Use a Reverse Bucket List to Get Motivated

It’s official…the cold, damp, GREY winter is upon us here in England. I struggle with this time of year. I get down, lethargic, depressed… When you feel like that, feeling motivated and upbeat seems nearly impossible. I have found a great way to break through the wall of doldrums, particularly if I need to get some writing done. A while ago, I found out about the fantastic idea of a REVERSE BUCKET LIST.

It’s simple to make one…all you do is:

  1. Think about the things you’ve accomplished and interesting, noteworthy things you’ve experienced.
  2. Write them down.

So instead of focusing on what you still want to do (a bucket list), you focus on what you’ve already done. I found that sometimes traditional bucket lists can become a negative experience because you’re focused on what you don’t (or can’t) have. A Reverse Bucket List turns this around.

When I wrote my 50 Fab Things, I looked back on my whole life, but you can also use this technique on a yearly, monthly or even weekly basis. Most of us are familiar with making To-Do lists to stay productive and keep on top of what we need to do. I have found that sometimes, my To-Do list can get overwhelming, which at its worst, leads to completely withdrawing and doing nothing at all. Which then leads to guilt, which then leads to more overwhelming feelings….and….well, you get the picture. This happened to me today…rainy, cold Monday. Hard to get motivated. So I thought I’d try a Reverse Bucket List for the last week. Here’s what I put on it:

  • Went trick or treating with the kids.
  • Attended Rainbows as part of Girl Guides Leadership Training
  • Went to Coffee Club and got a new book for Book Club
  • Joined and started NaBloPoMo
  • Managed to post on the blog every day
  • Published a newsletter to my BritMums Big Sis Mentoring Group
  • Commandeered the family into an organising/cleaning session (see Do You Pay Your Kids for Chores?)
  • Had Bonfire Night festivities

As you can see, it’s a fairly short list, but it was enough to get me focused back on the positive and find some motivation again. This is actually the first time I’ve used this method for a weekly list, but I think I will be doing it much more often. It really worked to help me out of my funk.

How about you? Have you ever made a Reverse Bucket List? Have you used it to motivate yourself? Leave me a comment below and let me know!




  1. tom Baines says:

    am i too late great prize

  2. You used it to motivate yourself…Inspiring!

  3. I had never thought about this, but it is a good idea… to stop us dwelling on things we haven’t achieved (which I am sooo guilty of!)


  4. chanceuxvache says:

    A reverse bucket list sounds fab but I can’t think of 1 thing never mind 50 lol xx

  5. well cool

  6. Rebecca Denyer says:

    Brilliant Idea, will give it a try

  7. great idea, going to give it a go. :-)

  8. Anne HAMILTON says:

    Magz seems a very sensible positive way to motivate yourself. Must give it a try. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Thanks.

  9. Amy Beeton says:

    please enter me for comp. Love your blog! Amy

  10. Katie Russell says:

    What a fantastic idea,please enter me in day 5 competiton thank you!

  11. Great article :)

    Please enter me in the competition

  12. great way to get motivated :) Please enter me into your draw my daughter LOVES sylvanians ( so do I!)

  13. kelly harper says:

    you used it to motivate yourself…great idea

  14. Avril Alexander says:

    Hey!! what a brilliant idea. As a mum I am always feeling guilty and I feel I either never get anything done – or dont do enough with the kids. By doing a reverse bucket list will help feel us feel like maybe we’re not doing too bad a job after all!! x

  15. Jennifer Schofield says:

    Brilliant idea of turning a down day into a good day – showing what you’ve already achieved!

  16. Clementina says:

    My list is to be the fittest I can be for my children and i’m getting there 😉

  17. Kaz Bridges says:

    Fab idea, might give it a go :)

  18. hebe flowers says:

    How inspiring….will definitely have a bash. @HebeFlowers

  19. Sue Robinson says:

    I helped you to focus on the positive things in your life and get motivated. It’sSue lovely idea and maybe I can start to do it when my youngest starts school in January :)

  20. Wow what a lovely idea to help you get motivated. My top tip for to do lists is only ever have 4 things on them and don’t add any more until those 4 are done. It works a treat!

  21. To motivate yourself, great idea! – off to tweet @NooDels3

  22. emma cella says:

    way to motivate yourself by reminding yourself of all the fabulous things you have already done

  23. michelle knight says:

    Answer: to motivate yourself.
    Great idea to concentrate on the things we have done rather than punish ourselves for the things we’d like to do.

  24. kelly mitchell says:

    you used a reverse bucket list to get motivated xxx happy advent xxx could use a bit of that myself x please enter me into the draw xx

  25. What a great way to motivate yourself by reminding yourself of all the fabulous things you have already done! Off to tweet it!

  26. You used it to motivate yourself instead of a weekly list, by writing down all the things you had done! Great idea actually, I think I might give that a go! @goriami

    Tweeted too x

  27. wendy stanger says:

    what a great idea think I’ll give it a go too:) @kikicomp

    please enter me in day 5 comp have tweeted too

  28. Kathryn MacKinnon says:

    What a brilliant idea. I’ve been having a low week with feeling ill & not getting much done. Shall have a go at this now too make myself feel better.

    Please enter me into your prizedraw x (I’ve tweeted too!)

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