Eat pizza in Italy, dive the Great Barrier Reef, hike the Pacific Crest Trail or bungee jump off Bloukrans Bridge. These are all bucket list activities you’ve probably heard of before.
We’ve all got a mental tally of our hopes and aspirations. You look anywhere online, and successful businessmen, influencers, gym heroes and athletes will tell you that writing down your goals makes them become a reality.
Few of us take the time to do it, but once it’s on paper, it’s like you’re more accountable to achieve it. Could this be the meaning of a bucket list? How do we know if we’re doing it right? What even is a bucket list?
Let’s find out, shall we?
What is a Bucket List?
By definition, a bucket list is “a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime”. For many years only people facing imminent death compiled a bucket list. More recently, since the expression has gained momentum, the meaning is thankfully less morbid.
Why Do They Call it a Bucket List?
Despite the heart-wrenching 2007 film The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, you don’t have to be dying to make a list of dreams. The origin of the term “bucket list” descends from the phrase “before you kick the bucket”. Hence its initial connotations that you’re terminally ill if you make one.
In 2006 the first known use of the term bucket list was recorded, a year before the film premiered around the world. While the movie may have made the phrase more widespread, I think it’s safe to say people have had bucket lists for centuries. Some may call it a life list, a life plan or even a dream list. In theory, these are considered a bucket list in some way or another.
Why Should I Have a Bucket List?
Setting goals helps us articulate what we want to explore. It focuses our attention, helping us hold ourselves accountable. Whether it’s weekly goals for work, business goals or personal aspirations, there’s no denying they’re essential. As humans, we thrive on the feeling of hope.
There are countless benefits of a bucket list. It helps you bring balance to your life, ensuring you make time for the things you love. Fitting in hobbies or fun activities and adventures into your lifestyle will increase your happiness. A bucket list will force yourself to get in touch with your values and track your peak experiences, taking stock of what you’ve achieved along the way.
Pick up any self-help book and it’ll tell you to set goals, write them down and monitor them. In school, they ask you to make S.M.A.R.T goals. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. The beauty of your bucket list is that it doesn’t have to be so calculated. S.M.A.R.T goals will help you perform in business, run a marathon or reach your goal weight, but they won’t always encourage you to dream. That’s what your bucket list is for!
What Should I Put on My Bucket List?
Your bucket list is for those whopping, inspirational, mildly unrealistic, but all the while fantastic dreams. You measure them with a “yes” or “no”, and if you’re doing it right, they shouldn’t be too easy to achieve. They’re the wildcards, and that’s what makes them so unique and beautiful. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to these wishes.
So how do you decide what to put on your bucket list? I suppose the first step is not to be too strict with yourself. Your list can (and should) change over the years. But for today, let’s start with your big audacious goals. If you need some guidance, why not start with different genres?
Let’s go with travel. It’s a natural starting point. Where in the world do you want to go most? When you dream of the perfect holiday, what pops into your head first? That’s probably the right place to start. From travel, you can move over to experiences, as often they’re intertwined. Eat croissants in Paris or visit the Great Wall of China? Perhaps you want to see the gorillas in Uganda?
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your bucket list have a look at these 250 incredible things to do before you die.
Start Ticking Them Off
When you’re writing your bucket list, you need to remember what’s meaningful to you. If conquering your fear of heights will make you feel like you’ve conquered the world, why shouldn’t skydive be at the top of your list? Don’t exclude things because they sound farfetched or ambiguous; it’s kind of the point.
The beauty of this list is that it’s crafted by you, for you. In your lifetime, your list is going to evolve, as your dreams and aspirations change. But there will likely be a few incredible life experiences that hover on there until your later years. They’re likely to be the big ones, the ones you were saving up for, waiting for the right time for or just terrified to achieve – those a the golden nuggets, the real contenders for your ultimate bucket list.
Are you ready to start ticking off your bucket list? No matter how big or small, get in touch and we’ll help you make your dreams come true.
Tom’s travel writings are a testament to his insatiable curiosity and love for the road less traveled. Eschewing the typical tourist spots, Tom has built a reputation for uncovering hidden gems known only to locals.
From secluded mountain villages in the Himalayas to untouched beaches in the South Pacific, his adventures have taken him to the world’s most undiscovered corners.