How to Kick Things Off Your Bucket List

17 Jan
Please Note: This post was written in 2013. With 20/20 hindsight and all, my views and opinions may have changed since, so please keep that in mind as you read!

Do you have a bucket list? I know we all have things we are hoping to do in our lifetime, but do you actually have a written down list of all the things you are personally wanting to do?

I am what they call a dreamer. I have huge aspirations to do all kinds of crazy things in my life – but I confess: it wasn’t until late 2012 that I actively made a list of all the things I wanted to do.

Yes, I had written down goals for my business, but I did not have a list of specific personal goals I could refer back to – to inspire me and move me forward.

Writing My Life Goals

Late 2012 I sat down and started writing down all the places I wanted to see in my lifetime. All the things I wanted to do. All the skills I wanted to learn. All the people I wanted to meet… etc.

It might sound silly, but doing that – all of a sudden – gave me a sense of purpose. More importantly though, it gave me a sense of control as to the direction my life was going in. I felt a sense of urgency/drive to get certain projects done so I could move forward and kick things off of my bucket list.

You want to know the amazing thing? I was able to kick off the first thing on that list within a week or two. I had always dreamed of taking a train across a country – and shortly after making that list, the opportunity came up to take a train from Singapore, through Malaysia, into Thailand. It was quite an experience. My wife and I absolutely LOVED it.

It was a 4 day train ride, and once done, I felt invincible.  All of a sudden the other things on my bucket list too became possible. Wow!

Keeping the Momentum Going

THEN I got comfortable. Instead of pushing on and crossing off other things also (like flying a hot air balloon – which really is not that expensive and I could probably do it by the end of this week), I resorted back to just existing.

Meaning: I have not touched my personal bucket list in 3 months. How pathetic is that?

Update: I finally did do the hot air balloon ride two years later in Calgary. It was everything I expected it to be and then some!

It’s things like this where mentors and accountability partners come in handy.

Shortly before Christmas I was watching a short video by my friend Jason Cardamone that inspired me like crazy to kick off another thing on my bucket list: training with a personal Muay Thai kickboxing trainer in Thailand.

I have been in Thailand on and off for over a year now and yet I never mustered up the courage to get in touch with a trainer and start training. I have done a little Muay Thai in my younger years, so I am certain a lot of it will come back to me again, but like I said: I just never followed through with the dream.

If you don’t make your dreams happen, who will? No one!

The biggest mistake you can make is: tell your mentor to hold you accountable to something if you are not serious about doing it. That is what I did with Jason. Well, to clarify: I was all serious when I said it, but just never followed through with it.

I told him of this kickboxing dream of mine and told him I’d get it all moving after Christmas. Today he asked me for the name of my sensei (trainer) and I said “I don’t have one, and I don’t have an excuse!”

He says “you have 24 hours to tell me the date and time you will be training or I am sorry Konrad, I will have to terminate our 5 year relationship/friendship for good!”

He said it would be hard to do, but he will do it if I don’t get my behind moving… and I know he will unless I come up with the results.

Long story short, I kicked myself in gear and have contacted a trainer close to where I am at right now. If he fails to respond by tomorrow (it is 2 AM here), I am going in for group training.

Update: I did end up doing that one on one training session and had blisters for months to prove it. And yes, Jason Cardamone and I are still friends 🙂

If Not Now, When?

A good mentor is hard to come by, and solid friendships are way too precious to lose, but it is my honest belief that nothing is more devastating than to live all your life – looking forward to things but never actively pursuing them – and then look back (when you’re all spent), and wishing you would have just gone ahead and done them.

Update: Years after writing this post, I ended up having breakfast with an older gentleman and he mentioned that he had wanted to climb Machu Picchu since he was a little boy. Life had gotten in the way though and he had never done it.

“I still haven’t done the climb. And because of my old age and bad knees, it will never happen. I often regret not doing it in my younger years!” he explained!

How sad. How really really sad!

What is holding you back? Who is your accountability partner? Who is your mentor? We only get one lifetime to make the most of, and the earlier we get things checked off, the longer we can cherish the memory of said things.

Or as Mark Twain would put it:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

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