s develop a “bucket list.”

 

The idea of a bucket list has been around for centuries – however, it is generally thought of us a listing made by a senior citizen (old folks) when they have information regarding bad health or the death of a close loved one. The individual has come to a big change event in their life and they realize they have missed out on a lot of their dreams and aspirations. So then, they develop a listing of all the things-to-do and places-to-go that they would like to satisfy before they die. This is great, but at the same time sad because the things to do and the places to visit have to be covered so quickly that it seems like desperation.

 

Well, let me suggest that you break the pattern and develop your personalized “bucket list” now and then prioritize each item as to its importance to you.

 

The basic rules (any and all of which you can break as you do not have to justify the bucket list to anyone):

  • Develop or list five plus-or-minus two items; in other words, don’t overdo it by putting too many items on the listing – another parable goes, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Also, don’t develop too few.  You can always add another thing or place on your bucket list. Or, you can always remove an item from your bucket list even if you did nothing to satisfy it.
  • Prioritize your list. I like to use a scale of 1 (not very important at all) to 5 (would like to do very much). It is your priority, you do not have to justify it to anyone else.  NOTE:  You may want to take an additional step – for example, consider the impact on someone else; (a) is the item something that you can do that has such a small impact on your valued other that you don’t have to worry about their feelings, or (b) you can only do the item if your valued other goes along for the ride or experience.
  • Now, take the prioritized listing and focus on the ones most important to you. Ask yourself, “What is the first thing I need to do to get started on this particular item?” Keep it simple. If you are dedicated, you can develop a complete action plan.

 

Now, here is the benefit to doing your “bucket list” early in your life. You can include items that take a long time to complete; e.g., learning a foreign language or visiting every capital city in the world. The older you are or if you have knowledge of a health related issue (e.g., dying of cancer in less than two years) means that some things just cannot get done.

 

Remember, this is your opportunity to focus on your dreams and aspirations.  Keep in mind too that years can easily slip away from you and that you can find yourself at the end of your life realizing that you haven’t gotten around to the most exciting and wonderful things available to you.

 

Richard Parker, Psy.D

 

 

 

 

 

 

last edited on January 16th, 2012 at 1:08 PM

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