Editor’s Note: Hit Reverse

February 22, 2018 -  By
Headshot: Marisa Palimeri

Headshot: Marisa Palmieri

The term “bucket list” has made its rounds over the last decade or so—popularized by the 2007 movie of the same name starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

Whether it’s taking a round-the-world trip, running a marathon, writing a book or some other endeavor, the items on a person’s list of things to do before they die—or kick the bucket—are often inspiring.

I’ve heard business owners refer to their professional bucket lists from time to time. These goals are certainly more practical but no less inspirational. They’ve included hitting a certain volume in revenue, buying a competitor, entering a new market and turning the business over to family. Once or twice, I’m grateful to say, they’ve included being on the cover of LM.

Though bucket lists are motivating, they also can be overwhelming. They can feel like a daunting to-do list of all the things you’ve left undone.

A few months ago, I came across a different idea: a reverse bucket list.

It’s simple: Rather than writing down things you have not yet done, you compile a list of things, large and small, you’ve already accomplished. It’s a reminder of how far you’ve come and even who has helped you (or who you’ve helped) along the way.

I can imagine a few of the things that might be on an LM reader’s list: Creating X number of jobs. Donating services to someone in need. Landing a high-profile account. Improving the outdoor environment in your community.

A reverse bucket list is essentially an exercise in gratitude, which research shows we all can benefit from.

Positive outcomes from a simple, regular gratitude ritual like writing down things you’re grateful for include more optimism, better relationships, improved health and a whole lot more.

Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis, according to the Harvard Mental Health Letter:

⦁ Write a thank-you note. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month.

⦁ Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you.

⦁ Keep a gratitude journal. Write down your thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day. You also can count your blessings by picking a time every week to sit down and reflect on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number—such as three to five things—that you will identify each week.

⦁ Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.

⦁ Meditate. Practicing mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment.

Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it’s also possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).

The esteemed entrepreneur, speaker and life coach Tony Robbins is credited with the quote, “Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.”

A reverse bucket list can help you make this trade.

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About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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