Bucket Lists: How To Create The Guide To Your Own Life


I feel like it’s time to take a break from some of the more serious posts, and have some fun! So…let’s talk about bucket lists! Have you ever created one? Have you ever thought about making one? There are probably a lot of things you would like to do in your life. If you spend some time brainstorming, you can use the list as a guide to make sure life doesn’t pass you by before you get it all done. 🙂

Why make a bucket list?

Do you ever feel like life is flying by really quickly? It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day tasks that you have to complete – getting the kids to school, handling your assignments at work, making dinner, helping the kids with homework – you know the drill. And even weekends can get jam-packed pretty quickly, especially if you’ve got one kid in basketball and another in volleyball, and you’re just trying to get everyone where they need to be and still time find to pick up groceries and hopefully get through a couple loads of laundry. Sound familiar?

Even if you don’t have that kind of tight schedule, it doesn’t take much to get into a routine that gradually turns into being stuck in a rut. Commute, work, commute, dinner, TV, sleep. And weekends go by with sleeping in, catching up with friends, and running errands.

Regardless of your lifestyle, if you don’t also take care of your life, you may find that time flies by so quickly that before you know it, you’re 100 years old, you’re wondering where time went, and you’re thinking about all the things you never got around to doing.

So that’s why you should start a bucket list. It give you a way to put your dreams down on paper. You can review it periodically to make sure you’re making progress, and you always have a reminder of the things you want to do – not just the things you need to do.

What should you put on your bucket list?

Well, the sky’s the limit, of course. Some people list small things that they want to start doing on a regular basis. Cook healthier meals, do volunteer work, keep a cleaner house. Some people have their biggest, wildest dreams on theirs, like write the Great American Novel or win an Academy Award (I have “Win the lottery” on mine – why not?).

In reading other people’s bucket lists, I’ve found that one of my favorite types of entries are the ones that are just plain fun – or funny. I think much of my list tends to be serious goals and plans and ideas I want to pursue. But on other people’s lists I read online, I saw “buy and paint a hippie van,” “catch a fish with my bare hands,” and “ride a mattress down a staircase”.

You might have travel-related entries too. Mine include visiting Vietnam and seeing different parts of India. Some others I saw were “eat sushi in Japan,” “ride a gondola in Venice,” and “ride a zipline through a jungle”.

You can find tons of ideas in this Abundance Blog article, which has over 525 ideas in 36 categories. You can also google “bucket list ideas,” but ideally you should try to use them as inspiration, and then take some time to come up with some that are truly your own.

Try to create a list of both small and big ideas. As you work on your list, think about all the things you ever wanted to do, all the places you want to visit, all the things you want to learn, and everything you want to experience – even if it’s just once. Remember to Dream Big!

Okay, I made a bucket list. Now what?

I made my first bucket list in 2006. In 2009, I revisited the the first list and then made a new one. What I found when I was reviewing the ’06 list is that I had accomplished some things, I still wanted to accomplish others, and some actually didn’t seem important to me anymore. That last part kind of surprised me, but then I think we change and grow over time, and likewise so do our interests and priorities.

Once you make your list, review it and see which ones are small or require little planning. Those might be the ones you tackle first. You can also divide your list into things you want to do now, and things you maybe aren’t quite ready to do. Even for your “now” things, that doesn’t mean you have to start planning for them all today. It might be good just to have them in the back of your mind, so when the opportunity arises, you can grab it.

Try to periodically review your bucket list. See what you’ve accomplished, and see what’s left. Like me, you might have some that aren’t as important to you, and you might want to add new ones. When you can, start making plans to see the big dreams come to fruition too. Putting them on your bucket list is a great starting point, but then you have to remember to make it happen too!

I can see from my 2009 list, it is time for me to make another. Some things I have accomplished (start a blog, run a 5K), some things are no longer on my radar (visit Australia, try ice fishing), and some are still on my “Someday” list, like observing oral arguments at the US Supreme Court and spending a weekend at a silent retreat.

I’d love to hear what’s on your bucket list! How long is it? What are your favorite ideas? And which one are you going to do first? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me at @onemoveforward. I would love to hear from you!

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. – John Lennon

Related Articles:
Learn, Change, Grow: What’s Your Uncharted Territory?
Defining Personal Values: Get In Touch With The Real You

Posted on April 3, 2012, in Intellectual Health, Wellness - Life Balance and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Such a fun post! What I like about bucket lists is you are putting that thought into the future of what you want to do. There's so much power behind that!

  2. Nisha, my father told me as a child that if I had to decide whether or not to do something, if it wouldn't result in a great story, don't do it. So I've been creating stories all my life … living a bucket list life. The best thing about bucket lists is that they (hopefully) keep one's fantasies and fulfilling desires "front and center" so we don't leave them all for "someday!"

  3. My bucket list changes all the time! I tell folks its a work in progress like me 🙂

  4. Thanks for the reminder, it is time to revisit the dusty bucket list. This would be a fun on the beach in Cuba thing for my hubby and I. Thanks again

  5. Fun post. Thanks for reminding me about my bucket list and making me smile.

    P.S. I've done the mattress on the stairs thing–with my kids. We had a ball.

  6. I really enjoyed this post, Nisha! I'm a big fan of vision boards and add my bucket list ideas regularly.

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