How the time flies. While 29, I quickly tried to make my way through a pretty ambitious 30 before 30 bucket list in just over four months. I'm a very goal-oriented person, and the list ended up being a blast to try and barrel through. Though I'll be honest, the short timeline was a bit stressful. The lessons I learned from that list really helped me formulate how to create a bucket list that is not only attainable but full of motivation and excitement when setting out to build my next list. 

As a goal crusher, I can be pretty hard on myself when trying to meet my own unrealistic expectations. Even though I wasn't able to cross all thirty things off my 30 before 30 list, it was still quite a success. It made me get out of my comfort zone and do things I'd always wanted to do, or do again, make time for the unexpected, and finally make it places I've wanted to go for years. It was such a success I decided I had to create a 40 before 40 bucket list. 

Timeframe of a Bucket List

After deciding to create a bucket list, the next step is to decide on what your timeframe is for your list. Do you want a year? A decade? Maybe you want to go the traditional route and make a list it will take a lifetime for you to complete. Take this into account when you create your bucket list. 

But keep in mind, taking on a list of goals with a time limit can really teach you a lot, force action and keep you from putting off things you've always wanted to do for even longer. You'll learn priceless things about yourself and your preferences. When making the list below, I did a few things differently than with by 30 before 30 bucket list.  I made a list designed for a decade rather than a few months. 

This time around I decided, instead of four months, I would give myself a decade to accomplish the goals I'm setting. This was in an attempt to preserve my sanity and my motivation, which were both damaged by the short timeline of my first bucket list. The longer timeline also means that I was able to go a bit bigger and bolder with my dreams. The list contains foreign countries, major undertakings, and lofty aspirations. Some are things I can only hope will happen. And since life is just a long continuation, the last few on my list are carried over from my 30 before 30 list because they didn't get done.

What kind of bucket list are you looking for? Are you 3 years to a milestone birthday? Do you have a big anniversary coming up? Have you never written a list in your life and just want some things to do in the next lifetime? Decide how long you of time frame, if any, you want to set for your bucket list. 

What Can Go on a Bucket List?

My previous list had tasks on it that I'd definitely done before. Like riding a horse and visiting Yellowstone. But technically, I already knew I was probably going to get do those things when I made the list. So I put them on to round out the list. This time around, I only put items on the list that I have never done and don't have concrete plans on already doing them. Now there are a few that have some sort of outline, but no tickets were bought. This is not a schedule, this is a list of dreams after all. 

You don't have to just put things that you have never done on your bucket list. I found it a great motivator to have things I really wanted to do again and hadn't done in a long time on my 30 before 30 bucket list. It made it exciting and a bit more do-able knowing that there were some tried and true tasks on the list. But this time around, for my 40 before 40 bucket list, it's all about the new and unknown adventures. Which means I've decided to only allow items that I've never done.

You decide for your list what you need. Only new goals? Perhaps hobbies or skills you've missed doing from your youth? Places you've never been? Or an old stomping ground you've yearned for? This is your bucket list, you're in charge!

Setting Some Expectations

I have a lesson to share with you that I learned the hard way on my 30 before 30 bucket list. You see, I put 'Read the Count of Monte Cristo' on my 30 before 30 list. Someone, somewhere told me it was a must-read. I'd downloaded a copy on my Kindle years previously and had stopped reading after having a really hard time getting into it. I should've taken this as a sign.

Being the type of person who holds myself to some crazy standards, I decided that if it was on my 30 before 30 list it MUST be completed. I had WANTED to do this thing, so do it I must. I went so far as to buy the audiobook and listen to it for over eight hours on a road trip I took to cross off two other items on my list--Smith Rock and visiting a Hot Spring. (sidenote: if you're having to cram multiple items on your list into a single day, perhaps the timeline was a bit off.) It was torture. I forced myself to listen to the saddest audio reader do poorly done accents from a book that was written over a century ago whose translation was really really bad.

Long story short, I did not finish the book. At first, I was pretty upset at myself. Was I not cultured enough to enjoy the complexity of such a classic? But you know what? I don't have to like everything I set out to do, and I don't have to finish tasks once I realize they're just not my cup of tea. With that in mind, I've agreed with my inner self that I will not beat myself up over this list. I will let my goals be inspirational, and not be seen as shackles or failures if not accomplished. It is inevitable that you find some things that you just plain don't like if you're making a list of things you've never tried before. Give yourself a break.

Getting Personal

With a bigger birthday, comes a longer list. There's also a different feel to the goals I want to accomplish in my thirties than the ones I did accomplish in my twenties; including the ones I crammed into the last few months of the decade. My twenties were crazy. A time where I gave myself space and freedom to let loose and fail hard and party a bit too much. My thirties are a place I want to grow up and mature a bit; to make commitments and work hard and put the time in to make something happen. 

I took all of that into mind when I made this list. That I'm not getting younger, and with age, I want more from life. And that I want to put those dreams onto paper (or type) so that I can admit to myself that these are all things I truly want from my life. We need to learn to be honest with ourselves so that our dreams aren't tepid. That there's a fire, a burning hot desire, that lights up your goals from their core. That lights you up from the depths of your being. 

For me, that means getting a bit more personal. In my list, I've got things like have a kid, get married, and get botox. One of those is less personal than the others, but still something I was sort of embarrassed to even admit to myself. What happens if I don't succeed? I think what's worse is not even letting myself dream or believe in the things that I truly want to do. So dig deep and get personal when making your list. Because sometimes the first step of accomplishing something, is allowing yourself to ask for it.

My 40 Before 40 Bucket List

  1. Go to Thailand
  2. Write a book
  3. Learn to play an instrument
  4. Get voice lessons
  5. Sing more
  6. See the Grand Canyon
  7. Go to Puerto Rico
  8. Skydive
  9. Ride a horse on a beach
  10. Visit the Redwood National Forest
  11. Ski
  12. Jet Ski
  13. Ride in a hot air balloon
  14. Get married
  15. Get published
  16. Have a baby
  17. Buy a house
  18. Go to Florida
  19. Get LASIK
  20. Get a facial peel
  21. Go to Greece
  22. Make pasta from scratch
  23. Surf
  24. Make sushi
  25. Scuba
  26. Ride on a sailboat
  27. Visit Palm Springs
  28. Go on a yoga vacation
  29. Try cupping
  30. Go on a raft and camp trip
  31. Visit New Orleans
  32. Snowshoe
  33. Get Botox
  34. Go on a cruise
  35. Read 100 books in a decade
  36. Visit Yosemite National Park
  37. Go Viral
  38. Go to a Star Party
  39. See a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show
  40. Eat a Seafood Tower

I know I'm excited for what the next ten years has to offer, as well as what I can accomplish in all of the years to come. I hope that you've found a little spark of joy or inspiration from my list and now have a few more tools to help you create a bucket list of your own.