How to Create a Bucket List That Will Inspire The Hell Out of You

How to Create a Bucket List That Will Inspire The Hell Out of You

By Jamie Matthewman
July 25th, 2014

If you’ve ever wondered how to create a bucket list to help you clarify what you’d REALLY love to create, change or accomplish before you die, you’ll appreciate this article.

It follows on from post What is a Bucket List and Do You Really Need One?. In which I explored what a bucket list is, why it’s a great idea to create your own, plus it looked at some of the potential pitfalls.

In this article I share with you a simple 6 step process I developed to create my own bucket list, but not just any old bucket list. A bucket list that will inspire the hell out of you.

It will take you sometime to complete, but if you’re going to commit your precious time and resources to bringing it to life, surely it’s worth it right? So read on to discover how to create a bucket list properly, one that will excite and inspire you.

How To Create A Bucket List in 6 Simple Steps

how to create a bucket list

There are 25 questions in the initial exploratory 2 steps, each one designed to help you identify what you’d love to do, be or create.

As you complete them, don’t worry if the goals look too big or you don’t feel you could ever achieve them. The point at this stage is for you to explore without limiting yourself.

Be totally honest, write what comes up rather than what you think you should write. This is about creating an authentic list, not one to try and please people or conform. You don’t have time for that, so lets get started.

Your answers will highlight important themes and ideas, which you’ll get more specific about later in the process.

I have created a template you can use here, to record your answers and create your list

Step 1. 12 Questions to Get You Thinking Bigger :

thinking_big

You could simply grab a pen and paper and start writing a list of things you want to do before you die, I’m sure this would be useful, but this inquiry will only touch the surface.

You could also review other peoples bucket lists for ideas, (here are some great examples – Helen Fawkes Bucket List, Steve Kabm’ss Epic Quest, Celes Chua 101 things to do before you diefor inspiration, an exercise worth doing but a bucket list needs to be personal.

It needs considered thought and effort if it’s going to inspire the hell out of you. So the next 12 questions are designed to help you do this. Here’s the questions :


1. If my life were complete and perfect, what would it be looking like, feeling like and sounding like?

2. The only thing missing from my life right now is…
3. If I were to start the day, already feeling great, loving myself and my life, knowing that I didn’t need to do anything. How would I organise my time?
4. If I could become the kind of man I really wanted, who would I need to be?
5. What would happen if I were given £100,000 per day tax free for life?

6. If I had only one year left to live, how would I organise my life differently? What would I put more attention on? What would I put less attention on? What would I stop putting off?

7. How do I want to use the rest of my life?

8. If I had only three years left to live, how would I organise my life differently? What would I put more attention on? What would I put less attention on? What would I stop putting off?

9. What gifts would I love to give to the world and the people I care most about?

10. What is the one change that if I implemented today, would make the biggest positive difference in my life?

11. What matters most to me in my life right now? What else?

12. What chokes me up and brings me to tears?

Remember you can find these questions on the worksheet here.

Step 2. Getting More Specific :

The next 13 questions build upon the inquiry you’ve just completed, helping you to get really specific about who you want to be, what you’d love to do and create during the coming years.

Again take your time to go through the questions, keep coming back to them over a period of a few days…there’s no rush. The more time you give this inquiry, the more honest and inspiring it will be.

how to create a bucket list

1. What are some of the amazing things, I would love to do, but fear, a lack of skill, resources or some other obstacle has held me back in the past? What else?

2. If I believed I was capable of mastering any skill I decided to fully commit to, what would I love to become an expert at?

3. What are 5 things I’d really love to do if only I had the time and money to do them?

4. What would I really love to create more than anything else? For What purpose? What would this lead to?

5. In relation to my business, what are the biggest, most inspiring goals I would love to achieve, irrespective of whether at this moment I believe they are possible?

6. When I look at a map, which places in the world really capture my imagination, places that no matter what I intend to visit before I die? Where else?

7. What are some of the goals I’d love to complete in relation to my health in the next 1 – 5 years?

8. What are some of the major goals I want to accomplish in business within the next 1 – 5 years?

9. What is the one thing I’d love to learn and become a master of, more than anything else in the next 5 years? What else?

10. Before I die I want to have owned outright the following possessions…

11. What are some ‘just for fun’ activities I’d love to experience, whilst I still have my health?

12. What would I like to build before I die?

13. What are the things, that when I am doing them I totally forget about time, that I’d like to dedicate more of my life to?

Step 3. Sorting the Wheat From the Chaff :

Firstly go through the list and scratch off anything that’s mediocre, illegal, violates the laws of physics, or was there merely to get you moving.

Important: Do not cross off an item that’s merely difficult. If you have a goal that involves Herculean effort, focus, and a few breaks, by all means, leave it on. If you don’t, perhaps you were selling yourself short and you ought to add it.

Next review the remaining answers, filtering each one through the following question :


“Is this something I really want to commit my precious time and energy to this during the coming days, weeks, months and years…?”

If the answer is a hell yeah! A no brainer obviously keep it in your list.

For those you’re unsure about, add them to the ‘someday maybe’ list where you can file any ideas you’re not clear about for future reference.

If it’s a categoric NO, delete it.

You should now be left with a list ideas, which as you read through them you feel a growing sense of excitement about…

Step 4. Why

For the items that remain, copy them onto the page below, and next to each one, write down what’s in it for you and the people you care about. What happens to you are your team if you reach this goal?

If you can’t come up with a list you care about, something’s wrong with the goal. Cross it off. A goal you don’t care about isn’t a goal you’re going to be able to work hard to achieve.

At the same time, get clear about the inherent contradictions in your list. You can’t make senior partner at the law firm and have dinner and weekends with your family at the same time. The goal of this step is to figure out what’s unrealistic, what’s not worth your time, and what you’re truly willing to work for.

Step 5 – Organising Your List

You’ve undoubtedly have quite a big list of entries, so, what I found useful was to categorise them into specific areas such as travel and adventure, work, business, family, friends etc. By doing this you’ll find it easier to review and adapt on going.

Step 6 – Where to Start

You’re probably now wondering where to start with so many inspiring options at your fingertips. Bringing your ideas to life will obviously require planning, action, (often courageous action) and a variety of resources such as time and money. So your starting point will be in part dictated by the resources you have available right now.

Also trying to do too much at once will deplete your ability to focus and therefore dilute your success. So the way I did this was to review my list and highlighted the goals that stand out as priorities right now, choosing no more than 4 to get started on.

The challenge with more than 4 goals is that you can easily distract yourself by bouncing from one to another. Pick one goal that’s long term and a few that are short-term. As you become better at this, you’ll be able to add more to the list.

This is your starting point.

It is worth remembering a bucket list is merely a plan of possibility that’s subject to change. It isn’t a static framework to live life by, rather it’s a dynamic guide which changes as you uncover new insights, expectations and desires about yourself and life.

You will probably find if you review it in 6 months, some of the ideas you had are no longer relevant and new ideas have emerged about what important since its creation.

So by all means let your bucket list help you to make decisions about where you want to spend your precious time and resources, but also allow it be flexible as your life evolves.

Let me know if you found this helpful or if you have any questions about this in the comments section below…

Jamie Matthewman

About Jamie Matthewman

Jamie is the founder, main contributor and editor of The Inspired Man.

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