How to Complete Your Bucket List in One Easy Step

So how are you doing on your bucket list?  Are you living out your dreams and crossing off those bucket list items?  Or are you just dreaming about those grand adventures on your bucket list, and thinking someday you’ll do that or go there?  Is your bucket list written down on paper or just in your head?  Are you insanely jealous when you hear about people crossing off the items on their bucket list?

Ok, enough questions, but I hope I got you thinking about your bucket list and how successful you may be at living out your dreams and wishes.  Most people who have a bucket list probably won’t even come near to completing their list, and that is so sad and absolutely no fun.  I only say most people, because I know there are some amazing people who are living out their dreams and always up for adventure.  Their lives are full and they always have a story to tell.  They are crushing their bucket list.

bucket list outdoor hockey

Outdoor hockey…the way it should be played! Wild vs Blackhawks in 2016.

The One Step to Completing Your Bucket List

I want to be one of those amazing people, and I’m doing my best to live out my dreams and living a full life.  I am only able to do this because I did one thing, and that was to get rid of my bucket list.  Yep, toss it away.  Sorry to crumple your dreams and throw them in the trash.  But take it from me, you don’t want those dreams, you want to turn those dreams into your reality.

Here’s What to Do Instead

The keys to accomplishing your dreams and goals are to set a deadline and to write your goals down.

Since a traditional bucket list has an unknown deadline (no pun intended), we have less of an incentive to act on our list.   Someday I’ll go to Hawaii for a month, maybe next year we’ll try downhill skiing.  Someday and maybe don’t happen!  If we have a set deadline to get something done, it will likely get done.  Especially if it’s something fun!  I use a five year time period for my list, and it only includes a reasonable number of tasks that can be completed within that timeline.

By writing your dreams and goals down on paper, it’s easier to review where you are at and what you still need to do.  You can also share your list with others, and they may even have a connection to get you closer to checking off the items on your list.

Space shuttle atlantis bucket list

Seeing Space Shuttle Atlantis is amazing!

A Firsts List

I call my bucket list a “firsts list”.  More specifically, my current list is “45 Firsts by Age 45”.  Now you are probably thinking that there is no way that I can take 45 dream vacations between the ages of 40 and 45.  Well, you’re right.  My firsts are so much more than travel.  My firsts list is made up of things I want to do, try, experience and see by the time I’m 45.  They are also all firsts that I can reasonably accomplish in that five year time period.  Any first that isn’t likely to happen in those five years, gets added to my “50 Firsts by Age 50” list.

Are you ready to live your life now?  Then, sit down and list all of the firsts that you want to experience.  Write everything down, no matter how unreasonable and impossible it may seem.  Think about where you want to travel, foods you want to eat, items you want to buy, people you want to spend time with, books you want to read, events you want to attend, and all the things that you keep putting off for “someday”.

Read over your list, pretty impressive and full of amazing goals right?  Now think about which items could reasonably be completed in the next five years or next ten years.  Mark the items that can be done first and are the easiest to achieve.  If there’s something that you won’t be able to do until further into the future, start a second list.  Remember you can add as many firsts to your lists as you want, as long as it’s possible to complete them in your determined time frame.  You can use any number of years for your timeframe, I like my list to coincide with my milestone birthdays, just pick the number of years that works for you.

You are now holding onto your ultimate goals and first experiences that you will be living throughout the next few years.  You are going to start turning your dreams into reality, living a full life, and will have some pretty incredible stories to tell.

bucket list Cars Land

Look at what “someday I want to go to Cars Land” turned into!

Snippets From Our Firsts Lists at That Was a First

I started my first list about seven years ago, and my kids just started theirs this past summer.  My list is broken down into the categories of; food, travel, events, sports, and everything else.  The kids don’t use categories for their lists, they just wrote down the 10-15 things they want to achieve.  I always track the date each first is completed and write down my comments.  I also have a column noting when I’m planning to complete the first, so I can stay on track.

Here are a a few of the firsts that we’ve completed:

  • Attend the New York City Wine & Food Festival
  • Visit the San Francisco Ferry Building
  • Go to the Dane County Farmer’s Market
  • See a Cirque show
  • Attend a NCAA tournament game
  • Visit an ice castle
  • Eat a lobster roll
  • Ride on a camel
  • Finish the master gardener’s program
  • Go kayaking
  • Take a family vacation to Alaska
  • Visit Cars Land at Disneyland
  • See a space shuttle
  • Visit an airport lounge
  • Go to an outdoor NHL game
  • Eat a Chicago style hot dog in Chicago

Talk about fun, fun, fun!  I would have never made plans to go to the New York City to the Wine & Food Festival, if it hadn’t been on my list.  Our Alaska vacation would still be stuck in “someday” mode, if I hadn’t set my mind to taking that trip within five years.  Take it from me, a firsts list works!

bucket list meal

Top 5 meal! Lobster roll, mac salad, and fries. Not pictured is the slice of key lime pie and homemade lemonade. Yum!

Now that I have my firsts lists out in front of me, I’m pretty excited to cross off some more items!  We have so much to look forward to in the next few years, and for the rest of our lives!

Take the time to start your firsts list and encourage the whole family to write one too!  Life’s short, live it!

What are some of your firsts?

Are you ready to turn your bucket list of dreams into realtiy? All it takes is one easy step to get started!


  • Ashley @ GrowingSpangs November 11, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    You’re so right – it’s a much better idea to give a goal a deadline. We do it in other life aspects, why not for our life goals! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Vicki November 12, 2017 at 9:28 am

      You’re welcome! We need to stop saying someday, because that is no fun!

  • Mal November 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    I almost spit out my drink when I read throw the bucket list away lol!! But you really do have some awesome points!!

    • Vicki November 11, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      That’s funny! Love your blog, and Hawaii! Let me know if you ever want to house swap for a visit to Wisconsin!

  • Elise Ho November 10, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    LOL, I love your advice. It is so funny and in many ways so true. Firsts… send two kids away to college, watch a kid start his career, take my mom on a cruise, and many more.

    • Vicki November 11, 2017 at 7:44 am

      Thanks Elise!


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