The why’s and how’s of creating your Reverse Bucket List

The why’s and how’s of creating your

Bucket List

By Robin Martinez

  • The pint-sized ballerina dances around the living room, tutu twirling in an impressive show for her family who has gathered to watch. One last flourish, a finishing pose and an excited, “Ta-da!”

    These four little letters — Ta-da — convey so much! A goal met. A finished project. Pride in a job well done. Four little letters asking the unspoken question, “Did you see what I did?”

    According to, 79% of Americans have a social media profile of some kind — a platform to showcase the highlight reels of one’s life. Yet a recent study, published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, found a causal link between social media use and depression. Users of social media platforms, consciously and subconsciously, compare and contrast their lives with the lives of friends, acquaintances and even strangers. Such comparison often leads to dissatisfaction and discontentment, envy and resentment. One’s own bucket list, once a beacon of hope and excitement, now seems a monument to slow starts, squirrel chases and a summation of impossible dreams when compared to the accomplishments showcased by others.

  • So why not flip the script? Rather than focusing on those experiences and achievements not yet accomplished, why not celebrate the successes already attained? Instead of focusing on the road ahead, take a look in the rearview mirror and consider compiling a reverse bucket list — a Ta-Da list, if you will.

    Creating a list of life accomplishments is an exercise in gratitude, an exercise which can be done regardless of age, location, income or status. Whether young or simply young at heart, celebrating past successes, large or small, is a surefire way to replace resentment and anxiety with thankfulness and joy. The pleasant nostalgia of remembering the sights, smells and companions associated with the accomplishments is a side benefit!

    Considering past achievements can also provide the impetus to face new challenges with confidence. When the future you desire seems impossibly far away, it’s easy to begin to feel hopeless and give up before even starting. Reverse bucket lists provide proof that it is possible to accomplish important goals. A review of life milestones can provide the motivation and courage necessary to face the challenges ahead.

How To

Find Clarity in Solitude

Plan a block of time to remember and reflect upon those experiences you’re grateful for or which were impactful. A quieted spirit is more conducive to self-examination.

No Editing Allowed

Write as if no one else will read it. If it’s significant to you, it’s worth celebrating. Don’t fret because your accomplishments don’t seem as grandiose or unique as those of your social media sidekicks. Changed your own flat tire? Celebrate your self-sufficiency! Sixth-grade spelling bee champ? A monument to determination!

Love It and List It

Maintain an actual list of accomplishments, big and small, and add to it as appropriate. First time to brave the supposed stigma of dining alone? Write it down!

To Share or Not to Share

Before throwing your list out there on your own platform, consider your motives. If you’re hoping to impress the social media crowd, think again. There will always be someone who has done more, traveled further, accomplished bigger. But if you choose to share in hopes of helping someone else get past their “stuck,” your list might provide the needed motivation.