How to create a Bucket List

Bucket List 2



A bucket list is a list of things to do before you die. The phrases originates from the term “kicked the bucket”.


Creating a Bucket List


No matter our age, financial or physical circumstances we can all create a bucket list. This might be a short list of personal activities or elaborate list of goals to help better society. Simply write them down or tell a loved one what’s on your list.


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Inspiration can take many forms. Your bucket list therefore might be inspired by friends, family and a range of other outside factors. Everyones bucketlist is different, the most important thing is to make the things that you want to happen…HAPPEN.

Learning from the ‘regrets of the dying’ can be a powerful learning tool. This is especially true when contemplating what should be added to a bucket list.


Top 5 regrets of the dying


The top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Bronnie Ware (a Palliative Care Nurse) can be found below. 


1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”


2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”


3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”


4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”


5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”



Further resources of inspiration


  • ‘The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying’ book by Bronnie Ware can be purchased here
  • The Bucketlist film with Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman IMDB Review here
  • Stephen Sutton’s Bucketlist – Possibly the most incredible and elaborate buck list of all time can be seen here