How To Make A Bucket List That Is Worth Completing

A bucket list is a list of adventures, activities and places that you want to visit and experience in your life before you die. A Life List is similar but differs in that it has a deadline earlier on in life. This guide applies to both but favors the latter for reasons that will become obvious later.

1. Find a Creative Place and Do a Crazy Brainstorm

First, find a place where you can be creative. When I was creating my list, I chose a comfy chair at a friends house. The only steadfast rule is that the place you choose must inspire you. Once you arrive, find a way to write (I like brainstorming on whiteboards but sometimes a notebook works better) and get list making!.

Write a list of everything that you potentially would like to do. At this point, nothing is too crazy! Try the world’s spiciest pepper, swim with a stingray, visit all seven continents. If it is interesting to you, add it to your list!

Consider all of the following:

  • Places you would like to visit
  • Foods you would like to taste
  • Movie scenes you would like to experience in real life
  • Skills you would like to learn
  • People you would like to meet
  • Activities you would like to try

Think about beautiful beaches, delicious meals, lavish vacations, crazy adventures and anything else that interests you.

Want To Browse More Bucket List Items To Use As Inspiration?

Check out my Life List here or skim through some of these popular list items:

  1. My Greatest Adventure Yet
  2. Exploring Easter Island
  3. Buying a Same-Day Plane Ticket To A Foreign Country
  4. Stumbling Upon The Greatest Party In The World
  5. Starring in a Commercial

2. Involve Your Friends and Family

Next, get your friends and family involved. When I went through this process, I learned a lot about my friends and heard completely new stories about my family members. (For better or for worse my mom told me about her adventure at Mardi Gras… :-/ I added it to my list and then blocked the story from my memory. :-p)

Specifically, ask your friends and family the following two questions:

  1. What is the coolest, bucket list-like item, that you have done in your life?
  2. What bucket list-like item have you always wanted to try?

3. Do a Quick Prioritization

Go through your list and put stars next to the one that are your favorites. Choose ones that are personal, outlandish, creative and fun.

4. Involve Others

This step is the hardest but it also offers the biggest rewards.

Bring in other people who inspire you. Ever hear those stories about completely normal people who somehow get interviews with big shots? I have found the trick to achieving this is simple. All you need to do is honestly explain your story (you are creating a bucket list worthy of completion) and offer to treat the people who inspire you to coffee or lunch.

When I did this, some people said no but most agreed to meet. As a result, I ended up meeting many of the most inspiring people in my hometown. This 22 year-old girl did it and met many of the most successful people in America.

When you meet, ask them same two questions from above and share some of your starred items from your list. It is sure to be their most interesting meeting of the day.

As a result of these meetings you gain two benefits. You get other people behind your efforts and you get additional items for your list.

5. Audit Your List

Go through your list and remove or cross out any items that are actually undoable. This is trickier than it sounds!

Just because something is incredibly expensive, doesn’t mean it is unachievable. I started my list with very little money and ended up figuring out ways to win some of my more expensive life list item adventures.

The amount of items that you remove should be minimal!

  • Grow a third arm? Probably not going to happen.
  • Win an Emmy, Tony and Superbowl in one year? Pick one! :-)
  • Go to the moon! Keep it, space travel is becoming more possible every day.

Believe in your abilities but don’t set yourself up for failure by including list items that are completely in the hands of other people.

But What About Money?

You already know that your list isn’t just going to pay for itself! Check out the following articles that outline the tricks I have used to pay for my list items:

  1. How To Find Cheap Places To Stay While Traveling
  2. How To Find The Cheapest Airfare
  3. How Much Does It Cost To Travel The World?
  4. Funding Happiness

6. Set a Deadline (Optional but much cooler!)

The key step to transforming my list from a dream to my reality was when I gave myself a deadline. I knew that if I didn’t give myself an end date, I would procrastinate for the rest of my life. I chose an arbitrary date, May 25th 2017, and took it to the extreme of getting it tattooed on me. You don’t have to take it this far :-p but I do recommend putting tools in place to help you move forward.

It is the deadline that makes your list a life list (emphasis on life :-) ) rather than a bucket list (emphasis on death :-( )

7. Identify Your First Item and Take Action

This last step is the most fun. Find the simplest item on your list and do it. For me, this was getting a straight razor shave at my local barber. For you, it might be something completely different. The item should be inexpensive, low stress and more or less convenient. The important part is just getting it done.

After you complete this process, let me know! I want to help support you! Really I do! Send me an e-mail with your list. I’d love to see what you have come up with!

Still Not Ready To Create Your Bucket List?

Then head over to the guides section and find the articles that other people used to get started on their own list.

10 comments… add one

  • Amanda Sep 11, 2013

    Your life list is so inspiring! I love reading it. I plan to write mine down on paper (or rather, post to The Interwebs) soon.

    • Danny Dover May 24, 2014

      Post a link when you get your list online! I want to read it :-)

  • Steven Jun 25, 2014

    Hi Danny,

    Thanks for the wonderful web site. I have a question about the minimalist. I plan to keep my items own starting from 200 down to 150. Do you consider books (hard copy) as 1 item or multiple. Because I have many books.

    Thanks

    • Danny Dover Jun 28, 2014

      I consider them all as individual items. When I ran into the same problem, I invested in a cheap older version of the Kindle and transferred all of my books to electronic.

  • Steven Jun 30, 2014

    Hi Danny,

    Thanks for your reply. I have started to keep only ebooks and I will start to keep a life list too.

    I have shared with many friends about mninimalist. Many of them realized that they don’t need so many things.

    I am very impressed with your site and I have decided to create one too. May I know are you using a tool or you code it.

    Finally, I like what you wrote about Singapore and I cannot be more agreeable with you because I am born on this little piece of rock called Singapore..

    Thanks..

    • Danny Dover Jul 13, 2014

      :-) Best of luck with your endeavors in minimalism. It has brought a lot of value to my life and I hope it does the same for you :-)

      I run my website on Wordpress which doesn’t require knowing how to code.

  • It's just Liz Aug 3, 2014

    Dear Danny,
    I’ve enjoyed your videos on YouTube for a little while now, but am just now discovering this site. I really enjoy your writing- both the style and the content. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!
    Cheers!
    ~Elizabeth

    • Danny Dover Aug 4, 2014

      Thanks Elizabeth. Welcome to the blog! This blog is my primary outlet, the videos are just on the side. I hope you continue to like the writing as much as the videos.

      Cheers!

  • Rita Naik Aug 16, 2014

    I came across your write up about not returning to Singapore.Sometimes survival takes priority over personal likes for a lot of people.But you are right.We need to have a list to make us feel better.Also some of us may have done a lot of things in life without realising it. So you have helped me to put things in perspective.Keep writing and I hope you live your life fully.Wish you all the best.

  • ahmed Nov 17, 2014

    im ahmed from egypt i:m a doctor ,has amaster degree in diagnostic radiology and lived now in kuwit:::really you are amazing :::: i begin to change my life cuz of you and i follow you to make my bucket life::you inspiring me since i enter your blog, i:m addicted to this blog and hope you help me for more support…::i hope be a friends:::really thx danny

Leave a Comment

Join the community of 30,000+