Do you know what a bucket list is?
Do you want to maximize every moment of your life? Who doesn’t.
But how many of us actually squeeze the most out of each day?
Creating a bucket list can help keep your dreams on track.
It can be easy to get lost in the daily grind, and if you aren’t careful, days turn into years and before you know it you’re past your prime.
At some point you’re going to be too old to skydive, so you might as well check it off your list this year.
I hate to be morbid, but you could die in a car crash TODAY!
Make a list, check it twice, and give yourself the gift of realizing your dreams.
This is the master guide for how to create an epic bucket list and an even more epic life (I even include my own with 200+ Bucket List Ideas you can steal if you’d like).
Note: This in-depth guide to creating a bucket list is several thousand words long, so you can check the table of contents below to jump to the section you’d like to dive in to more.
What Is A Bucket List?
A bucket list is a list of the things that you want to do before you kick the bucket, a.k.a. kick the can, a.k.a. keel over and die.
I know you want your life to be full of awesome experiences that satisfy your soul and make you feel like the master of your own destiny.
Your bucket list will be your trusty guide on the trajectory of life.
My Bucket List Definition
My definition of a bucket list is “a constantly evolving list of life goals.”
You might have started with Bucket List 1.0 when you were 15, but it turns into Bucket List 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and so on as you get older.
I don’t know about you, but my tastes, interests, and priorities are constantly changing, and my bucket list changes with me.
One more note: Your bucket list should always feel a little impossible. If your bucket list is full of goals like “Run three miles” and “Eat a banana split” I’m going to be dissapointed.
Those are fine goals to have, but overall your bucket list should push you to step outside of your comfort zone and get the most out of life.
7 Benefits Of Making A Bucket List And Why I Started Building My Own
One thing’s for sure, making a bucket list isn’t going to hurt you.
What’s the worst that could happen? You end up accomplishing more and having an epic life?
That sounds like a pretty great worst-case scenario to me.
Here are six of the biggest benefits of making a bucket list:
1. Feel More At Peace About Dying
Again, my apologizes for being the bearer of heavy news, but death is the great equalizer and something that we all have to face in the end.
Death is the ultimate test of a life well lived.
I know for myself, I’m okay with feeling guilty about the mistakes I make, but what I’m not okay with is regretting the things I didn’t do.
When I’m on my deathbed (which can always come sooner than you think) I want to know that I gave life my best shot.
A bucket list with all the boxes checked is evidence of a regret-free life.
2. Reminds You Of Personal Goals
It can be easy to forget about personal goals when you’re working 10 hours a day to build a lifestyle business.
Having a bucket list will help you stay on track with your personal goals even when you’re in the weeds with work.
Try to cross at least one goal off your bucket list a month.
It’s easier to stay motivated with work when you aren’t neglecting you personal goals.
3. Prioritize Your Life Goals
For some goals you need a strong body.
For others you need a sharp mind.
For many you need both.
Creating a bucket list makes it easy to see which goals you should tackle while you’re young and which goals can wait until your golden years.
Plus, you might realize that some goals take years to work towards, so you better get crackin.’
When an idea is just floating around in your head, it’s easy to deny that it was even there to begin with.
Sure, you never ended up running a marathon, but it was just a fleeting thought, a daydream, a pipedream.
Writing it down forces you to admit that you want and helps to hold you accountable.
5. Remind Yourself That Life Is Short
The clock is ticking.
Reminding yourself that life could end at any moment is a great motivator for seizing opportunities, and making a bucket list can help you live in the moment where you belong.
Why do most people struggle with procrastination?
Or should I say, why are most people so darn good at it?
Because we all tend to lose sight of the fact the life is short and is getting shorter by the second.
Younger people are usually the worst procrastinators because they feel like they have all the time in the world.
As you get older, you’re forced to face the fact that time is limited.
Instead of waiting until old age for this to sink in, kill procrastination NOW with a bucket list.
6. Be Happier!
What better benefit could you hope for than happiness?
Making a bucket list gives you two of the most essential ingredients to happiness: hope and curiosity.
Life is full of hardships and challenges, but a bucket list reminds you that through it all you can still have and incredible time.
Sure, you had a rough day, but last week you swam with dolphins and next month you’ll be bucket-listing in Malaysia.
Life could be a hell of a lot worse!
I started building my own bucket list because I realized I was letting time slip away with fitness goals and other important priorities.
It’s never too late to start making your own bucket list.
Here’s how to create an epic bucket list and turn your life into the radical journey it was meant to be:
How to Create a Bucket List of Your Own
Your bucket list isn’t going to create itself, so it’s time to brainstorm like you give a damn.
I’ve gotten pretty good having amazing experiences over the last few years.
Back in 2013, I decided to take a path less traveled and learn how to make blogging.
Since then, my lifestyle business has really taken off.
I’ve spent the last few years traveling the world, skydiving, zip-lining, teaching entrepreneurs about the power of virtual summits, and building incredible relationships along the way.
As I grow through these awesome experiences, my bucket list grows with me, and yours will too.
Here are a few bucket list tactics that have helped me brainstorm, build, and tweak my goals over the years:
Step #1: Ask The Tough Questions
How would you design your life if you knew you only had a few years to live?
Chances are, your goals and priorities would change quite a bit and you’d be forced to think critically about how to spend each day.
Which brings us to TOUGH QUESTION #1:If you were to die today, what three things would you regret not having experienced?
On the flipside, ask yourself TOUGH QUESTION #2: What three experiences have the potential to transform your personality?
For instance, maybe you’ve always been terrified of public speaking.
Taking a workshop could turn you into a whole new person.
I think you can see where I’m going with this — brainstorm your bucket list with a sense of urgency and efficiency by asking the hard questions.
Life is short, so you might as well have those transformative experiences now.
TOUGH QUESTION #3: What three accomplishments would help prove to yourself that you’re truly in command of your own life?
Each bucket list goal is an opportunity to blow your own mind with how capable and brave you are, and you’ll get to use your newfound confidence to enhance other areas of your life.
TOUGH QUESTION #4: What three goals might increase your overall productivity by boosting your self-esteem?
TOUGH QUESTION #5: What one bucket list goal would make you the happiest if you did it right now?
By asking the tough questions, you can figure out which goals will have a massive impact on your life and give you a greater sense of fulfillment.
Step #2: Ask Your Close Friends and Family
Do you remember the first few times you heard a recording of your own voice?
It was weird, right?
We hear ourselves differently than other people hear us, and the same thing can happen with your ideas and desires.
You may not notice how often you bring up wanting to learn to surf one day, but your friends and family hear you loud and clear.
Before telling your close friends that you’re making a bucket list, ask what they think your biggest dreams are.
What exotic country they think you’d want to travel to first, the first language you’d like to learn, or which sport they could see you picking up.
I’m not saying that you should let your friends and family put ideas into your head.
Instead, I’m suggesting that they might be able to point out what you already like.
Step #3: Get Inspiration from Your Favorite Movies, Music, and Celebrities
A lot of my favorite movies, music, and celebrities are the ones that I relate to the most, and they help me envision a cooler, more evolved version of myself.
Oh yeah, come to think of it, I could totally see myself dangling from that building like Tom Cruise.
Maybe one of your favorite actors is your favorite not because of their work but because of how they conduct themselves in interviews, and in a subtle way you wish you could be more like them.
Well guess what?
With the right bucket list goals you can transform yourself into Tom Cruise 2.0.
Learn to rock climb and dangle from cliffs like Mr. Cruise himself!
You can find the same inspiration from songs.
Do you really love Jack Johnson’s music that much, or is it that his songs transport your mind to Hawaii?
Sounds like somebody might need to add “live on the beach” to their bucket list.
Step #4: Incorporate All Areas Of Life
You’re a multi-faceted individual, and that’s why your bucket list should incorporate all areas of your life.
Break your bucket list down into the following categories:
- Extreme adventures
- Personal development
- Mental health/stress reduction
- and any other categories that come to mind
The confidence you gain from checking a box in one category will boost your confidence and spill over to the next.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I have a big month financially it feels a lot easier to hit the gym.
Likewise, when I’m crushing my fitness goals, it’s that much easier to make smarter business decisions like investing in influencer marketing.
A well-rounded bucket list will lead to a more accomplished and well-rounded you.
Step #5: What Goals Are The Most Time-Sensitive?
This question isn’t as easy to answer as you might think.
Some goals can only take place in a certain part of the world or at a certain time of year.
Is it on your list to see that rare astronomical event? Better not miss it the one time in your life that it comes around.
For other goals you might only have a couple opportunities every few years to take the necessary time off work.
Don’t miss the window!
Things can get even more complicated if you have to learn a new skill that takes time, like a language or a new sport.
I make a habit of moving goals that depend on a healthy body to the head of the line.
You never know when you might get in a scooter accident and permanently mess up your knee, so if you have any fitness goals that are near and dear to your heart you should get them out of the way sooner rather than later.
Step #6: How Much Money Do You Need?
Most bucket list goals aren’t free. You either need to fly somewhere, learn from someone, or take time off work.
Although you might want to become a digital nomad and move to Spain next month, your bank account might have other ideas.
In the meantime, you can check less expensive goals off your list while you save for Barcelona, NYC or London.
When you make your “bucket list timeline” in step #9, it might be a good idea to space out your more expensive goals.
If you want to move to Barcelona later this year, postpone learning to skydive until next year so that your can save money faster.
Make a list of all the ways to cut costs in the months leading up to Spain.
Do you really need that gym membership or can you do yoga and exercise at home instead?
There will be plenty of delicious food to eat once you’re in Barcelona, so you can probably skip eating out for a couple months while you’re still at home.
Step #7: Work On Your List Everyday For A Week
For at least ten minutes a day every day, sit down (or stand up) and brainstorming for your bucket list.
Who knows, maybe something that happened that day will trigger a new idea.
You never know when inspiration will strike, so it’s always best to be prepared with a notepad to scribble down your next goal.
Be intentional about where you do your brainstorming session and pick a new place every day.
Trying to think of new ideas from the same spot on the couch isn’t exactly creativity fuel.
Change your surroundings to alter you mind.
On a similar note, try to brainstorm after working out, right before bed, and right when you wake up.
Your brain will be in a different state each time and it can help you come up with new ideas.
Step #8: Prioritize and Organize
Now that you have all your bucket list goals jotted down, it’s time to take all the factors into consideration and put them in order.
Here are some of the biggest factors to consider:
- Time (learning skills, time off work, etc.)
- Age (your body won’t be in its prime forever)
- Money (save efficiently and space out expensive goals)
- Weather (last I checked, you can’t ski in July)
Then there’s the impact that accomplishing certain goals can have on your personal growth.
If getting better at public speaking can massively increase your confidence, reduce anxiety, and boost your bank account, then you should probably move it to the front of the list.
Step #9: Commit To A Timeline
Are you ready to get locked in?
Prepare for the bucket list journey of a lifetime because there’s no turning back now.
Just kidding…you can always make adjustments to your list, but for the sake of following through let’s try to fully commit to your first year of goals.
Before you commit to a timeline, make sure that you can sort out all the logistics.
Start with the biggest, hardest-to-accomplish goals first.
Confirm that you can take time off work at the right time of year and make the necessary arrangements as far in advance as possible.
Coordinate with friends and family and let them know that you’ll be out of the country if that’s the case.
In fact, you should share your plans with as many people as possible.
There’s a couple reasons to do this, but a main one is that you might not catch all the logistical necessities yourself.
Your friend might remind you about a conference you have to go to in May, and it’s better to realize this type of thing sooner rather than later.
Step #10: Add A Few Goals That Seem Impossible
At this point you’ve come up with all the reasonable, beneficial, financially feasible bucket list goals, but who wants to live a reasonable, realistic life?
Not me — I want to live a life that I can only dream of and then turn it into a reality.
Some dream goals might cost such an exorbitant amount of money that they aren’t even worth considering, but I want you to challenge these excuses every time.
Is there a way to 10x your income and transform your reality?
In 2014, I had been struggling for 18 months with my blog and podcast and was barely scraping by, then I read The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and it totally shifted my thinking.
I discovered the idea of using virtual events to rapidly grow an email list, generate revenue, and build authority, and I decided to give it a shot.
My first virtual summit generated $20K in revenue from the initial launch.
The next month I made an additional $40K in affiliate sales off the back end.
With money in the bank, it was time to get serious about my bucket list. I immediately quit my part-time job in Sweden and moved to Cabo San Lucas and Cancun in Mexico.
Viva la bucket list!
This never would’ve been possible without virtual summits, and today I make a full-time income teaching others how to do the same with Virtual Summit Mastery.
How To Achieve Your Goals On Your Bucket List
Making the bucket list is the easy part — now for the hard part: actually doing it.
Here’s a few tips for staying motivated and on track to crush your bucket list goals:
1. Tell Everyone About Your Bucket List
Nobody wants to be the guy or gal who talked the big talk about moving abroad and then never followed through.
Making your bucket list goals public will help hold you accountable, and the key is to share your timeline, not just the goals themselves.
Check off your bucket list with sense of urgency!
You never know when the reaper will come for you.
2. Get Some Skin In The Game
Especially with big goals, it’s important to get some skin in the game as early as possible.
Buy your skydiving lessons now even if the season doesn’t start until summer.
Bonus points if the purchase is non-refundable.
There’s no turning back now. Granted you could always chicken-out and eat the costs, but the chances of that happening are slim.
Hope you’re ready to jump out of some planes!
3. Set A Countdown To Your Death
Use a plugin like Memento Mori to turn your browser homepage into a countdown to your death.
You decide you long you expect to live and Memento does the rest.
Tick tock, tick tock. Better get to bucket-listing!
4. Keep Up With Your Timeline No Matter What
Momentum matters when it comes to destroying bucket list goals.
Once you start checking goals off the list, keep up with your timeline no matter what.
If you fall behind or have to re-prioritize some goals, that’s fine, just be sure to hustle and and ride the momentum through your first year of bucket list goals.
5. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Give $500 to a friend and tell them they get to keep it if you don’t meet your first year’s worth of bucket list goals.
Wasting money isn’t any fun, and it’ll give you some extra incentive to solve obstacles that try to get in your way.
6. Spend A Minute Each Day Looking At Your Bucket List
Don’t just stand there and drool at it — visualize!
Imagine yourself going through the year crushing your goals.
Feel the sea breeze as you sail across the Caribbean, smell the smog of your new city (hey, some people love Bangkok), and taste the paella between your lips.
It’s just one minute every morning, and it’ll keep you pumped to make progress on your bucket list each day.
What Is a Reverse Bucket List?
A reverse bucket list is a list of the incredible things you’ve already done.
Think of it as a gratitude exercise.
It’s great to be an ambitious go-getter and focus on all the things that you still want to do, but it’s also important to pat yourself on the back for how amazing you already are.
Making a reverse bucket list is a great way to be thankful for what you’ve accomplished.
You’ll probably find that you’ve done more than you think.
Take the time to soak in your awesomeness.
You deserve it.
Best Bucket List Books To Get Inspired By
Some people take the bucket list game more seriously than others.
These books are for those of you who want to really nerd-out on your bucket list mission.
The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small by Kath Stathers
The Bucket List is a list of bucket list suggestions for each area of the world and each area of your life.
Do you want to work on self-improvement in the Czech Republic or swim with dolphins in New Zealand?
When you’re famished from checking off bucket list goals, The Bucket List has plenty of suggestions for epic restaurants and delicious cuisine.
1,000 Places to See Before You Die: Revised Second Edition by Patricia Schultz
Not to be outdone by 1,000 Places to See Before You Die has its own suggestions for life-altering adventures.
It even goes the extra mile to give you the addresses, websites, and contact numbers that you’ll need to handle logistics.
2,001 Things to Do Before You Die by Dane Sherwood
Have you ever wondered how many cool things you need to do before you die? According to best-selling author Dane Sherwood, the answer is 2,001. This is a great book to help push your brainstorming to the max.
Sherwood even tosses in some complimentary wisdom from epic traveling authors like Jack Kerouac.
The Big Bucket List Book: 133 Experiences of a Lifetime by Gin Sander
The Big Bucket List Book will encourage you to stretch for big goals rather than settle for goals that are within arm’s reach.
Author Gin Sander will inject creativity and style into your bucket list brainstorming sessions.
Make Your Own Bucket List: How To Design Yours Before You Kick It by Andrew Gall
Make Your Own Bucket List is full of useful tips to help you crank out your bucket list like a pro. It’s full of 200 entertaining prompts designed to connect you with your innermost desires and discover what experiences will leave you truly fulfilled.
Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List 2: The Best Places on the Planet…Ranked
The Lonely Planet produces the world’s leading travel guide books, and Ultimate Travel List 2 lays out the most unmissable travel destinations in the world.
If you want to make sure that you don’t forget any geographic gems this is a great book to read.