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How to Create Your Bucket List

Here's how to make sure to do more things you enjoy in life.

Key points

  • Often, a bucket list includes big accomplishments, travel, and fun things a person would like to experience.
  • In addition to fun, a person may also have some career-related items to add to a bucket list like mentoring someone or writing a book.
  • Unique goals to add to a bucket list may include conquering a life-long fear, becoming a black belt in karate, or learning a new art skill.
Photo by That's Her Business on Unsplash
Source: Photo by That's Her Business on Unsplash

A bucket list is a list of experiences one wants to have before they die. Often, a bucket list includes big accomplishments, travel, and fun things we’d like to experience in our lives. Given that engaging in positive activities is good for our well-being (Catalino et al., 2014), checking off things on our bucket list may also be good for our well-being. Simple pleasures may be especially beneficial to our well-being since contentment is thought to be central to what it means to live a fulfilling life (​​Cordaro et al., 2016).

So, let’s get started exploring ideas so you can create your own bucket list.

Bucket List Ideas

Here are some common things that might go on a bucket list:

  • Go to college
  • Fall in love
  • Get married
  • Find a job you enjoy
  • Have kids
  • Buy a house
  • Become a grandparent
  • Retire

For many people, travel is a big part of their bucket list. So here are some ideas that might involve travel:

  • Swim with jellyfish
  • Go on a cruise
  • Stay at a bed and breakfast
  • Go on safari
  • Hike in a rainforest
  • See penguins in their natural habitat
  • Go to an aquarium
  • Attend a luau
  • Stay in a resort hotel
  • Stay in an underwater hotel
  • Stay in an ice hotel
  • Travel in a train
  • See all seven continents
  • Go wine tasting at a vineyard
  • Visit a butterfly sanctuary
  • Take a hot air balloon ride
  • Live in a foreign country
  • Visit all 50 US states
  • Walk on a glacier
  • Sit in a hot spring
  • See the northern lights
  • See redwood trees
  • Go snorkeling
  • Swim with the dolphins
  • Learn how to hula

Is travel not really your jam? Here are some more fun bucket list ideas:

  • Run a marathon
  • Finish reading a classic novel
  • Set a Guinness world record
  • Go sky diving
  • Go bungee jumping
  • Go parasailing
  • Ride a motorcycle
  • Learn how to skateboard​
  • Learn a different language
  • Be in a parade
  • Ride a mechanical bull
  • Go skinny dipping
  • See your favorite band in concert
  • Go kayaking
  • Learn some magic tricks

In addition to doing fun things, we may also have some career-related items we want to put on our bucket list. Maybe we want to climb the ranks in our job or make a certain amount of money. Here are some more ideas:

  • Become an expert in your field
  • Mentor someone
  • Master a new work-related skill
  • Speak at a conference or event
  • Start a business
  • Lead a major project
  • Write a book
  • Teach a workshop
  • Take a job in another country
  • Become a philanthropist
  • Go back to school for your Master’s or PhD
  • Become a millionaire
  • Achieve financial independence
  • Retire early

Finally, here are a few more unique things you might want to add to your bucket list:

  • Support a cause that’s important to you
  • Paint a painting
  • Go green
  • Host a natural disaster refugee
  • Ride in a limo
  • Go vegan for one month
  • Try acupuncture
  • Conquer a lifelong fear
  • Dye your hair a crazy color
  • Get a tattoo
  • Get a six-pack
  • Become a black belt in karate
  • Reach your goal weight
  • Knit a sweater
  • Learn how to snowboard
  • Learn how to ski
  • Learn how to surf
  • Learn how to code
  • Learn how to play an instrument
  • Learn how to drive a stick shift
  • Go on a blind date
  • Be on TV
  • Eat at a Michelin star restaurant
  • Build your dream home

Final Thoughts on Bucket Lists

Making a bucket list is a fun way to clarify which activities and experiences you think will bring you joy and life satisfaction. As long as you don’t get too caught up in feeling like you have to do them all, this list can help serve as a road map for creating a life you love.

Adapted from an article published by The Berkeley Well-Being Institute.


Catalino, L. I., Algoe, S. B., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2014). Prioritizing positivity: An effective approach to pursuing happiness?. Emotion, 14(6), 1155.

Cordaro, D. T., Brackett, M., Glass, L., & Anderson, C. L. (2016). Contentment: Perceived completeness across cultures and traditions. Review of General Psychology, 20(3), 221-235.

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