Posted in 40 x 40, Bucket List, Lifestyle, Tips & How to's

5 things to consider when you write yourself a ‘Bucket List’

Creating a Bucket List

The new ‘Bucket List’

Now that I am forty, which according to the wisdom of the internet is not middle aged, my 40 x 40 Bucket List (as in ‘forty things to do before turning forty) has ended. This means that I need a new list… A Kettle List.

A rename seemed appropriate, so as not to confuse it with the 40 x 40, and also because this isn’t really a true Bucket List; these are things to complete before I am 50, not before I die at 92 (seems like a good age).

So, what’s the deal with this new list? And why do I think you should write yourself one too?

Everyone loves a list

Related image

The best bit about your own lists, particularly when they are for fun things, is that they are totally flexible and you can change them up whenever you feel like it. It isn’t like a to do list, which must be completed; these are tasks you have chosen.
Personally, I have upgraded mine – although don’t you dare call it a 50 x 50! I plan on being ‘early forties’ for a number of years (I bit like that time I was 28 for about 7 years)

Maybe you have been thinking about writing a Bucket List for a while now, you may have even looked up a few if the ones that are currently online, only to be met with super adventurous, expensive and far flung suggestions that really aren’t for you. I am not going to make any suggestions as to what should go on your list here – it is your list after all – but if you would like some ideas about how to start writing your bucket list, read on.

If you really want ideas to kick start your imagination, I have started a Pinterest Board you can have a nose at.

There are no hard and fast rules for Bucket Lists, there are though, some basic elements you need to consider when you want to write a bucket list of your own.

What is the purpose of your list?:

Why are you writing the list?
Do you want it to encourage you to try out new things?
To get out more?
To eat different foods?
To visit as yet unvisited places?
To do that one thing you have been putting off for years?
Make something?
Learn something new?
Even if you do not achieve half of your list, making one will help you focus your ideas and possibly give you some insight into what you subconsciously want from life.
Do you notice that a large section of your list is to ‘see/visit/go to’ places? Are you not doing enough of that now? Writing a list will aid in fine tuning your thoughts and can help you then decide what is important to you. A list helps you focus, and is a launch pad to other ideas and plans.

Be Discerning:

There is no perfect number of things to go on your list, or time scale in which to do it; don’t make the mistake I made with my first list.** If you are padding it out for some arbitrary reason – such as ‘I needed 40 things’, then you will feel a bit guilty if you do not complete it. Odds are that if you write an honest Bucket List without restriction, when you won’t be including the things that ‘seem’ like the kind of thing that should be on a list. Be honest about what you realistically want to do – do you REALLY want to parachute over the Grand Canyon, or are you adding it because it sounds good?

Which, of course, leads us to …

This list is for you:

This is very important; always remember this, as it should be the only reason you are completing any of the things on your Bucket List. If you later decide “actually, I’ve changed my mind, I really don’t fancy doing that now” – that is fine, cross it out and come up with something else… or not (see ‘ Be Discerning ‘above)

Challenge yourself:

Writers of Bucket Lists need to avoid two major pitfalls: Making your list far too easy, and making the list far too challenging. I was very guilty of this with my first list. I had set both a time limit (turning 40) and a number of challenges to complete. I found myself adding things to the list which were not really a challenge as I knew I did not have long to complete them. It limited my imagination; it made me reign in my actual desires, as I knew I would not be able to, for example, visit America, or learn to drive, in the time given. Have you ever written a to do list and added a few things that you have already done, just so you can cross them off? I get it, ticking things as ‘done’ is very satisfying, but as this list is for you, it needs to be honest. If you have already done it, don’t add it to the list.

Conversely, the odds of me ever visiting space are on the low side; That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be put it on your list if that is what you want to do, however, if the entire list is near impossible you will soon get bored of the whole enterprise. Mix it up a little, go for some ‘easy wins’ as well as some epic dreams and create a list which has a bit of everything.

Time to reflect:

I apologise, but I am going to get all sociologist on you…
Every few months, you should revisit your list. Feel free to change it up, delete things if you need to, add things if you discover a new dream.

If, at any point, you become disheartened because you feel you are not ‘ticking enough boxes’, stop and consider the things that you didn’t put on the list because you had already done them – In my case things like: White water rafting, abseiling, Travelling the Kalka – Shimla railway, visiting the Caribbean…

While we should always strive to be better, and to keep moving forward, if you don’t take the time to look back over all the things you have already done, you may not appreciate how far you have actually come.

So with all this in mind, what will you put on your list? New skills to develop? Places to visit? Personal health goals? Maybe you have your list already and so you can step it up a notch with this blog post.

I would love to hear what others would add to their list, and I would like to, once again, welcome you to Polly’s Pad: the blog, the Kettle list, the You Tube channel and the next 10 or so years together as I complete – or not, no pressure! – my next set of challenges.

Chilling in Tokyo
Plaits? Check. Japanese Writing? Check. Travelling about with a backpack? Check. Pretty much a profile picture, right there…

* If you are wondering what a Kettle List is, I explain all here
** I am painfully aware of the irony of me promoting a no time limit Bucket List model when mine is technically a 50 x 50, but I have learned a lesson and this list is very flexible and I am working on changes!



Mature (technically) graduate, vlogger, blogger, dreaming of travelling, mum of 4, K-pop addict, Japanese culture fan, and wannabe minimalist. And that is what this is all about... I am clearing, decluttering and "minimalising" with the long term aim of travelling and completing the adventures on my #kettlelist (Bucket list seems a bit final!) Come visit me on twitter and instagram @Pollyplaits , or on Youtube for my Polly put the kettle on (#PPTKO) weekly vlog that is DEFINITELY #NOTa50x50

9 thoughts on “5 things to consider when you write yourself a ‘Bucket List’

  1. I loved reading this! I haven’t ever made a bucket list because I’ve always felt like I just didn’t do enough interesting stuff anyway… But I guess that’s point of one hahaha. I loved you going all sociologist on us, and now I’ve got your youtube channel playing in the background! Loved this post x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😁 I am such a ‘bucketlist advocate’ because I feel that even if you don’t get round to doing anything on your list, just the act of writing it will really help to refocus your goals.


  2. I am thinking of making my first bucket list for the next year, so this post is really helpful. I will definitely have some challenging things on it and also some not so much, to make me feel happy when I reach the small wins, which will then encourage me to go for the big ones as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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