Kirsty Hulse on How to Refresh those Pre-Pandemic Bucket List Ambitions

Kirsty Hulse on How to Refresh those Pre-Pandemic Bucket List Ambitions

The lockdown has resulted in countless plans being placed on hold. However, things are looking up, and there’s now more than a glint of light at the end of the tunnel. Motivational Speaker Kirsty Hulse gives us her tips on how to pick up where you left off and get all those goals and ambitions ticked off your bucket list.

Travelling to far and distant lands, skydiving out of a plane, buying a house, getting the job of your dreams, swimming with sharks, finding the love of your life. Ah, the perfect pre-pandemic life ambitions hit list!

A young couple sharing a kiss sat in deckchairs in a beach

It’s safe to say that our bucket list ambitions have been forced to change just a smidge over the last year. Simply being able to hug a loved one, travel beyond our local towns or remain healthy enough to see this pandemic through is enough for most of us right now.

As humans, we’re programmed to keep moving forward, physically and mentally. It keeps our brain and bodies healthy. Right now, the world isn’t turning how it normally does, meaning our brains and bodies are adapting to all sorts of new life alterations. Don’t ever think for a minute that’s not a huge deal because it is.

With that in mind, the ‘normal’ goals and achievements we used set for ourselves probably couldn’t be further from our minds right now. Our future hopes and dreams have come to a halt or altered beyond what we ever imagined. We’ve all had to reassess and adjust to what life means right now.

Headshot of motivational speaker Kirsty Hulse
Kirsty Hulse.

That’s not to say that those almighty ambitions need to be completely thrown out of the window just yet, but patience is a virtue right now. And it’s perfectly acceptable to admit if you’ve found yourself in a bit of a rut with life in general, interspersed with banana bread baking, of course.

That’s why now, right now, presents the best time to reevaluate what you want out of life.

What juicy bucket list things do you absolutely want to achieve?

How does home life look to you now and in the future? What’s going to make the deepest part of your soul shine?

In a recent study by Sainsbury’s Bank, which captured the nation’s life ambitions and most desired bucket list items, it was found that only 17% are very confident that they’ll ever achieve their bucket list goals. Over 36% acknowledged that COVID-19 had changed their goals.

So, with a host of pre-pandemic desires waiting patiently in the wings to be brought to fruition, here’s five ways you can take stock of what’s most important to you so that you can refresh your goals and be ready to spring back into life with your pre-pandemic vigour!

1. Set goals to support the person you want to become.
Physiologists have this theory called the hedonic treadmill, which refers to external things not making us happy. They may do temporarily, but they never stick. Whether it’s a new job, new car, new house, new relationship. When we carry ourselves into those things as the focus for what will make us happy, the happiness won’t last.

It’s been found that marriages only change our reported sense of happiness for a year, and then we go back to our baseline. We need to get our sense of achievement and happiness from within and to focus on the things that make us happy in the present moment—making that the focus of your short-term goals will only positively affect those longer-term life ambitions and aspirations.

2. You’re programmed to change slowly; respect that.
We change slowly, gently, and incrementally as humans, so it’s worth thinking about the small habits you can achieve over time and not always focus on those big life goals. It’s said that it takes at least three weeks (but normally longer!) to develop new habits.

Mastering those small habits over time paves the way and makes room for those bigger achievement goals.

Woman reaching for her mobile phone from her bed

For example, if you manage to stop looking at your phone first thing in the morning, then you can decide how you use that extra time you’ve earned yourself in the morning.

3. Forming habits is hard, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
As humans, we have two forms of motivation, push motivation and pull motivation. Push motivations are when we’re trying to push away from something, and that’s how most people motivate themselves. For example, if your jeans don’t zip up, so you want to lose weight, or you’ve experienced some negative feedback at work and want a new job right away.

Push motivations don’t allow us to continue or build momentum because the moment we’re no longer feeling that pain, the moment we’re no longer feeling that away state, the motivation goes, and we’re left with pure force and willpower. And we only have so much willpower.

That’s why we need something called a pull motivation which is forwards focused and pulls us towards something. We need both push and pull forces to generate empowerment, excitement, and motivation, to help us create and maintain our goals.

Young woman ready to smash her computer with a hammer due to feeling societal pressure

4. However hard, don’t give in to societal pressure.
We need to acknowledge that we all grow up with a certain level of societal pressure. That we need to do things in a certain way, order and achieve things by a certain age. The notion of comparison varies for everyone, but it’s so tempting to compare ourselves to other people.

There’s a phycologist called Carol Dweck, who talks about mindset a lot and the fixed mindset. Her belief is that people who have a natural tendency to feel they are failing, in comparing themselves to others, believe that other people are better than them and if others are doing something they can’t. Social media can heighten this. If we work on not always comparing ourselves, social media can become a more nourishing place.

Curating your social media to follow people and brands that make you feel good can help.

5. Stop daydreaming and imagine the future.
Research has shown that vision boards really work but not without action. Imagine a time in the future and doing what you want to do. How does it make you feel? When we feel excited and happy and motivated, we open up cognitively, and that’s a much better place and mindset for us to plan. So, put yourself there mentally, tap into your imagination.

When you feel it, work backwards to understand the milestones that got you there.

Man writing milestones out by hand in a spiral notebook as the sun sets

Writing those milestones out by hand helps you to think and evaluate what steps you need to take to make those milestones happen.

About Kirsty Hulse

Kirsty Hulse is an inspirational and motivational speaker on Teamwork, Performance and Confidence. To contact Kirsty and for more information, visit her website

Read more health and wellness guides in our dedicated section here.

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