You’ve decided to create your own bucket list, but you’re sat there thinking ‘where do I start?’ As you can imagine we consider ourselves experts in everything bucket list life, so let us guide you through the process of creating your very own list.
Why Is It Called a Bucket List?
For many years the term ‘bucket list’ was associated with people who are dying or terminally ill, and as such it was a list of things to do before you ‘kicked the bucket’. Because of this many people didn’t think they needed to consider their goals or dreams until the latter years of their lives.
This was cemented by the 2007 movie aptly titled The Bucket List which saw Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman playing cancer patients who escape a cancer ward and head off on a road trip filled with adventures before they die.
But today we’ve seen a huge change, with many younger people taking up the bucket list mantra as a way of adding fulfilment to their everyday. Sites such as Instagram have also added the opportunity for us to witness other people living the most incredible lives, so why wouldn’t we want a little of that ourselves? No matter your age, financial circumstances, physical ability or if you’re in a couple or alone, now is the ideal time to start building your bucket list.
The key questions you will be asking are, ‘where do I start and what will I add to my list?’
Create Your Bucket List
The reality of bucket listing is that everyone’s goals will be completely individual, with no two lists being exactly alike. There will be a number of factors that influence this, for example think about the items on the list of someone in their 20’s, compared to their 50’s. You’ll probably see big differences because they’re at very different stages of their lives.
What connects us all is that no matter your circumstances, when you’re building your own bucket list nothing is out of bounds. After all what is life without dreams? Take a moment and think of the places you’d love to visit and the activities you have always wanted to do but maybe never had the courage. For most people, writing down a list will both inspire and encourage you to tick off your bucket list items. We have found it’s a huge motivator and a great reminder for us to look over on a regular basis and plan how we will accomplish our dreams.
Because we created our list, we have achieved some incredible things, from travelling all over the world to places such as Hawaii, Japan, Paris, and various spots in America, to activities such as aqua zorbing and Hatchett throwing. But also starting hobbies such as playing the ukelele, learning Spanish and how to juggle.
Most of us will have ideas of the things we would add to our bucket list, so simply write it down and then once you’ve ticked it off, you can be proud of your achievement. If a new idea springs to mind, then all you have to do is add it to your list.
Our advice would be to think about starting it now, don’t wait for the perfect time because life can throw you a curve ball you never expected. Bucket lists are meant to add to your life, and not be quick hits because of illness or old age. Travel is a wonderful life experience but boy it can also be tiring, which doesn’t help if you’re of a mature age or terminally ill. So, focus on a life that you’re excited to be living.
To make your life easier and so you can start planning which item you’ll do first, let us guide you through the best way to put your bucket list together.
1. Set Time Aside to Build Your Bucket List
Bucket listing is about you achieving your goals and dreams, so it deserves the time needed to think about what it is you want to add. It can be hard to find the time to sit and work out what you want to do, or what’s next on your list. But remember you are worth it and the best things in life can take a little bit of work and effort. You could even make it a family effort where you all think individually what you want to add to the list and then talk about it together.
2. Defining Your Bucket List
For many the name ‘bucket list’ is off putting because they connect it to death or illness. Although our aim is to change this perception, we completely understand why it can stir such strong emotions. Before you start compiling your list it’s important for you to remember that by thinking about your goals and ambitions, you are focusing on living your life to the fullest and not your mortality. Your bucket list should fill you with joy, but if the name doesn’t provide inspiration, then there’s no rule to say you can’t call it something else. We’ve got a few ideas for you, but it could simply be ‘your name’ and then list.
- Inspiration List
- Dream List
- Life List
- Life Goals
- Things to Achieve
- Awesome List
- Dreams to Conquer List
- Life’s Plan
- My Happy List
- Amazing Experiences List
As you can see, all of these names are positive affirmations and as such will fill you with positivity whenever you think or talk about your list.
3. Where to Store Your Bucket List
The key to having a bucket list is writing it down, and more importantly being able to access it easily. This is because you have to be able to remember what items you want to tick off next and once they’re done, then remove them from your list.
There is credible research which says that the pure act of writing down your dreams and goals will make them seem more achievable and push you to stay accountable. Many bucket list sites will recommend having a notebook, which isn’t the worst idea, but remember that your dreams can change over time so it may be wiser to write your bucket list somewhere that is adaptable.
Our preferred method is to have our list on an excel spreadsheet, because we can adapt it as we go. We even have a second tab where we store the bucket list items we have completed by year, so that we can look back and feel proud of our achievements. If your list is for you and other family members, then you can have individual lists or colour code them to show who they’re for.
As we indicate above, the one thing we noticed was that some of our bucket list items which had not been achieved, became things we no longer wanted to do. Your preferences and aspirations will continually evolve as you age, and that’s not a bad thing. This option makes it easier for you to delete those bucket list ideas and add some new ones.
4. Section Your List into Categories
Your bucket list will probably have a raft of beautiful places all over the world you hope to visit, but that can take time and a lot of saving. So, you’ll want to have a variety of options, some being smaller, cheaper, and more easily achievable.
To help plan the next steps of your bucket list, we would recommend having categories. If you’re using the excel spreadsheet idea, then simply add each category at the top of the column and the actual items below. Depending on what the item is it can be tough to work out which category to place them in, but your list isn’t about perfection, so add them to wherever feels right to you.
This option is especially beneficial if your list gets bigger and bigger, because really there’s no limit to your dreams. Here are a few suggestions for categories you can use.
- Life Goals,
- Personal Growth,
- Activities and Adventures,
- Family and Kids
- Food and Drink,
- Just for Fun.
5. Questions To Help Write Your Bucket List
Getting started on your list can be difficult, because you probably want to go everywhere and do everything, so how do you begin to write that down. Other people can really struggle to know what they want, especially if you’ve created a list with categories. Our advice would be to take some time out for yourself and relax with your favourite drink and nibbles. Then you can either Google bucket list ideas or read these questions below as they will inspire you.
Don’t be afraid to dream big, because bucket listing has helped us conquer so many of our fears. We are terrified of flying and yet we have been all over the world by plane. If you read the question and it doesn’t generate any ideas then don’t worry, just skip to the next one.
- What places in the World would you like to travel to?
- Is there any activity you’ve always wanted to try, but been afraid to do?
- If you didn’t have long to live, what would be your ultimate goals?
- If money wasn’t an issue, what would be on your list?
- What hobbies or skills have you always wanted to try and master?
- What is your biggest life dream or goal? – Lose weight, get your degree, meet the love of your life, retire early, own your home.
- Are there any food or drinks you have always wanted to try?
- Are there any activities or trips you’ve wanted to do with certain friends or family members?
- What are your regrets?
- What events do you want to attend? – Think festivals, gigs, even seminars for people who inspire you, it could be anything.
- Is there someone you have always wanted to meet in person?
- What wellness or self-care activities do you want to try? – This could be physically, mentally, or spiritually.
- What’s your childhood dream? Is it still relevant?
- If you died tomorrow, what would you regret not doing the most?
As you build your bucket list, you’ll begin to notice ideas will appear everywhere. Social media sites are great places to be inspired, especially if you follow travel or bucket list pages such as ours on Instagram and Facebook.
Another wonderful option is to chat about bucket lists with your family and friends to see what their dreams are. Not only will you discover more about your loved ones, but it can also help generate additional ideas for yours.
6. Add Long Term and Short-Term Bucket List Goals
As you build your list, you’ll have some extravagant goals, because why not have something to work towards. But our advice would be to have a balanced list with smaller easier items too. If you cannot complete anything on your list you may get a little disheartened, so think about local attractions or activities you’ve always wanted to see, a restaurant or food type you’ve always wanted to try, or a movie you’ve always wanted to watch. We have a list of Low-Cost Bucket List Ideas which can help if you’re struggling to think of anything. By focusing on the things you’ve always wanted to do or see, you’ll find that life becomes more interesting and regularly completing goals will keep the bucket list lifestyle prominent in your mind.
To make your bucket list a reality you have to put some work in, plan, prepare and save for the things you want to do. Many blogger sites state that you should set time aside regularly to work on your bucket list, but this isn’t feasible and can make what should be fun, into a chore. Our advice would be to look at your list every so often and decide what you fancy doing next. If it’s easy to do then look at spending the time on ticking it off, but if it takes money then work out how much you can put aside for it. We have a specific savings account solely for our bucket list goals, including travel and we put away a little each month.
After You’ve Compiled Your Bucket List
Go for it!
You’ve compiled your bucket list and you’re ready to go, so where do you start? Simple, what inspires you the most, just book it and go! Some people can struggle choosing what to do first, so maybe start small with a movie or restaurant and then work out your finances on which trip you’re going to book first. Remember that this is about adding joy to your life and not stress, there is no deadline for a bucket list because it’s a lifelong journey. So, if moneys tight at first then pick the things which work with your budget.
Get Inspired with Friends and Family
One of the great things about building and ticking off your bucket list is the fact you can share it with loved ones. You can do this by either completing tasks with them or talking to them about your plans. But have you considered asking them what their bucket list ideas would be? Where would they dream of travelling to, or what experiences would they love to do. Connecting with likeminded people can help motivate you, but also provide some additional ideas you may never have considered. How you do this is up to you, but what about a get together specifically focusing on exploring each other’s bucket lists? Whether this is a full-blown party or a night with a few of your closest friends, you’ll probably be surprised at the items they want to add and hopefully you’ll inspire them to start their own.
Look for Inspiration for Your Bucket List
You’ve started ticking off some bucket list items, so what now? How about looking around for inspiration in various places, whether its social media, Google searches or simply watching travel programmes and documentaries. These are great ideas to help focus your bucket list mindset.
You will find that over time your boundaries may grow, and this is mainly because you gain confidence as you achieve incredible things in life and push yourself. Never did we imagine that someday we would travel to Japan and visit beautiful cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto.
Sites like Instagram are ideal for Wanderlust ideas because you can search bucket list and a raft of images will appear. You can always Google bucket list ideas and you’ll get the generic lists we’ve come to know and love. They may say the same things such as ‘sky dive’, but sky diving is awesome so why not add it to your list.
There are of course plenty of travel and bucket list blogs around, and we’re big fans of seeing what other people are up to as they tick off their goals. We’re in this journey of life together, so why not support and encourage each other to fulfil our dreams, because the possibilities are endless.
What you will probably find is that as you meander through life, when you spot something you want to do, you’ll immediately think about adding it to your bucket list. We did that last year, because a friend posted on Facebook about pumpkin carving and how easy it is, so we tried it the following year.
If you’ve never carved a pumpkin, then check out our guide which goes through the process.
Why Start Your Bucket List?
Bucket listing is one of the greatest gifts that we ever gave to ourselves! Our list came from a place of despair because of health issues but grew into something which changed us entirely. We have gained confidence, gratitude and a mindset which looks for inspiration on a daily basis. That alone makes being a bucket lister the ideal lifestyle, so why wouldn’t you give it a try?
Most people think that your list ideas have to be thrill seeking and that’s not true, they should be based on what would bring you joy and what inspires you. As we said above, everyone’s list will be entirely different, because we’re all so different. Sometimes the simplest goals are the most inspiring, such as watching the sunrise or giving blood.
If you have always wanted to bungee jump but the thought of it terrifies you, then work towards it. Add it to your list and then slowly push through your comfort zone with bigger and bigger heights, this could be zip lining or indoor rock climbing. Once you actually bungee, the sheer fact that you were so scared will make it an even greater achievement. The key behind it is the overall feeling it gives you because what is easy for one person, can be terrifying for another. This is what we love about bucket lists, as you tick off more and more, you’ll realise how much you can actually accomplish. Bear in mind some of your goals may not be things you can do in one day, for example if you’re learning a language, looking for the love of your life, or getting your degree; these can take time.
Being a bucket lister gives you the opportunity to dream big, and by that think back to when you were a kid and you had so many aspirations and goals. You didn’t think about money or time, you simply daydreamed about where you wanted life to go.
When it comes to your list there is nothing too weird, it’s completely individual, just think about the overall experience you are looking for especially when you consider travel. Take in the cultures, food and drink, smells, and experiences.
We’re sure that after this you’re eager to get started but remember that having a bucket list is about adding value to your life. Try not to simply throw anything on your list, really consider whether it is something you want to do and not a chore that you ‘have to’ do.
As you can imagine we believe everyone should have a bucket list, it makes life interesting. Because of that we created this site to help inspire you, so feel free to browse our pages on travel, activities and even wellness. Good mental and physical health is important for fulfilling your bucket list, which is why we believe it’s important to focus on your wellness too.
If you share your personal list or any bucket list items you’ve completed on social media pages such as Instagram, then please tag us in as we love to see what you’ve been up to. But also check out our Instagram page for inspiration.