How to Make an Awesome Bucket List

As Ferris Bueller said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

He's right. Life goes fast and it seems to go faster and faster the older you get. A full-time job, family responsibilities and an addiction to the TV can suck up all of your time and you can miss out on the adventures you'd really like to experience. Don't wake up one day and feel like you've wasted your life. Plan now. Make a bucket list and do the things you really want to do.

Paul Osborn's recent post on Filling Your Life With Adventure mentioned an idea of a '30 before 30' list. The idea is to set a goal to complete 30 adventures before the age of 30. You can call it 25 by 25, 30 by 30, 40 by 40, 10 in the next 10 (Ten things to do in the next ten years) or just call it a bucket list. Whatever you call it, make sure you make your list then start working on marking off adventures one by one.

Bucket List

How to Make an Awesome Bucket List


1. Write it down. You've already got a couple epic trips in your mind but put it on paper where you can remember which trips you really want to complete. Having it on paper makes it real and helps you commit to making these dreams come true. Now that you've got it on paper, you can review the list periodically and prioritize your vacation days so you can squeeze in one or two bucket list items each year.

2. Think BIG but somewhat realistic. Every bucket list needs a couple of really huge trips that you'll have to work hard to achieve but don't set yourself up for failure. If you fill your list with only unrealistic goals you will actually demotivate yourself from even trying to complete any of the adventures. If you're naming 10 adventures, pick 2 really huge goals to achieve, 2 more big but achievable goals, 3 or 4 fun adventures you just need to plan ahead for and 2 or 3 easy trips you just haven't gotten around to.

3. Think about all aspects of your life. Fight the urge to only include travel to the list or only outdoor adventures. Mix it up. If you hike a lot but are also a huge sports fan, include 'Hike the John Muir Trail' and 'Attend a World Series Game' on the list. Include foods you want to try, people you want to be with and new things you want to try.

4. Make it fun. Instead of writing 'Visit Ireland' think about something really fun to do while you're there like 'Drink a Guinness in an actual Irish Pub'. Or instead of 'Climb a Colorado 14er' write 'Take a selfie from above 14,000 feet'. When you do that small thing you added to the list you'll smile and feel a greater sense of accomplishment.

5. Don't be afraid to edit the list. It's hard to write a complete bucket list on the first try. Start with a rough draft. Don't be afraid to cross items off that don't fit and add new items you think of after your buddy tell you about his recent trip to Thailand. It's probably a good idea to review your list periodically and update any items that you lose interest in or add new items you're really excited about.

As Paul Osborn says, "Day-Dreams Don't Make Memories" so make a list of adventures you'd like to complete and start making things happen. Also, you might try writing a reverse bucket list to review all of you accomplishment like our friend Katie Levy suggests.

Do you have some ideas for creating an awesome bucket list or 30 by 30 list? Tell us in the comment below or join our #STPLive Twiiter Chat on this topic 6pm EDT/3pm PDT Thursday March 20th. Just follow the Hashtag #STPLive.
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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