According to Dr. Mirgain, bucket lists are especially useful for keeping goals at the forefront of our mind. As we all know, it is quite easy to be overwhelmed by the heavy sense of day-to-day responsibilities and obligations. A bucket list is a way of keeping us grounded.

In other words: a bucket list is a way of connecting people with something that is greater than themselves.

Many of us have a schedule that looks very similar: work, family, eat, sleep, repeat. Dr. Mirgain insists that keeping a bucket list helps us remember what is truly important regarding our own sense of self-fulfillment.

Sufficient anecdotal evidence exists supporting the link between bucket lists and goal achievement; however, it was not until only recently that research backs up this claim, as well. Perhaps more importantly, keeping a bucket list may also translate into a more fulfilling life.

It turns out that a bucket list, similar to many other “lists,” is effective for a couple of very important reasons:

First, a bucket list helps to increase motivation – an essential attribute for the accomplishment of a goal. The correlation between goals and motivation is so strong, that many psychologists include the words “goal” and “motivation” interchangeably when defining one or the other. For instance, Terence Mitchell – a prominent behavioral psychologist and prolific author – defines motivation as: “those psychological processes that cause the arousal, direction, and persistence of voluntary actions that are goal directed.”

Second, a bucket list increases achievement. Hundreds of studies have discovered a direct link between goal setting and achievement. These studies span goal-setting and academics; goal-setting and health; goal-setting and recreation (e.g. travel); goal-setting and money management…and so forth.

So, should you create a bucket list?

Well, of course, this is completely up to you. Perhaps you really enjoy living a spontaneous life, and see no need for “listing out” you wish to do. Perhaps you are a busy person that can see the immense benefit of keeping what’s important at the forefront of your mind.

These basic observations aside, science appears to support the notion that bucket listing is an effective activity; not only for the achievement of lifetime goals, but for the ultimate experience we all wish to have: a more fulfilling life.


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