Your Kick-Ass Bucket List

“Tell me, what it is you plan to do, 

with your one wild and precious life?”

~ Mary Oliver

As part of my commitment to living full-on for 365 days in a row, I am starting a Kick-Ass Bucket List. This is because in addition to being a way for me to reflect on what I’ve really been wanting to do (but have been putting off), connecting to the preciousness of this life, and getting even more clear, it can also serve as a backup in case I wake up completely clueless about ways to live full-on any given day.

Since people will be “watching” me online at during this journey (accountability is uber helpful to achieving goals!), I am extremely averse to flaking. So, I also need a backup plan for the days when I am not feeling too full-on kick ass. Hence, my Kick-Ass Bucket List.

I encourage you to do the same. Make Your Kick-Ass Bucket List. That way, there’s always at least ONE THING you could do each day to move you towards the life of your dreams, keeping things spicy, cultivating your Ziji, and making sure you have fewer regrets, fewer what-ifs, and more “Yeehaws!”

Add things to your list that you MUST do before you die. Not before you “pass” or “move on” or “get reborn,” but – that’s right – die. We all do it so we might as get real about it and light a fire under our butts!

This list will be a bunch of things that make you “Yeehaw!” inside and out like nobody’s business, because Ziji is about fewer regrets and being more alive in your everyday moments. It’s about connecting with those you love. And a whole lot more.

I’m all about lighting that fire under your butt. So…the the match is lit! Go and make a kick-ass list!

So, Where to Start?

Suppose a stranger stopped you on the street and asked you the question above, posed by psychologist and poet Mary Oliver. What an awesome thing it would be to be able to respond that you would spend your life exactly as you spent your day. 

Your answer could be anything: doing work you love, traveling, drinking more red wine (or whisky!), caring for and giving love to your family, contributing to your community or the world, creating art, building a business, climbing mountains, making music, having more sex. Anything. The key is that how you lived today is how you would choose to live tomorrow and the next day and the next. 

For some, the life they live day to day is not the life they would describe if they were asked Mary Oliver’s question. Instead, they might use phrases such as: “As soon as…” or “I’d like to…” or “I used to dream…” while explaining a daily life tangled up in too many demands and never enough time or energy to get to the things that matter most. Run like hell from here…and do that by getting started on your Kick-Ass Bucket List and starting to tick off items on it.

What seems to be the most important thing to help us actually DO this?

According to Jinny Ditzler, author of Your Best Year Yet, what drives most of us is the ambition to improve the quality of our lives while being true to ourselves and what’s really important to us. This requires us to identify our values. You can add bungee jumping and a round-the-world trip to your Kick Ass Bucket List, but unless you are connected to how these things fit in with your values, you are far less likely to do them. 

She writes that, “Although we may not be conscious of these basic motivations as we live day to day, these hidden drives are the strongest in our lives. The more conscious we are of them, the more we can empower ourselves to make the necessary changes in our lives.” 

Values are personal principles or standards–those qualities that are most important to us. A life based on values rather than reacting to others’ needs and wants or the acquisition of material things enables us to live in integrity with ourselves. This is how to create a rich and fulfilling life. 

Identifying your values can be as simple as asking yourself how you want to be remembered by others. As a person who cared about others, who made a difference in the world, who kept promises, who was self-actualized, honest, trustworthy. Think of the qualities you most admire in others; these may be the values you claim for yourself. 

Once you become aware of your values, you can begin to restructure your life. With your values as your touchstone, you can create and live the life you really want, achieve your goals and realize your dreams!

While Writing (and Living!) Your Kick-Ass Bucket List:

1. Become clear on what you really want. Be specific; vague and undefined goals are difficult if not impossible to achieve.

2. Commit to give what it takes. Saying “yes” to one thing means saying “no” to another. Acknowledge and accept what you must give up to get what you want. 

3. Recommit to your goals every day. Begin your day by reminding yourself what your priorities are. Be mindful as you go through your day that you are making choices. 

4. Do something every day. No matter how small, take some action toward achieving your goals. Remind yourself that a book is written word by word, a marathon run step by step. 

An old Chinese proverb goes “If we don’t change our direction we are likely to end up where we are going.” If you’re caught up in a lifestyle that’s not the one that you would choose, choose again. 

Now let’s get started on that Kick-Ass Bucket List! Have fun with it, and keep in mind what values you’re honoring with each one to increase your odds of actually doing it.

Remember that it is not just for things like learning a new instrument, riding in a camel caravan, or jumping out of a plane. This list is also for the inner risks and unfinished business in our lives: saying “I love you,” saying “I’m sorry,” saying, “I’m ready to move on,” and forgiving those that have hurt us.

That is truly Kick Ass. 

(FYI, consider joining theFebruary 30 Day Ziji Up! Challenge for an extra kick in the butt towards living your dream. and creating your own Kick Ass Bucket List. You may even want to follow Ana at