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Health & Balance

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Making a Life List

How to make a list of life objectives without setting yourself up for disappointment.
WebMD Feature

What do you want to do with your life? It's a question usually pondered by new college graduates, people thinking of switching careers, and those experiencing a midlife crisis. Yet the query has recently gotten some new attention.

In, a web site where people can share their life objectives, some 40,000 people have reportedly posted their goals. The wish list varies. "Find a soul mate," "Write a novel," "Swim with sharks," and "Go to bed by midnight every day for a week" are some of the entries.

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Several books with "live life to the fullest" themes have also been published of late, including No Opportunity Wasted: Creating a List for Life by Phil Keoghan, 101 Things To Do Before You Die by Richard Horne, and 2Do Before I Die by Michael Ogden and Chris Day.

"We're not here to tell people how to live their lives, but we are interested in the wide variety of possibilities and answers," says Ogden, whose book features stories of people who have accomplished a goal. Fulfilled objectives include parachuting from a plane, asking out a total stranger, and living in Italy for a year.

In the book, Ogden also shared his own experience of recording a music album.

"I thought, one day I'll be dead, and (I asked myself), 'What experiences do I want to explore?'" says Ogden. "For me, I wrote these songs, and I can play them on a guitar. But I can also hear the base, harmonies, and everything together in my head. I thought the only way to produce that is to record it."

Record his songs he did. After weeks of searching for musicians who could help him in his quest, he met a guitarist who had built a home studio for his own band. The guitarist helped him produce the tracks.

"In producing the album, I had the greatest time," says Ogden. "I knew that whether I lived five or 50 years after that, that I would always remember that experience."

The tale may sound inspiring, but does making a life list work for most people or is it mostly a setup for disappointment? WebMD discussed the issue with fitness and psychology experts and got some ideas on how to make an effective list of life objectives.

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