Why You Need a Reverse Bucket List 5 Easy Steps for Starting One

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reverse bucket list


In this post:

What’s a Reverse Bucket List, You Ask?

An Exercise in Gratitude

How Should You Build Yours?



What’s a Reverse Bucket List, You Ask?

If you are anything like me, you likely have a kick ass list of goals you hope to accomplish, including places you want to see, foods you want to eat, milestones you want to reach… And that list likely looks incredibly exciting, but also overwhelming AF. “There is so much to do! How will you find the time? Is there even enough time to finish everything before you drop dead!? HELP!!”

Stop for a second. Let’s not dwell in these moments or let them deter you from your bucket list (even if your list is miles long). People have a tendency to focus so much on what we HAVEN’T done, that we forget there is already so much we HAVE done. Switch gears by asking yourself, “What have I already accomplished? What great experiences have occurred in my life that I am grateful for?” Stopping to ask yourself these questions are the beginnings of your reverse bucket list—a list of accomplished goals and experiences you are proud of. You need a reverse bucket list in your life. Let me tell you why.




An Exercise in Gratitude

You might feel like building a reverse bucket list feels a bit self-serving… And you know what? IT IS. You deserve to be proud of your accomplishments. Bask in it and be grateful, because there a number of positive effects that come with gratitude. According to Robert Emmons, one of the leading researchers in gratitude, it can have the following effects:


  • Building confidence. In the days of social media where we are constantly trying to measure up to the experiences of others, it is easy to feel low. Screw that. Look back on your reverse bucket list and tell yourself, “There are loads of people in the world who have not and will never have this opportunity. But you did. You’re awesome.”


  • Magnifying positive feelings. Breathe in all the good, exhale all the bad. Rinse and repeat. Ain’t nobody got time for negativity.


  • Stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure and longer sleep. Throw away the melatonin and other supplements. Get some gratitude, FOOL.




How Should You Build Your Reverse Bucket List?

Now that we’ve established a reverse bucket list is good for you, how do you build it? Here are some suggestions on steps to take.


1) Sit down and brainstorm as many accomplishments as you can. Did you graduate college? Have you visited other countries? Have you volunteered your time to a charitable cause? BOOM. All good things to include on your list.


2) Stalk yourself on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… Where have you documented your adventures and accomplishments? There were a ton of things I included on my social media profiles that I had forgotten from my initial brainstorm. Backtrack as far as you can.


3) Talk to your family. “Grandma? Did I do anything cool before my brain started remembering?” I know granny may not have the best memory herself, but going over your earliest years with family members may lead to some hidden gems. Did they take you on any trips you don’t remember? Were there any fun life experiences you got to tag along for? I bet there is at least one item for your list.


4) Go through old photo albums and scrapbooks. If the grandparents can’t recall any items for your reverse bucket list, at least they’re likely to have tons of photo albums. My grandmother’s house is a treasure trove of photo albums I still have to rifle through to complete my list. Be better than me and start scouring the albums.


5) Drudge up your old diaries. Wait, diaries are for more than documenting all of your pre-pubescent feelings of angst? They’re likely to be holding some great items for your reverse bucket list… Like a first kiss? YAZ!


Now that you have the steps to start your reverse bucket list, where should you store it? Find out on our resource page “9 Places to Stockpile Your Bucket List Goals.”



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