How to write & use a bucket list

Skydiving

Is skydiving one of your goals?

A bucket list is essentially a list of things you’d like to do in your lifetime. This can include activities, events and places you’d like to visit, people you’d like to meet, skills you’d like to learn, and more. Your bucket list is personal to you and reflects your life’s goals. We all have thoughts about things we’d like to do ‘one day’, but it can be easy to forget these things if they’re not written down as a reminder. Enter the bucket list. But how do you compile such a momentous document? Follow these six simple steps.

Step 1: Brainstorming

Put some time aside, settle down with a cuppa, and get brainstorming. This can be difficult to start with, but will get easier as you go along. Think about things you’d like to do, see, achieve and experience in life. Don’t include anything that you’d be doing just to impress others — this is all about you and what you want from life. Consider your dreams and what brings you fulfillment, as well as what has brought you the most happiness so far in your life. Perhaps you had a dream or passion as a child that has fallen by the wayside now you’re an adult — add that to your list.

A couple of pointers for your brainstorming session:

  • Don’t feel you have to add skydiving to the list if that isn’t something you actually want to do — it’s not for everyone, yet it’s always half-expected on a bucket list for some reason!
  • No goal is too small — yes, include big and challenging goals, but also include some smaller and more easily-achievable goals. It’s not about the size of the goals, it’s about you.

Step 2: Discover the common themes

Volunteers

Is volunteering with a charity on your list?

Once you’ve formed quite a lengthy list, take a look for common themes. Perhaps you’ll discover that the majority of your goals are musical, or you get the most fulfillment in life from helping others. Use your theme to think of other things you might like to add to your list, and jot them down.

Step 3: Talk to others

Once you’ve finished with your list, sit down with loved ones and discuss your ideas. Ask them about their favourite experiences in life so far, and what features on their own bucket lists — you are bound to discover some new ideas for your own list.

Step 4: Write your goals down

Now it’s time to collate all of your ideas into a list. This can be with pen and paper (my favourite!) or on a computer. Writing them down means you’ll remember them and can track your progress in achieving your goals and ambitions.

Step 5: Edit & organise your list

Writing a bucket list

Writing a bucket list can be really rewarding

Once you have written your list, leave it alone for a few days, then return to it and edit — remove anything you’re unsure of, and add any new ideas you’ve thought of. Break all your big goals down into bitesize steps, making them far more likely to happen. Is there any easier variations of a big goal you could try first? If so, go for it. For example, if you’d like to set up an ice cream parlour, you could start out by providing an ice cream cart to weddings and take it from there.

Group your goals together to make them less overwhelming, and also easier to tackle — if some are time-sensitive, gather those together and pop them at the top of your list. Likewise, consider seasons, years, your age, the cost, and locality, and group your goals accordingly.

Step 6: Get crossing things off your list!

Now the fun really begins! It’s time to start crossing goals off your bucket list as you complete them. Prioritise those things which are time-limited, so you don’t miss out on anything you’d really like to experience. Then highlight three goals that really excite you, and make those your first challenges.

Review your bucket list frequently as your goals might change as you go through life. Have fun!

As a long-term stationery lover, I adore working for The Pen Company. My childhood saw me carrying around a little red briefcase covered in stickers and full of pens, paper and other such goodies; my adulthood sees me doing pretty much exactly the same!