5 Ways to Create Your Own Bucket List
Stand before the Taj Mahal? Trek Machu Picchu? Ride a camel? See the Northern Lights? These are all things that you might yearn to do (someday) on your bucket list. What exactly is a bucket list? This list itemizes all the things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”. But don’t wait. You can make someday, today. Putting it down on paper is the first step to making these dreams happen.
Unfortunately, many people wait to create a bucket list when they suddenly face illness, retirement, or a life crisis and then it’s often too late. For some, they avoid such a list as it reminds them of their mortality. However, a bucket list is all about grasping all you can from the one life you’ve got.
You may wonder, where do I even begin? Here are some tips on getting started:
- Choose short-term goals first
Creating a short-term goal list can quickly give you a sense of accomplishment in completing items you’re longing to do. These can be things that are relatively inexpensive and with limited planning such as run a 5K race, take the train into the city for a spontaneous day, or visit a nearby national monument. It could help to break these items into categories such as Do Before Turning 40, Goals This Year, or My Seasonal Bucket List. Completing these short-term goals first will help motivate you to create, plan, and accomplish your long-term goals that could take years to achieve.
- Create categories
It can seem overwhelming at first to think about all the things you want to do before you die. Creating categories first for your ideas can be a great way to organize your list. For example, your categories could be; travel, family time, personal growth, art, adventure, nature, education, local experiences, music, and more. Searching Pinterest boards, social media hashtags, or watching travel shows for ideas are other ways to add to your list. Creating categories will also add a bit of variety to your list so it’s diverse and doesn’t fall under one idea such as “hike every national park” or “visit art museum in each big city across the country”. Ask yourself, what kind of legacy do I want to leave behind?
- Get advice
Getting advice from others can also guide you. One fun way to do this is to have a Bucket List party. Gather friends and family and brainstorm ideas. You can even create a party game such as 20 Bucket List Questions. This can include everyone sharing their answers to questions you create that spawn creativity and thinking outside the box. Such questions can include: where would you like to visit? What was your childhood dream? If you won the lottery today, what would you do with it? What activity have you always wanted to do? This is an interactive occasion to quickly generate inspiration for your list.
- Create your list!
Now that you’ve got a toolbox full of ideas, it’s time to put it down on paper. Remember, this is about fulfilling your dreams, so nothing is too big. You may not be a thrill seeker, however getting outside of your comfort zone is a key element to creating a meaningful bucket list. It’s good to be realistic, but also know that you are capable of doing so much more than you believe you can. Alternately, smaller items are not to be dismissed. As long as it has meaning to you it deserves to be on your list,. Small achievements can give not only give us a deep sense of accomplishment but also spur on our confidence to try more new things.
- Be accountable
Now that you’ve created your bucket list (and feel free to add to it at any time), you’re ready to hold yourself accountable. First, print out your list and post it somewhere visible where you can see it every day. Second, creating a list with a friend is a great way to check in with each other on your plans. You could schedule regular Bucket List check-ins, where you each prioritize your list, set mini-goals to achieve what you want to do, and set tasks to fulfill your list, one item at a time.
Creating a bucket list is about living your life to the fullest. It all begins with the inspiration to put your dreams down on paper and planning to make them happen. It’s never too late to create your list but there will also never be a perfect time to do it. The time is now to allow yourself to dream big and go beyond what you thought you were capable of doing.