I stopped doing New Years resolutions about 10 years ago based on the reality that I ended up feeling bad about not measuring up to my own list. I have noticed, especially when it comes to things like losing weight, that I personally don't know anyone who has kept the weight long-term off by following "rules." So, I wondered, is there a more gentle, positive, delightful, and more winsome approach to discovering change for my life?
My hubby, Bruce, often refers to his Bucket List. In typical Bruce fashion, his bucket list is hilarious, fun, and he has actually done many things on his list, such as throwing out the first pitch in a major league baseball stadium.
Several years ago I was sitting on our porch with a friend of mine and two college students.
I began to ask each of the women about their hopes and desires. Then I had an idea, so I ran inside and got some extra large notecards and pencils.
Do you want to play? If so, go grab some paper...Really.
Here's what I asked: "If you were free to dream without fear or judging your own desires as silly, shallow, unattainable, selfish...truly free to dream...what would make your heart happy, if it occurred in your life? Realistic or not, just dream."
"Now write down the top 10 things for this current season that would make you happy, in any order." So we all sat there with our big notecards and began to scribble down our secret longings.
Then I asked them to circle their top 3.
So if you're playing along, will you circle your top 3?
Next, I asked them, "Put a 1, 2, 3 next to their top 3 in order of strongest desire, 1 being the top one." Again, stressing no judgement or shoulds. I discouraged thoughts like: "Well, I should want this one over that one." I encouraged them to simply allow what would make their heart happy lead the order.
Then we began to go around and share each number one with each other. It was like we were giving the dream a chance to breath and come out to play. It was fascinating. Some dreams were completely out of our control, like someone else's health. Or, unrealistic, like the secret that I have always wanted to be a tiny fairy. I'm not kidding. (You can now see where my daughter gets the idea that she can be a mermaid!) If applicable, we began to brainstorm about what steps each person could possibly take on a journey towards their hopes and goals. Often things were said that were something the writer of the goal wouldn't have thought of on their own.
This spontaneous exercise has grown into several years of bucket-list parties. Something profound happens when we share our top things on our little pieces of paper. You get a tiny glimpse into a person's heart, and you begin to care about what they care about. It's fun to celebrate when change occurs for a person in an area. We have seen some amazing results over the years. Sadly, I am not a fairy...yet.
"The Bucket List Party is an amazing tool for becoming aware,intentional, and purposeful in your thoughts and actions towards your dreams and goals in your life. Tracy Levinson takes you on an intriguing and thought provoking exercise wrapped in God's truths and principles to help you define your dreams and gives you actionable items to jumpstart you! I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend this as a gift to give yourself."
CARLA SPIVEY, designer & co-owner of thewildnest.com
In fact, two nights ago, our 18-year-old daughter and I were having dinner together while the boys were at the Cowboys game. In the midst of our conversation, I ran to my desk, got extra large notecards, and we played this bucket list game for this new season.
We each stole from each other's lists. For example, we discovered that we both desire to read more. We also want to actually wear the clothes in our closet instead of being lazy and just wearing workout clothes all day. (In the past I would have judged this goal as "shallow.") I also want to unleash my inner-chef by being more strategic in my meal planning, since I aspire to be an artist in the kitchen. My daughter wants to become a better listener with friends and become more caring to those she loves. I decided this last one of her's was worth stealing, so I put it on my list too.
Here is a podcast I did with Amy Ford of Embrace Grace on Bucket Lists: BL PODCAST
So what is on your bucket list? I am interested. Feel free to share.
I hope you have a NEW YEAR full of joy and adventure...
"As a professional, husband and father, I am vested in a journey of “life-long learning”. Tracy Levinson takes my quest to a whole new level. Her “Bucket List” experience inspires the unfolding of the desires of the heart. You will be surprised at the roadmap you create to live a fuller, more satisfying life, absent guilt and “should’s”. I highly recommend any group or person to go through Tracy’s exercise who desires to increase a greater sense of purpose. Explore areas of your heart that you never knew existed!"
K. Scott Canon
President and CEO | Ranger Capital Group & YPO leader
"Tracy Levinson came to our MOPS gathering and we could not have been more pleased. She spoke to us with candor, humility, and grace. Tracy created a comfortable, relatable, and safe environment for us to share our dreams with one another. We left feeling encouraged and eager to take the first steps towards our relationship goals. God has gifted her with a love and willingness to speak Biblical truth into the lives of women."
Rita Parker Azle MOPS Co-Coordinator
"Tracy conducted a fabulous Bucket List Party for our church. As Tracy shared a little of her story it broke down some of the walls and helped the ladies feel comfortable sharing their desires. There was laughter, tears, and beauty. It really helped our group to connect and get to know each other. Since its been a few months since the party, it has been a blast watching testimonies of dreams fulfilled, and the joy to all the ladies when another gets blessed. One lady wanted to try writing songs and we just finished up her first single."
Pastor, Grace For Eternity Church