How to Make a Bucket List Journal: Step-by-Step

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You don’t want to reach the end of your life and look back and regret that you didn’t get the chance to do everything you wanted to do and experience everything you wanted to experience. You may want to guard against this by creating a bucket list. A bucket list, which gets its name from the phrase “kick the bucket,” is a list of everything you want to experience and accomplish before the end of your life.

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If you’re wondering how to make a bucket list, consider starting with a bucket list journal. This involves a form of future self-journaling where you record ideas for items you may want to include on your bucket list. Eventually, you can return to the journal and select the ideas that are most appealing — or you can decide everything in the journal should be on your finished bucket list.

Regardless, this guide will help you better understand how to start and complete a bucket list journal.

How to Make a Bucket List Journal

You’re more likely to consistently write in your bucket list journal if you make the right decisions when starting one. These tips will help.

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Choose your journal

There’s no “right” type of bucket list journal. You simply need to choose which most appeals to you. 

Some people prefer blank generic notebooks. Others like using notebooks designed specifically to serve as bucket list journals (you can often find them on such platforms as Etsy). Others prefer to keep their bucket list journals digital (although you should make sure you back up your files regularly if you choose this option).

If you’re not sure what format you’d prefer, consider how you expect to record entries in your bucket list journal.

For example, you might decide you’d like to write entries spontaneously, recording relevant thoughts or observations whenever they occur to you.

In this case, a small journal you can take with you anywhere may be the right choice. On the other hand, you could choose to keep your bucket list journal on your computer if you plan to write entries every morning before checking your favorite websites.

Choose a format

A bucket list journal is most valuable when it has the right format. Some people find it helps to simply jot down ideas with bullet points, some prefer to free write their thoughts, some like to break up bucket list ideas into categories (such as seasons), and some even enjoy formats that allow them to add pictures and images, making a visual representation of their future bucket list. Decide which type of format you’d like and set up your journal accordingly.

Experiment

Don’t worry if deciding which type of bucket list journal and choosing a format feels challenging right now. You can always make different choices in the future.

If you’re feeling this way, simply use the first few months of bucket list journaling to experiment with different options and styles until you have a better sense of your tastes.

Tips for Completing Your Bucket List Journal

Starting your bucket list journal is the easy part. Maintaining and completing it may seem much more challenging.

Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re struggling to come up with entries for your bucket list journal, consider the following tactics:

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Ask questions

Some people find completing a bucket list journal is easier when they write most of their entries as answers to specific questions. Examples to consider using include:

  • If I could only visit five destinations in my life, what would they be and why?
  • What types of accomplishments would I most want people to remember me by after I pass?
  • What’s the most fun I’ve ever had, and what types of experiences might be fun in a similar way?
  • What fear would I be ashamed to never face?
  • What would I do if the world was going to end in a week?
  • Do I have any current regrets that I can still do something to address?

Those are merely a few examples. By asking yourself these types of questions, you’ll break through the mental blocks some people experience when struggling to write any type of journal entry.

Keep a gratitude journal

A gratitude journal is another type of journal you may want to keep along with your bucket list journal. As the name implies, a gratitude journal involves focusing on what you’re most grateful for in life.

Many find that keeping a gratitude journal significantly boosts their happiness and reduces stress. On top of that, a gratitude journal can help you complete a bucket list journal.

By writing about what you’re grateful for, you’ll better appreciate what types of experiences and feelings you most enjoy in life. This makes it easier to come up with ideas for similar experiences and feelings you may want to include on your bucket list.

Make a reverse bucket list

A reverse bucket list isn’t a list of what you hope to achieve and experience in life. Instead, it’s a list of the experiences and achievements from your life that have given you the most satisfaction.

Like keeping a gratitude journal, making a reverse bucket list puts your goals and priorities into perspective, giving you more ideas for bucket list journal entries.

Bucket List Journal Ideas

A bucket list journal doesn’t need to simply be a notebook filled with text passages in which you describe what you might want to experience before you pass away. These ideas prove there are many ways to make your bucket list journal more personal and unique.

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Make it visual

Again, a visual bucket list journal can be very dynamic, and it can allow you to record a greater range of thoughts and feelings than you might necessarily be able to put down in writing.

For instance, maybe you’re walking one day and you see a gorgeous tree. You know somehow your response to that tree tells you something about your life goals, but you’re not sure exactly what it’s telling you. Maybe it’s saying you want to hike the Appalachian Trail one day. Perhaps it’s saying you want to do more to contribute to environmental conservation efforts. Maybe it’s simply telling you starting a garden you can take pride in is one of your life goals.

Regardless, when you first have this experience, you could snap a photo of the tree and include it in your bucket list journal. This allows you to return to those feelings in a way that reading a prose entry about the tree might not.

Make it a conversation

People often realize that discussing their life goals with friends and family helps them more clearly identify what types of items they’d want to include on a bucket list. You might consider including entries in the form of recorded conversations between you and important people in your life discussing this topic.

If you create a digital bucket list journal, you can include these entries as audio or video files. However, even if yours is a traditional bucket list journal, you can still record these types of conversations and transcribe them later.

Make it shared

Like the example above, this is another idea that can help you identify experiences and goals you’d like to include on your bucket list.

You don’t need to be the only contributor to your bucket list journal. For example, you could create a blog and give a few select friends and/or family members the freedom to write their own entries. Or you could simply share a physical journal with friends.

They wouldn’t be writing about what they believe you would include in your bucket list journal. This would simply be a shared bucket list journal, in which multiple people write about what they might want to experience and achieve in their lifetimes. 

Reading each other’s entries will naturally help everyone involved learn more about the various participants. Additionally, it can help everyone come up with more ideas for their own bucket list journal entries.

Turn it into more than just a journal

A proper bucket list journal can often serve as an inspiration to others. As you get more comfortable with the process of keeping a bucket list journal, you might decide you want to share yours with the world in some way.

Again, a blog is one option, but you might also make a YouTube channel in which you regularly discuss the kinds of topics you’d write about in a bucket list journal. Or you could turn your bucket list journal entries into podcast episodes. By doing so you may remind people to live life to the fullest. That’s a wonderful gift to give others.

Bucket List Journals: Framing the Importance of Life

You want your life to be as rich and satisfying as possible. You’re more likely to achieve this goal if you know what you want to experience while you’re alive. Keeping a bucket list journal will help.

Looking for more ways to improve your bucket list journaling experience? Read oug guide on the best bucket list gift ideas.

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