Bucket lists have gained a lot of popularity over the last decade. If you don’t have one yourself, chances are you’ve heard of them. For us, a bucket list fits right in with our value of intentional living. Read on to learn more about the origin of bucket lists, why to have one, and inspiration for creating your own.
What’s a Bucket List?
A relatively new phrase, a bucket list is a list of things someone wants to experience or accomplish before dying. Over time, the meaning has somewhat shifted to be less morbid and more about living life to the fullest. The history of the phrase goes back only to 1999, though it was not publicly used until 2006.
In 1999, screenwriter Justin Zackham composed a checklist which he titled "Justin's list of things to do before he kicks the bucket." He later shortened it to "Justin's bucket list." This list he created was the inspiration behind his 2007 film The Bucket List—the story of two terminally ill men who make a list of everything they want to do before their deaths and set out to cross off each item.
Since the film’s debut, bucket list has become a common, everyday phrase appearing in various dictionaries. Today, there are countless websites, mobile apps, and other resources in existence to inspire a lifetime of aspirations.
Why Have One
As Oscar Wilde said: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” Perhaps it’s human nature to keep busy with the day-to-day while postponing dreams and desires for some later date. A bucket list helps you put everything into focus. Once you take the time to create a list, your values and priorities become clear, your motivation and excitement increase. You realize that time is precious and making the most of it is absolutely essential.
How to Start One
Our first suggestion is to find a journal you love. Inside this journal you will jot down your list, preferably leaving room for planning and/or writing about your experiences completing each item. Starting your bucket list is as simple as writing down everything you want to experience or achieve. Sounds easy enough, but it can be hard to know where to begin.
Spend some time brainstorming. Think about the things you really hope to see, experience, and accomplish. Consider the following categories: Travel, relationships, career, financial, entertainment, adventure, contribution, creativity, education, and health. Ask yourself questions like: What events do I want to attend? What places do I want to visit? In what ways do I want to give back?
Traditionally, bucket lists include a lifetime of dreams and goals, but if you prefer creating a bucket list for a specific year, a season, or a decade of your life, go for it. Having a projected date of completion certainly increases motivation to check things off your list.
No matter how you decide to set up your list, refer to it often. There is value in continually reminding yourself of your dreams and goals. Research even shows you’re more likely to accomplish them.
Inspiration for Your List
Click here for more inspiration on what you can add to your list! This awesome website lets you browse goals by categories, see how many people have added a specific item to their list, and how many people have accomplished each.
Fun fact: Bucketlist.net has a large community of users creating bucket lists and below are the top 10 items they see most frequently on lists.
- See the Northern Lights
- Get a tattoo
- Go on a cruise
- Swim with dolphins
- Get married
- Go scuba diving
- Run a marathon
- Buy a house
- Go ziplining
We hope you've been inspired to either create a bucket list or gain a renewed focus on your existing list. In the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”