Make a Personal Development Bucket List – Take Monthly Challenges!

Written for & published by In Her Shoes Foundation (2013)

By Melissa Doman, M.A.

When you think about it, 365 days is really a lot of time.

We often say things like, “ugh there’s never enough hours in the day to get things done,” or “maybe I can get to that next year.” Well, daily time may be limited, but would that really ring true on a monthly scale for a spread out short-term goal you had 30 days to complete?

Take a moment and think about that.

We get so caught up in our day-to-day responsibilities, albeit rightfully so, that we feel like months are passing us and we don't have time to do things purely for our growth and development.

Here's a few recommendations for your process in making your monthly bucket list:

1.     Pick things that are important and will have a positive impact on your life

2.     Pick one goal per month

3.     Stay organized

4.     Pick something realistic and manageable

5.     Don’t self-criticize

6.     Remember it’s a marathon - not a sprint

When it comes to making a bucket list with monthly goals, start off small and see where it leads. For example, this month, I’ve set the personal goal of taking piano lessons again to brush up on my old skills. Next month, I’ve made the goal of doing 10 minutes of stretching every single day.

The benefits of working on concrete measurable short-term goals that are achievable on a monthly basis is that you can see tangible results. Short-term monthly challenges can help you develop great skills of personal accountability, goal sustainability, and feelings of personal achievement.  When you pick these bucket list items, make sure they're something significant that you care about and would have a positive impact on your life. For example, you could set a  bucket list short-term goal for a month to do two random acts of kindness each week, rather than saying I’ll eat ice cream less. You get the idea.

My recommendation in this process would be to have structure that keeps you on track. Personalize this process to who you are. Whether it’s managing your bucket list through an online calendar, through your phone, or a piece of paper up on your wall - pick anything that works well for you.

Most importantly, make sure these goals are manageable and can be sustained even when life goes haywire. I'm talkin' you get these things done come hell or high water (make them your non-negotiables). Once you get one of the bucket list items done in a month, it will motivate you for the subsequent ones.

Remember, even though you're holding yourself accountable, don’t be self-critical. By bringing yourself down, it’s counterproductive to the personal development process. On any great path of success and achievement, you'll hit bumps in the road. The best part about this process it that it’s for you and only you. So – have fun with it! There’s no need for phrases like, “I don’t have time for that,” or “There’s no way I could do that.” There's no benefit in doubting your abilities if you haven’t even tried yet.

Happy bucket listing!