How the Reverse Bucket List Promotes Confidence, Motivation, and Gratitude

How to write a Reverse #Bucketlist

Being and introverted INFJ, sometimes I feel like I don’t do “big things”, which is ok, but I don’t want to look back and realize that I’ve lived a small life. I may be in my 40s, but there are still things I want to do. Bucket lists are fine for that, but there are times when they feel like it’s more of a “to do list” hanging over my head, haunting me with the fact that I still  haven’t done them.

This can make me feel unaccomplished when the items don’t get crossed off in a timely manner. Buckets lists are intended to be motivating, but I’m not sure that’s really working for me.

What’s a reverse bucket list?

A reverse bucket list is a list of things you’ve already done versus your standard bucket list of things you plan on doing some day.

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about the things I’ve already done in my life. While thinking of those things, I started to feel empowered. Not only did I realize how grateful I was for those moments and experiences, but I immediately felt encouraged to do more, so I decided to write down the things I’ve already done or accomplished in a list because looking at what you’ve already accomplished feels so much more motivating than looking at a list of things you haven’t done.

But, there’s much more to it than that:

  1. It builds confidence. You can now look back at some of the things you’ve done, knowing that you’re fully capable of doing them, which can inspire you to build on those moments and challenge yourself further.
  2. It creates motivation. Seeing your reverse bucket list in writing can get you excited about the future, because there’s pride in what you’ve already accomplished, and you naturally want to carry that forward and experience that feeling again and again.
  3. It manifests gratitude. Getting nostalgic over special moments, meeting goals, or overcoming something difficult can overwhelm you with a sense of gratitude. All of the sudden, you become grateful for those people, opportunities, and for the strength you’ve shown.

This simple little list allows you to look at your personal progression and growth, which can feel awesome!

If it’s important to you, it counts.

I know INFJs like to edit everything to death, but this is not the time for that. Don’t treat any of your accomplishments as anything less than worthy. If they were significant to you, please don’t edit them out of the list because you think other people might not deem them worthy. This is about you and your life, so whether it’s a small moment, big accomplishment, or a struggle you fought, list it!

You deserve to feel proud and empowered.

Reverse bucket list ideas: awards, milestones, conquered fears, people you’ve met, places you’ve traveled, special moments, experiences that moved you, dreams and goals you’ve met, a crazy dare you did, issues you’ve overcome, or cool things that have happened to you.

As an INFJ, I found this little exercise pretty easy because I’m already in my head a lot, reflecting and being my usual introspective self. I also discovered that my special moments and adventures were easy to identify, as they were usually emotionally-charged. In other words, they were life-changing or completely outside of my comfort zone, making them stand out in my memory as significant moments.

I’ve kept it at 50 things I’ve done, but I’m really liking my list and it only took about 20 minutes to put it together with much more to add!

My Reverse Bucket List

  1. Married my soulmate on the beach.
  2. Swam with dolphins.
  3. Played on the Las Vegas strip.
  4. Started my own business (twice).
  5. Danced on a table in Mexico.
  6. Rode a horse on the beach.
  7. Was the Maid of Honor in a wedding.
  8. Rode on a really fast cigar boat in the Bahamas.
  9. Adopted multiple pets from shelters.
  10. Won over $5,000 on a slot machine.
  11. Wished on a shooting star.
  12. Drove across the U.S. (twice)
  13. Watched 20 Giant Green Sea Turtles sun bathe.
  14. Waded into phosphorescent water in the dark.
  15. Hiked to a glacier.
  16. Saw a broadway musical.
  17. Fell in love (together 25 years).
  18. Flew in a helicopter over the Dominican Republic.
  19. Saw a lunar eclipse.
  20. Soaked in hot springs.
  21. Saw a Picasso.
  22. Watched a movie at the drive-in.
  23. Surfed in Hawaii.
  24. Visited the Panama Canal.
  25. Wrote a childrens’ book (unpublished).
  26. Saw an electrical storm over the ocean.
  27. Lost 30 pounds and quit smoking.
  28. Raised two children.
  29. Ran a 5k (and I’m not a runner).
  30. Played in Disneyland 3 times (and once in Disneyworld).
  31. Traveled the Alcan Hwy. to Alaska
  32. Experienced 24 hours of daylight.
  33. Stood my ground against a charging caribou.
  34. Went 120mph on a curvy road.
  35. Slept under the stars.
  36. Pet a wild baby boar.
  37. Tubed down the river with friends.
  38. Ran from a bear (don’t ever do this).
  39. Fed wild iguanas.
  40. Got a tattoo (four times).
  41. Pierced my tongue.
  42. Saved a life.
  43. Rode in a limousine.
  44. Met Muhammed Ali (& saw David Lee Roth on a plane!).
  45. Watched whales breach the ocean’s surface.
  46. Went clam digging and caught a BIG one.
  47. Earned my GED, even though I didn’t need it.
  48. Hiked through the jungle in Costa Rica.
  49. Stood behind a waterfall.
  50. Watched lava pour into the ocean.

When making your reverse bucket list, please don’t feel like you have to keep it to 50 things. You can do a top 10 (or top 25) list, or keep going until you reach 100 or more. It’s not about quantity, but about seeing your progression, strengths, and perseverance. Your moments are yours, so own them and appreciate them. I have to admit, it feels really good to see how far I’ve come.

Assess your Bucket List

I noticed some things about my list – a few items were not something I did, but accidental or serendipitous (but interesting), I pushed through some of my fears (which means I can do it again), and that I’m proud of the travels I’ve had, and would love to get back on track with that. I’m already starting to think of the places I would like to go!

What did you notice about your list? Were there gaps? Was it longer or shorter than you anticipated? What kinds of things repeatedly showed up on the list? Do you feel motivated to make a new bucket list? Was something missing? Did you discover a new goal?

Remember, if it’s important to you, it counts.

What’s on your reverse bucket list?

Tea & ♥,

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