4 Reasons You Should Create a Reverse Bucket List

Nearly 40% of people who make resolutions forget about them by March, but the dropout rate levels off substantially after that point.

Since we just got into April, I thought that this would be the perfect time to talk about the reverse bucket list and how you can use them to reach your goals or New Year’s Resolutions.

What is a reverse bucket list?

A reverse bucket list is exactly as it sounds. If a bucket list is a list of things you want to do, a reverse bucket list is a list of things you’ve done. These can be useful when reaching for goals. Here are four reasons why.

Reasons to create a reverse bucket list

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1. It will motivate you

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to publish a blog post every week. So one of my goals is to write at least 1 blog post a week.

Last month felt like it went by so quickly. But then when I looked back, the 1st seemed so long ago. I’d been so heads-down in getting things done that I started to feel a little lost. Was I just checking things off of my to-do list? Or was I actually taking steps to reach my goals?

So I reviewed the blog goals I set for the month:

  • Write 4 blog posts
  • Create 1 free opt-in

My immediate reaction was, “Shit. What did I even do this month?”

I got out a pen and paper to make a reverse bucket list. Turns out I:

After this, I felt motivated to keep going.

2. It will help you stop playing the comparing game

People use social media to show the good things in their lives. This isn’t a bad thing at all.

What’s bad is how you interpret and compare your life highlights and lowlights to another person’s life highlight reel.

For example, the year after I graduated from college, my Facebook and Instagram feeds were filled with people sharing their life updates. “LIFE UPDATE. I’m moving across the country because I got my dream job.”

These made me feel sick. What made things worse was that I felt like a terrible human for not feeling happy for these people. Double whammy—I’m not going anywhere in life and I’m a terrible human.

Had I learned about reverse bucket lists, I would’ve seen how much progress I was making. I was applying to jobs while working part-time, volunteering for a cause I cared about, and interning.

Anytime you feel like your life isn’t going anywhere, make one of these lists to see the progress you’ve made. This way, you’re focused more on progress and less on the comparison.

3. No one else is going to tell you how awesome you’re doing

You’re not in school anymore. There is no grading system, gold stars, or teachers to sing your praises.

There are promotions and raises, which you could argue are indicators of a job well done. But just because you work hard, doesn’t mean you’ll get a raise or a promotion. So it’s best to be able to show yourself how well you are doing.

That’s where these accomplished lists come in. Usually, when you make a to-do list, you cross items off, forget about them, and move on to the next item on the list. This gets exhausting because you’re less focused on how much you’ve done and more on how much you have left to do. Making a reverse bucket list is a great very to celebrate all that you’ve done.

4. It will lift your spirits

You know the feeling you get after you write your to-do list and realize there isn’t enough time? Or the feeling you get when the end of the quarter is almost up and you realize you’re so for from your goals and not making progress on your New Year’s Resolutions?

I personally get so anxious that it can be paralyzing.

Accomplishment lists can help. you’ll see that you did make progress and maybe more than you initially thought. Reverse bucket lists are a great way to lift your spirits.

How to create a reverse bucket list

When you look at the below steps, it seems easy because it’s simple to do. But depending on how much of a self-critic you are, it might not be as easy as you think. That’s why I included some pointers to help you out!

1. Think back on the past month/quarter/year

Since it’s the last month of the quarter, let’s take a look at January and February. Next time you decide to create this list, simply think back on the period between lists.

2. Write down all of your wins

The trick here is to write down EVERYTHING. Even if you think it’s small. For example, if your goal is to go to the gym every day, you can write down “I went to the gym 10 times. ” Even though you didn’t go to the gym every day as you planned, you still made it to the gym on some days. And that’s better than not going to the gym at all.

3. Treat yourself

This step is all about celebrating the progress you’ve made. No matter how small it may seem, progress is progress and you’re closer to your goals because of it.

4. Optimize

What can I say? I working in Marketing. I say “optimize” pretty often. But really. You’ve acknowledged and celebrated your progress. Now it’s time to decide how you can improve. This way, you can continue working toward your goals.

Comment below with your reverse bucket list!

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