The bucket listCredit: Bhumi Finding Herself on flickr

You often hear people use the phrase bucket list.  It's actually become a pop culture term and a cliche.  They even made a movie with it as the title a few years back.  What is the real deal with making a personal bucket list though?  Is it important, and if so should it evolve along with you as a person?  This article will give some opinions on why creating a bucket list can be a powerful tool to help you live your life to the fullest.  It will also give some ideas about how to create one, and why it should be dynamic as opposed to stagnant. 

We all have those moments in our lives where we say "I've always wanted to do that", or "someday I'm going to go there".  We spend a bit of time fantasizing about this or that and then poof, it's out of our minds again and we move on to the more mundane.  What a bucket list does is to organize these flights of fancy into a more concrete form.  It puts them down on paper so that they can't escape us so easily.  If done right, it can also give us a better chance to accomplish the things on our list by making them more accessible and real to us. 

Now that we have established what a bucket list is, how do we go about creating one?  There are many formats from loose scribbles in a notebook, to excel programs which detail each item on the list with time frames and game plans of how to accomplish them.  There is no right or wrong way to do this in my opinion, the important thing is to take the time to explore what you really want to accomplish in your life.  Ideally, the list should contain different genres of things that you want to do. For instance you could break it up into personal goals, financial goals, athletic achievements, and charitable goals.  Spend some time really thinking about the things that you want to put down and then just get to it.  The making of the list alone is quite enpowering in my experience as it give you something organized and solid to shoot for.

The following are a few pointers about how to give yourself a better chance of accomplishing as many of the things as possible on your list;

1. Once you finish it, publish it online.  Put it on your facebook about page, put it on your website or blog, announce it to everyone you know.  Why?  Personal  accountability.  The more people that are aware of your goals, the more you will have a tendency to follow through with them.  It's a great motivator. 

2. Break your list items down into actionable steps and get started on what you can right away.  The list is great, but that's all it will ever be if you don't get started on it.  Yesterday is best but today will do in a pinch.

3. Make a digital version of the list where you can attach pictures, articles, and memorabilia of each accomplishment that you cross off your list.  It's fun and it keeps you motivated to knock more items off.

The other important thing I feel strongly about when creating a list is to allow it to be dynamic.  We as people are always changing and hopefully growing.  The things you feel are important to accomplish in your life should likewise change and grow.  This can mean adding or modifying existing list items, or even removing some.  I do feel if you remove an item from the list you should track it as this is a good way to gauge your personal growth long term. 

I hope this article motivates some of you to create a list of your own if you haven't already.  At the very least, it's a fun activity that will definitely stimulate some thought.  At best, it may put you on course to living the life of your dreams.  Here is a small excerpt from my list;

Diving with SharksCredit: John Cooke from


1. Inspire someone to start a microbusiness or non-profit

2. Drive the entire Baja peninsula with my wife from Tijuana to Los Cabos

3. Put 100,000 in savings in my bank account

4. Dive with sharks in Cape Town South Africa

5. Visit a Trappist monastery in Belgium and drink beer with the monks who brewed it. 

Diving with Sharks
Credit: John Cooke from