The Value of a Bucket List

You may or may not have a bucket list, but if not, creating one can be a valuable and effective way to put into writing what you want in life and potentially live with less regret. A bucket list has us think outside of the box, away from our routines to look at what we want to do, be or have, which is exciting and challenging.

So what is a bucket list? The term “bucket list” originated from the phrase “kick the bucket” (or die), and is defined as “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.” A bucket list can include the smallest of goals such as learning to create a delicious guacamole to climbing Mt. Everest – whatever means most to you.

Creating Your Bucket List

To get started, sit down in a quiet place with a notebook and start free flowing your ideas. Imagine yourself traveling to places you would love to visit. Think about all the things that you dream of doing but are afraid to do. Write them all down without censoring yourself. Let yourself dream big. Time and money are no object.

Another way to get your list started is to categorize your life in 10 different areas: Family, friends, career, physical health and well-being, emotional health and well-being, living arrangements, finances, spirituality/religion, education/personal growth, and fun and leisure. Then under each different area, you can place what you truly desire. This helps to cover all aspects of your life and sparks some new ideas.

Marelisa Fábrega on her blog, daringtolivefully.com, has a list of 75 ideas that she researched in areas such as travel, fitness, education and personal development to help inspire a list of your own. Some are:

  • Visit the Louvre Museum in Paris, France
  • Swim with Manatees
  • Go tandem skydiving
  • Run the New York Marathon (or any marathon)
  • Take-up mindfulness meditation
  • Sing Karaoke
  • Create a family tree
  • Get a Ph.D. (or any degree)
  • Create a source of passive income
  • Become more confident

You can also: practice acts of kindness, be more forgiving and live a grateful life. (some personal/spiritual growth ideas)

Benefits of a Bucket List

Now that you have your list, you may be thinking, “How does this benefit me and help me to achieve what I want?” Here is the value:

  • Writing down goals helps you to be successful – Writing down your goals increases your chance of achieving them because you have committed yourself on paper to being in the game. Also, having your goals on paper helps clarify what you want and motivate you to act.
  • You feel a great sense of accomplishment – What a great feeling to cross off goals on your list! Your life satisfaction improves because you are achieving what you want in life. You can also add to your bucket list things that you have already accomplished to see how many great things you have done in your life already, giving you a head start on the gratification meter.
  • Helps you create a better, more fulfilled life – You have something to strive for, to look forward to, expanding your knowledge and making you a happier, more fulfilled person.

Living Your Bucket List

To keep your list at the forefront of your mind, place it where you can refer to it often and refrain from beating yourself up if you are not crossing off, regularly, things on your list. Ultimately, your list is not supposed to be a reminder of all you haven’t done in life, but more of a way to keep your eye on what you want in life.

Resources for Bucket List ideas:

What are some things on your bucket list? We would love to hear some of your ideas!