What’s a Bucket List?
If you haven’t heard about the bucket list, it is a wish list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill and life-experiences you desire to experience before you die. The term is inspired by the movie The Bucket List (2007) about two terminally ill men (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) who set off to achieve a list of things they want to do before they die.
Why Create a Bucket List?
Why have a bucket list? If you don’t live your days by personal goals and plans, chances are you spend most of your time caught up in a flurry of day-to-day activities. Ever feel your days are passing by without any tangible output to speak of? What were your accomplishments in the past 3 months? What are your upcoming goals for the next 3 months? Look at the things you did and the things you’re planning to do next – Do they mean anything to you if you are to die today? Having a bucket list reminds you of what’s really important so you can act on them.
Even if you frequently live by goals or to-do lists, they are probably framed within a certain social context e.g., performance, career, health (Read Gold, Silver and Bronze Tasks on how to create effective to-do lists). A bucket list opens up your mind to set totally context-free goals where you list down anything and everything you ever wanted to do, no qualifiers needed.
It’s just like planning ahead all the highlights you want for YOUR whole life. Even though goal setting is already my staple activity, I still found many new things to do while I was writing on my bucket list. It was an incredibly insightful exercise. What’s more, coming up with the list it gave me a whole new layer of enthusiasm knowing what’s in store ahead!
The objective of creating a bucket list isn’t to instill some kind of a race against time or to create aversion towards death. I don’t see our existence to be limited to just our physical years on earth – I see our physical lifespan is but a short speck of our entire existence which spans across an infinite amount of time. The whole point of a bucket list is to maximize every moment of our existence and live our life to the fullest. It’s a reminder of all the things we want to achieve in our time here, so that instead of pandering our time in pointless activities, we are directing it fully toward what matters to us.
Create Your Bucket List
If you don’t have a bucket list, I highly recommend you to create one. How much does it cost? Probably 30 minutes to an hour, or more if you get really caught up in the writing . What do you gain? Significant clarity and focus on what you want from your life. It’s an invaluable exchange.
If you have already written your bucket list before, take this opportunity to review it. See if there are new items you want to add-on. If so, add them in. Check if all the items listed are still relevant. If not, remove them.
If you are curious, you can check out my bucket list before you start off
Now, take out your pen and paper or open up a text editing document. You can check out the following sites where people publicly share their bucket lists: 43 Things, Your 100 Things, Barefoot List, My Life List.
Start writing down what comes to mind as you read these questions:
- What if you were to die tomorrow? What would you wish you could do before you die?
- What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
- What will you do if you have unlimited time, money and resources?
- Any countries, places or locations you want to visit?
- What are your biggest goals and dreams?
- What do you want to see in person?
- What achievements do you want to have?
- What experiences do you want to have / feel?
- Are there any special moments you want to witness?
- What activities or skills do you want to learn or try out?
- What are the most important things you can ever do?
- What would you like to say/do together with other people? People you love? Family? Friends?
- Are there any specific people you want to meet in person?
- What do you want to achieve in the different areas: Social, Love, Family, Career, Finance, Health (Your weight, Fitness level), Spiritual?
- What do you need to do to lead a life of the greatest meaning?
Come up with as many items as you can. The items should be things you have not done yet. Don’t stop until you finish listing at least 101 things! If you find yourself stuck, chances are you are mentally limiting/constraining yourself. Release those shackles – Remember, this is a list of everything you want to achieve, do, see, feel and experience in your life. Check out the next section for added inspiration.
101 Things to Consider for Your Bucket List
Here are 101 bucket list items to consider for your bucket list . Some of the items might spark off your inspiration for other things too!
- Travel all around the world
- All the countries in the world
- Visit all the Wonders of the World
- 1001 places to see before you die
- Learn a new language
- Try out a new profession in a different field
- Achieve your ideal weight
- Run a marathon
- Take part in a triathlon
- Take up a new sport. Some examples:
- Technique sports: Archery, Golf, Bowling, Billiard, Skateboarding, Skating, Roller-blading, Ice skating
- Water sports: Water rafting, Kayaking, Wakeboarding, Sailing, Scuba diving, Snorkeling, Swimming
- Group sports: Soccer, Rugby, Baseball, Basketball, Ultimate frisbee
- Racket sports: Squash, Badminton, Tennis, Table tennis
- Go skiing
- Learn horseback riding
- Resign from a job you don’t like
- Pursue your passion.
- Start your own business doing something you love
- Achieve financial abundance with your passion
- Connect with all your teachers from your past schools – college, high school, junior high, all of it. Let them know how they have shaped your life.
- Identify someone who has inspired you the most in your life. Let him/her know how much he/she has inspired you
- Be a mentor to someone
- Learn a strategy game
- Do an extreme sport – Bungee jump, Skydiving, Parachuting, Paragliding, Ice climbing
- Climb a mountain
- Give a heartfelt surprise to someone
- Make a difference in someone’s life
- Perform a kind deed to at least 5 strangers without expecting anything in return
- Write a book on something that means a lot to you
- Fly in a hot-air balloon across a country
- Sing your favorite song to an audience
- Offer your service to a humanitarian cause
- Make friends with at least 5 strangers on the street
- Experience a sunset
- Experience a sunrise
- See the Northern Lights
- Witness a solar eclipse
- Go stargazing
- Plant your own tree and watch it grow
- Own a pet (or more if you desire!): dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, tortoise, fish, snake, frog, etc
- Do public speaking in front of 10,000 people
- Write a letter to at least 3 of your closest friends to let them know how much they mean to you
- Throw a mega party
- Get a complete makeover (change everything, from your hair style, hair color, image, clothes) and get a different look: one which you would never have thought of trying!
- Learn wine appreciation
- Join a social etiquette class and further refine your mannerisms
- Be a matchmaker: Introduce your single friends to each other (the rest is up to them!)
- Go on a blind date! (for the singles!)
- Go for future education in a different specialization
- Play a (new) musical instrument: Piano, Violin, Harmonica, Flute, Guitar, Drum, Trumpet
- Win a lucky draw
- Take up dancing: Salsa, Line dance, Tap dance, Tango, Ballroom dancing, etc
- Learn a martial art
- Go on a road trip
- Go backpacking across at least 10 locations
- Pack your bags and set off for a random location with no itinerary planned at all
- Go swimming with dolphins
- Live in a different country for at least 6 months
- Act in a film (self production or otherwise)
- Get featured on TV/radio/print/newspapers for an achievement you are proud of
- Knit a scarf
- Create your dream home (Read: Does Your Room Inspire You?)
- Whip up the best meal ever for your loved ones
- Bake a cake for someone special
- Go deep into the heart of Mother Nature. Go trekking in a rainforest; Camp out in the wilds; Walk in a valley; Visit a waterfall; Swim in an ocean; Walk in a valley
- See snow (if you haven’t before)
- Live through 4 seasons of the year – Spring, summer, autumn, winter
- Read a book on a subject you’d never have thought of reading
- Volunteer at a hospice
- Fly a kite
- Fall asleep on grassy plains
- Call the customer service (of a service provider you like) just to thank them for the great service
- If you are a non-vegetarian, try out vegetarianism for 21 days and experience it for yourself.
- After that, try veganism
- Followed by raw veganism. Then conclude which is the best diet for you.
- Fold a 1,000 origami cranes and give them to someone special.
- Conquer your biggest fear
- Go snorkeling and experience marine life up close
- Tell at least 10 people about your bucket list and encourage them to do the same
- Go on a meditation retreat
- Experience an OBE (out of body experience)
- Start a social movement on a cause you believe in
- Watch cherry blossoms in Japan
- Get closure on all your hurt, grievances and unhappiness of the past
- Bury the hatchet with all the enemies / people you had conflict with in the past or now
- Organize a picnic outing
- Do something completely crazy and out of character
- Fly first class
- Hit bullseye on a dartboard
- Visit a volcano
- Fly in a helicopter
- Have dinner with someone you had only dreamed of meeting
- Tell your parents (and siblings too if you have them) that you love them.
- Ride a roller coaster
- Go on a cruise in the sea
- Try out front-line customer service jobs such being a waiter/waitress for a month just for the experience
- Fall in love
- Be in love!
- Get on a romantic getaway
- Do a somersault
- Visit a castle in England
- Change the world
- Help someone in need
- Learn sign language
- See the Mona Lisa in Louvre (Paris)
- Go to a costume party and dress up as your fantasy character
- Gain enlightenment
Get Into Action!
After you finish your bucket list, here’s what to do next:
- Start acting on them! Plan out the successful path towards these goals – For this, read my 7-part Successful Goal Achievement series – COMING SOON…
- Be reminded of the list all the time. Use environmental reinforcement – put them up in a prominent spot where you will see them every day / very regularly. Set it as your wallpaper, pin it on your noticeboard, print it out, stick it on your wardrobe/locker.
- Share them with your family and friends. Inspire them to create their own bucket list too! This way, you also create accountability to your own bucket list.
- Don’t limit your bucket list items to a certain definition. Sometimes opportunity present itself in a totally different manner. Keep your eyes peeled! The universe will start throwing things your way.
- Review regularly. Cross out the list of things after you do them. See if some of the items have become irrelevant and if there are new things you want to add. Once every 3 months should suffice.
Credit: Celes Chua ~ Personal Excellence
- Bucket List for My Birthday! (socyberty.com)
- Creating a Bucket List (socyberty.com)
- What’s On Your Bucket List? (uptownuncorked.com)
- Aussie to cross off 2 more bucket list items in Regina (canada.com)