Having a Bucket List Isn't an Option. Here's Why.

Many of us have ideas about the big, momentous things we'd like to accomplish one day. Perhaps you want to learn to surf (even though you live hours from the ocean), or you'd love to take a backpacking trip around Asia (even though you currently have small kids in tow). Yet too often people balk at the idea of creating a bucket list. The idea can seem morbid; after all, the name comes from that euphemistic expression for death, "kicking the bucket." But putting together your bucket list today can be one of the most important steps you take toward ensuring that you accomplish your important life goals, and here's why.

Your bucket list can allow you to uncover your sense of purpose.

We are all so often consumed with how to accomplish the things we think we should do rather than focusing on the "why" underlying our lives. Reflecting on how you can make more money or free up more time to spend with family is certainly important, but understanding the things that motivate you can help you find your purpose in life and provide you with the incentives necessary to keep going through challenging stretches.

As you write down your list of all the things you would love to do in your life, you'll find that you're not just putting together a list of fun activities; you are creating a guide that can lead you along the path to accomplishing what is important to you. This helps you define and fulfill your sense of purpose.

Creating a list helps you understand how you want to spend your time.

No matter how old you are, time is always at a premium. Thoughtfully and mindfully preparing a bucket list can help provide direction in your life that can allow you to allocate the time that you do have among the things and people that you care about. Imagine that you have just one year left to live.

What would you want to see and do?

Who would you want to share these experiences with?

Crafting a bucket list with these questions in mind can help you figure out how you wish to spend your remaining years, whether you have one or 80 in front of you. You don't need to quit your job and live as though you only have months left, but this thought exercise can help you incorporate what's important to you into your life now. Is one of your bucket list items learning how to sculpt? Look into sculpture classes today! Want to see the Pyramids with your own eyes? You don't have to wait until retirement to book that trip to Egypt.

You can make sure you always have an exciting reward ready.

It can be so easy to get into the habit of putting off big and exciting activities until later: until you're retired, until the kids are grown up or until you feel more financially secure. But making a bucket list can help you remind yourself that you deserve to experience the things that excite you throughout your life.

As you're crafting your list, keep in mind that there's no need to "be realistic;" you never know when you might decide that it's entirely possible to take a few weeks off of work after a big promotion and reward yourself with a flight to Hawaii to learn how to surf.