Buying Happiness Around the World

Buying Happiness Around The World

How To Achieve Your Bucket List.


In the 2007 movieThe Bucket List,” starring Jack Nicolson and Morgan Freeman, we see two terminally ill men take a road trip with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket.’

We all have a mental “bucket list.” Things we want to do, places we want to visit, people we want to meet before we die. The fact that these items are on our “bucket list” indicates they mean something to us. They are things that would further enrich our lives. What if you did not wait till you were facing your mortality? But instead, made plans to achieve at least one item on your bucket list this year? 

I had the pleasure of talking with someone who is living her “bucket list.” At 26, Rebekah Erickson’s achieved what most of us would not, even in a lifetime.  She had skydived in Portugal, volunteered in Nigeria, pursued a double Masters in Europe, rode through the Sahara Desert by camel, and surfed in Morocco.  

All within a year!

What’s on your bucket list?

What do you desire to do, experience, or have that would make life feel a little more abundant or more meaningful? Go to art school? Travel to someplace exotic? Try stand-up comedy, complete a Ph.D., publish a novel, launch your own business? Retire? Take a sabbatical to Nepal? Go on a meditation retreat? Hike the Camino? What one thing would you like to do if time and money were not a pressing issue?

Here are the steps to achieve your bucket list.

Create The List

Create your bucket list. Write it down. Give yourself permission to dream. Don’t limit yourself. List as many items that come to mind. Become aware of your limiting beliefs. It takes time to reflect on what those are. You don’t deserve it, you don’t have time or money. Do you believe it’s too indulgent? These are some common limiting beliefs. Remove them!

Be Clear About Your Outcomes

Having goals is not enough. You must be specific and clear about the outcomes you are hoping to achieve. If you want to go back to college to get a degree, be specific about the degree you are hoping to complete. 

Know Your “Why”

It’s what fuels your passions. If it’s a writing retreat, why? What is pulling you? The traveling or the writing? Completing your degree? Are you doing it for the recognition or the love for learning? None of this is right or wrong. It’s a matter of getting in touch with your motivations. Regularly returning to the “why” is what will keep you on track.

Divide Your Goals According To A Timeline

Three years, five years, and beyond. Your time horizon will dictate how you should invest both your time and your money. It also adds a dose of reality. You are more likely to achieve your goals by scheduling them into your calendar and your life.

Rank Your Dreams 

Select three from the list that resonates most for you, not what is “important” but what will enrich your life most. It may mean delaying buying a new car to pay for that Safari trip you have wanted to do for as long as you can remember. It does not mean you are ignoring the rest; it means that you are choosing to focus on the ones that mean the most to you.

What Will They Cost?

If you’re hoping to complete your degree in fine arts, find out how much it would cost to do that. Do your homework and be as accurate as possible.

How Committed Are You?

How much time or money are you willing to devote to achieving this goal? A dream remains a wish until you show a firm commitment by doing something to achieve it. Separate items that are mere “wishes” from what is a burning desire. Focus on the burning desire!


If it’s a goal you plan to achieve in 5 years, then divide the cost by 60 (60 months over five years). If you want to run your first marathon, diarize how often you will be practicing each week. It’s unlikely you’ll do the entire length at the first practice. Pace yourself. Start with 5 km at the first go and work your way up from there. 

Save a set amount towards an item on your bucket list. Have this done, on the days you receive your paycheck. Many apps can help you keep track of your money, and some go a step further and help you save! The Digit app is great at keeping track of your expenses. For long-term goals, meet with a financial advisor. They will be able to tell you what investments you need for long-term goals.

Instead of spending money on incidentals or succumbing to compulsive shopping, be intentional. Direct a part of your income to items on your bucket list. If what you’re hoping to achieve requires regular practice, then make it a regular habit.

Regular Reviews

Find someone you can be accountable to. A spouse or a friend who will support your dreams. A financial advisor is also a good person to help you stay on track.

Celebrate once you’ve achieved that goal! And start planning for the next item on your bucket list.

Jennifer Thompson was a financial advisor who could not ignore the pull to live out her bucket list. Leaving a job in finance, she now writes and coaches women on manifesting life on their terms. She divides her time in California and the Mediterranean. She has written a few personal finance books: “Women & Money: 7 Steps to Becoming Financially Prepared in Any Economy.” and “Growing Up With Money: Raising Financially Resilient Kids in Any Economy.”

To help you you achieve your bucket list call Jennifer at [email protected].

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