Should You Create a Bucket List?

Some people may get turned off by the term "bucket list," but the reality is that most people do have a bucket list, even if they haven't written it down yet. Creating a bucket list can be a great way to focus your thoughts & intentions and find some direction in your life. Bucket lists can be very specific or very broad, depending on what you'd like to accomplish and how quickly you'd like to achieve each accomplishment.

If you've wanted to create a bucket list and start working on the tasks, but felt like you didn't know where to start, how to create the list, or what items should be on the list, worry no more. Everyone should create a bucket list at some point in their life, so here's how to get started. In just a few minutes you'll understand what a bucket list is, why a bucket list is important, and how to start crafting your own list today.

What Is a Bucket List?

A bucket list is a specific list of activities you would like to complete or accomplish by a set date or deadline. Many people make bucket lists for each season to help celebrate throughout the year, while others make their bucket list travel-specific with places they want to visit, life goal-specific with milestones they'd like to accomplish during their lifetime, or birthday-specific with things they'd like to do before a milestone birthday or during the year of a milestone birthday.

Bucket lists can be specific to a hobby, like traveling, reading, writing, or watching films, or it can be full of big-picture life goals like having children, graduating college, or owning a home. The best bucket list has a variety of activities, from those that fulfill your hobbies and your interests, to places you'd like to visit, things you'd like to do in life, and stretch goals that feel a little unattainable.

A stretch goal is commonly known as "dreaming big," where you add items to a list that feel a bit far-fetched, but with some research and preparation you can achieve them. The bucket list is the perfect list to add these items to, as a bucket list is designed to push you to do things outside of your comfort zone and try things you wouldn't normally do.

Why Is It So Important to Have a Bucket List?

It's important to have a bucket list because this is a list of life goals you would like to accomplish. Through the months, years, or your entire life it gives you something to look forward to working on, or a place to turn when you're feeling like you need direction. When you get to cross something off of your bucket list because you've completed it, you'll get a great sense of accomplishment along with a collection of memories to go along with that task.

A bucket list helps you focus on the things you'd like to do; those things that give you a jolt of excitement and push you to dig deep and go further. This can be true of smaller tasks related to your hobby or lifestyle, or bigger tasks like planning a trip, visiting a new place, or completing a life goal. The bucket list is also important because it gives you a target to reach for when things get a little tricky or overwhelming. It can be difficult to plan an international vacation, but knowing that you'll get to see the sights you've been dreaming of, enjoy the food and culture of another place, and that you'll have these memories for life, can help push you to sort out the problems, issues, or obstacles that are in your way.

Hobby-Specific Goals

Bucket lists can be useful in any area of your life, including your hobbies. No matter what you're into, you can make a list of things you'd like to accomplish, like reading 100 books, spending a year sewing your own clothing, or watching all the films or your favorite director or actor. These goals are great bucket list items because you can typically complete them at home, which makes them a great balance to travel items or big life milestones.

A bucket list item that may push you to explore your hobbies more could be to "go without technology for a month." Technology is always calling to us, whether it's the computer with email for work and social media for fun, or apps and games on our phones and tablets. Adding "go without technology for a month" to your own bucket list can get you back into your personal hobbies and experiencing daily life a little more intentionally.

Travel-Specific Goals

The most well-known application of a bucket list is used when traveling. Almost everyone has a destination in mind that they'd like to get to eventually, but those that travel as a hobby have a long list of destinations they'd like to visit. When shooing travel destinations, it's important to not only have a location in mind, but to also have a specific task or activity you'd like to accomplish while you're there. This will help drive your trip and give you a specific time of year to visit.

Cory riding a camel on a trip

There are so many great travel goals to add to your bucket list. Check out my list for some ideas. I want to go to a luau in Hawaii, get a tattoo in Thailand, and celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Ireland. I like to not only have a place in mind, but also a few activities for each place to help me make memories, give structure to my trip, and to keep the big picture in mind when things get tough, either in the planning or in my day-to-day.

Life-Specific Goals

Lastly, there are always some life-specific goals you'll want to add to your bucket list. These goals are typically one-time experiences that help drive your life on the path you're the most excited about. I had the goal of "graduating college" on my bucket list and it's great to be able to look back on that experience of both attending school and getting to cross the stage for my diploma.

Cory graduating college

A few other life goals I have on my list include writing a memoir and getting to speak at a TED or TEDx event. These larger stretch goals help me find purpose in my day-to-day life and remind me that while I'm not always actively working on a bucket list, there's a little bit of every day that can contribute to one of my big goals.

Now that you know what a bucket list is, it's time you start your own. Take my advice and write down 10 or more things you'd like to achieve. These can be big or small, but the bigger the better, as the process to reach that goal and the chance to cross it off your list with a big smile is well worth the work it takes to achieve it. I'm always adding to my bucket list, especially as I cross items off. There's always something else I want to work on, another place to see, another thing to do, or milestone to achieve, and having my bucket list helps me achieve my goals.

About the Author

Cory Lee

After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the U.S. when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned 15. Since then, Cory has traveled to 21 countries across six continents, all while managing to start up his travel blog Curb Free with Cory Lee, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not-so-accessible travel adventures with others. Cory is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). He has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, in a nationwide segment for CBS News, Lonely Planet, and many others. His blog won the 2017 Best Travel Blog Gold Lowell Thomas Award. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

Cory Lee's ride is a Quickie QM-710.

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Date: 10/8/2019 12:00:00 AM


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