Before You Die: How to Create a Bucket List

Posted by: Erin Ward in Just for Fun | July 8, 2021
Whether it’s traveling somewhere new or learning a skill, we all have new things we want to experience. That’s exactly what a bucket list is for! Merriam-Webster defines it as “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.” Ultimately, it helps you determine your goals in life and what you want to accomplish before you die.

Understandably, death can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, so bucket lists can make this conversation a little easier. Writing bucket lists is a great activity to do as a family, so you can learn more about everyone’s interests and how they want to be remembered.

When creating your list, it can be digital, such as in a Word document, a phone app (there are many free apps to choose from), or a simple list on your phone’s notepad app. Or, if you prefer a handwritten list like myself, you can use a journal.

Once you’ve decided your method, it’s time to write the list. Below are some questions and examples to help inspire some ideas!

Brainstorming Bucket List Ideas: Questions to Ask Yourself

When adding items to your bucket list, remember that there are no right or wrong ideas. Your list can range from new experiences and skills to more silly goals and serious topics. No matter how big or small, if it brings you joy, it’s worth including.

Below are some questions you can ask yourself when coming up with ideas:
  1. How do you want to be remembered? 
  2. What makes you happy? 
  3. What makes you laugh?  
  4. Where do you want to visit?  
  5. How do you want to make a positive difference?  
  6. What matters the most to you? 
  7. What are your favorite hobbies? 
  8. Who do you want to meet?  
  9. What are some new skills you want to learn? 
  10. What do you want to accomplish? 

Examples from My Own Bucket List and the Meaning Behind Them

If you want to take it a step further, don’t just write down the ideas and leave it as that. To help you gain a better understanding of why these goals matter to you, include explanations.  
To give you some examples, these are a few ideas from my own list and the meaning behind them.

  1. Visit a foreign country: I have yet to travel abroad, so one of my goals is to visit a foreign country; Italy is my top choice. Many years ago, I did a big project on Florence in school and have wanted to visit the city ever since.
  2. Own a dog: Like many people, I’m a dog lover — with a soft spot for corgis. While it’s great to play with other people’s dogs, someday I want to have a furry friend of my own.
  3. Learn to ice skate: Despite always going all out for the holidays, I’ve never tried ice skating. So, this is a new skill that I want to learn before I die.

Need Some Inspiration? Here Are Some More Ideas

Writing a bucket list is an ongoing process that can be a little overwhelming. What do you want to do before you die? Where do you even start? To spark some inspiration, we’ve broken down some ideas into three categories:

  • Visit all 50 U.S. states
  • Travel to a new country
  • Visit a historic site
  • Hike at a national park
  • Visit the town your parents grew up in
New experiences:
  • Try a brand-new food
  • Volunteer for an important cause
  • Go skydiving
  • Audition for a local play
  • Try a brand-new haircut
New skills:
  • Cook a new dish
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Try out a sport
  • Make a new craft project
  • Read a new book series

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