Why You Should Make a Reverse Bucket List (In Business & Life!)


I am Jess! Ottawa brand strategist and website designer helping ambitious service-based businesses grow with confidence through meaningful design. I'm the type of gal that use one too many exclamation mark in my emails and can only have one cup of coffee a day. Weird, I know. If you ever want to chat any thing biz, branding, or well - life, feel free to reach out!










One of my favourite ways to cultivate gratitude is to make a reverse bucket list! In this post, I will chat a little bit more about what that entails and how it can boost our mental health!

The good ol’ Bucket List. We have all made one before in our lifetime. It is a to-do list with things we wish to eventually experience or achieve. It is so easy to set our minds free and dream of all the possibilities that are out there in our grand and beautiful world. I, for one, always encourage those around me to write all their goals and dreams down so that they can easily visualize their potential successes and achievements.

  • Volunteer Abroad
  • Travel to South Africa
  • Skydive out of a plane
  • Speak in front of a crowd
  • Meet Michelle Obama

However, as the list grows year by year, we also grow older. The expectation of “checking things off” becomes more pressing and we suddenly feel as if time is running out. We start to undervalue ourselves and feel overwhelmed by all the “what ifs” and “maybe’s”. That is NO way to live!

So, what is a reverse bucket list?

“A bucket list is what you want to do; a reverse bucket list is what you’ve already done.” – Marelisa Fabrega.

We spend so much time focusing on what we haven’t done, what we don’t own, and who we haven’t met that we don’t spend enough time reflecting on what we have achieved so far. We lose sight of all of the opportunities and experiences that have already passed. We constantly are striving to do more and be more every day, but it is important to take a step back and be grateful for what got us here today.

I, for one, do not quite enjoy talking about myself or what I have achieved so far in my twenties. Sometimes, I even catch myself belittling my accomplishments or comparing my successes to others! If you are like me, you understand how unhealthy that can be to our mental state and mindset. However, when I came across the notion of a reverse bucket list, I made one for myself and instantly felt better about who I am and what I have experienced so far in my lifetime.

Related Post: How To Overcome Your Imposter Syndrome

In making a reverse bucket list:

  • it gave me a sense of progress and can, in turn, boost a high level of motivation and fulfillment in our lives
  • it allowed me to celebrate my accomplishments and myself
  • it reminded me to be thankful, humble, and grateful for all the opportunities and experiences that have happened in my life
  • it provided me as an outlet to reflect on what I have already achieved instead of longing for something else

How does one make a reverse bucket list?

Making a reverse bucket list is easy. Grab a piece of paper and some colourful pens, and start writing down things that you have accomplished so far that you are proud of. Size and impact do not matter. Write anything down from places you have travelled to, things you have seen, people you have met, events you have been to, and even things that you bought for yourself! You can put it all on one big list or separate it by years – it’s up to you how you want to design your reverse bucket list! Once you are done, take a moment and look back at all those memories you have made. THAT is the blueprint for your life.

TIP: If you want to dive a little deeper, write down under each “reverse bucket list item” why it makes you feel happy and appreciated! How did it help you grow into the person you are today?

Here are some highlights on my reverse bucket list:

  1. I completed my Bachelor of Arts Honours Communications degree at the University of Ottawa and a post-graduate Event Management Certificate at Algonquin College.
  2. I have had the luxury to travel to many places on my birthday since I turned 21, including destinations such as Bali, Morocco, Greece, Croatia, Kenya, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain, and Italy.
  3. I became certified as a wedding planner at the end of 2015 and launched my wedding & event planning business, En Amour Events, in 2017.
  4. During my time as an Event Planner, I have been nominated under various categories, including Favorite Wedding Planner, Favorite Event Planner, Favorite New Business, Volunteer of the Year, and Planner of the Year.
  5. I have taken a week-long cruise to sunny and beautiful Hawaii with my family, which is one of my favourite family vacations to date.
  6. I bungee jumped without thinking twice about it (with a 200 ft. head/body dip and a 160 ft. rebound). What a rush!
  7. I scuba-dived in Bali (Gili Trawangan Island) and swam with beautiful sea turtles under the sun.
  8. I live in a beautiful condominium overlooking the majestic Chateau Laurier with the love of my life.
  9. I met the legendary QUEEN, Sophia Bush, in Chicago and was floored by her beauty, kindness, and genuineness.
  10. I had the honour to volunteer for a local not-for-profit organization in Rural Kenya and learned all about the barriers to girls’ education and the culture of Maasai – while being surrounded by some of the most selfless people I have ever met in my life.

So, the next time your “what am I going to do next” anxiety gets the best of you, try taking a moment to reflect on your reverse bucket list! Not only will it help ground you, but it will make you feel a whole lot more grateful and present in your everyday life.



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