220 Bucket List Ideas to Change Your Life (2024)

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220 Bucket List Ideas to Change Your Life (1)

220 Bucket List Ideas to Change Your Life (2)

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What's a bucket list?

Should I have a bucket list?

How to create a bucket list

The different kinds of bucket lists

220 ideas to put on a bucket list

Time to make it real

Moving forward

Close your eyes and complete this sentence: “Before I die, I want to….”

This is your first step in creating your bucket list.

The idea of the bucket list — the experiences we want to have before we "kick the bucket" — has captured our collective imagination for years.

It might seem a bit sad to think about, but we all dream of things we want to do before our time is up. It isn't always about "before we die," but it creates a sense of urgency.

Creating and updating a list of what you hope to see or do keeps us in touch with what we find moving and inspiring. The list keeps us dreaming, motivated, and working hard. It helps us stay excited about life and connected with what might fulfill our sense of purpose.

Bucket list ideas can be as grand or as simple as you like. But they should align with who you are and what you care about. They’re rooted in your interests, purpose, and passions — the things that get you up in the morning.

The idea is simple: dream it up, write it down, and do it. In practice, though, you might find it difficult. After all, self-reflection takes time — an asset that comes at a premium these days.

Thankfully, we’re here to help you get started. Here are some of our best bucket list ideas to inspire you.

What's a bucket list?

A bucket list is a list of experiences someone wants to have at some point in their life. They’re a fun method of life-planning that can include professional and personal goals or anything else you can imagine.

Your list will undoubtedly differ from your mom’s, friend’s, or coworker’s — and that’s okay. A bucket list should reflect what you value and desire.

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Should I have a bucket list?

Having a bucket list isn’t for everyone — it depends on you and how you find fulfillment. But it helps motivate you in your everyday life. It can’t hurt to dream big, so here are some things to consider if you’re going to write one.

Pros of having a bucket list

1. It’s a measurable form of progress

Your bucket list acts as a roadmap that you can follow. It’ll help you stay on track, prioritize, and budget for your dreams. Having a life plan is smart, but does your 5-year-plan only include professional milestones? You deserve to have a dream plan, too.

2. It gives you things to look forward to

Hope is powerful, and making a bucket list gives people a reason to nurture that spark and anticipate what’s to come when the days feel long. These goals are also great extrinsic motivators — something you should include in your personal reward system.

3. It makes life more meaningful

Bucket lists help us look past the monotonous or daily grind to bigger and better things. Life exists beyond our self-improvement books and office cubicles. A bucket list encourages you to seek out these new experiences. You have the opportunity to engage with the world, and yourself, outside of your everyday life.

4. It helps you avoid languishing

If you’re feeling unmotivated, inspired, and kind of “blah” overall, you might be languishing. If you’re in this middle state, stress can affect you more, and your mental health might suffer. Having a bucket list — and something to look forward to — will keep you excited about life and ready to take on tomorrow.

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Cons of having a bucket list

1. The fulfillment is only temporary

Unfortunately, most of the experiences people have on their lists are temporary. The experience might be fantastic at the moment, but the moment will pass. It quickly becomes a memory.

2. It only works for those who find meaning in reaching benchmarks

Spending more time with family and having a stable job is enough for many people. But many other people are daydreamers with additional goals. This kind of imagination is especially important for young adults. They have a whole life ahead of them, and setting goals will help them find their own type of fulfillment.

3. You may feel like you’re failing

If you haven’t crossed off something on your list or didn’t experience something by a particular age, it might lead to self-doubt or feelings of failure. Leaving dreams unfulfilled damages our self-esteem.

4. It can be superficial and performative

Some people like to share and talk about their bucket lists. That can create a sense of competition and one-up-manship. It can make us focus on big Instagrammable experiences rather than deeper, quieter everyday experiences that create life satisfaction and meaning.

How to create a bucket list

Include anything you like on your bucket list. List career goals, travel destinations, health, finance, or relationship goals. It can be as long or as short as you want. Really, if you can dream it, you can do it.

Creating your list can feel overwhelming. It takes Inner Work® and self-reflection to create a list that aligns with your values. There are many ways you can approach this. But, if you need a hand, BetterUp is here. Our coaches can help you figure out what matters to you and thrive.

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The different kinds of bucket lists

Your list might be very long if you try to put everything down at once. If you’re overwhelmed by all you want to do, try breaking it down into categories. Here are some examples of divided bucket lists:

  1. Travel destinations
  2. Career goals
  3. Foods you want to try
  4. Skills or hobbies you’d like to learn
  5. Bands you’d like to see
  6. Life goals
  7. Fears to overcome

Each list can contain experiences related to your interests. Think about your current career, passions, and hobbies, and turn those into cool bucket list ideas.

220 ideas to put on a bucket list

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We asked some of our friends and colleagues for ideas from their bucket lists. Here are 220 possible bucket list examples to get you thinking:

  1. Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World, like Grand Canyon National Park — the type of "awe" inspired by the vastness of nature has a powerful effect on our well-being
  2. Try the street food in Mexico (or any other country where the street scene seems exotic relative to your day-to-day)
  3. Go bungee jumping
  4. Road trip across Canada on the Alaskan Highway
  5. Take a multi-day railroad trip in a sleeper car
  6. Drink beer at Oktoberfest
  7. See the Northern Lights
  8. Visit New York City for an iconic event (Thanksgiving Day Parade or New Year's Eve)
  9. Try skinny dipping
  10. Eat shark in Iceland
  11. Visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras
  12. Hike to Machu Picchu in Peru
  13. Visit the sand beaches of Hawaii, Galapagos, Indonesia, or the Dead Sea
  14. Go horseback riding
  15. Try kayaking down rapids
  16. Ride a gondola in Venice, Italy
  17. Find a job you love
  18. Retire early
  19. Visit Tokyo, Japan
  20. Have children
  21. Go snorkeling or scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia
  22. See elephants in Thailand
  23. Go vegetarian for a month
  24. Walk on the Great Wall of China
  25. Learn how to play guitar (or any other instrument)
  26. Make a meal with food entirely grown in your garden
  27. Set up a college fund for your children
  28. Become debt-free
  29. Earn a second college degree
  30. Touch six out of the seven continents
  31. Learn a new language
  32. Become a manager
  33. Adopt a pet
  34. Go skydiving
  35. Write a book
  36. Be a background cast member in a movie
  37. Fill a room with completed puzzles
  38. Become a homeowner
  39. Volunteer for your local school board
  40. Live in a foreign country
  41. Swim in all four oceans
  42. Perform at a local open-mic night
  43. Ride in a hot air balloon
  44. Learn to snowboard
  45. Attend the Olympics
  46. Explore the Amazon in Brazil
  47. Eat pho in Halong Bay, Vietnam
  48. Try a zipline
  49. Take a picture in front of the White House
  50. Mentor a young professional in your industry
  51. Go camping in the desert
  52. Drive along the entire coast of California
  53. Complete your master’s degree or Ph.D
  54. See a concert at the Hollywood Bowl
  55. Hike up a mountain in Chile
  56. Run a marathon
  57. Record a music album
  58. Read all the books by your favorite author
  59. Go white water rafting
  60. Own a sports car or motorcycle
  61. Start a scholarship fund in your name
  62. Volunteer on a board of directors
  63. Write a screenplay
  64. Learn a complicated recipe and cook it for your friends
  65. Sleep at an ice hotel
  66. See a show on broadway
  67. Try a crazy hairstyle
  68. Treat yourself to a spa day
  69. Take your family to Disney World
  70. Coach a kids soccer team
  71. Visit major cultural landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in France, the Taj Mahal in India, the pyramids of Egypt, Petra in Jordan, the Colosseum in Greece, Stonehenge in England, or Christ the Redeemer in Brazil
  72. Explore the stunning temples of Bagan in Myanmar
  73. Take a helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef
  74. Visit the beautiful lakes and castles of the Canadian Rockies
  75. Go on a food tour in Bangkok, Thailand
  76. Record a music album
  77. Read all the books by your favorite author
  78. Go white water rafting
  79. Own a sports car or motorcycle
  80. Start a scholarship fund in your name
  81. Volunteer on a board of directors
  82. Write a screenplay
  83. Learn a complicated recipe and cook it for your friends
  84. Sleep at an ice hotel
  85. See a show on Broadway
  86. Try a crazy hairstyle
  87. Treat yourself to a spa day
  88. Take your family to Disney World
  89. Coach a kid's soccer team
  90. Visit major cultural landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in France, the Taj Mahal in India, the pyramids of Egypt, Petra in Jordan, the Colosseum in Greece, Stonehenge in England, or Christ the Redeemer in Brazil
  91. Visit the beautiful temples of Bangkok, Thailand
  92. Go on a camel trek in the Sahara Desert
  93. Attend a traditional fiesta in Spain
  94. Explore the historic city of Kyoto, Japan
  95. Take a cruise to the stunning glaciers of Alaska
  96. Visit the ancient ruins of Pompeii in Italy
  97. Experience a traditional Japanese onsen (hot spring)
  98. Explore the ancient city of Petra in Jordan
  99. Go on a wine-tasting tour in Tuscany, Italy
  100. Visit the breathtaking Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
  101. Attend a traditional Maasai tribe ceremony in Kenya
  102. Explore the historic streets of Prague, Czech Republic
  103. Attend a flamenco show in Seville, Spain
  104. Take a cooking class in the south of France
  105. Go on a wildlife safari in South Africa
  106. Visit the stunning beaches of Seychelles
  107. Attend a traditional tea ceremony in China
  108. Explore the ancient ruins of Tikal in Guatemala
  109. Take a cruise to Antarctica
  110. Take a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia, Turkey
  111. Explore the historic city of Cartagena, Colombia
  112. Go on a cultural tour of the temples in Cambodia
  113. Attend a traditional tango show in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  114. Take a helicopter ride over Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
  115. Visit the stunning fjords of New Zealand
  116. Go on a wildlife safari in Tanzania
  117. Attend a traditional Hawaiian luau
  118. Explore the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico
  119. Take a cruise along the Norwegian fjords
  120. Visit the breathtaking Great Wall of China
  121. Go on a wildlife safari in India's national parks
  122. Attend a traditional Aboriginal ceremony in Australia
  123. Take up a new hobby, such as gardening, knitting, or woodworking
  124. Learn to code and build a website or an app
  125. Learn to meditate and practice mindfulness regularly
  126. Start your own business or pursue entrepreneurship
  127. Start a local shelter or charity organization
  128. Start a blog or vlog about a topic you're passionate about
  129. Learn to dance a specific style, such as salsa, hip-hop, or ballet
  130. Take a gourmet cooking class and master a signature dish
  131. Learn how to rock climb
  132. Learn to surf
  133. Organize a charity event for a cause you care about
  134. Learn to practice yoga and achieve advanced poses
  135. Become a mentor for someone in need of guidance and support
  136. Write an e-book on a topic you're knowledgeable about
  137. Take up gardening and grow your own fruits, vegetables, or flowers
  138. Learn to play chess and participate in local tournaments
  139. Start a podcast and share your knowledge or experiences with the world
  140. Learn to swim or improve your swimming skills
  141. Take up woodworking and create your own furniture
  142. Volunteer at a local hospital or healthcare facility
  143. Take a self-defense class and learn to protect yourself
  144. Learn to juggle or perform other circus skills
  145. Start a journal or blog to document your personal growth journey
  146. Take up calligraphy or hand-lettering and create beautiful art
  147. Learn to bake and master a variety of delicious desserts
  148. Take up astronomy and learn about the stars
  149. Learn to play a strategic board game, like chess or Go
  150. Learn to do magic tricks
  151. Take up archery
  152. Learn to sew or tailor your own clothes
  153. Start a YouTube channel and share your passions and talents
  154. Take up birdwatching
  155. Learn to do basic car maintenance and repairs
  156. Volunteer at a local school and help children with their studies
  157. Learn to do pottery or ceramics
  158. Start a gratitude journal and practice gratitude daily
  159. Attend a SuperBowl
  160. Go on a hot air balloon ride at sunrise or sunset
  161. Have a bonfire and stargaze on a clear night
  162. Go on a camping trip and disconnect from technology
  163. Have a movie marathon of your favorite films
  164. Go on a scenic hike that challenges you
  165. Have a themed dinner party with friends or loved ones
  166. Go on a road trip
  167. Take a scenic bike ride along the coast
  168. Start your own business or become an entrepreneur
  169. Speak at a major industry conference or event
  170. Become a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs or professionals in your field
  171. Collaborate with a renowned industry leader or influencer
  172. Become a thought leader and contribute to industry publications or blogs
  173. Win a prestigious industry award or recognition for your business
  174. Launch a successful crowdfunding campaign for a business or project
  175. Acquire or merge with another company to expand your business
  176. Attend a high-profile business summit or networking event
  177. Develop and launch a philanthropic initiative tied to your business
  178. Start a community garden or participate in a local gardening project.
  179. Donate blood regularly and help save lives
  180. Join a disaster relief organization and assist in providing aid during emergencies
  181. Offer free workshops to empower others in your community
  182. Create care packages for the homeless and distribute them in your city
  183. Explore all of the national parks in your region
  184. Take a nature photography expedition and capture stunning landscapes
  185. Go kayaking or canoeing in a calm river or lake
  186. Go horseback riding through beautiful trails
  187. Have a bonfire and roast marshmallows for s'mores
  188. Take a dip in a natural swimming hole or waterfall
  189. Go on a wildlife safari and observe animals in their natural habitats
  190. Have a nature-inspired art session and create artwork using natural materials
  191. Participate in a tree planting or environmental conservation project
  192. Take a sunrise or sunset hike
  193. Go to a nature-inspired photography or painting workshop
  194. Learn to identify constellations and stargaze at night.
  195. Try geocaching and embark on a treasure hunt in nature
  196. Try outdoor rock climbing or rappelling.
  197. Go on a nature-inspired picnic and prepare food with fresh, local ingredients
  198. Have a family-friendly nature scavenger hunt with riddles and clues
  199. Explore a nature reserve or wildlife sanctuary
  200. Take a guided horseback riding tour through scenic landscapes
  201. Go on a nature-themed geology or fossil-hunting expedition
  202. Have a family camping trip and share stories around the campfire
  203. Try your hand at outdoor photography, capturing flora, fauna, and landscapes
  204. Explore a local botanical garden or arboretum
  205. Try outdoor cooking and prepare meals over a campfire or grill
  206. Learn about wildlife tracking and identify animal footprints and signs
  207. Start an annual community clean-up event in a local park
  208. Travel to at least 10 different countries and experience diverse cultures
  209. Start a family
  210. Build and live in your dream home
  211. Achieve financial stability and independence
  212. Learn a new language fluently
  213. Volunteer regularly for a cause you deeply care about
  214. Climb a major mountain
  215. Achieve a specific career milestone or reach a desired professional position
  216. Complete a degree or pursue higher education
  217. Make a significant contribution to scientific research or innovation
  218. Travel to space or experience zero gravity
  219. Learn to surf, ski, or participate in an extreme sport that excites you
  220. Learn to paint, draw, or express your creativity through art

These are just a few of our best bucket list items. Yours will look different, and that’s the point. The possibilities are endless.

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Time to make it real

Ready to make your bucket list a reality? The first step is to write it down. Listing your goals in a journal can make them feel more real. There are no rules for how to journal, so you can organize your notebook however you want. But if you’re looking for a place to start, consider these journaling techniques:

  • Manifestation journal: Whether you want to hike in New Zealand or be an ocean scientist in Maine, you must open yourself up to the possibilities. Use future-minded thinking to make your bucket list a reality.
  • Gratitude journal: Keep a place to reflect on the special things you’ve done so far. This will be a great motivator to keep working on your list!
  • Ideas journal: A dumping ground for all of your wildest dreams and ideas. Try not to filter yourself — the sky’s the limit! You can come back to them to see if they work as true bucket list items or if they were just fleeting ideas.
  • Daily journal: Use your notebook to set daily goals, reflect on your experiences, and document your adventures. This will help you discover what activities are most meaningful to you.
  • Vision journal: Instead of writing down your bucket list, why not visualize it? Create a vision board or scrapbook of everything you want to do.

If pen-and-paper isn’t your style, you can create your list in a computer document or spreadsheet. Better yet, create a profile on bucketlist.org or bucklist.net. Signing up will grant you access to customizable lists and goal-tracking tools. Plus, you can connect with other bucket listers online and be inspired by their achievements.

Moving forward

"One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”

Best-selling author Paulo Coelho had it right.

According to a 2018 study, the average employee will spend 25% of their lives working. But what we do with the other 75% of our lives is up to us. It’s important to carve out time to enjoy what the world offers, make new friends, create new family traditions, and build memories.

Having and following through on your bucket list ideas is a form of self-care. Whether you want to create a travel bucket list to go to Spain or prioritize your family and career, it’s never too late to start chasing your dreams and prioritize your emotional well-being. The world can be an overwhelming, even scary place, but you’re capable of anything you set your mind to.

Now that you’ve made your list of things, it’s time to go out and start making those ambitions a reality — even if it's outside your comfort zone. That’s where you’ll grow.

220 Bucket List Ideas to Change Your Life (8)

Well-being

Published June 21, 2023

220 Bucket List Ideas to Change Your Life (2024)

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