Let's say you live to age ninety.
How many days do you have left to live? Take your age now and subtract it from ninety, then multiply that number by 365.
That's pretty finite, isn't it?
It might seem like you have plenty of days left (especially if you're younger than 40 or so), but remember that most of your time is taken up with work, sleep, and the tasks of just living. Those things alone account for 18-20 hours of every day, with a few more free hours on the weekends.
That doesn't leave much time for the good stuff — the stuff you're working so hard for. The stuff you dream about — the adventures, the relationships, the memories, and goals that are important to you.
Most people get to the end of their lives never really living. They never do those important things they always planned on doing. Somehow time slips away, it seems too costly or impossible to achieve. Other things keep getting in the way and jumping to the top of your priority list.
Then one day you look back with regret at all of the things you wanted to accomplish but never did. “If only I'd taken the time to . . .”
It takes planning, saving, and determination to make these things happen. If you don't want to look back with regret, you must create your bucket list and start checking things off, month after month, year after year.
Want some ideas?
Here are 575+ bucket list ideas to live a no regrets life:
Travel for Fun, Adventure, and Learning
Visit the most beautiful cities in the United States.
Although I love traveling to other countries, there are so many beautiful places to visit in the U.S. The 20 cities consistently listed as the most beautiful include:
- San Francisco, California
- San Diego, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Santa Barbara, California
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Savannah, Georgia
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Chicago, Illinois
- Monterey, California
- Napa, California
- New York, New York
- Key West, Florida
- Maui, Hawaii
- Carmel-by-the Sea, California
- Breckenridge, Colorado
- Portland, Oregon
- Laguna Beach, California
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Asheville, North Carolina (my home town!)
Visit the 59 national parks in the United States.
The national parks in the U.S. are identified as such because of their natural beauty, unique geological features, unusual ecosystems, and recreational opportunities. I've been to ten of them so far, but I definitely want to visit many more. Here's a list of all of the national parks.
From the Grand Canyon to the wildflower fields at Mt. Rainer, national parks have some of the most coveted natural landmarks in the country. There are 76,000 archeological sites and nearly 2,500 national historic landmarks.
National parks are also home to some of the most stunning landscapes like The Redwood National Park in California which has the tallest trees on Earth and the 2,000+ natural stone arches at Arches National Park in Utah.
These are amazing travel destinations not only for the scenery and outdoor activities, but also because they are extremely affordable. A day pass to visit any national park is $20 while an annual pass is only $80. Renting a campsite can be as cheap as $15 a night.
Visit the most beautiful cities outside of the U.S.
If you love international travel and want to see some of the most beautiful cities in the world, you definitely don't want to miss these 20 destinations:
- Paris, France
- Venice, Italy
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- London, England
- Rome, Italy
- Athens, Greece
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Berlin, Germany
- Oia Santorini, Greece
- Sydney, Australia
- Edinburgh, Scotland
- Mont Saint-Michel, France
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Florence, Italy
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Budapest, Hungary
- Bruges, Brussels
- Vancouver, Canada
- Zurich, Switzerland
Travel to lesser-known but still jaw-dropping destinations.
One of my favorite trips of all time was to Acqui Terme (Acqui what??), Italy. One of my dear friends owned a stunning bed and breakfast in the quaint but chic town in the Piedmont (wine country) region in Northern Italy. Here's an article she wrote about Acqui.
Plan an adventure vacation.
Do you have an adventurous spirit and love trying new and daring things? If so, make your next vacation a real adventure by planning a trip that involves action and excitement. Need some ideas?
- Go whale watching in Alaska.
- Try zip-lining in Costa Rica.
- Go dog sledding.
- Climb the Heavenly Stairs in China.
- Take a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.
- Go on an African safari.
- Swim with dolphins.
- See the Northern Lights in Alaska.
- Run with the bulls in Spain.
- Go snow skiing in Whistler.
- Grab your pole for some fly-fishing in Montana.
- Go glacier walking in Iceland.
- Cycle your way through Tuscany.
Check out 50 more adventurous travel ideas in this article. Also be sure to check out REI Adventures (a division of REI Outdoor) for some of the most amazing adventure trips I've seen. They handle everything from A to Z and get consistently high reviews for their trips.
Go on a learning excursion.
Are you a life-long learner and love the idea of combining travel with learning? There are numerous learning excursions, weekend events, and even cruises where you can enjoy the benefits of travel while increasing your knowledge in an area of interest. Check out some of these:
- Cooking in Tuscany
- Space Camp for Adults
- Language Learning Vacations
- Photography tutorial expeditions with National Geographic
- Small cruise ship educational lectures
- Wine immersion in Napa Valley
- Creativity Workshops in Europe and New York
- Conservation and Preservation Adventures with REI
- Personal growth retreats in Arizona
- Go on a Vipassana meditation retreat.
If you want more ideas for learning excursions, check out Road Scholar for some amazing learning trips around the world.
Find and Live Your Passion
Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She wrote a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing in which she chronicles the most common regrets expressed to her by the people she had cared for.
Too many people never check this off their bucket list. They work in careers they hate or jobs that are unfulfilling, doing what they think they are “supposed” to do rather than what they love.
Living my passion was my #1 bucket list pursuit when I created my list years ago. I left my public relations career and started over as a coach, writer, author, and online entrepreneur — a career that allows me freedom to work from anywhere and tons of flexibility all while doing work I love.
Do you know what your life passion is? Are you transforming your life so you can live it before you look back with regret? If you don't know what your passion is or you feel confused about how to live it without giving up financial security, check out The Path to Passion Course and follow the steps leading you to a new and more passionate life.
Write and Publish Your Book
Did you know that over 80% of people want to write a book but less than 1% actually do?
So many people who have important things to write about, things that could help and inspire other people.
YOU are one of those people, even if you’ve never considered writing a book before. You have a wealth of experience, interests, and ideas accumulated through a lifetime that other people could benefit from. There are people all over the world searching for the knowledge you could share with them.
Self-publishing has changed the entire playing field, and now anyone who has a book inside of them can get it out, publish it, and sell it. It’s not as intimidating or confusing as you might think. In fact, it's really fun and very rewarding. I've written over a dozen books that I've published through Amazon.
Whether you want to write a novel, a non-fiction book, or your own autobiography, you can learn the skills of self-publishing and write several books a year if you put your mind to it.
If you need help deciding on a profitable book idea and knowing how to get started with self-publishing, grab a copy of this free Bestseller Checklist: 46 Actions to Turn Your Idea Into a Bestselling Book. It details every step you need to take to get your book written, formatted, designed, published, marketed and sold.
Change The World
Do you want to leave a positive legacy for your family, friends, community, and even the world?
You don't have to donate millions of dollars or start your own non-profit in order to create your legacy. There are so many ideas for making a positive impact and enjoying yourself at the same time. Here are some ideas:
- Plant a garden.
- Adopt an animal from a shelter.
- Be a mentor to someone.
- Get involved in a cause that means something to you.
- Spend time with an elderly person.
- Teach someone to read.
- Be a foster parent.
- Clean up your neighborhood or community.
- Join the Peace Corps.
- Serve at a food bank.
- Share your expertise.
- Declutter and donate your stuff.
- Build a Habitat for Humanity.
- Send letters and care packages to deployed soldiers.
- Cut your hair and donate to Locks of Love.
- Be a Big Brother or Big Sister to a child in need.
- Get CPR and First Aid certification.
Learn Something New
The great thing about learning new skills is that you can continue to add them to your bucket list as you accomplish them. You should never stop learning and expanding your skills and knowledge.
Here are some of the learning bucket list skills that intrigue me, and maybe you'll want to include them on your list as well:
- Learn a new language.
- Learn how to meditate.
- Learn an instrument.
- Learn how to change a tire.
- Learn how to start a blog.
- Learn how to be a gourmet cook.
- Learn public speaking skills.
- Learn ballroom dancing.
- Learn how to draw or paint.
- Learn to drive a manual transmission car.
- Learn how to defend yourself.
- Learn how to play bridge.
- Learn how to code.
- Learn digital photography.
- Learn yoga.
- Learn a new sport.
- Learn how to communicate more effectively.
Former President George H. W. Bush marked is 80th, 85th, and 90th birthdays by skydiving from an airplane. Sister Madonna Buder, an 86-year-old nun, is the oldest woman to ever complete an Ironman triathlon. Fred Beckey, an American rock climber, mountaineer and author, continues to make climbs in his 90th decade.
Is there a daring feat you've wanted to add to your bucket list? You don't have to wait until your golden years to cross it off the list. If you want to do something a little edgy that pushes you out of your comfort zone, here are some ideas:
- Take a ride in a fighter jet.
- Go bungee jumping.
- Sell your possessions, take a year off, and travel the world.
- Go whitewater rafting. Check out these 25 whitewater destinations.
- Ride in a hot air balloon.
- Learn how to windsurf.
- Finally quit your job.
- Test drive a Lamborghini or Ferrari.
- Go skinny dipping in the ocean.
- Make a speech in front of hundreds of people.
- Tour the country on a motorcycle.
- Try hang gliding.
- Take a ride on the steepest, craziest rollercoaster near you.
- Buy a ticket today and fly off for an impromptu vacation.
- Audition for band or theatre group.
- Organize a flash mob.
- Chase a tornado (with professionals).
- Conquer your biggest fear.
Make Amazing Connections
Remember the top five regrets of the dying I mentioned earlier? Three of those five relate to spending time with the people we care about: 1) I wish I hadn't worked so hard (and spent more time with family; 2) I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings; 3) I wish I'd stayed in touch with my friends.
You don't want to look back on your life wishing you'd been more engaged with the important people in your life, or that you didn't try to build new connections with amazing people throughout your life. Think about adding these ideas to your bucket list:
- Say “I love you” every single day to your spouse or partner, and children.
- Write your parents a letter to tell them everything they did right and how much you appreciate it.
- Throw a party for you friends to celebrate them.
- Set aside the time and money to visit a friend or relative you care about who lives far away.
- Surprise your spouse or partner with something truly unique. (100 ideas for her and 100 ideas for him)
- Organize a memorable girls' or guys' weekend in a big beach house.
- Go on a road trip with your bestie.
- Have a completely tech-free week in your family.
- Take each of your children on a special date for one-on-one time every month.
- Learn about your family tree and share it with your family.
- Join a group or social club of like-minded people to expand your circle.
- Go on an REI trip or Road Scholar's trip by yourself to meet new people.
- Organize a big family reunion.
- Take your Mom or Dad on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
- Reach out to someone you admire and get to know them.
- Start a new family tradition.
- Ask your spouse relationship-building questions.
- Get a couple's massage.
- Read to each other in bed.
- Go to a cooking class with your spouse.
- Check out these 30 ideas to meet new people.
Change It Up
Sometimes life becomes so predictable, and we get stuck in our ruts. Maybe it's time to shake things up, or at least add some change-it-up ideas to your bucket list. I'm sure you've dreamed of making some changes in your life. Why not add your ideas to your bucket list to make it more real?
Here are some fun ideas to consider:
- Do something totally, unexpectedly different with your hair.
- Sell your furniture and start over with a new decor.
- Get a tattoo.
- Finally buy the car of your dreams.
- Become a minimalist. Pare down to the essentials and free yourself from things.
- Move to a new city.
- Let go of people who drag you down.
- Challenge all of your beliefs about religion, politics, and life in general for a new perspective.
- Go a full week without TV and do something with your hands.
- Try eating a cuisine you wouldn't normally try.
- Play hooky from work and go on a day-long adventure.
- Leave your job and go on a year-long adventure.
Improve Your Health and Fitness
Every year we make resolutions to exercise, become healthier and more fit. This is a bucket list goal that tends to get pushed to the bottom of the list over and over again.
You want to have a long and healthy life so you can complete all of the items on your list, and fitness is essential to enjoying a long life. If you have trouble developing fitness habits, check out my Sticky Habits program that shows you how to commit to your habits starting with 5 minutes a day.
Check out these fitness bucket list goals:
- Learn to exercise with a rebounder. It is THE most fun exercise I've found.
- Add one more daily vegetable to your diet.
- Remove one bad-for-you item from your diet (soda, chips, sweets, etc.)
- Train for a marathon or half marathon.
- Begin the day with one full glass of water.
- Start strength training with free weights.
- Get a bicycle and bike a few miles every day.
- Lose one pound a week until you reach your goal weight.
- Set up your own home gym so you have no excuses.
- Give up sweets for a month.
- Become a vegetarian.
I've Always Wanted To Go To . . .
We all have those events we've wanted to attend, but we put them off because of the cost, our busy schedules, or just thinking we can do it next year. It's time to add them to your bucket list and determine a day, time, and budget to make it happen.
Here are some bucket list events I've always wanted to go to:
- A Radiohead concert (or some other concert that you'd enjoy)
- Wimbledon to see a tennis match
- The Edinburgh Fringe Festival
- The Nutcracker with the New York City Ballet at the Met
- A live TED talk
- The Kentucky Derby
- The Westminster Dog Show
- Rio Carnival
- Mardi Gras-New Orleans
- St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland
- New Year's Eve in Time Square
- Cannes Film Festival
- The Sundance Film Festival
- The Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert
Just For The Heck of It
Here are a few more great bucket list ideas to put on your list:
- Make $1 million before you die.
- Start your own blog.
- Drink a rare bottle of wine.
- Ride an elephant or camel.
- Run naked in the rain.
- Meet a world leader.
- Complete a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle.
- Enjoy a white Christmas.
- Surprise a friend in another city at their door unexpectedly.
- Pay the bill for everyone at a bar.
- Ask a guy in a kilt what he's wearing underneath.
- Get another degree.
- Have a recommitment ceremony with your spouse.
What would you add to these bucket list ideas? Share your goals and dreams and how you intend to make them happen.