Each year brings new changes and challenges. How does time fly by so quickly? As more birthdays pass, life seems to take on a similar form. Each year looks more similar to the last, and you start to wonder where that spice of life went.
If you’re eating at the same restaurants, going to the same places, and caught in the same routine, it’s time for a change. There are so many things to add to your personal bucket list, whether you want to travel the world or become your own boss.
However, not all bucket lists are attainable. At least, not right away. It takes years to find the time (and the money) to accomplish some of the best things to do before you’re 50, so don’t beat yourself up about falling behind.
Instead, we put together this list of 30+ achievable birthday bucket list ideas to accomplish this year. These are things you can easily do without a big budget, excessive time, or any complicated planning. It’s time to step outside of your comfort zone in time for your next birthday!
1. Travel somewhere new
When it comes to traveling, it’s not about how far you go. It’s about how open your mind is. You can have a staycation in your own city or venture into a new part of your home state. Either way, you’re experiencing something new. That’s what it’s all about!
2. Write a letter
Snailmail might have fallen out of fashion, but that doesn’t mean letter writing isn’t any less enjoyable. Get some fancy stationery, pull out your best pens, and start writing.
3. Join a local race
No matter where you live, you’ve probably seen local races (walks, runs, swims, bikes, etc.) from time to time. Why not join in on the fun? Don’t worry about winning or beating any personal fitness records. Just finish!
4. Go to a concert
There are few things in life as fun as live music. Whether your favorite band is in town or you’re seeing a local orchestra, this is a great way to spend the evening.
5. Get a massage
With our busy schedules, it’s not always easy to spend time on ourselves. Getting a massage is a chance to focus solely on you.
6. Take a class
Learning doesn’t stop when we finish school. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to learn, join a class. You can take classes at a local school or college or look for online offerings.
7. Reconnect with someone
If you’ve drifted apart from an old friend, reach out to them. This is one of the best things to do before you’re 30. As we age, it’s important to remember those who we were close to along the way. Take the first move and reach out over social media, text, or phone call.
8. Try yoga
Yoga might not be for everyone, but it’s worth trying at least once. Either way, it’s a great workout.
9. Read a new book
Ideally, we’d read lots of books each year. In reality, life gets in the way. To set the bar low, focus on reading at least one new book you’re really excited about. Don’t be afraid to grab more when you’re finished!
10. Revisit an old hobby
If you were into volleyball as a kid, why not pick up a ball and give it a go? You might be a bit rusty, but it’ll still be a lot of fun.
11. Pay off a debt
Carrying around debt for yet another year is never a good financial move. While it might be hard to fully pay off all of your debts, aim to pay off at least one, even if it’s small.
12. Have a picnic
There’s something magical about eating outside. With so many meals spent pent up inside, pack a picnic for some friends or family, and head for the park.
Maybe try some new food while you're at it. Read our list of food bucket list ideas for some inspiration.
13. Go to a sports game
While watching sports on TV is fun, it doesn’t compare to visiting an event in person. Whether you like soccer, football, or another sport, check out a local game and cheer with the fans.
14. Sing karaoke
Even if you’re a little (or a lot) off-tune, karaoke is a great way to come together with the ones you love over some very loud singing.
15. Write in your journal
We’ve all had journals we didn’t keep up with. Challenge yourself to write in your journal once a week or once a month. You can use journal prompts or just write what’s on your mind.
16. Go camping
There’s nothing like taking in the great outdoors, especially if that’s not something you do a lot. Pick up some camping gear and find your nearest campground. Don’t forget the s’mores!
17. Try a new cuisine
It’s easy to fall into the same routine with your favorite restaurants. Challenge yourself to try a new cuisine that’s outside your comfort zone. You might be surprised by how much you like it.
18. Give up a bad habit
Changing bad habits is no easy task, but it makes all the difference in your daily life. Whether you quit smoking or stop procrastinating, you’re off to a strong year.
19. Make a new friend
As we get older, we tend to stick with the same friends. Taking some time to make new friends is harder, but it’s also much more rewarding.
You can find friends online, at local events, and even at the checkout line in the grocery store. Start looking for opportunities to reach out to others in your life.
20. Go to the beach
If you don’t live near the beach, taking a trip is a great way to get outside of your normal routine. Whether you visit a local lake or a huge ocean, soak up the sun. Don’t forget to bring your favorite beachside book!
21. Watch a sunrise or sunset
Seeing the sun first appears or just before it drops below the horizon is a powerful feeling. Choose your favorite spot and get ready for the show! For bonus points, watch a sunrise and a sunset in the same 24 hours.
22. Conquer a fear
It’s okay to have things you’re afraid of, but don’t let these fears hold you back. Choose one fear (no matter how small) and try to conquer it. Maybe you get over your fear of heights by bungee jumping, or you step on your first airplane. This is how you grow as a person.
23. Make a mixed drink
You don’t need to be a mixologist to craft the perfect cocktail. Choose your favorite and learn to master it. Then, serve it up for all your friends with your very own happy hour.
24. Plant a flower or garden
Watching something grow is a great way to experience the cycle of life in your own home. You don’t need a green thumb to get started with your very own flower or veggie garden. As long as you have some potting soil, seeds, and sunlight, you’re good to go.
25. Go to a conference
Whether you’re hoping to gain a new skill, connect with like-minded peers, or build your career, a conference is a great way to join with others. See if there are any conferences near you and sign up. If it’s work-related, this might be something your employer is willing to pay for.
26. Have breakfast for dinner
Though simple, there’s something a bit special about switching up the day’s meals. Having breakfast for dinner reminds you of the importance of trying new things.
27. Buy a coffee for a stranger
When you pass along a gesture of kindness, you feel like you’ve done a good deed. This might be a small way to give back, but you never know how you’ll impact a stranger’s day. They might pass along some kindness themselves, creating a chain reaction.
28. Post a blog online
Getting your thoughts into words might take some time, but making sure those words are heard is priceless. Posting an article or blog post online is a powerful way to express yourself. There are a number of free tools for building your own blog, or you can use a platform like Medium.
29. Do a DIY project
While you might not be fit for HGTV, there’s probably something around your home you can DIY into something new. Even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, you still have a fun reminder of something you created yourself.
30. Throw a party
As we get older, we forget how fun parties can be. Throw one of your own, whether it’s for your birthday or just because! It’s sure to be a night (or day) to remember.
365 Days to Accomplish More
Bucket lists don’t always have to be aspirational. Even if you can’t go bungee jumping or visit an exotic destination, you can still step outside of your comfort zone to do more. In the next 365 days leading up to your next birthday, take on the challenge above. These are 30 things anyone can do within a year, no fancy budget needed.
From there, you’ll be inspired to start more must-do lists. Learning how to make a travel bucket list and what you want to do by your next birthday is only the tip of the iceberg. Don’t be afraid to push yourself further. Each year is a new opportunity to accomplish even more.