- Goals are realistic, yet still a reach
- Every single item on the list gets you excited
- Big goals can be broken down into a series of smaller goals
Let's use an example. I would love to become a proficient horsewoman. However, I would probably need to own a horse (expensive) or take lessons (expensive). Even if I did find a way to learn on the cheap, to become truly proficient would require a large amount of my time and I would have to sacrifice other pursuits in order to accomplish it. While I would love to be a great horsewoman, the thought doesn't get me as excited as other items on the list. Result? Becoming a proficient horsewoman is not on my list.
Another example. I would love to be a bicycle tour guide. It's realistic, but still requires work in order to achieve it. The thought makes me very excited. And I can reach this goal by creating smaller ones, such as going on my own personal tours, taking roles that require leadership of a group, reading bike touring literature and taking wilderness first aid classes. Result? Becoming a bicycle tour guide is on my list.
Here are a few more things that are on my list:
- Finish an Ironman
- Race cyclocross for 4 seasons
- Become a proficient mountain biker
- Bike tour across the U.S.
- Take the NOLS course in Patagonia
- Hike the PNT, AT, PCT
- Publish a travel story
- Be a bicycle tour guide
- Take a straw bale building class
- Be able to do at least ONE pull-up
- Watch the Olympics (and preferably a pal of mine) in person
- Grow most of my own food, preserve it and save seed
- Learn to hunt
- Have my art shown in a gallery
- Take the Wilderness First Responder course
You'll notice that there are different ways to 'achieve.' Compare "finish an Ironman," "race cyclocross 4 seasons," and "become a proficient mountain biker." Finishing an Ironman would require one or two years of training, but the goal would be complete once I crossed that finish line. Racing cyclocross for 4 seasons merely requires that I participate. Becoming a proficient mountain biker, however, requires that I actually become competent. Maybe one of these types of goals is better than the other, but I like having the mix.
Another important key that I've yet to mention is to keep another list of what you're doing NOW to accomplish items on your Life List-- no matter how small! Mine might look like this:
- Planning to bike tour across the U.S. this summer!
- Lifting at the gym twice a week in order to do a pull-up (well, I was going to the gym twice a week..)
- Completed season 1 of cyclocross. Keep it up!
- I draw almost every day.
And one last, very important thing: keep your Life List in a place where you'll come across it regularly!
So I encourage you to honor the new year by not just resolving to lose weight, but resolving to realize the life you want to live and taking concrete steps in order to achieve it!