Creating Your Reverse Bucket List

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Under pressure to set new goals? Constantly focused on making your dreams come true? Give yourself a break—- first, acknowledge what you have already achieved.

Create a reverse bucket list. 

Every year, every month, even every week— I constantly feel under pressure to set and reach new goals. Although it’s usually self-afflicted pressure, my life is so focused on- “what’s next?” that I rarely take time to applaud reaching a goal.

I certainly believe it’s imperative to plan, reach your goals and attack your bucket-list. I also believe it’s just as important to acknowledge your previous and current achievements.

I’ve learned that you can do this by creating a reverse bucket list.

When I mentioned creating a reverse bucket list to my husband, he asked if it were a list of things you don’t want to do before you die. LOL – No, that IS NOT a reverse bucket list.

While we all know that a bucket list is your must-do list of experiences you want to have before your time on Mother Earth expires, a reverse bucket list is a celebration of all the things that you have proudly already achieved.

So, to get out of the “mental funk” I had this morning, I decided to give myself a little break. Instead of immediately focusing on what’s next today, I’m decided to spend a some time to acknowledge to myself what I have already achieved.

5 Reasons To Write A Reverse Bucket List

We’re certainly aware of mindfulness and being in the present moment, but there are valuable reasons for looking back into the past. Here are 5 reasons: 

➊ It will reveal what’s important to you as you continue your life’s journey. 

As crazy as it may sound, sometimes we forget what’s important in our lives. By recognizing what we’ve already done in life- big or small, we are reminded of the experiences that truly matter. After a little thought, you will soon see you’ve achieved much more than you thought. Looking back enables you to recall life’s most defining moments.

Why does this matter? Well, as you move forward with your life, you are able to concentrate on doing more of what you love by focusing on those achieved goals that are in alignment with what makes you happy.

➋ You feel positive about your life when you give gratitude. 

We are always thinking about the next big thing in our life and our next achievement or goal. Although this is part of what helps us evolve, survive in the world and thrive, it’s important for us to recognize and be thankful for our life and what we have already accomplished.

Even better, research shows that being grateful has a deep and lasting impact on our body!

➌ It takes the emphasis (and pressure) off chasing the next big goal. 

Give yourself a break! Your reverse bucket list moves the focus from doing to being. As you look back at all the wonderful experiences you’ve had so far, you can dive in the memories of those moments.

➍ You will see yourself in a new light.

Actually seeing your tally of experiences and achievements can give you greater self-esteem and confidence to walk your own defined path in life. Taking time for recognizing what you’ve already achieved in life, you can avoid the imposter syndrome caused by self doubt.

FYI – impostor syndrome refers to feelings of inadequacy that may persist despite evident success. While impostor syndrome is usually applied to intelligence and achievement, it also has some links to perfectionism. (I have my own issues with perfectionism. More on that in a later post…)

Unfortunately, many of us (myself included) see ourselves with a sometimes negatively skewed view. We often forget the good stuff! When we acknowledge and focus on our achievements, our prospective shifts to what makes us awesome. These positives thoughts help to wire our brain for greater belief in ourselves. ☺ 

➎ Taking stock of what you’ve already accomplished can create a feeling of contentment. 

Rather than comparing yourself with others and believing that you must take constant action, looking back and recognizing all you’ve done can bring long lasting fulfillment. Relax and enjoy.

Rinse and repeat.

Getting Started With Your Reverse Bucket List

Here are a few tips for writing your list:

☰ You may easily begin to remember all of your accomplishments, but you might find that taking a chronological approach- going from childhood to present day, will help you remember the many achievements and experiences that you’d forgotten about.

☰ Keep in mind, it’s not all about the huge, once in a lifetime type of accomplishments. Many smaller accomplishments are often the most meaningful and significant. Big, small or in between, they all count.

☰ Take as long as you need to relive the experience of those milestone moments. Highlighting what you’ve already accomplished is for your own personal reflection and celebration. Feel gratitude for how these experiences have enriched and shaped your life.

☰ Recognize how your accomplishments give you greater self-confidence and self-esteem. Remind yourself just how capable, adventurous, and resourceful you are. 

☰ Spend time to gather your thoughts. Use your reverse bucket list to focus on what you still want to accomplish. Don’t feel like you have to achieve any goals on someone else’s list. Let your list reveal to you what has and does really matter in your life. Cheers….

By Dana Ash-McGinty

Dana Ash-McGinty is the Principal Broker of ASH | MCGINTY, a Washington, DC Real Estate Brokerage. This real estate maven has 15+ years experience in residential, commercial and land sales in addition to multi-state residential renovation, re-zoning, and condo conversion projects. A sought after real estate authority, she has been featured on CNN and in various real estate and financial publications. Dana is married to the highly esteemed Dr. Dana W. McGinty, a Washington, DC internal medicine physician and medical correspondent. They are often referred to as "The Danas".

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