I help everyday people bring more exciting bucket list experiences and fun things to do to everyday life.

How to Make a Realistic Bucket List & Get Ideas for 2021 (Free Printable)

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Bucket lists are all the rage.

Celebrity Will Smith has a show on Facebook devoted to his adventures globe trotting around the world and trying daredevil-like activities.

He jumped out of a helicopter that was flying over the Grand Canyon for his 50th birthday.

If you’re wondering what this is all about, why it’s important and how to make a realistic bucket list, I’ll explain.

What is a bucket list?

According to Macmillian Dictionary’s bucket list definition, a bucket list is “a list of things you want to do before you reach a certain age, or before you die.” It goes on to explain that it originally comes from the phrase ‘to kick the bucket’ which means ‘to die’.

The words “bucket list” usually makes people think of a travel bucket list filled with far away places to visit such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France or taking an excursion through the canals of Venice, Italy on a gondola ride. 

This might be because of the popular movie called The Bucket List where the two main characters were terminally ill and took off to fulfill their bucket list dreams.

They visit the pyramids in Egypt, fly over the North Pole, visit Mt. Everest and more.  Those are all worthwhile adventures we should strive to do, but it’s not the only way to look at a bucket list.  You can add in another layer of fun with different ideas.

Choose simple, realistic, everyday bucket list ideas too

Not all bucket list ideas have to be extravagant. They can actually be much simpler like planning last-minute trip ideas nearby, reading the best books, or even watching a sunset. 

You can really just carry out something you’ve never done before, but would like to try. This is what makes it a more realistic bucket list that’s easier to accomplish.


Why is a Bucket List Important?

Outside of being a trendy idea, a bucket list is important because it reminds you to do certain things while you are able. It also helps you put your time, energy and resources toward what you value.

If you’re in college, that’s for a short phase of life. Maybe you want to live in a town like Boston for the summer, go away for spring break or skydive during those years. 

You might also want to carry out some of the bigger ideas on your travel bucket list especially if you’re not yet tied to paying a mortgage or taking care of a family. This is just an example, but many phases of life are fleeting, though you don’t necessarily realize it at the time. You want to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.  

I stumbled upon some sad research. Most Americans don’t take all of their vacation time. An article in CNBC explains that Americans only use about half of their days off.

It’s important to relax, reboot and more fully enjoy your life. Studies show that “it’s good for you mental health.” It also helps reduce stress and your risk of heart disease.

It’s easy for years to fly by without setting a single fun goal like carrying out a bucket list idea. Author and Goals Coach Jill Koenig once said:

“If a goal is worth having, it’s worth blocking out the time in your day-to-day life necessary to achieve it.” Click to tweet.

Though we all have times when we’re just getting through the day, if you find that week after week you just work, come home, watch TV and get ready for the next day, it can’t hurt to take time for yourself. Be more intentional and set aside time to chip away at everyday bucket list goals you want to carry out.

I go into detail about how to do this on an award-winning podcast. Listen to How to Make a Real Bucket List

Quick Action Steps:

  1. Start by taking time to think about what’s important to you.
  2. Tap into your interests.
  3. Get the wheels turning to come up with ideas.
  4. Maybe you think about all the things you’d like to do before a certain age like the definition suggests. Start thinking like a bucket list planner!
  5. Create a 30 before 30 list or a 40 before 40 or whatever works for your next milestone age, etc. It can indirectly impose a deadline on you and help you focus on achieving what you’d like to do in the coming years.
  6. If you want to jumpstart the brainstorming process, try out some simple bucket list ideas to build your bucket listing muscles.

simple bucket list ideas free printable

Simple Bucket List Ideas ~Free Printable

How Do You Make a Realistic Bucket List?

Many people just start writing down any idea that comes into their head. They brain dump it all out on one paper. That’s one way to do it.

It’s a way to make sure you get everything off your mind and on paper. When people first start, it usually looks like a travel bucket list filled with places to visit and that’s fine. 

Consider other everyday bucket ideas outside of travel to broaden the definition. Also, include other people such as your significant other, a family member or even your bestie.

You can create different relationship bucket lists with your own unique bucket list ideas too. Maybe you use a meaningful bucket list for couples or a best friend bucket list.

No matter who you’re with, it can still be a daring bucket list, a 365 bucket list with something to do daily or just a bucket list to be happy. The sky’s the limit.

For example, my husband and I always wanted to try beach yoga. We finally got a chance to do it last summer. Yay! Think about activities you CAN do.

Places like Lulu Lemon offer free or low-cost fitness events. Check your local listings to see what they currently offer.

How do you plan to achieve the things you write in your bucket list?

Once you have a master list of realistic bucket list ideas down, you’ll have to choose what to do first. It can be hard to decide.

It can’t hurt to start with something that you can do right away. Maybe it’s something you can do on a weekend or any other free block of time that you have.

You don’t need to run and start creating a bucket list template though. Think about the ideas you can carry out in the current month and write them on this free printable bucket list.

things-to-do-before-you-die-list bucket-list-items

Bucket List Free Printable- blue  Bucket List Free Printable- grey

You could use the different sections to break your bucket list items into different bucket list categories. Maybe one section is for funny bucket list ideas, another for meaningful bucket list ideas, unique bucket list ideas, etc.

It can also be used as a shared bucket list. Maybe you fill out one side and the person you plan to do the dream list ideas with can do the other.  If you’d like more guidance, a bucket list book might be a better fit for you.

What is a Bucket List Book?

There are many books that will give you bucket list ideas. They are usually travel bucket list ideas or random ideas that someone came up with based on their experiences and interests, laid out in book form.


Many of these books might be suited for digital nomads, travel bloggers, or very wealthy people with flexible schedules. Some of them are popular, but they might not necessarily have any ideas you like or can afford to accomplish.


Unlike other bucket list books out there, the bucket list book that I wrote helps everyday people just like you come up with your own realistic ideas both big and small. It also helps you carefully plan each step to make sure you achieve your dreams.  


I even dedicated a section to help you prioritize what to do first based on important key factors. If you’re someone that struggles with following through, this book gives you a step-by-step process to connect the dots and help you achieve your bucket list goals.


The Everyday Bucket List Book: 10 Step to Bring More Exciting Experiences to Everyday Life I tell you the exact, sequential steps to take in order to avoid going to the same places all of the time, how to go after what you truly want to do, and follow an action plan that works.


Included are tons of ways to come up with short-term goals you can carry out right now at a variety of price points, as well as long-term dream list ideas you can look forward to doing at a later date.


Inspired by a life-changing event, I set off to accomplish my own bucket list ideas, including writing this book, and I encourage you to do the same…while having all the fun you can. I include a separate chapter in the 5 Day Bucket List Challenge if you need a little push to carry out your personal goals. 

In an effort to inspire you to live a more fulfilling life and capture meaningful moments in written form, I’m in the process of creating a supplemental bucket list journal with self-reflection prompts designed to provoke more thought, increase happiness and keep the momentum going for carrying out future goals.

There is no time like today to start working on creating and living your bucket list goals. No item is too big or too small. The important thing is to start now so that you can get the most out of every single day. Life is an adventure…it’s time to start living your biggest and best yet!

What’s on YOUR bucket list?

If you enjoyed reading this and are committed to living out your bucket list dreams, share this post with a friend. You never know who you’ll inspire. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with scoring major brownie points too!

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