55 Bucket List Ideas And Tips: Why You Need A Bucket List Now

bucket list

By now you’ve heard the term bucket list.  You know, a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.  I didn’t really think about putting together a bucket list for myself until I watched the movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman when I was on vacation in 2007.

The movie was simple, yet very effective.  And boy did I bawl my eyes out when Edward (Nicholson’s character) crossed out “kiss the most beautiful girl in the world” and Matthew (Edward’s valet) put Edward’s ashes next to Carter’s on the top of the Himalayas and crossed out “witness something truly majestic.”

There’s something magical about the word majestic and that’s one of the secrets to having a great bucket list – challenging yourself to experience the MAJESTIC and feeling incredibly ALIVE while you’re still able.

How To Make A Bucket List

So how do you make a bucket list?  Well the best part is there is no right or wrong way to do it!  You just have to take the time to put a list together.  Some people list theirs in the order they want to complete things and others scribble theirs down randomly.  I chose to put mine together by category.  I actually had my bucket list forming in my head for the longest time but I’m glad I finally put it together this past week when I was relaxing on the beach.

Step one is simply figuring out where you want to keep track of yours so you always have access to it.  I put mine online so that it’ll never get lost and so that I can share my personal journey with you.  Whether you decide to keep yours private or show it to the world, the most important thing is to write it down and do it asap!

Trust me on writing it down because the draft version I had for my bucket list in my head was nowhere near as cool or as extensive as the one I created in writing.  It’s also too hard to keep track of things if you can’t stare at them, plus you’ll get so much satisfaction when you get to literally cross items off your bucket list!

Quick And Easy Bucket List Tips

  • Write your bucket list down (trust me, just do it!)
  • Have a minimum of 10 items (life is too short to have a tiny list)
  • Think BIG (even if something seems impossible right now)
  • Get specific (you’re more likely to accomplish things this way)
  • Don’t worry about what other people may think (bucket lists are about YOU)
  • Read your bucket list regularly and get active (b/c only you have the power to make things happen!)

Why You Need A Bucket List

I’m the type of person who sets high expectations for myself and I get a big high when I complete things.  But even though I make a lot of goals for myself each year (see what I mean here: my 2012 goals), there are things I want to do in life that are bigger than my day-to-day objectives.

A bucket list will bring a lot of challenges and a lot of joys to your life.  And that’s what living is all about!  I used to want an easy life just lounging around every day until I got smart.  Twenty years from now we’re going to smile at all the troubles we overcame, all the things we learned, and everything we tried.  The things that are going to make you frown when you look back on your life are the things that you were too chicken or too lazy to try.  Failure is better than never giving yourself a chance at success.

I bet you didn’t know I’m scared of heights and the ocean.  And if you read my bucket list you’re probably wondering why I have so many things related to the water and climbing on my bucket list.  Well I’ll tell you why - because overcoming fears is incredibly liberating!  Try it sometime and you’ll see what I mean.

55 Ideas To Get You Started On Making A Bucket List

Ready to start making your bucket list?!  Here are some fun ideas to get you started:

  1. Donate $10,000 to a children’s hospital
  2. Go on a humanitarian trip to Africa
  3. Rent an RV for a month
  4. Climb Mt. Fuji with your best friend
  5. Win a merit based scholarship
  6. See every country in Europe
  7. Become a foster parent
  8. See all of the National Parks
  9. Take a cross country road trip
  10. Window shop at every store in the Mall of America
  11. Go on all the rides at Disneyland
  12. Complete a triathlon
  13. Teach an adult how to read
  14. Attend an event at the Olympics
  15. Take a transatlantic cruise
  16. Spend the night in a Medieval castle
  17. Sing karaoke solo in front of total strangers
  18. Get a black belt in karate
  19. Go on a camping trip in Alaska
  20. Ride a donkey up the mountain to Santorini
  21. Rent a boat along the Congo River
  22. Kiss a dolphin
  23. Learn how to fly a plane
  24. See all the ancient wonders in Egypt
  25. Have a conversation with a stranger in a foreign language
  26. Sing the national anthem in front of 500 people
  27. Star in a TV commercial
  28. Attend a church service at the Sagrada Familia after it is completed
  29. Travel entirely by train on a 6 month trip through Europe
  30. Take a trip to see glaciers and polar bears
  31. Ride the top 10 highest roller coasters in the world
  32. Become a vegetarian
  33. Attend the Iditarod sled races in Alaska
  34. Ride on a ship through the Panama Canal
  35. Walk the entire length of the Great Wall of China
  36. Swim to and stand behind a giant waterfall
  37. Give a graduation speech to 3,000 students
  38. Zip line across the Amazon rainforest
  39. Visit every island in South East Asia
  40. Have dinner with your favorite musician
  41. Get entirely out of debt
  42. Participate in Brazil’s Carnival
  43. Make it to the final table at the World Series of Poker
  44. Become a homeowner
  45. Visit Victoria Falls
  46. Save a life becoming a bone marrow donor
  47. Swim with sharks in Palau
  48. Audition for a game show
  49. Become the president of a community organization
  50. Swim from San Francisco’s Aquatic Park to Alcatraz island
  51. Help someone complete an item on their bucket list
  52. Be a featured artist at a local gallery or business
  53. Learn how to drive a stock car at Talladega Raceway
  54. Attend a prayer service at The Blue Mosque
  55. Start your own business

I hope I’ve given you some inspiration to work on your bucket list!

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Current as of 10/25/2014

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Daisy May 29, 2012 at 6:47 am

All great ideas! I haven’t made a “formal” bucket list just yet, but I know what I want to accomplish with my life. I should write it all down, so that I can at least revisit it and see how my list changes as years pass.

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Sydney May 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Thanks Daisy! You gotta write it down!! It feels awesome having it laid out and you’ll get more pumped to work towards crossing things off.

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Kathleen @ Frugal Portland May 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I have one of these! I love lists, and I love your suggestions.

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Sydney May 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Thanks! I’m glad to hear you have a bucket list Kathleen! I get excited when I hear other people have compiled their own bucket lists. I met a woman a few weeks ago who had indoor skydiving (which I’ve done and it’s INCREDIBLE) on her bucket list and she was getting ready to do it the next day. People light up when they talk about their lists, especially when they are ready to cross something off. Good luck with your list!

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Lance@MoneyLife&More May 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I definitely need to WRITE DOWN a bucket list. I’ve thought of some ideas but never really wrote anything down. I’m thinking I should put it as a page on my blog as well so I can try to get some of the items done. I really liked the show The Buried Life on MTV. I was sad when they cancelled it. Best of luck with your list and get moving!

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Sydney May 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Yes Lance, you gotta write it down! :) Even if you don’t know everything you want to put on yours right now, I bet just starting with one or two items will get your creative juices flowing pretty quickly.

I just went to look up “The Buried Life” (it was a reality show with 4 guys working on finishing a list of 100 things to do before they die) as I never heard of it before. I can see how that must have been a fun show to watch! But the good news is that now that it’s cancelled you’ll have more time to put towards your own list of things to do before ya kick the bucket!

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Big Fish May 30, 2012 at 6:58 am

Hey Sydney,

Even better than writing down a list, creating a board with pictures of the achieved goals both stimulates our senses and (mystically?) helps brings forth the opportunities to make these dreams come true – case in point:

5 years ago we started such a board with our first picture, 2 people looking down on Machu Picchu; to make it seem more real we even pasted pictures of our heads over theirs! We looked at it everyday, waiting for the right opportunity to come, which it did about 4 months ago when there was a 2 for 1 sale on trips to – you guessed it – Peru! Last Sunday night we got home from that life changing trip, where a mere 5 days ago we were getting our own photos taken while looking down on Machu Picchu!
Now we are home the old picture has come down (Mission Accomplished!) and been replaced with a new one… spending a week in an apartment in Venice, Italy.

I’ve used this system to complete over 100 goals in my life, so I know it works! Give it a try!

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Sydney May 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Oh my gosh – I love it!! That is so awesome you went to Machu Picchu and with a 2 for 1 sale too! And I like how you have now replaced the goal pic with a mission accomplished pic. :)

I like your next item too. Venice is so beautiful, you’ll love it. It’s small but I found it so charming. The areas around San Marco are always PACKED with tourists, but it’s easy to wander (and get lost) into little alleys without anyone else in sight. I’m getting excited for you guys just remembering how unique Venice is. Boy could I go for some of their squid ink pasta and 2 scoops of gelato right now! :)

PS – pack LIGHT and pack smart! I had a roller bag and even though it wasn’t that big it was a huge pain lugging it up and down the steps – which are EVERYWHERE in Venice. I got totally lost trying to find my hotel too which didn’t help but was a fun adventure in itself. You could always hire a water taxi but those are big bucks which you’re better off saving for a gondola ride (those don’t come cheap either!)

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Big Fish May 31, 2012 at 6:18 am

I hear you – thanks for the advice! Actually, it will be my 3rd time to Venice, but the new goal is for us to begin home swapping and spending 1 or 2 weeks living in the cities we’ve enjoyed visting in the past – true “Untemplater” style!

Cheers!

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Financial Samurai May 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Love it Sydney! You’ve inspired me to write my own bucket list this year. It’s scary how quickly we age. Gotta keep track or else we might let everything pass us by!

I’m gonna think BIG as you recommend, and a little audaciously!

Sam

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Sydney May 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm

That’s great to hear Sam! I’m glad you’re pumped to write your own list now. And I hear ya on the aging – our parents and teachers weren’t kidding when they told us growing up “time goes faster as you get older.” I’m hoping my knees and legs stay strong for a long time because I’ll be so sad when (or if) I can’t hike, dance, and go on full day tours anymore. I think I’ll go do some knee exercises now. :)

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Tony James Slater May 31, 2012 at 2:34 am

Whilst messing around on the internet I came across the concept of Mind Movies – a start-up company all about making short ‘affirmation’ clip reels, interspersed with pics of things you want – the idea being, by watching the movie back and visualizing those things, you create the pleasure of experiencing them – thus attracting them!
It’s worked amazingly well for me – I was quite shocked, having not watched the Mind Movie I made for a few months due to traveling – I discovered I’d knocked off another few achievements from the movie! There was a picture of a top of the line Macbook Pro, one of someone riding through Petra in Jordan, and a mock-up of my book as published – and I’d brought all these things into my life since I last watched the movie!
Now… time to make a new movie I guess :0)
Tony

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femmefrugality June 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm

What great ideas! I love the ideas for getting started, too. I recently started my list…it’s mostly filled with skiing and travel…better get saving!

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Amanda at CreditShout June 5, 2012 at 7:33 am

I was totally with you on this list until you got to the National Anthem one! Yikes. I love how a lot of these ideas are travel-related, but not typical touristy things to do.

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Sydney June 6, 2012 at 8:12 am

I know that is an intimidating one! I’ve performed in front of people before but not for that many. I’d be so nervous about forgetting the words as we hear stories like that all the time even with professionals.

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Charlotte September 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I want to write a bucket list, but I’ve already accomplished some things that I want to do. Do you think I should include these and then cross them off straight away or just leave them out?

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Sydney September 27, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Hi Charlotte. If the items you already accomplished were significant achievements to you, I think it’s a great idea to include them crossed off. This way you’ll remember what they were each time you look at your bucket list, plus it will keep you motivated to complete new items on your list. Feeling good about the things we’ve accomplished is very motivating and makes us happy!

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SK8ERCHICK02 October 30, 2012 at 11:35 am

ok so i luv ur list and im adding some of these things to mine heres what i have b4 reading urs

Play dingdong ditch in a hotel

take someone elses drink at Starbucks on purpose

write down all your secrets signed with your name and let them go into the sky tied onto helium filled balloons

write your will

visit pairs

visit Italy

visit Greece

set foot on all 7 continents

rope swing off a cliff

have a food fight

have a shaving cream fight

lave a note on someones car window

take a picture every day for a year

read 100 days a year

spend new years eve in time square

dance with a complete stranger
get a tattoo

bury a time capsule

kiss someone who is not expecting to be kissed

donate blood

go on a cruise

swim with dolphins

ride a mechanical bull

throw someone a surprise party

perform on a stage

egg and tp a house

go zip lining

don’t drink soda for a month

ride in a limo

only say yes for a whole day

only say no for a whole day

go to a drive in theater

visit the Hershey chocolate factory in Pennsylvania

ride a subway

ride a segway

ride a train

ride on a plane

order a cake at least 5 teers tall

write a letter to someone every day for a year

call out sexy to a really ugly random guy

call out sexy to a really hot random guy

give your number to a really hot guy

give your number to a really ugly guy

tell a random girl that her boobs are showing when there not

throw sand at someones face then duck into the water so they don’t see you

scream that you saw a shark in a kiddie pool

say you saw a mermaid

be on TV
kiss someone back

pretend you’re talking to fish

scream when a tiny waves come

dig a giant hole

write a childrens book

bury your who9le body but your head in the sand

dye your hair with every color of the rainbow at least once

walk on the streets in Halloween costumes w hen its not Halloween and when people ask just say what costume

realm to ice skate

walk on a frozen lake or river

hang glide

pierce a body part besides your ear

have a sleepover on a roof

have a outrageous wish come true

eat a whole jar of nutella without drinking or eating anything else inbetween or an hour after

donate hair

use a fake name at starbucks

buy a really expensive pair of high heels

go to a dance

go to prom

go to a dance without a date

play spin the bottle

destroy a ton of fruit with a sledge hammer

kiss a girl

ask a girl for her number

ask a random guy for his number

pay for something in all pennies

fly first class

fall in love

play truth or dare at midnight outside in the pitchblack

go swimming in skinny jeans

shower in your clothes

pee in a urinal

walk a tightrope

rent or buy a rv and go on a huge roadtrip

take a cross country road trip

window shop at evrey store in the mall of america

go on all the rides in disneyland

teach some one how to read

teach someone how to ride a bike without training wheels

sing kareoke solo in front of total strangers

get a blck belt in karate

ride a donkey

kiss a dolphin

star in a tv commercial

become a vegitarian for at least a month

keep a journal and write in it evrey day for at least a year

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Sydney October 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Nice list, you’ve got some funny ones in there.

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Ninette December 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Well I have decided this new Year instead of making a resolution , I am going to write me a Bucket List andwith Gods help try to accomplish many of the items on it before I leave this world. I am currently 61 and my desire and wish with help from the Almighty is to live till in my 90s like my Dad andother family members. I enjoyed your bucket list and ihave to say a few of the things you listed are some I think I would love doing in addition to my own …who knows,we may cross paths in doing them …Smile

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Sydney December 26, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Awesome Ninette! I’m so glad to hear you’re writing a bucket list. That’s a good sign your dad and other members of your family have lived into their 90s. I don’t think anyone in my family has lived that long but I’m hoping I’ll be the first! :) Best of luck with your list and hope you have a blast!

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