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Category: Retirement

Gardening

Gardening

Gardening – is it good for you?

Do you like to putter in the garden? I tend to start on one task and then see other things that need to be done so end up spending more time in the garden than I first intended. Gardening can really draw you in and before you know it, a couple of hours have gone by!

Gardening is an excellent way to get some fresh air in addition to increasing physical activity with exercise. Gardening involves digging, pulling weeds, planting, spreading compost, trimming bushes and trees, raking, mowing and even moving rocks. It includes movements like bending, lifting, reaching, pushing and is a great way to enjoy staying fit without doing an organized sport. The benefits of gardening can increase muscle and bone strength, can lower blood pressure and even be a stress reliever. It is fun and creative and has many positive health benefits.

Some benefits of gardening include:

  • Encouraging relaxation & stress release
  • Improving physical fitness
  • Strengthening muscles and joints
  • Increasing hand dexterity
  • Preventing falls by improving balance
  • Improving mental well-being
  • Connecting with nature
  • Incorporating family fun and/or community involvement
  • Producing delicious, nutritious food
  • Encouraging creativity
  • Allowing for Puttering

If you are limited for space, you can start with a simple container garden on your balcony or within your kitchen window. Otherwise you can work with anything from a simple container on your deck to a small garden patch or even a large patch in your backyard. To be involved within your community, investigate shared gardens within your neighbourhood.

Swallowtail butterfly
Ruby-throated hummingbird

Gardens can attract wildlife like butterflies, bees and birds, which help fertilize colourful flowers and they become an integral part of the well being of your garden. It becomes an interactive place and an opportunity to learn about various species.

Gardening tools

To get started there are a few tools you may need such as:

  • Spade
  • Rake
  • Trowel
  • Gardening gloves
  • Soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Watering can or hose
  • Twine
  • Broom
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Kneeling pad
  • Sunhat and sunscreen
  • Clippers
  • Weeder
  • Shears

Consider also:

  • Bird feeder
  • Bird bath
  • Ornamental objects
  • Lighting
  • Pathways
  • Outside seating

 

Starting out as a novice can seem daunting but also exciting! There can be so much to learn but the best way is to get your hands dirty and just start. With practice we become more experienced and we can learn by reading and simply with trial and error. When I first created a garden at my first home, I didn’t have much money but started small. We grew veggies from seed and purchased what we could afford. Sometimes you can get cuttings from neighbours, friends or a neighbourhood garage sale. Then when you become more experienced you can experiment with more unusual or exotic plants. You can also share you experience with other novice gardeners and even donate or sell clippings of your own. It really can become a great neighbourhood community builder.

Vertical container garden

In addition to getting your hands dirty by manipulating plants, it also gets you thinking creatively and gets the blood pumping. By combining creative mental thinking with physical movements, it helps maintain physical stamina and keep the mind active at the same time. Doing this along with a family member or neighbour requires teamwork and is a great overall activity to support your health in so many ways. I really love this activity and there is always so much to do that it is easy to get carried away once I start! This is a great way to get “lost puttering”. This spontaneous way of working from one task to another allows the mind to rest from a routine schedule and keeps our minds active while still being imaginative. The physical work involved with gardening can be limited to our own activity level. It is rewarding to produce beautiful flowering plants as well as nutritious, organic food we can ultimately consume.

Gardening has so many benefits and is an excellent activity at any age. It is something that can be enjoyed in almost any climate (perhaps only in summer months in certain areas) but also indoors.

My own backyard

My garden includes mostly perennials (plants that grow back each year), trees and shrubs along with a few herbs. I have a container with some tomato plants and I hope to spend even more time planting, growing and nurturing new plants in my retirement. I also have a few pots of herbs indoors for cooking.

What do you have in your garden?

Please leave your comments below – I’d love to hear from you!

Read also about Bird Watching and Go Outside!

Bird Watching

Bird Watching

Bird Watching

Blue Jay

Bird watching is an excellent activity at any time in life but especially during retirement. You can do it alone or in a group. It’s a great way to get outdoors, close to nature in a new environment or simply in your own backyard. Getting close to nature has been shown to be good for your health. It’s calming and an activity that can’t be rushed. Bird watching (or birding) helps us appreciate Mother Earth and reminds us to be kind to our environment. It’s really fun to try to find a new species to add to your list and try to figure out what you saw.

White-Breasted Nuthatch

To begin bird watching, you need a few things:

  1. Binoculars
    • Borrow some first to see what you like. It’s really worth spending a bit more for better viewing. Also you have to carry them around so make sure they aren’t too heavy! I love our Nikon 8×42 waterproof binoculars (which by the way are great for boating too).
  2. Camera
    • To start out you don’t need a camera, but if you intend to document what you’ve seen, then you’ll need a zoom lens. But even a blurry picture can help you identify a bird.
  3. Bird Book
    • Find a good bird book for your area that has good images and descriptions of behaviour, calls and habitation and migration information. You can also search on the web for information.
  4. Bird Feeder
    • A quality bird feeder that keeps squirrels off will help attract birds to your own backyard. Clean it every once in a while to prevent birds spreading disease. Keep it filled so birds learn to come back. Also consider putting out suet, which attracts woodpeckers. A great option for your regular feeder is the Squirrel Buster available from Lee Valley Tools.

Once you’re set-up, start small and work on identifying the birds in your own backyard. Then venture out for walks around your neighbourhood. Perhaps there’s a pond nearby, so you can find other types of birds. Some people join groups with other birders and even go on trips to find migrating birds.

Osprey
Osprey taking flight

I started making a list of some of the birds I see frequently. I surprised myself because the list is by no means complete but it is actually quite long. I know I’ve missed many birds but it’s really amazing the variety on this initial list! In Ontario, Canada there are lots of beautiful birds including:

  • Cardinal
  • Blue Jay
  • American Goldfinch
  • House Finch
  • American Song Sparrow
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Green Evening Heron
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Common Flicker
  • Mallard Duck
  • Canada Goose
  • Rose Breasted Grosbeak
  • Common Loon
  • Common Grackle
  • Bohemian Waxwing
  • American Robin
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Crow
  • Tree Swallow
  • Seagull
  • Phoebe Bird
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Slate-coloured Junco
  • Osprey
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Owls – many types

And the list goes on! Wow! My husband and I love spotting different birds while we are out for our walks either first thing in the morning or later in the evening.

What birds have you seen?

Read also Go Outside!

Victoria, BC

Victoria, BC

Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria is the capital city of Canada’s province British Columbia. It is located on the southern most tip of Vancouver Island and is the most southern part of Western Canada. It is about 100km from British Columbia’s largest city, Vancouver, on the mainland. It is accessible by air or by boat. Greater Victoria has a population of about 365,000.

BC Parliament & Queen Victoria statue
Victoria Legislature at night
Detailed ceiling inside Legislature Building

Named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, it is one of the oldest cities of the Pacific Northwest, settled by the British in 1843. The city has maintained many of its original buildings including the impressive Legislature buildings and the Empress Hotel. It is also known as the Garden City with its beautiful flower gardens throughout. Many tourists flock to the popular Butchart Gardens.

Butchart Gardens
Victoria water taxi

The harbour is a busy place and is easily walkable. Popular for both boaters and retirees, it has the most temperature year-round climate within Canada with warm dry summers and mild, wet winters with little to no snow. Due to the mild climate, it is home to interesting birds, plants and trees. The economy is primarily technology, tourism, education and BC’s provincial government. The city is easily accessible by foot, bicycle, bus or car. Victoria’s waterfront harbour is a busy place with water taxis, private floatplanes, tour boats and private boats. If you’re thinking of visiting this lovely place, you will be sure to be impressed! The best time of year to visit to avoid larger crowds would be spring (March, April, May) or fall (September, October).

Victoria’s busy harbour
Fisherman’s Wharf
Ogden Point cruise ships
Fisgard Lighthouse

Some of the most popular tourist spots are:

Some useful links:

Have you ever been to Victoria?

Read also about Vancouver Island and Tofino.

Georgian Bay by boat

Georgian Bay by boat

Georgian Bay by boat – Beausoleil Island and surrounding area

Georgian Bay is a boater’s paradise and is sometimes referred to as the sixth great lake. The Canadian Shield landscape is serene, with its windswept tall pine trees, clear blue water, rocky cliffs and beaches. It was the stomping ground of the Group of Seven painters so you might recognize the landscapes from their paintings.

Beausoleil Island dock at Sandpiper Campground
Sandpiper Campgrounds on Beausoleil Island

A common destination is Beausoleil Island, which is just off the shore and is most easily accessed by boat from Honey Harbour. If you own a boat, you will most likely moor at this island at least one night. It is part of the national parks and at 8km long is the largest island of Georgian Bay Islands National Park. It offers day and night docking, hiking, beaches, walking trails, camping as well as an information centre. There are several campgrounds if you have your own tent, but there are also cabin rentals and new oTentiks.

Make sure you have a good GPS for boating in this area. There are several rocks just below water level so it is important to know where they are so you can avoid grounding your boat! To get to Beausoleil Island from Honey Harbour, go through Big Dog Channel. It may look too narrow to get through but it is not! It’s best to plan your visit to avoid large crowds of people. Sandpiper campground has a lovely sandy beach and is a good place to go, if it’s not too crowded. You can also get higher vantage points from campsites at the north end of the island which are rockier.

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

Some things to watch for: There is some poison ivy off the trails so stay on the trails to avoid it! It can also get quite buggy in the evening so take longer clothes and bug spray. Also watch for the native Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, which for the most part will try to avoid you. It’s worth a trip to the visitor’s centre on the south part of the island to familiarize yourself with these and other interesting facts. To stock up on food or gas, the closest stop by boat is Picnic Island.

Picnic Island (Food & Gas)

Nearby places to visit in the area include the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene. They have separate harbours but the towns are closely linked.

Mural at Midland waterfront

Midland (Population about 17,000)

  • Cycling and walking trails
  • King Street – main street with cafes and gift shops
  • Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre (wildlife and birds)
  • Midland Cultural Centre
  • Golfing, fishing, boat tours
  • Home to a 2nd Henry’s Fish restaurant
  • Things to do in Midland

 

Penetanguishene (Population about 9,600)

 

 

Henry’s Fish Restaurant, Frying Pan Island, Sans Souci, ON

Henry’s Fish Restaurant, Sans Souci, ON

Giants Tomb Island – This island has no permanent residents and is part of the Georgian Bay Islands National Park. It is popular for day trips and it’s best to anchor in the sandy bay on the east side and swim in the clear crystal waters, or walk along the sandy shore.

Have you been to this part of Georgian Bay?

Feel free to leave your comments below…

Read also about boating.

 

 

Boating

Boating

Boating

Do you ever had those days when you’re feeling stressed and just want to get away from it all? A change of scene and a change of pace can do wonders. One activity I love for escaping is boating.

Cruising on Rideau Canal

In my youth, my parents built a cottage on a small lake. The experience I had and the memories that were created at the summer cottage were priceless. My family had a canoe and small aluminum rowboat. We never needed to go far on the water and the cottage was well equipped with the basics. It was a time to be unplugged from school and work. My siblings and I would spend the summers there until we were old enough to work a summer job. There were endless hours swimming, fishing, puttering and exploring. In the evenings, there were plenty of card games, reading in the bunks and even playing hide-and-seek in the dark with other kids on the lake.

My husband has similar memories and we wanted to share like experiences with our own children. We never got our own cottage but instead we invested in a boat. We did quite a lot of research and eventually got our first boat, which was a Princecraft deck boat. Our girls were young at the time, but old enough to help. We trailered it to nearby rivers and lakes and explored everywhere we could. We anchored and fished and swam. We beached it on nearby beaches and picnicked, spending the day out in the sun. Our girls had fun being pulled around on the tube. We even took it on trips and camped on the shore along the way.

Our first boat: a Princecraft deck boat

Boating was a new way to escape! It is a hobby that forced us to slow down and not rush. Boating has its own pace and you simply can’t rush it. This is one reason we really love it now. It forces you to slow down and not get exited about delays. When you’re out on the water, you can feel your heart rate start to slow. The feeling of being out on the water is relaxing, calming but at times can even be exhilarating! The wind and sun feel energy giving and there’s nothing like having a picnic lunch in the boat after a delightful swim to cool off on a hot summer’s day.

An upgrade: 26 foot Regal cruiser

Our next boat was an upgrade. We soon learned that pitching a tent and blowing up 4 air mattresses each evening was tiring! So we sold the Princecraft and purchased a 26-foot Regal cruiser, which we moored at a marina. It slept 4 relatively comfortably and had a mini-bathroom (or head) and kitchenette. We outfitted it with solar power and anchored out many evenings. There is nothing quite like seeing the sunset and sunrise from out on the water…. So peaceful!

Back to a trailerable Princecraft fishing/ski boat

Now that our adult children have moved out, we have downgraded again to a trailerable boat – another Princecraft but this time a fishing/ski boat with a windshield. It suits our needs right now while we are only using it on weekends in the summer. For the winter months it is covered and stored.

Our dream and plans include one day purchasing a 40-foot trawler to live on for a year and travel the Great Loop. This will be a true test of our love of boating. I will be interested to compare living on a boat for a 2-week holiday versus living on it for a whole year!

Boating is a fun activity with the family

Challenges with boating:

  • Finding the right boat – consider how and when you will use it, how and where you will store it, do your research, go to boat shows, get as much info as you can, buy used
  • Ask lots of people – everyone has advice – most boaters love to tell you all about their boat and their experiences
  • Learning how to maintain a boat – changing oil, filters, etc. YouTube is a great resource
  • Learning how to launch a boat and how to trailer – if you are new to this, then practise backing up and learn how to turn the wheel to be able to back a boat down a ramp – it comes with practise
  • It can feel stressful to get your boat launched with other boaters waiting to use the ramp – remember everyone is in the same boat (so to speak) so don’t panic! Most boaters help each other – it’s a good community
  • Some boaters like to drink – this is one part I can do without – drinking and driving any vehicle is a big No-No in my books
  • Always wear lifejackets even if you know how to swim
  • Allow extra time – you can’t be in a rush!

 

Best part of boating:

  • Enjoyment of being out on the water
  • Getting close to nature
  • Fun time with family and friends – swimming, fishing, tubing, skiing exploring
  • Relaxing activities – reading, picnicking, fishing, sleeping
  • Great stress reliever, great weekend activity/hobby, great retirement activity

 

Are you thinking about starting boating?

What are your experiences out on the water?

Please let me know. Leave your comments below…

 

Read about other retirement activities.

Read about how to reduce stress.

Volunteer

Volunteer

Be A Volunteer

Volunteering is about giving your time to a good cause. Volunteers do important work and are not compensated with money but the rewards of service go far beyond monetary payment. Individuals not only get personal satisfaction, but also a deeper understanding of community as well as a network of contacts that can become useful when looking for a job. It gives you the chance to use your talents and develop new skills and make a difference in someone’s life. Volunteering can be done at any stage of life from the teenage years right through to senior years.

Steps to becoming a volunteer:

  1. Consider why you want to be a volunteer
  2. Consider your values, skills and interests
  3. Choose an organization that is meaningful to you.
  4. Look for an organization or activity in your community.
  5. Start small.

 

Here are some sectors with volunteer opportunities:

  1. Social & Legal Services – residential care, pro bono legal, housing (ex. toy drives, administrative help, senior centres, community projects)
  2. Civic & Environmental Advocacy – human rights environmental & wildlife conservation (ex. trail or river clean-up, administrative support)
  3. Arts & Culture – performing arts, non-profit radio/TV, museums, orchestras (ex. volunteer behind the scenes at theatres, weed gardens, clerical support, teach children, elderly or disabled)
  4. Education – schools (pre-school, elementary, high-school, college), libraries, research (ex. tutoring, after-school programs, participate in educational research, school council)
  5. Health Services – hospitals, clinics, other health care facilities (ex. clerical skills, visit patients, drive patients to appointments)
  6. International Relations & Development – international relief, human rights, peace & security (ex. administrative roles, prepare care packages for international disaster aid, organize campaigns)

 

The best way to start volunteering is to start small. Consider what you have to offer and what the needs are in your local community. Ask around and talk to as many people as you can. Don’t commit in a big way right away – just test the waters and see how it goes. Try more than one type of volunteering. Then once you are comfortable and feel good about the work, consider a regular schedule of volunteering. It feels good to give back to the community!

How do you volunteer?

Please leave your comments below…

Read about Retirement Activities.

 

 

 

Retirement Calculator

Retirement Calculator

How much do I need to retire?

Now that my adult kids have moved out, my husband and I have found there’s more time to do things WE want to do but also we’re saving more money. We can enjoy spending it on special vacation trips but we are also keeping in mind our retirement. We tend to be cautious in nature when it comes to money – saving rather than spending… for those emergencies or unplanned events. Did you know that only 60% of Canadians are actively saving for retirement? The question for us and that many people ask is “How much do you need to retire?”

To answer this question, you really need to ask yourself three questions:

  1. How much will you spend in retirement?
  2. How long will you live?
  3. How much have you already saved?

I think it’s easier to answer these questions in reverse order.

For question 3, look at all your statements for your various investment accounts. Track them all in a spreadsheet, keeping separate the RRSP, TFSA and general savings. For this exercise we won’t include assets like your house or cars. You need somewhere to live so leave the house out of the mix for this exercise.

The answer to question 2 is more challenging. Nobody can know how long they will live. This is very difficult to calculate, but you can make some assumptions and try to extrapolate. Look at your parents – how long did they live? If you are not sure then use average lifespan in your calculations.

The answer to question 1 requires some tracking and calculations. The amount of money you will need in retirement depends on what lifestyle you expect. If you want to maintain the big house and two cars, take several trips each year and eat out on a regular basis, then you’ll need more. If you plan to downsize, go to one car, budget for one trip per year and watch what you spend, then obviously you’ll need less. The first step is to make a budget to track your expenses. Track exactly what you spend right now and include absolutely everything – leave nothing out. Include groceries, personal care items, car expenses, gas, insurance, rent/mortgage, property insurance, utilities (heat, hydro, water, phone, internet, cable, property taxes), house repairs/furniture, clothes, medical/dental, entertainment, vacation, gifts, misc. and any other expenses you have. I use an Excel spreadsheet and have tracked our daily spending for several years. I find it helpful to budget for big expenses like travel and to help track savings from year to year. We tend not to eat out very often – I like to cook! But we do treat ourselves occasionally and it is so much easier to predict expense patterns when it’s all written down.

To calculate and estimate your goals for retirement use a retirement calculator that includes your expense budget information along with all your savings together with retirement age. A good simple retirement calculator you can try is from the Bank of Montreal (BMO). It’s simple, but takes into account current savings in RRSP, TFSA and general savings. The only thing it doesn’t account for is any increase in salary. But most people using this program are closer to retirement already, so that point becomes less relevant.

Here is a fictitious example of one couple and a retirement scenario:

John & Mary live in Eastern Ontario and are 50 and 48 years of age respectively. John earns $135,000 annually. Mary earns $60,000 annually. Neither will earn a pension but John does pay into a Defined Contribution Pension Plan (DCPP). He pays 5% of his salary and his employer matches with another 5% so he gets 10% total each pay period. John & Mary want to know if they can retire from their full-time positions as early as age 55 and 53. They estimate they will need $60,000 total per year to live in retirement. They plan to work contract or part-time to pay for extra things like vacations.

Using BMO’s Retirement Savings Calculator you can punch in some numbers and play around with retirement age, salary, monthly savings, investment risk and even additional lump sum savings.

John Mary
Annual Salary (before tax) $135,000 $60,000
RRSP Savings $410,000 $65,000
RRSP monthly contributions $1,125 $500
TFSA Savings $59,000 $52,000
TFSA monthly contributions $458 $458
Other Savings $90,000 $25,000
Joint Savings $60,000
Joint monthly contributions $3,000

 

Using the BMO Retirement Savings Calculator, and assuming a medium investment risk of 6% return, by ages 55 and 53 they will have 80% of their retirement funded. If they delay their retirement from full-time work when John will be 56 and Mary will be 54, they will be 100% funded for retirement.

Using a 4% low risk investment mix, the calculator estimates their retirement age of 58 and 56. So depending on how aggressive they are with their savings and investing, they could potentially accelerate their retirement.

Try out BMO’s Retirement Savings Calculator with your own numbers!

At what age will you be retiring?

Let me know which retirement calculator you prefer in the comments section below…

Read also Make a Financial Plan, Dividend Investing, Do You Pay Yourself First?

 

Money Lessons

Money Lessons

Money Lessons – start young

Nobody really teaches you about money in school – how to balance a chequebook, manage your money, pay a mortgage or how to save for retirement. We all seem to just muddle through and learn as we go. It’s true we learn from our mistakes, but why not help out the next generation and at the very least teach the big lessons?

Tell your kids! Here are 6 basic tips about how to handle your money:

  1. Start saving as soon as you start earning money. Put some money into a nest egg and don’t touch it! It’s really important to save money for retirement and it’s so much easier to start young. It’s also easy to have that 10% (or whatever you choose) set aside, automatically by your bank. Honestly, once it’s removed you don’t miss it and it’ll grow over time to a comfortable size before you know it!
  1. Be wary of credit cards. Although it’s super easy to get one, don’t rely on the credit to get you through. Only buy what you can afford in cash. Use the card for convenience and pay it off in full every month. Don’t carry a balance especially with high interest rates.
  1. Learn how much you spend. Keep a balance sheet and be aware of your spending habits. It’s easy when you first start earning money to just spend it. Being aware of your expenses allows you to budget and make informed choices with no surprises.
  1. Be open to learning about finances and investing. Nobody is going to do it for you. You work hard for your money so take the time to learn about different types of investing. You can even practice on some self-serve investing websites with real market activities. Only invest in what you know and understand.
  1. Always keep a contingency fund for emergencies. The future is unknown but we can plan ahead for unexpected surprises. If you lose your job or the furnace breaks, it’s good to know you are covered. Generally speaking we should keep enough in the emergency fund to cover at least 3 months of expenses.
  1. Don’t fear money! It can seem intimidating at first, but it is integral to daily living so you can’t ignore it! Seek advise from as many sources as possible.

How do you manage your money?

Please share your savings tips below…

Read about how to Make a Financial Plan.

Read about Dividend Investing.

Travel Cheaper

Travel Cheaper

Tips to Travel Cheaper

It’s easy to spend a lot when traveling, but if you do some research in advance, plan as much as you can, take advantage of deals, you can save yourself some money. Here are some tips to traveling a bit cheaper:

  1. Make travel a priority. You will always find something else to spend your money on, but if you make travel a priority, you’ll plan a trip and save for it.
  2. Get free flights with travel rewards. Use budget airlines (but check their safety ratings).
  3. Watch for deals. Be willing to travel last minute.
  4. Travel in off-peak times. Research as much as possible before booking to find the best times to travel to your destination.
  5. House swap or house sit to save money on accommodation. Alternately use AirBnB or HomeAway or VRBO to find home rentals.
  6. Be food smart! Prepare your own meals. It’s ok to eat out occasionally but this can really add up if you eat out all the time.
  7. Get discount cards, tourist cards or passes for public transit like rail passes.
  8. Travel in a group. Organize a group tour for bigger discounts. Save on vacation rental by booking as a group. Carpool to share the expense.
  9. For long-term travel, consider working overseas by picking up some casual work. Get a contract in your field, or work as an instructor, or teach English as a second language.
  10. At your destination look for free activities like walking tours, exhibitions, etc.
  11. Avoid souvenir shops. Be selective about what you buy.

How do you save money when travelling?

Please share your tips below…

See how to travel light.

Bucket List

Bucket List

Make your own bucket list

A bucket list is a list of everything you wish to accomplish before you “kick the bucket” – anything you would regret not doing or trying before you reach the end of life. It could be learning something new, travelling somewhere you’ve never been or simply accomplishing a task. It could be big or small. But whatever it is, it has meaning and is important to YOU.

A lot of people are looking for a meaning or a goal in their life. We can’t always wait for the right moment to experience life. Start now by making your own list. Set goals for achievements on a big scale, but also for a small scale; think every year, every month, every week, every day.

You can have all the experiences the world has to offer, but if you don’t get to share them with those that are close to you, they may feel empty. It’s way more meaningful to share your bucket list with the important people in your life: your family and close friends.

Why make a bucket list?

  1. Give your life purpose and meaning. Life is about having fun, creating joyful memories. The list helps create fresh new experiences and ambitions to feel happy and excited about. Stay motivated even when times get tough.
  2. Defining goals gives direction and focus to build excitement and bring dreams to life. Everyday life can get in the way. The list reminds us of the big picture and helps us stay true to our own values.
  3. Reward yourself. The list is measurable and it gives you incentive for major accomplishments. Celebrate each triumph or achievement.
  4. Anticipating an experience gives us almost as much of a thrill as the actual event.

Start your very own bucket list:

First brainstorm and dream of everything and anything you’ve ever wanted to do – with no limits. Start writing all your desires and dreams down. Get inspiration from the Internet to help you get started, but stay true to your own values and dreams. Then organize your thoughts into categories: travel, learning, activities, etc.

How to put your list into motion:

Start by thinking about what’s most important to you. Then plan goals based on time and money. For example, what is your travel budget? Plan trips according to time off and what you can afford. Or if you want to learn something new, research classes in your area and find one that fits your schedule and budget. A big goal such as travelling would be spread out over time and fulfilled as you can afford it. You may also have monthly and weekly goals, which cost much less and are more feasible such as apple picking or painting or even running your first race.

It may seem odd, but the goal of the bucket list is not to complete it but to keep it growing! Your bucket list will be dynamic and fluid, changing from time to time. Share your list and ideas with as many people as possible. It’s an interesting topic that many people would love to hear about. And you’ll be surprised that some people may help you reach your goals by offering advice and connections.

Celebrate achievements:

Once you’ve completed something off your list, it doesn’t end there. Celebrate it by sharing your success through social media, blog about it, create a photo album or journal, and/or collect keepsakes.

It doesn’t matter if you complete everything on your list. What’s more important is that you tried and achieved some of those things on your list. It’s about the journey, not the destination. Use the list as your own personal guideline to self-improvement.

Finally, remember to pay it forward; support other people’s goals and dreams.

What’s on your bucket list?

See travel destinations.