Regardless of what’s on your list of things to do in your lifetime, or before you ‘kick the bucket’ as the saying goes, the act of creating a bucket list of goals has a number of arguable benefits for our wellbeing.
WRITE IT DOWN
Your bucket list may include travelling to a far-flung destination, writing a novel, building your dream house or even something as simple as taking a few pottery classes. No matter how trivial or even outlandish you may think some of your list items are, it could be the act of writing down your aspirations and sharing them with friends and family that may make us more likely to accomplish them. A list gives us something to measure our progress against, which can help us make decisions and evaluate our actions over the long-term.
Simply working towards meaningful goals plays an important role in the development and maintenance of our psychological wellbeing, regardless of how successful we are. One study assessed whether it is achieving our goals or simply pursuing them that makes a difference to our happiness and wellbeing. It found that people who articulated their goals and were actively making progress on them reported being happier and more satisfied with their lives.
According to Expedia, a visit to Cancun remains at the top of travel bucket lists for Americans. While travel may be a popular bucket list item, positive psychology research suggests that goals that are altruistic in nature, and connect people with something larger than themselves, are associated with greater wellbeing, health and longevity. Don’t think that you to donate all your worldly possessions to experience the benefits, examples of this type of behaviour may range from the obvious – something like volunteering – to taking the whole family on a cruise.
In fact, one of the first studies to track happiness over a long period found that people who prioritised connection with family and friends, or actively participated in social activities, had a higher life satisfaction.
DO IT FOR YOU
That said, you still need to make sure you’re doing things for you. New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Rubin quotes, “One thing I’ve learned from my happiness project is that whenever appropriate, I should do it for myself.”
Do you have a bucket list? What are your top five goals you’d like to achieve in your lifetime?