Personal Growth Bucket List Ideas
Have you ever sat down and truly thought about the kind of person you want to be? The traits you value in yourself, and the ones you’d perhaps like to develop? Personal growth is a lifelong process, but in the journey you learn new things about yourself and will discover techniques that work for you. The bucket list below will help you get started, and provides you with tools to monitor your progress so that you can see the benefit of the changes you’re making. After all, only a fool keeps trying the same thing expecting different results.
If you’ve written yourself a huge bucket list, chances are you’ll be so busy trying to tick off items that you won’t have time to reflect on the ones you just did. By taking the time to write down each experience – how you felt, what you learned about yourself or the world – you’ll find yourself paying more attention to the details of your experiences, and you’ll be able to revisit old experiences more easily. After all, experience for its own sake is meaningless – it’s what you take from it that counts.
Have you ever found yourself apologizing for simply saying how you feel? Plenty of people do it, and it just doesn’t make sense; why should your feelings be less valid than someone else’s? By creating your own boundaries around what you’re comfortable doing for other people, you are valuing your own time and energy. You don’t have to say no all the time, but if you don’t want to do something, just say so. You’d be surprised how little most people mind – it really isn’t a big deal.
If you can find yourself a job that makes people happy, you’re incredibly lucky. The satisfaction of knowing you’ve added to someone’s day makes even the hardest job worth it. If making a living out of doing this isn’t an option, try a side hustle or hobby – playing an instrument, building things for people, writing hilarious content on the internet – all of these things will bring a smile to someone’s face.
If you’re the kind of person who’s constantly checking in to see what everyone else is doing (or posting misleading pictures of your own fab life), try giving it a break for a week. After the initial shakes have worn off, you’ll find yourself getting less distracted when you catch up with friends, and more ‘in the moment’. Consider why you’re posting that photo of you and your friends at brunch – is it something that other people will be interested in, really? Or is it for you and your personal brand?
Sometimes the best way to take stock of where you’re at right now, is to think about what your past-self would think about it. Maybe your job is frustrating you – past-you is just stoked that you’re in the industry you always wanted to work in. By taking the time to write down what you want for your future-self, you reflect on what’s important to you and where you want to go. When you open the letter later, you may not have achieved all of it, but it will show you how weird life is that there were so many things you couldn’t have predicted to take you to where you are now.
Creative visualization is a meditation technique where you picture yourself achieving a goal or healing from a physical problem. As you focus on where you want to be, you make it feel real for yourself and therefore more achievable. It’s only a few simple steps, and anything that makes you stop and think hard about your goals is time well spent.
This might be quite difficult for a lot of people – ten is a lot! But take the time to really think about what you value in yourself. Try to make it a mix of physical features, personality traits, skills or aptitudes you have – the point is to think broadly about why you’re a great person and worthy of love.
This will be harder for some than others, depending on how much you drink each day and how your lifestyle revolves around drinking. Keep in mind that alcohol is a depressant, so you might find your mental state is a bit clearer, you’re happier and have more energy – plus you’ll feel physically better and might even lose some weight. Sometimes it’s just good to know that you can operate socially without a drink in your hand.
Public speaking is one of the most common fears that people have, and it’s weirdly one of the least threatening. Being able to get up in front of people you know and say something that captivates your audience is a real skill, and something you must experience. Whether it’s a business pitch or your child’s wedding day, you want to be able to get up and confidently say your piece.
These days people are rarely a few meters away from technology – whether it’s in front of a computer screen or the smartphone in your hand, constant distraction and infinite knowledge is at your fingertips. Remember what it was like to just be with your thoughts for a while? How if you didn’t know something, you had to either work it out or ask someone? Take a break from technology and reaffirm to yourself that it doesn’t control you.
How much energy and anxiety is spent worrying about other people finding out you haven’t been completely honest? Probably heaps. Being honest means speaking your truth and being real, and what is the point of life if not to be real?
The best way to live an extraordinary life is to do the things that others don’t. Take risks, live hard, love harder. As Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman astronaut, once said, ‘Never be limited by other people’s imaginations’.
Keeping a diary forces you to reflect on your day. Jotting down any anecdotes makes you better at telling stories, because you have to structure the event in a way that tells a story. Also, if you’re ever wrongly arrested for a crime, you can account for your exact whereabouts. Handy!
Plenty of people take a few minutes out of their day to clear their head and call it meditation, but there’s more to it than just getting some fresh air. Actively clearing your mind takes time and practice, but you’ll feel more centered and mindful for it.
You like puppies? Go take a picture of some puppies. Do sunsets make you happy? Go photograph a beautiful sunset. Put them all together in a little booklet, and suddenly you’ve got a little book of your own personal happiness you can flick through when you’re sad.
This may be about wrapping up loose ends or pursuing something which you’ve been afraid of. Tell people how you feel and how they made you feel. Let go of past secrets, things that have weighed on you over the years. You’ll feel better for it, and chances are others will too.
Think of all the things you’re missing out on by being scared of heights: views from tall buildings, climbing trees, cleaning your gutters, skydiving. You’ll open up a whole new dimension to your life – you’ve been stuck on the ground for too long!
Try listening for a change – without being able to talk, you’ll find you’re not just waiting for a break in conversation to jump in, but actually letting people finish their thoughts. They say it’s better to stay quiet and be thought a fool than to say something and remove all doubt. Wikihow has guide if you want to give it a try
On average people spend nearly 4 hours a day watching TV. That is a huge amount of time. You could learn a new skill, read more books, talk to people more – without the distraction of a television, you will gain so much more time in your day, and actually have to think about ways to spend it instead of switching off your brain as soon as you walk in the door.
There are so many things in this world to be angry about if you look hard enough, but anger alone isn’t enough. Being passionate and engaged about the world around you is so important. We live in a society, and we can always be doing things better.
Chances are you already are and you just don’t know it – there are always things that people admire about others that those people aren’t even aware of. If you’re not sure how to start, just live passionately and kindly. People always notice that.
Fingernails are home to all sorts of bacteria and germs, and every time you have a nibble you’re putting them in your mouth. The more you chew, the more bacteria that can grow there. It’s also just a really gross habit, and if you’re an adult who still does this, please grow up.
Some fears are rational – plenty of snakes are quite dangerous. But most actually aren’t. Sure, they feel pretty weird and have a body that makes no sense and you can never really know just what they’re thinking, but once you get past all that they’re pretty cool, and can make great pets!
The older you get, the more you realize two things. One, that no one really has life figured out, and two, that people think about you far less than you probably think. Once you properly appreciate these two things, the less it matters what other people think, and the more you can live your life not worrying about it.
Have real connections with people, and help them achieve their potential. Give someone a leg up when they need it, or point out something good about them that they may not have noticed. The smallest actions can have profound effects on people’s lives.
Delete the app from your phone. That way if you want to check it you’ll have to log in each time, which means you won’t keep scrolling through absent-mindedly. The less you see what other people are doing, the more you’ll find yourself doing things for the sake of it, and not just for the ‘likes’ you might get when you post it later.
Pick out something you do that you wish you could change, something detrimental to your lifestyle. Things like smoking, drinking too much, overeating, being constantly late, or eating with your mouth open (that one’s just a personal peeve of mine). Working on yourself means picking out the things that are holding you back, or are really annoying to the people around you.
Having somewhere that’s entirely yours to retreat away to means you can break away from technology, people, and all of life’s distractions and do things that require proper concentration. Or you can just relax, switch off, and enjoy doing nothing.
Some people figure this out early – if you’re good at sports, you tend to get a good chance to show that off at school. Other talents might be harder to work out. Try new things, get out of your comfort zone, and you might just surprise yourself!
Stop fantasizing about where you’re not, romanticizing the past, hoping for things that may not come, and appreciate all that you have and are right now. Live intentionally in the present. To make the most of your time, lose track of it.
Even if you have no intention of letting anybody see it, writing your own life story is a worthy pursuit. Human beings have always communicated through stories, and transforming your own life into a story is a powerful exercise – you’ll learn new things about yourself, reopen old wounds, and hopefully get some closure.
This is partly down to how you live your life, and partly down to attitude. When an opportunity comes up, take it! The worst regrets are for the things you wish you’d done. If you’ve hurt someone, make amends. And for the rest, learn to let go. Life didn’t go that way for whatever reason, and not everything can be controlled or foreseen. Regret holds you back from future happiness.
Take a leaf out of Nike’s book and literally ‘Just Do It’. Start small and don’t let yourself be distracted. Think of all the things you could get done if you just got up and did them. You’ll feel so much better for it!
Writing down your top priorities and keeping them in view helps to keep them top of mind, which helps maintain your motivation. Keep reminding yourself of what is most important to you, and you’ll find yourself staying focused.
Is there any greater pleasure in life than a really good conversation? Opening yourself up to someone and having them do the same for you stirs the soul and builds connections that life is made of. The key is to make sure you listen as much as you speak, so that you come away with a new perspective.
They’re all very easy but go a long way – smile more, give a compliment, send a thank you note, be nice to a waiter (some of them are just basic decency). Being more mindful of how your actions affect others encourages you to be more empathetic, which is always a good thing.
They could be big, like visiting a new country, or small like taking a different route home from work or cooking something new for dinner. Expand your experience just a little bit each day, and by the end of the year you’ll be trying new things without even having to think about it.
Different religions all have different paths to inner peace, and it will mean different things to different people. However, the crux of it all is true self-acceptance. Being completely at ease with yourself in the world is hard to achieve, but worth striving for.
You can’t challenge yourself from your comfort zone, so if you want to grow as a person you’re going to have to venture outside it. It could mean striking up a conversation with a stranger or leaving it all behind and starting in a new country – whatever it means for you, give it a go. Your safe zone will always be there if you want to come back.
It’s not easy to not talk to anyone for days on end, but once you get used to it you’ll find you can concentrate more deeply on things, including your own fleeting thoughts. No talking means no chance of being distracted, so dive in and be alone with your thoughts for a bit (it’s only slightly less terrifying than it sounds).
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