9 Steps to Make a Bucket List of Your Dreams

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If you'd like to accomplish your dreams, but aren't sure where to start, you can benefit from learning how to make a bucket list. This can help you organize the experiences you've always wanted to have, so that you’re excited and prepared to go out and actually experience them. 

If the thought of getting organized scares you – mostly because you have no idea where you’d like to start – just take a step back for a moment and picture the life you’ve always wanted. Think about any regrets you have. Imagine what you’d want written about you in an obituary. As depressing as that sounds, the term “kicking the bucket” is synonymous with death.  Thus, the “bucket list” came to be.  It’s supposed to be filled with everything you’d like to accomplish (or at least try) before you die.

You don’t need all of the details sorted out before you can start making your list. Just take things one small step at a time and, before you know it, you'll be on your way to having magnificent experiences most people only dream of. 

I've always found lists to be extremely useful. They give me a simple way to keep my thoughts in order, remember what I want to get done, and stay committed to what I'd like to achieve. In this post, I'll offer 9 helpful steps you can take to create a bucket list of your dreams.

What Is a Bucket List?

A bucket list is a collection of achievements or experiences someone hopes to accomplish or have in their lifetime. This differs from goal setting, which many people think is the same thing. You see, a goal is something you work towards… while each item on your bucket list is an experience you want to have at the moment.  

Some examples of personal goals include finding a partner you love, becoming a better listener, and buying your first home. Exploring a cave and hang gliding are bucket list items. 

The purpose of a bucket list is to give us a way to reflect on our personal values and recognize the experiences we'd like to have before dying. For instance, if you possess compassion, you might desire to make the world a better place. This might lead you to foster or adopt a puppy, or participate in a charity walk, among other things. 

Bucket lists can also reiterate the importance of daring to dream. Having dreams allow us to use our imaginations to inspire ourselves to accomplish marvelous things. If you spend much of your free time wishing you were a more spiritual person, for example, you might be inclined to put meeting the Dalai Lama or experiencing a new religion on your bucket list.

How To Make a Bucket List: 9 Useful Steps

Step #1: Pick a Place for Your List

Since your bucket list will be filled with your greatest aspirations, writing it down on a napkin simply isn't good enough. You should pick the perfect place for it, such as a beautiful journal or a hand bound book. And if you don't enjoy using paper and pen, you can create an Excel spreadsheet or Word document. 

Step #2: Use Printables for Writing and Displaying

While it can be nice to keep your list in a book or journal, you can also display one or more lists on your wall with printables. You can write your dreams on templates you download and print. Use them as a visual reminder so you never forget what's important to you.

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You can also display one or more lists on your wall with printables.

There are many free aesthetically pleasing printable templates for travel, summer, fall, spring, quarantine, and various others. These make it easier than ever to create appealing lists that truly resonate with your extremely worthwhile aspirations. In addition, you can print as many as you need or want.

Another way to make them look as pleasant as possible is to frame them and hang them on a wall or set them on a desk. Doing so can give you a way to see them every day and know how special your dreams really are to you. 

Benefits of Using Printables

  • Can be used as visual reminders
  • Stay committed to achieving your dreams
  • Inspire and motivate yourself daily
  • Aesthetically pleasing designs
  • Stay organized
  • Easy to use
  • Free to download
  • Various themes to choose from
  • Print as many as you'd like

Step #3: Name Your List

It's not necessary to name it a bucket list, because if you want to accomplish your aspirations, you need to get inspired. This means you can come up with any name you'd like.

Some ideas you might like are My Ultimate Dreams, Awesome Life Aspirations, or The Lengthy Life List, among others. The list isn’t going anywhere, so give it a name that can go the distance!

Step #4: Choose Your List Length

Deciding on how long your list will be isn't meant to limit the number of experiences you'd like to have. Instead, choosing a length can help you manage it better. This way, you won't create a list that's too long and unmanageable.

Initially, try keeping it on the shorter side, since 30 items seems easier to start with than 130. You can add extra items as time goes by. 

Step #5: Organize Your List

If you don't organize your list, it can grow too long and disorderly. You can break it down into pieces by separating your experiences by themes, such as travel or a season. This would be a great time to use the printable templates I mentioned above. 

Step #6: Inspire Yourself With Ideas

I think this is the most exciting part of making a bucket list. Firstly, you can start collecting big and small ideas by thinking about what you've always dreamed of doing. Whether you'd love to swim with dolphins, name a star, or buy a homeless person a meal, write these down.

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Start collecting big and small ideas by thinking about what you've always dreamed of doing.

Besides using your imagination, sources of inspiration include magazines, Pinterest or Instagram, friends who have bucket lists, and more.  You can also use a vision board!

Step #7: Spend Time on Self-Reflection

When you learn how to make a bucket list, it's vital to understand your personal desires. This makes it necessary to take time for self-reflection on a deeper level. Not everyone has the same dreams. Despite the fact that plenty of people might aspire to attend the Olympics, you might feel completely differently. 

That's why it's also important to know what activities are NOT important to you and put them in your anti-bucket list so you don't waste your time.

Step #8: Brainstorm With Friends

Spending too much time brainstorming alone can cause you to overthink your dreams. This is also a problem I tend to have. To stop overthinking, I go outdoors to breathe fresh air and get some sunshine. Alternatively, I'll spend time with friends or family to refresh my thinking process. You can get together with one or more friends to talk about your bucket list ideas. Your friends probably have ideas you haven't thought of. 

Step #9: Get Started on Living Your Dreams

After you've figured out how to make a bucket list, you can start living out your dreams. These should be meaningful, help you grow as a person, or be just plain fun. Consider inviting someone you genuinely enjoy spending time with to start checking off the items on your list. Once you tick one adventure off, you might not be able to stop. 

Final Thoughts on How To Make a Bucket List

In the grand scheme of things, knowing how to make a bucket list can make your life easier and put your dreams within reach. You won't waste time wondering what you'll do with the rest of your life because the answer is right in front of you.

And if you’re still not sure what to include on your list, figuring that out can be half the fun. Consider asking a friend or family member to help you with ideas… or scour the Internet for inspiration.  Honestly, you don’t have to try too hard if you listen to your heart. What it really wants has always been there – and signs are everywhere – if you keep your eyes and mind open.

Partnering with a close friend for some incredible adventures is a great accountability tool… plus, a memory you’ll both cherish forever. Remember: this is your life and you deserve to enjoy every second of it. Take control of the things you can, while you can, and be grateful for every opportunity.

Don’t just imagine a happier, more fulfilling life… take hold of it and do something! Nobody is guaranteed a tomorrow, but today is still on the table. And the table is yours to set. 

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9 Steps to Make a Bucket List of Your Dreams