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Why You Need A Creative Bucket List & How To Make One

Updated: Mar 21

Has someone ever asked you what your hobby is and you didn't know the answer?
Have you ever looked at someone else and wished you could be born with their talent?
How about this, have you ever wondered what your passion is?
You are not alone! This used to be me!
In this post I am going to talk about how to discover your talents, find new hobbies, discover the thing (or things) that you're passionate about, and how to stay excited about them.

And if you are sitting there thinking, "Cortney, I don't have any talents," I'm going to stop you right there! Everyone on this green Earth has talent. It's just a matter of uncovering it!

This will be a post with a little motivation, a little goal-setting, and a lot of creative inspiration. Are you ready to find a hobby that sets your soul on fire? Here is what we will be talking about today:
What You Need To Know Before You Make Your Creative Bucket List
What A Creative Bucket List Is And What It Isn't
How To Make Your Own List
How To Actually Work Towards These Accomplishments And Stay Excited
Bucket List Ideas

What You Need To Know Before You Make A Creative Bucket List:

  1. You will not love everything you try and your list will not be set in stone. The purpose of making this list is to discover what you do like to do, so it is natural that you might find a lot of things you don't like to do along the way. Your ideas will change and as you go and that is okay. You will grow and learn more about yourself and your list will evolve as you do.

  2. You will not be good at something on your first try. Did you make it through school without missing a single test question? Did you make it through all the levels of a video game without having to start over? Do you think The Mona Lisa was Leonardo da Vinci's first painting he ever tried? Do you see where I'm going with this? The point of trying new things is to discover what you like to do, not what you are immediately good at.

  3. This should be a fun process. Yes, you might get frustrated with some of these bucket list items. Some things might be a complete disaster, but your attitude toward this should be light and fun. A failure is something to be celebrated and when you are struggling, it means you are growing. Attack this list with happiness in your heart and a desire to learn and you can't go wrong.

  4. Know Your Why. Go deep with this. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself "Why do I want to make this list?" It's okay to have many reasons you want to find your talents and hobbies. I've found most of the reasons I started a list, revolve around my own self worth and how I view myself. I also get a small high from checklists. . . So, think for a minute, what's the reason you're reading this post right now? Keep that reason in your heart as you tackle each item on your creative bucket list.

What A Creative Bucket List Is And What It Isn't:

What It Is:

  1. It is a list of things that you want to do, try, and learn.

  2. It consists of attainable, concrete goals or accomplishments. This means you shouldn't put things on your list that are unrealistic for you. Everyone is different, but I'd never add Become A Flight Attendant on my list because: 1. It is not realistic for me and most importantly, 2. It doesn't excite me. Also, I would NOT recommend putting something like, Become a painter, because that is not a concrete, or a definable, goal. At what point would you declare you've become a painter? After you painted one mural? After you painted six murals? After you got paid to paint a mural? Instead, I would encourage you to boil that goal down. It should look like: Sell an original painting or Paint a mural for my living room wall or Take a painting class. These goals are concrete and have yes or no answers to them. Did you paint a mural for your living room? Yes, or No. Did you take a painting class? Do you see the difference?

  3. The list should be full of things that excite you and promote growth. I mentioned this one above, but it's really important to choose things that excite you OR promote growth. They don't have to do both, but whatever you choose has to do at least one of those things. I think it would be cool to say that I jumped out of an air plane with a parachute, but it doesn't set my soul on fire and I'm not afraid of heights (I might change that statement if I were ever standing in an open plane door about to jump) but there would be no growth there for me. I wouldn't be facing a fear, learning a new skill (unless I wanted to become a parachute instructor) but you get what I'm saying. Your list items should either set your soul on fire or force you to step out of your comfort zone.

  4. Small goals are okay to put on your list. Not everything on your list needs to be huge accomplishments. In fact, I strongly recommend that you don't fill it with too many grand tasks. If your list is full of items that will take years to accomplish, you will never look at your list and you won't get the satisfaction of crossing something off your list. Have big items that will take a lot of time and effort, but also have items that you could complete in a day. I should also add that not every item should cost you money.

  5. Your goals should be actionable. This means if your goal is to quit smoking, then you shouldn't write down "quit smoking." It is a negative. It means you have to STOP doing something instead of START doing something. If your goal is to stop smoking then you should turn it into a positive action by writing something like: "Do 10 jumping jacks before every time I light up for a week." OR "Substitute one smoke break for a Diet Coke break." OR "Keep my pack of smokes in my car so I have to walk further to get them."

What It Is Not:

  1. It is not for other people. It is for you. Do not add things to your list in order to impress someone else.

  2. It is not lifeless. The first time I ever tried to make a bucket list (I think I was 12 at the time,) I basically Googled bucket list items and wrote them all down without thought. Google can help you with some ideas, but the lists I've found online do not revolve around personal growth or creativity. Really think about each item. My rule of thumb is: The bigger the goal is, the more it has to excite you. You can write a poem without it costing years of dedication. Becoming a traditionally published author, however, does. Match your goals to your excitement.

  3. It is not a list of undefined-ness. I touched on this in the earlier paragraph, but this is worth stating twice.


  • Write a letter to 5 people who've impacted your life.

  • Draw a pencil sketch to give as a gift.

  • Send birthday cards to my closest friends.

  • Run a full marathon

  • Go on a walk every day for a month

  • Read 5 books that I normally wouldn't read


  • Be more thoughtful

  • Draw more

  • Be more kind

  • Be healthier

  • Run more

  • Walk more

  • Read more

4. This is not a "someday" project. This is an every day project. You should be carving out time every day to work toward something on your list and that is why having a variety of goals is important. It sounds like a lot of work, but it's doable if done the right way. If your goal is to read 25 books in a year, you can read while you're waiting for your turn at the doctor's office. If your goal is to start your own marketing business, you can listen to marketing podcasts on your drive to work. If your goal is to start a cake business then you can practice a recipe.

5. It is not a list of art projects. Your list doesn't have to be exclusive to "creative" endeavors. Some people might say that running a marathon isn't creative, but that doesn't mean you can't write it down. The point of this bucket list is to promote growth, not just creativity. So, don't think your list has to be a list of art projects.

How To Make Your List:

It doesn't have to be fancy. You can open a note file on your phone, download a bucket list app or use a good ol' fashioned pen and paper, but DO NOT MAKE YOUR LIST IN ONE SITTING! You are not going to think about everything in one go and if you try to do this, chances are you'll start adding those lifeless goals I talked about earlier. Write down one or two things and ask yourself:

  • Am I excited to try this?

  • Is it defined?

  • Is it realistic for me?

  • Does it promote growth?

  • Is this a big goal or small?

  • What steps will I need to take in order to achieve this goal?

How To Work Toward Your Goals And Stay Excited About Them:

After you have a decent sized list, you'll have a few goals to choose from and you can start implementing them in your daily routine. Now I'm not necessarily saying you have to follow a strict routine, but I am saying you should be watching out for opportunities to add structured time into your day. For instance, I get up before my kids to write blog posts such as this one. This is where it becomes important that you are excited for these goals. I would not have the will power to wake up at 5 AM if it wasn't for something I enjoyed doing. . . coffee also helps. If you're a mom, you've probably tried to sneak vegetables into your kids' food. Try doing that to yourself. My number one hack for sneaking learning into my day is my air pods. I will stick one side in and turn on a podcast or Audible, so I make sure that if I accomplish nothing else that day, I at least listened to something relevant toward my goals (which totally counts.)

My days look like this. Yes, they revolve around my kiddos, and no, I do not do all these things every day. These are just opportunities in my day to work on my projects and I make sure to get some of these tasks done every day:

Before kids wake up: Blog

While kids are awake: Audio or podcasts (not every minute of the day, but if we are in the car or playing outside.)

While my youngest is napping: School Home Work (I'm working on my bachelors, finally.)

While my oldest is in pre-school: Baking. (I will make a new recipe, tweak an existing recipe, or fulfill a cookie order.)

After the kids are asleep: School work.

In the bath: This one is going to sound silly, but I do some of my best thinking in the bath and will work on my novel (from my phone) while taking a bubble bath. Or I will read an e-book.

Look at your typical day. Find these opportunities and USE them. Once you start building these habits, you begin to crave these times of growth.

Staying Excited:

Did you notice how my day has a little of everything? That's so I can choose what I feel like working on. Sometimes I wake up at 5 AM and I decide to work on my novel instead of my blog. Stay excited by giving yourself permission to choose what you want to work on in the moment, but have that time carved out to work on something. Sometimes I don't feel like listening to a business podcast so I will listen to a writing podcast. Sometimes I don't feel like working on my novel so I will read a published novel. It still counts. The secret to staying excited about your goals is having a few goals to rotate working on. When I'm completely burned out I will draw or watch a movie (and make note of the plot line and character arcs, of course.)

I also make time for family, time where I am specifically NOT working on anything. This also helps prevent creative burnout and promotes balance. I'll be honest, I am always trying to be better at this one! I will set a 30 minute timer on my phone and focus on playing legos with my son, or racing cars in the dirt. I will dedicate those minutes to him. I try to increase the time each time, because it is always a goal of mine to be more present, which is hard when I have a screen in front of me. If I am ahead on my homework, I will take that time to watch a movie with my husband if the kids are asleep. I'm always trying to find the balance.

Creative Bucket List Ideas:

  1. Create a time capsule wardrobe

  2. Write a poem

  3. Become a published author

  4. Own a real Gucci belt

  5. Start your own business

  6. Make a wedding cake

  7. Paint a picture

  8. Remodel a house

  9. Earn a bachelors degree

  10. Learn Spanish

  11. Be a key-note speaker

  12. Run a marathon

  13. Visit all 50 states

  14. Start a blog

  15. Sell a piece of artwork

  16. Cook every recipe in a cook book

  17. Develop a signature dish that people will know you for

  18. Color every page in a coloring book

  19. Write an old fashioned letter with a calligraphy pen and melted wax stamp

  20. Host a themed dinner party

  21. Open a restaurant or bakery

  22. Read 100 books that are recommended to me

  23. Start a journal

  24. Make a book about your life that someone could read after you die

  25. Start a collection of something (magnets of places you visit)

  26. Start a scrapbook

  27. Give a gift anonymously

  28. Smile at a stranger

  29. Become a personal trainer

  30. Write letters to the important people in your life

  31. Pick a strange ingredient at the super market and make a dish with it

  32. Write a quote from yourself

  33. Watch all the Disney movies

  34. Do ten push-ups every day for a year

  35. Interview a relative about their life

  36. Give the perfect gift to someone you care about

  37. Buy a house

  38. Teach a class

  39. Save up and go on a real shopping spree

  40. Win a race or contest

  41. Win all the levels in a video game

  42. Make a calendar with all your friends and family members birthdays

  43. Send a thoughtful text to someone you know

  44. Clean out your house/basement

  45. Start a garden

  46. Go on a hike

  47. Ride a train

  48. Make a flower arrangement

  49. Start a Youtube Channel

  50. Plan the grandest date ever

  51. Start a new family tradition

  52. Go on a road trip

  53. Make Sunday drives a thing

  54. Play cards with a friend

  55. Remember the lady's name at your favorite drink shop

  56. Make it a personal challenge to make your spouse's birthday better than the last year

  57. Try a new restaurant

  58. Go to the library and read there

  59. Try a Pinterest craft

  60. Play interior design on one room in your house

  61. Wake up and say: "Today I will {insert productive task}," every day for a week

  62. Randomly catch your birthday time on the clock. (June 13th = 6:13)

  63. Write 63 things you are grateful for.

  64. Donate to a charity

  65. Fly a kite

  66. Take a pottery class

  67. Walk to a friend's house

  68. Ask someone what their hobby is

  69. Win a blue ribbon at the fair

  70. Call someone just to chat

  71. Read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

  72. Read Atomic Habits by James Clear

  73. Do one thing each day that will make someone else's day better

  74. Do a puzzle with someone you love.

  75. Make a couple's bucket list

  76. Help someone else reach their goal

  77. Call your grandma

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