Difference between an impossible list and a bucket list
Many people invent a bucket list, a list of things they hope to achieve by the end of their life. This list can be exhaustive and may not set particular milestones to help reach an end goal or encourage you to take immediate action on a goal.
It can also just be a list of things that would be fun to do but that you will likely never get round to doing. Usually, a bucket list includes easily achievable goals or one-off events, so don’t provide much of a challenge.
An impossible list can include life goals or more minor, more achievable goals for the more immediate future. It can be an ever-evolving list with multiple sub-goals to reach to complete bigger goals, almost like a “to-do list” for life.
However, unlike a bucket list, the impossible list can help you with a specific focus by breaking a task down into smaller, more manageable tasks. This list can adapt and grow over time, depending on what we feel is necessary, and can provide a sense of achievement in our lives by forcing us to take on what we think is not possible.
Creating an impossible list can make things happen that you might never imagine could have been possible or are only in films or on TV. You can cover all areas of interest within this list, including college education, building a happy relationship, buying your dream car, reaching your goal weight, or visiting specific places in the world. Unlike a bucket list, the items on your list are not static goals to be achieved at some point later down the line. Instead, they are challenges you have set yourself within a specific time frame, continuously evaluated and evolved, and the changes in your life. The aim is to break down an impossible task into smaller, manageable tasks until you find you have achieved the impossible!
How to write an impossible list
To come up with ideas for your list, you can get inspiration from others online who have written lists but try to include your original ideas too, as this is a list of goals that should be personal to you.
You might choose to write this list in sections, such as goals for; one week, one month, or one year; or you might decide to write the list in separate target areas, including things like;
World travel goals:
- Visit the Grand Canyon
- Visit Niagra Falls
- Visit Rome
- Visit Kenya
- Visit Big Ben
- Visit the Eiffel Tower
- Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Visit Disneyland with my family in Summer
- Visit the Great Wall of China
- Visit Manhattan, NY
- Visit Australia
- Quit alcohol for one month (April)
- Be a vegetarian for a month (July)
- Eat no junk food for a month (December)
- Do a double black diamond run (by the end of the year)
- Develop a morning work0ut routine to do for a whole month (December)
- Row 5km (March)
- Row 10km (April)
- Do a single set of 15 reps with 10kg (January)
- Do a single set of 25 reps with 10kg (February)
Knowledge and Skills:
- Read 100 books in one year
- Become fluent in French
- Learn how to surf
- Learn how to ballroom dance
True life goals:
- Spend half an hour reading to my kids at night
- Take my family to the zoo
- Be happily married for ten years
- Own my own house
- Go to each of the seven continents in the world
- Participate in a volunteer scheme
Making your impossible list
When writing your list, try to decide on more than one impossible idea with progress marker points. The impossible list you create should include your dreams and things that matter to you personally, with the point of achieving your own defined goals.
Once you have decided which areas of your life you want to focus on and have created an initial impossible list, you can constantly evaluate your progress, setting new sub-goals to achieve.
You may have a goal to find your perfect career. On its own, this doesn’t feel like an achievable goal, so you can break it down into smaller tasks to accomplish, including specific education needs, such as this;
- Graduate college or university with a marketing degree (Completed July 2019)
- Take an online course in writing a blog (by September 2019)
- Spend three months working as an apprentice or intern to a dedicated YouTuber (November)
- Create a collab video (November to January)
- Build own site for people to visit and gain education in this area (March)
Once you have achieved one goal, you can move on to the next one to progress toward the final path. Each goal should be specific and measurable so you know when it has been completed and can be crossed off.
Setting time limits
It is helpful to set yourself a time limit to keep track of your progress.
If your goal is to run a marathon in a year, you will want to improve your fitness over the entire year, so your list might look like this;
Running a half marathon and a marathon
- 10-minute morning workout (January)
- 20-minute morning workout (February)
- 30-minute run (March)
- 1-hour run (April)
- Run 10 miles at 8-minute miles (May)
- Run 10 miles at 7.5-minute miles (June)
- Run 10 miles at 7-minute miles (July)
- Run a half marathon in under 3 hours (August)
- Run a half marathon in under 2 hours (September)
- Run 15 miles (October)
- Run 20 miles (November)
- Run a complete marathon (December)
Unlike a bucket list, you can constantly evaluate your progression with the impossible list you have created, ticking off goals as you go and creating new ones. It enables you to be mindful of how you are moving forward; in other words, it reminds you to keep checking in with your progress and gives you a sense of how far you have come. In addition, it is helpful to self-publish your list online, so you can be held accountable to it by others who want to check in on your progression, as well as giving you something to be proud of as you cross things off the list.
As you start creating your list, you will want to add to it over time, so ensure you leave space under each heading for further subheadings. Also, don’t feel bad if you don’t manage to achieve a goal within a specific time frame; evaluate why you think this was unable to be completed and rewrite this goal under more manageable sub-goals.
The idea of this list is to achieve things you once thought were impossible, so don’t be surprised if something feels a little tricky! The more impossible tasks you complete, the more able you will feel, and you will soon find that nothing feels impossible to you anymore!