Lucas Brenner » Articles » The Impossible List

What Is an Impossible List?

An Impossible List[1] is a list of all the goals you want to achieve in your life. The List is divided into categories, so that you can organize your goals more easily. Whether you include only private goals in the list or also professional ones is up to you.

The goals on your Impossible List should align with your guiding principles for life.

My categories are (at the moment) as follows:

In general, the categories are self-explanatory. For me, self-improvement includes everything that has to do with personal development, education and personal progress.

The Difference to a Bucket List

The key difference to a bucket List is that the Impossible List is meant to be expanded. That's where the name comes from: it's impossible to complete the list.

Each time you complete a goal, you write a new goal beneath it that expands the original one. For example, an extension of the goal to run three kilometers could be to increase the distance to five kilometers.

The only requirement is that the new goal challenges your abilities again and is more demanding than the previous goal.

Of course, you can also add completely new goals, especially if you delete old ones from the list because you are no longer interested in them.

The Impossible List is very dynamic compared to the Bucket List. I update my Impossible List weekly to keep me on track.

Public or Private?

Whether you make your Impossible List public or not is a difficult decision.

On one hand, a private list has the advantage of allowing you to write down more intimate goals that you don't want to make public. At the same time, the method is very easy to use, because you do not have to publish anything.

Of course, you can share the list with friends or your partner, but it is otherwise completely private.

On the other hand, a public list has the advantage that by publishing it, you are motivated to actually work on your goals. In addition, it is possible to find help more easily, especially with more difficult goals, if the list is public.

The most commonly used form of publication is to put the list on your website or your social media profiles.

Of course, making the Impossible List public can also be a disadvantage or it can feel awkward.

A compromise is to have both a public and a private version. You get the benefits of both methods without having to deal with the disadvantages.

However, this involves some work, as the list would obviously have to be updated and manually synchronized both privately and on the Internet. This is not necessarily worth it.

Creating and Updating the List

In the beginning, it is very helpful to write down all the ideas that come to mind for 15-30 minutes. The second step is to organize and categorize the goals a few days after the brainstorming.

This allows you to decide which goals you really want to pursue and which categories have emerged.

In the third step, you can then save the list on your computer or publish it. Of course, a digital version is more suitable if you make frequent changes or additions.

Over time, new ideas will emerge. Again, the list is personal and individual, so you should only include the goals that you really want to pursue.

From now on, you should review the list regularly, for example weekly, and check off goals that have been achieved, add new ones and generally make changes. This step is important to keep the list up to date; besides, it's satisfying to be able to check off your achievements!


[1] The idea for the Impossible List came from Joel Runyon, who introduces it in his blog article “The Impossible List.”