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11/30/2012 08:00 am ET Updated Nov 30, 2012

Bucket List Tips From Motivational Speaker Joan Moran

Flickr: Upper Pond/jane

We all have bucket lists -- a set of things we'd like to accomplish in our lives. In some cases, they are places to see, lifestyles we hope to achieve, milestones we'd like to mark. To make a bucket list, all you need is an imagination. But to accomplish what's on that list? Well, sometimes that's where the going gets rougher.

Joan Moran, motivational speaker, author and yoga-mediation instructor, recently spoke at the Healthy Aging Conference hosted by the UCLA Longevity Center on how midlifers can achieve their goals. The 69-year-old dynamo (she teaches more than 20 yoga classes a week and dances the tango internationally) spoke with The Huffington Post after her talk:

The Huffington Post: You are well-known for your energy and ability to motivate others. Can you explain the core of your message?

Joan Moran: I am concerned about maximizing our human potential. After all, isn’t that what our lives are all about? I believe there is no such thing as retirement. When I speak to audiences, I like to shake up the myths about growing older and turn those perceptions upside down. It sometimes requires new and different ways to get the life we want and deserve no matter what our age is.

HP:How do most of the people you encounter approach aging?

Moran: I find that sometimes people can't step outside the box they put themselves in; they need help with that. Just because you reach a certain birthday doesn't mean anything. Limits are things we impose on ourselves.

HP: When we talk about having a bucket list, we are essentially talking about setting goals for ourselves, right? How do you motivate people to do that?

Moran: The concept inherent in the bucket list idea is that life is not always about what happens to you but about what you do with what happens to you. It's about not limiting yourself or saying "this is all I can do." Live life large. Make choices that push yourself to your highest level and know that you have the ability to realize your dreams and passions no matter what age. That leads to the greatest happiness.

HP: Why is this an important message for midlifers?
Moran: Let’s face it: We’re living longer and the idea that boomers or seniors are going to sit around participating in some ancient retirement ritual is simply not applicable or relevant in the 21st century. There is a new sense of freedom knocking at our door.

HP: So what are your five tools?
Moran: The five tools are: have a daily attitude of gratitude, which creates inspiration [and] positive energy for living; be vulnerable and recognize vulnerability as a way to create and innovate; learn to adapt, which gives us opportunities for growth and change; find your passion and never limit yourself by conforming to someone else’s idea of who you are; and practice forgiveness as a way of releasing negativity in your life. [These] are lifelong challenges for conscious living.

HP: That sounds so simple, but I suspect it isn't.
Moran: If we spend some time getting to know ourselves and our capabilities and desires, the choices we make to fill our bucket list will be the right choices for us. But remember not to limit your thinking. That’s called resistance and resistance is the most toxic force on the planet because it crushes the human spirit and makes us less than we were born to be. That’s not a recipe for anyone’s bucket list.

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