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What Is a Bucket List? Bucket List Meaning & Definition

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What Is a Bucket List?

What is a bucket list? Simply put, a bucket list is a list of experiences you want to have or goals you want to achieve in your lifetime, before you die or “kick the bucket.”

Skydiving, seeing the Eiffel Tower light up in Paris, eating your way through Italy, swimming with dolphins, going to Coachella, bungee jumping… These are just a few examples of bucket list items.

What Is a Bucket List?

These days, bucket lists have become increasingly popular and don’t only refer to the things you want to accomplish before you die. You can create bucket lists around any theme, such as travel bucket lists, seasonal bucket lists, friendship bucket lists, and so on. The options are endless!

Many of us already have a mental bucket list, even if we don’t call it that. Think about the things you’ve always wanted to do, the dreams you’ve always wanted to accomplish, the places you’ve always wanted to go, etc. These are all contenders for your own personal bucket list.



Where Did the Phrase Originate?

The phrase “bucket list” most likely originated from the 2007 film The Bucket List but of course the concept of a bucket list has been around for much longer!

As mentioned above, bucket lists refer to the things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” That particular phrase, referring to dying, has been around since the Middle Ages! It’s likely that people have had bucket lists for centuries, even if they haven’t referred to them as such.

The Bucket List film stars Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, whose characters both have terminal cancer. Thus, they decide to create a bucket list of things they want to before they die. Although the film is definitely heart-wrenching, the phrase has taken on a happier connotation over the years and refers to living life to the fullest by setting out to accomplish your dreams and goals.


What Is a Bucket List


What Goes on a Bucket List?

When it comes to creating a bucket list, everyone’s is going to be different!

Your bucket list is a very personal thing. What have you dreamed about doing all your life? What are the experiences you want to have, places you want to travel, hobbies you want to try, and goals you want to accomplish in your lifetime? It’s all about what YOU want to do.

The most important thing is choosing bucket list items that inspire you. “Decluttering my closet” or “opening a retirement account” are not things for your bucket list… save that for your regular to-do list!

The items on your bucket list don’t have to be crazy or adventurous if you don’t want them to be. They can be simple as well. It’s all about what feels the most fulfilling to you.

Of course, if you need some inspiration coming up with bucket list ideas, that’s where I can help! I created Epic Bucket Lists to share the best ideas for your own bucket list.

You can also create bucket lists for different occasions. It doesn’t only have to be “once in a lifetime” experiences. You can make a bucket list for places you want to visit in your home state, or things you want to do with your boyfriend/girlfriend, for example.

Another idea is creating seasonal bucket list for different times of the year.

In short, the answer to what goes on a bucket list is whatever you want! As long as it is meaningful, fulfilling, and inspiring to you, it belongs on your own personal bucket list.


What Is a Bucket List


Why Should I Have a Bucket List?

There are many reasons to keep a bucket list.

One of the most obvious is that it is inspirational and encourages you to live life to the fullest.

But did you also know that the simple act of writing down your bucket list on a piece of paper or jotting it on a note on your phone makes it more likely to happen in real life?

Scientific studies have shown that writing your goals makes you up to 42% more likely to achieve them! Having a written record is a powerful visual reminder and motivator. That’s a great reason to sit down and write an actual bucket list, rather than just keeping a mental lists of things you’d like to do someday.

It’s also extremely satisfying to check things off your bucket list as you complete them!

Finally, creating a bucket list can increase your happiness and enjoyment of life. Finding ways to check off the items on your bucket list adds a dose of adventure to your life.

And your bucket list is something you’ll be able to look back on for the rest of your life and remember all the amazing memories you’ve created along the way.


What Is a Bucket List


Don’t Like the Term Bucket List?

Some people don’t like the phrase “bucket list” because of its association with death. It’s true, the term originated from things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.”

However, if you don’t want to call it a bucket list, there are plenty of alternative phrases to use instead!

For example, you could consider calling it a…

  • Life Goals List
  • Dreams List
  • Things to Do in My Lifetime
  • Life Plan
  • Wish List
  • Amazing Experiences to Have
  • Life To Do List

Whatever you want to call it, the concept is the same. It all comes down to the fact that you are creating a list of things that are fun, meaningful, and inspirational for YOU.



How to Start Your Own List

Starting a bucket list is really simple and something you can do immediately!

If you use a planner or journal, you can write your bucket list on one of the blank pages in it.

You can also write your bucket list on a piece of paper that you put somewhere you can see it every day, such as tacked to the refrigerator or hanging above your desk.

If you would prefer to do it digitally, you can simply make a note on your phone or create a document on your computer. There are also several bucket list apps you can download on your phone.

Once you’ve created your bucket list, you can check things off as you accomplish them. And remember, your bucket list can change over time! You might find yourself adding new items, or removing items you’re no longer interested in. Your bucket list never has to be complete.

You can also keep multiple bucket lists related to different topics. Some ideas for themed bucket lists include travel, seasonal, relationship, friendship, family, and hobby related bucket lists.


Bucket List Ideas


Final Thoughts

Hopefully this answered the question of what is a bucket list for you!

And maybe it inspired you to start your own too! If that’s the case, then be sure to take a look around Epic Bucket Lists for plenty of ideas to help you get started.

Once you’ve created your list, the fun part begins. Time to go out there and chase your dreams!