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Top 5 Benefits of Creating Your Own Bucket List When You Have MS

By By Matt Cavallo

A bucket list is, by definition, a list of things that you want to do before you die. For me, however, creating a bucket list isn’t about focusing on what you want to do before you die, but rather, how you can add more to your life. Instead of focusing on what you haven’t done, you can focus on new and exciting experiences that will bring more joy to your life.

Here are the five reasons why it is beneficial to create a bucket list when you have MS:

1. Helps you focus your dreams and goals. Did MS change your dreams or goals? I know that it changed mine. I now have a heightened sense of urgency. I understand that things can go wrong, so I want to make sure to capitalize on the time that I do have to achieve as much as I can. To do that, I created a vision board. On the vision board, I put everything I want to accomplish. Then, I put the steps on paper on how to make it happen. Having these dreams and goals allows you to focus on your purpose and not on your condition.  

2. Pushes you out of you comfort zone. Once you make a list of dreams and goals that you hope to accomplish, make a list of everything you have given up because you didn’t want to get out of your comfort zone. I can name many things that I did not do because it would require me to leave my house or put forth extra effort and my MS didn’t want to cooperate. By putting forth that extra effort or leaving your comfort zone, you will accomplish things that you never ever would have dreamed possible after your diagnosis.

3. Gets you excited about the future. When I was first diagnosed with MS, I didn’t think I had much of a future. In fact, I thought my hopes and dreams were probably gone. However, I am doing things now that I never thought I would do before my diagnosis. I wrote a couple books, I have traveled around the world speaking to motivate and inspire others and I make a difference in the medical field every day. Putting new adventures and goals on my bucket list helps me stay excited and look towards the future and not focus on my limitations or my MS.  

4. Helps keep you active. As a person living with MS, I sometimes feel like staying in bed all day or not want to do anything because of my physical or mental health symptoms. However, my bucket list helps keep me stay active. All of the items on my bucket list require some sort of planning, whether it be saving money, making time or just the simple task of making a reservation. Once I succeed and cross another thing off my list, it motivates me to keep going. Each bucket list item energizes me to get out of the house and keep moving. It also helps me stay engaged with family and friends and not feel as isolated, as I continue to learn, grow and experience new things.

5. Gives you a sense of control. I am a person who loves control, so dealing with the unpredictable nature of my MS can be challenging for me.  I sometimes have very little control over my situation or even my body. However, I have complete control over every item that I put on my bucket list. I can add or remove items as I please as my dreams and interests change without feeling guilty. I can also choose in which order I cross things off of my list without any pressure or stress.  My bucket list is for no one but myself and I have control over every aspect of it, including how much joy it brings to my life. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start creating your own bucket list today!