How My Bucket Lists Have Helped Me Live My Best Life [And A Major Strategy For Making Them]

Alyssa and I after accomplishing an item on my short-term bucket list for Spring 2015 – participating in a Holi festival!

My good friend Alyssa is known for her love of adventure. She is always traveling to new places and trying new things. In fact, she recently embarked on her greatest adventure yet: marriage! Congrats again, girlfran. 🙂
But before she went off and got herself a husband, Alyssa and I lived together for three years of college. I remember the last year she hung something on the wall that I’ll never forget – a bucket list. It was super long and full of big ideas for how she wanted to live her life well. Some of the items were crossed off already!

I know bucket lists are kind of a cliche these days, but after I saw Alyssa’s bucket list I decided to write down my own. And it was one of the best things I’ve done to live life fully.

At the time I began to make my first bucket list I’d already had a loose string of things I wanted to accomplish in life floating around in my head for years. We probably all do. I would hear about how awesome my friend’s trip to Thailand was and think, “I’d like to do that one day,” or I’d read a great book and decide I wanted to create one of my own in the future.

But writing a bucket list made all my aspirations real, concrete goals I could not avoid. My aspirations weren’t just vague thoughts I could forget about anymore. They were inescapable intentions, and I had to start reaching for them.

In other words, bucket lists were the fuel to my fire that motivated me to start going after my dreams every single day. They provided the accountability I needed to push me towards achievement.

Since my first list, I’ve made countless others. My journals are full of bucket lists I create, edit, and add to all the time.

One strategy I like to employ is the use of two kinds of lists. I think having both a short-term and long-term bucket list at the same time is a crucial aspect of living in the here-and-now while also planning for the future.

Typically my short-term bucket list contains smaller items I can accomplish within the next few months, and I tend to orient them around the seasons. For example, I always have a summer bucket list, a fall/winter bucket list, and a spring bucket list. My short-term lists can include both larger goals and bite-sized desires, such as attending an upcoming local event, training for a half marathon, finishing a book I’ve always wanted to read but never gotten around to starting, or going to a particular concert. Short-term lists may also contain smaller components of items on a long-term bucket list. I may decide to put “Take a Spanish class” on my short-term bucket list because “Learn Spanish fluently” is an item on my long-term bucket list, for instance.

My long-term bucket lists are the things I want to do before I die that may not be immediately attainable or require multiple steps. Normally these items are more pie-in-the-sky dreams like travel goals, starting my own business, changing someone’s life for the better, or impacting national politics.

Having both short-term and long-term bucket lists is incredibly helpful. They are amazing references I can look back to for reminders about where I want to go next. I am constantly running through my short-term lists, but I will always be working on completing my long-term list (which will never happen since I keep adding new items to it all the time!). Whenever I complete another item and finish celebrating that achievement, I can always go back to my lists and decide which goal I want to reach for next.

You can find my short-term and long-term bucket lists here! I am always crossing items off, adding new goals, or editing old ones, so they are constantly in flux. 🙂

What’s on your bucket list? Anything you’re working on achieving right now?


How My Bucket Lists Have Helped Me Live My Best Life [And A Major Strategy For Making Them!] | Bucket lists are such an easy way to plan out your life goals! They've helped me sort through ideas of what I want to do with my life and what I hope to achieve. Thanks to this strategy, I've organized my life goals in an easy-to-accomplish way!


10 thoughts on “How My Bucket Lists Have Helped Me Live My Best Life [And A Major Strategy For Making Them]

  1. I’ve done this!! For my 21st birthday, instead of going out and partying, having my first alcoholic drink, I decided to cross off some of my bucket list things. First was go to Barnes & Noble, never been there before. And also try Starbucks. I didn’t think they were combined but that was clever anyways! I had a better time at B&N than I did with Starbucks, this post should explain a lot!

    Apparently, every milestone birthday I have will be celebrated at Barnes & Noble! I’ll be a “half a century” old according to my mother and I’ve decided a trip to B&N is what I want to do. Hopefully I don’t spend so much this time around…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I LOVED that post. Such a cool idea! I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing something like that for my birthday and incorporating bucket lists into it! Definitely something to remember for next year. 🙂


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