Forget a Bucket List, Try a Whistle List Instead

You’ve probably heard of a bucket list. But we say scrap those and make your whistle list instead!

Rita Mock-Pike

With the vaccines on rollout across the world, many of us are starting to think of a brighter future once again – one in which we can travel and spend time with more than our “bubble.”

Since last year was supposed to be a big travel year for me (I expected to visit more than twenty countries), my mind is turning especially towards travel plans. There are many places I’ve had on my “to go” list for years and some newer, and there are things I’ve wanted to try but never gotten around to doing.

On the new sitcom, Call Me Kat, one character referred to something as his “Whistle List” instead of his “bucket list.” Why? Because when you do something new for the first time and it connects deeply with your spirit, “you [whistle] and say, I wish I’d tried this sooner!”

I like that.

So, I’m adjusting my bucket list and dream goals list into my Whistle List instead.

What Kinds of Things Go On This Whistle List?

I always want to encourage dreamers to become visionaries. So, instead of creating a ridiculous list of places to go and things to do that you know deep down you’ll never get around to, I encourage you to build your Whistle List on things you deeply desire doing and could have the means at some point to do.

An example of this kind of thing is this.

A friend of mine dreamed of going to Machu Picchu and hiking up all the stairs. She was overweight and inactive, though, so she knew it was a dream – until she turned it into a vision of healthy living and training.

She started a blog and talked about her vision of someday climbing the steps. She created a training plan and asked others to help encourage her and train along with her. I was one of her cheerleaders and co-trainees. We often checked in on our progress.

Sadly, over the years I lost contact with this friend and I have no idea if her vision ever became reality.

Ultimately, however, I wound up sharing that vision and spent the spring of 2017 training to hike up Machu Picchu’s stairs. I did tons of pushups, ran 5ks several times a week, climbed the stairs in my building (I live in flat Chicago), and kept this up all spring and summer until I made it to Peru in July for a mission trip.

I climbed those steps and hiked around Machu Picchu all day after an exhausting hike to the area the day before.

How To Create Your Own Whistle List

Image by Timur Kozmenko from Pixabay

So, this concept is both new and old. We’ve all had things we’d like to “get to” someday, but even with “bucket lists” as a recognizable part of the culture these days (thank you The Bucket List for popularizing this concept for us), we’re not all that great at doing much beyond making a list of things to do at some point in life when we have time and motivation.

Time and motivation almost never come for the majority of folks. But life without hope and expectation hardly seems worth living at all, in my opinion. So, rather than stagnating on this someday concept, create your Whistle List with these tips.

  1. Look at that bucket list you made back in 2007 when the movie came out. What’s on there that’s still appealing to you?
  2. Or create a list of all the things you can think of that you’d like to do at some point in your life. Climb the steps of Machu Picchu? Play guitar for your best friend’s wedding? Paint the Seine during a month-long trip to Paris? Any of these might work.
  3. Now, take that list and shred it. Well, not literally. But break it down and cut out all the things that really are just pipe dreams. Instead, focus on things that you can actually do. E.g. “Be the first woman to fly without wings” and for the majority of us “go to outer space” aren’t going to make the cut for your Whistle List. However, something like “indoor skydiving” is something that’s both literally possible and something you can work towards. And, if you do it, you might discover it’s your favorite thing.
  4. Generally speaking, the items on your list are going to be on-going things you can repeat once you’ve tried them. This list’s intention is to help you discover things you love doing, though, of course, one-off things like taking an African safari can be part of the list, too.
  5. Think of these Whistle List items as S.M.A.R.T. goals. Are they achievable, measurable, viable for your lifestyle, health, etc.? Can you engage in physical, mental, or education training to make them doable? If not, scratch them. If so, decide if you’re willing to put in the work to make them happen. Don’t just say, “write the next great fantasy novel” if you’re not willing to spend a few years working on it (it’s rare for the first fantasy novel, or any novel, really, to take less than a few years to craft, edit, revise, and sell).

Making the list isn’t that complicated, but it will take a little time. Thankfully, you’ve got plenty of time to figure out those dreams and turn them into reality.

Website | + posts

Editor-in-Chief of The MockingOwl Roost, Rita Mock-Pike is the granddaughter of aviatrix, Jerrie Mock, first woman to pilot an airplane solo around the world. Rita has found inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theatre, podcasting, novel writing, and cooking up delicious food from around the world. She now writes on food, travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves the very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.

4 thoughts on “Forget a Bucket List, Try a Whistle List Instead

  1. I LOVE this idea!!!!! I feel such a waterfall of hope as I read this. Thank you! What a joyful read. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad it was uplifting for you! It was for me as I thought of it, wrote it, and published it. Much joy is coming – and looking forward to it sometimes is what we really need to get that joy kicked into gear. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *