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The ‘Bucket-List’ way to make your resolutions (so you never break any)

January 3, 2011

Happy New Year everyone!
2010 is done and dusted with. We are already a few days into 2011 (time’s going at bullet  speed).
Hope that everyone’s off the usual hangover and party highs.
If yes, then let’s get back to reality!

Well, let’s face it, resolutions are hard to stick to. We all know it. We’ve all experienced the difficulty. We’ve all broken them with ease (it’s soo abso-freakin-lutely easy!!!).

As we enter yet another decade of our lives, we all have hopes, dreams and aspirations. We all have goals (we love them, don’t we?) and we all have, or at least try to have, a ‘to-do’ list for the year.

Hmph...

Hmm...

Sadly, and I speak for myself as well, many items in the ‘to-do’ list remain ‘to-do’ even after the year has gone by and we are left staring at a list long enough to be wrapped around an egyptian mummy. I’m certain we all have some sort of a ‘resolution hangover’. It’s happened far too often for me & I’m certain many of you reading this might be testimony to this fact too.

So what’s going wrong? And how to make concrete resolutions and most importantly, how to stick to them?

That’s where I came across the idea of the ‘bucket-list’ *(see the end of this article for why it’s called so).

For those who are new to this term, a ‘bucket-list’ is simply a list of things that you’d definitely wanna do before you pop off. It’s like a ‘100 things you wanna do before you die’ or a ‘things I wanna achieve during my lifetime’.
Now you might think it’s odd to bring out this concept when all you want to do is prepare a to-do list and tick it off completely with ease before the year ends.
True. But when old concepts like ‘promises to complete your resolutions this year’ and the ‘old habits die hard’ adage do not work, we need to look at changing our approach.

So let’s now simply look at your 2011 ‘to-do’ list as a subset (part) of your life’s bucket-list.
Let’s look at it as some things you want to do in this phase of your life. Some things that will make your future life better, if you act now.
Now does that ring some bell? Does that make it more compelling? Or scary?
When you view your ‘Year 2011 to-do’ list as a part of your ‘Overall Grand LIFE ‘to-do’ list, you automatically have a scary deadline- of the time/moment you will not exist anymore. This is an inevitable deadline (you don’t know when exactly, but you know it’s there & it’s Deadly) but can be sure that if you don’t do it before this, you’re never gonna be able to do it… because you’re gone forever! (And so are your dreams, goals, resolutions)

The problem with us humans is that we are attracted to problems. Period.
We are wide-awake and react when we face problems. Problems are great to get your mind thinking. Problems are great to get your ass movin. It’s true.
Without the thought or existence of problems, we are more likely to sit and sun-bathe in our comfort zone. And you all know how ‘uncomfortable’ your ‘comfort zone’ can get after a prolonged period!

So now we have a big (huge, probably the biggest) problem– that our time on Earth is limited. Let’s assume that the Mayans got it right with their predictions; that 2012 is actually the world’s end.

Make it now!

Bucket-List

So we have:

1. a ‘to-do’ bucket-list (full of new and unaccomlished past resolutions),

2. a big problem (of us popping off), and

3. a hypothetical deadline- 2012 (after which we’re all history).

This problem, now, is big enough to make me or you jump out of that comfortable chair and get cracking! Within this limited time, we have sooo much to do! Life’s short man!
At least I do get the hibbie-jibbies when I look at my life & time that way.

So now that you’re jolted back to your ‘limited mortal existence’, did you feel the urge to just go and do it?
Did you feel that it’s high time you got rock solid and went after your goals?
Did you feel the lump in your throat when the thought of your ‘limited time’ sprang up?
Did you feel a surge of energy within you that’s right now making you want to change your ‘to-do’ list title to ‘successfully accomplished’ or ‘done and dusted with’ list?

If you felt any (or all) of the above, you’re not alone. Because I’m with you in the same boat. The boat that’s headed to just doin’ it and nailing our resolutions- without any further delay & without any exceptions or excuses!
This thought is empowering. It sure is.

We have a problem. We’ve identified it. We’ve realized how it’s affecting us.
Let’s get to the solution – how to make and stick to our resolutions.

The best way to articulate and get going with your bucket-list (I’m purposely calling it ‘bucket-list’ and not ‘to-do’ list that so that it rings an instant alarm in your head) is to:
A. Have THREE BROAD CATEGORIES for your life &
B. Be SMART while framing your resolutions and goals.

A. For convenience, it is better to have 3 broad areas of your life for which we mostly make resolutions & set goals:

3 Categories

3 Areas

1. PERSONAL RESOLUTIONS:
Your health/fitness
Your social life
Your love life
You family relationships
Your personal development (knowledge/skills)

2. PROFESSIONAL RESOLUTIONS:
Your Career
Your Finances
Your Professional growth

3. MENTAL/SPIRITUAL RESOLUTIONS
Your Character/Emotions
Your Beliefs/Values
Your Intellectual space
Your overall life’s vision

B. While elaborating your ‘bucket-list’, be sure to be SMART.
Be,
(S)PECIFIC:
‘I want to lose weight’ is a vague resolution while ‘I want to lose 7 lbs by 25th December, 2011’ is a highly Specific goal. Be as specific as you can about each and every resolution.

(M)EASURABLE:
Your resolutions/goals should have a benchmark. You should be able to measure your successes/forward movements so you know you’re going in the right direction.
For eg. Measure your weight every week to track your progress.
Remember, small successes lead to grander triumphs!

SMART Think

Think

(A)TTAINABLE:
A resolution should be accomplish-able. It should stretch you slightly beyond your limits so that you attain it and also grow personally at the same time.

(R)EALISTIC:
‘I want to land on the moon’ is a an un-realistic want!
Are you in NASA? Heck, are you even an astronaut? If not, please forget having these pipe dreams! When making a resolution, be highly realistic. Forget the moon, try landing on Antarctica first!

(T)IME-BOUND:
Go by the clock; by the date. This is paramount for you & your success.

Before doing any of the above, do one thing that just must be done (if you’re not yet doing it).
And that is to THINK.
Think about your life.
Where are you now?
Where did you start?
Where are you headed?
What is it that you really, truly, deeply, madly want out of life?
What do you need to get them?
Tough questions that will give you answers to truly transform your life!

Think about the 3 BROAD CATEGORIES of your life and think about the areas which need your immediate attention. Then, think about each of these areas and what you want to truly accomplish in each. Then be SMART. And then, blast off!!! Act!!! Just do it!!!

In Brief,
– Start with the end in mind
– Shock yourself by realizing each moment that your ‘time is limited’
– Create resolutions based on your life’s bucket-list
– Be SMART
– Think Hard
– Act
These were just lateral ways to make your resolutions (and make yourself strong enough to never break them).
Sticking to them is another issue- coming up in the next post!

I sincerely hope this write-up got you thinking.
I hope it shocked you enough to get up and get cracking at your ‘bucket-list’.
I hope it’s got you charged up and empowered to go ahead & seize your resolutions.
I hope it’s got you out of the 2010 resolution hangover.

I hope…

(Let’s use the comment board at the bottom of the page to discuss and try to resolve any other resolution/goal related problems. 2012 is not too far you see!)
😉

*’bucket-list’: We all know what a bucket is – and so this phrase appears rather odd. Why should a ‘bucket-list’ be associated with things to d before you die?
The link between buckets and death was made by at least 1785, when the phrase was defined in Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue:
“To kick the bucket, to die.”
One theory as to why, albeit with little evidence to support it, is that the phrase originates from the notion that people hanged themselves by standing on a bucket with a rope around their neck and then kicking the bucket away.

We also wrote a new year resolution article in 2009 (it’s still inspiring all those who read it). Read it here.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jatin permalink
    January 5, 2011 10:56 am

    Great Article…I also strongly recommend watching the movie – Bucket List.

  2. January 5, 2011 1:02 pm

    Thank you Jatin.
    I missed this film but while writing this article, I too felt the urge to go get a dvd of the movie.
    Now that you’ve also mentioned- it’s time I go get it!

  3. Allison permalink
    January 6, 2011 12:52 pm

    I really liked this post! Gave me just the kick I needed to get me started on my bucket-list. In fact I’m regretting having wasted 4 days of the new year 😛 phew!

  4. January 6, 2011 1:04 pm

    True! It’s the kick even I needed… and I’m sure we all do in some way or the other. Glad you got yours – even if it was after 4 days! 😉
    Good Luck.

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  1. How to Stick to & nail your resolutions « LIFEism

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