Starting a life list

Published October 28, 2018

My Life List needs a bit of tender loving care, having been neglected recently, but before I do that I wanted to write a quick post about starting your own list. I think Life Lists are not as in vogue as they were a year or two ago (let’s be honest, the world falling apart is probably a bit distracting), but I still think they can be useful and inspiring. I’ve talked to a few people recently who expressed a desire to start their own lists but fall back on ‘I wouldn’t really know where to start’. So, here are my five tips to getting started:

  1. First task is to write down five things you’d love to do. Just five. Big or small. It could be to finally get round to painting the spare room. Or it could be to go into space. Don’t limit yourself at all. It might seem outlandish as you sit writing it down in your pyjamas, but you never know when that asteroid is going to hurtle towards earth and your unique set of skills are required (rather than just training astronauts to do it). Five things. That’s all.
  2. Put your list aside. Mull it over, let your subconscious dwell on it. You may have found it excruciating to come up with five initial items but once you’ve started, you should start to get inspiration from just thinking on the subject and from your daily life. When you have a cup of tea, you might start to wonder about all the other varieties of tea you could try. Or perusing a magazine might encourage you to visit a new destination or try out a new craft. Capture the thoughts as they come to you.
  3. Read other lists. A quick online search will reveal multiple bucket list ideas and life list templates, and reading these can inspire you either to use some of the ideas directly, or adapt them to a similar idea that’s more applicable to your own life.
  4. Publish or don’t publish. I have my list online and I write up the results. It’s just how I roll. It’s quite nice to see your progress or to have that small inkling of guilty if you haven’t crossed anything off in a while. But equally, having a private list can work just as well, as it’s about what you’re comfortable with and what you’re aiming to do. Gather together your initial five tasks and your subsequent thoughts and put them in whatever order you like.
  5. Tackle the easy stuff first. Start small. Tidy the garden. Paint that spare room. Read that book. Then maybe go on that trip. That might lead to going to a space museum, which might lead to you meeting an astronaut which might lead to your name being on the list of go-to heroes who are required to save the world from destruction. And all because you sat down in your pyjamas and made a list.

Most of all, it’s about just being open to anything and enjoying the journey. No pressure, no judgement, the list isn’t set in stone. Adjust as you grow and change. Just remember what the Doc says: “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

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