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Why I'm not setting goals or writing my Bucket List

The prompt was bucket list. It got me thinking. Do I have a bucket list?

Bucket list is such a strange term don't you think? Does it really stem from things I want to do before I kick the bucket? I guess it's similar to those books - 500 things I want to do or places to visit before I die. It's a rather peculiar term. As I approach 50, it makes me feel slightly threatened. I feel like it's shouting at me: 'Come on you - you'd better see these things or go to these places - time is running out you know.'  I feel pressurised by it and I guess that's why I don't have a bucket list.

I'm not a big goal setter either which is strange for someone who is a self-employed coach. Goals tend to feature heavily on the coaching agenda - what do you want to achieve, where are you now, what options/resources are available to you to help you reach the goal and how committed are you to getting there? It's all fine, I understand the concept and I have used it many many times successfully with clients, although I'd never force it upon them if they didn't want to go that route. You'll even see me writing about it on my business blog but each time I try and apply it to myself, it weighs me down. I feel a sense of overwhelm.

When I worked in corporate HR, goals were massive.

There were five year plans and annual goals and quarterly goals and monthly check-ins and a daily to do list and strategic goals and business goals and departmental goals and on top of that I also had to write training courses and programmes for Managers and staff on setting and achieving goals. Perhaps I am simply suffering from goal burnout. 

I'm rebelling. I'm being true to what feels right for me right now. I like to take a more gentle approach to how I live my life. I like to set intentions. If I meet my intention - that's great. But if I don't, I don't feel so bad. I don't beat myself up about it. Yet, when I don't meet a goal, I feel like a failure. What's the difference between an intention and a goal. I don't really know the answer to that and yet intention sits more comfortably with me at the moment.

I also don't set January resolutions - I hate the thought. Why would anyone want to set a resolution to do something on the 1st of January? It's usually cold, miserable and dark (well at least here in the UK). Christmas and New Year festivities are behind us and January feels like a long month ahead. I personally think if you want to make a change in your life - go ahead and do it - whatever day or month of the year it happens to be. Each day we wake up and begin is another opportunity for a fresh start in my opinion. Why wait for January 1st?

I do, however, like to set a word for  the year. I like to hold these words in my head, mull them over and apply them to events and happenings in my life. Last year my word was courage and I was on the radio three times and also published my first e-book. This year, my word is light. I have lost some weight and I'm trying hard to have a lightness of touch in my dealings with others, trying not to get too involved or participating in everyday dramas. It can be tough, but my annual word helps me focus.

I was intrigued earlier this year by an idea for a 100 day challenge. 100 days I can do. It doesn't stretch too far into the distance. It's manageable and didn't feel like it would weigh me down. I set my intentions over the 100 days and to date it's going ok. I feel at the end of the 100 days that I will have made good progress and I might even set a further 100 day challenge when this one ends. We shall see.

These are probably the reasons I don't have a bucket list. I did write one once a few years ago. It was pages and pages long. There seemed to be so many things I wanted to do. I love options, change and variety. I'm sure if I wrote another one today, and compared the two, it would be completely different. My husband said that I'd need to live until about 120 in order to fulfil my original list. Perhaps that's another reason for me not to write one.

I certainly admire all those people who have a bucket list and a set of goals. And don't get me wrong there are places I'd like to go and I'm sure there are others, that I don't yet know about, where I'd also like to make a trip and should the opportunity arise to go, I'd take it. Perhaps one day once goal burnout has receded, I too will return to this way of doing things. But for now I'll stick with my way and do what suits me.


  1. Angela, I agree with you. Never crossed my mind to write a bucket list. Besides, I know myself. If I really want one thing, I’ll do it, but most of time not in the times I’d like, and for many reason. Mostly, because life happens every day ;-)

    But like you, I like challenges, so if I can, I’ll always take one and that helps me get things done, especially regarding my writing.

    I believe that things come to us when it’s time. Some come earlier than we expected, other come later than we’ll like. But I like it this way ;-)

  2. Thanks for dropping by again and taking the time to comment. I'm currently trying to set challenges for myself in relation to the writing. For some reason this one keeps eluding me even though I know it's something I'm passionate about and want to do. If you have any tips I'd love to hear them.

  3. I find that challanges work best if you're not doing them alone. I entered the NaNoWriMo challange many times, for example, and that's where I pinned down my current WIP, which is a trilogy of novels.

    The first time I entered NaNo nearly ten years ago, I did the challange by myslef, and I won it. But then I started entering together with friends and it just became a blast. We tease each other and we get a lot of work done just by trying to keep up with each other.

    I find that sharing is a great incentive. At least for me.

    1. Great idea. Writing can be a solitary affair at times but I like your approach of sharing and having a blast too. That sounds like fun.

  4. Great article..I do 90 days now instead of 100. I bookmarked your site and plan on visiting again. Found you through Jeff Goins challenge.


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