Goal Setting

How to Accomplish Anything On Your Bucket List

Do you want to run a 5K? Travel to Europe? Write a book? It’s easy to make a list of things you want to accomplish, but a LOT harder to actually do them. These practical bucket list tips help you achieve all your dreams, no matter how ambitious they sound!

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So much YES. Nothing is crossed off my bucket list and I couldn't figure out why. Now it seems obvious. These bucket list strategies, are helping me actually CROSS THINGS OFF! Really there's no point to a bucket list if you are always saying "maybe sometime" but aren't doing anything to make sometime happen. #bucketlist #goalgetter #accomplishgoals #bucketlistideas

My vivid imagination began spilling into lined notebooks at the age of 8.

I’d retreat to my room and scribble made-up stories using Lisa Frank stickers as my illustrations. As I wove together child-like plot-lines, I dreamed about high school and college and what new adventures I would have as an adult.

Even as a child, I was a classic planner and over-thinker!

It’s no surprise I have a pretty hefty life list that’s followed me along the way…AKA a bucket list.

Although technically a bucket list is for all the things you want to do before you die, I see it as an opportunity to live life to the fullest.

Every time I cross something off, I feel a sense of completeness and satisfaction. That I’m living a life without regrets. That I’m trying new things, seeing new places, and stretching myself beyond my tiny comfort zone.

For Instance…

Just last year, I pushed past my fear and signed up for surfing lessons while in San Diego for a conference.

My stomach swirled as I paddled out for that first very tiny wave. Even though I only stood up on the board a couple of times, and felt silly compared to the young surfer dudes assisting that day, the fact was…I did it!

It’s one of my favorite memories from that trip, and I’m not sure I would have ever attempted to stand on a wobbly board in the Pacific without my bucket list. Because when you write things down, they magically seem more real, and attainable.

Do You Have a Bucket List?

Maybe you’ve always wanted to:

  • Write a book
  • Travel to Europe
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Meet a famous celebrity

You’re just not sure how to go for it. Or maybe you don’t have a life list yet, but the thought excites you. What do you really want to do? Not what you think you should do, or what others think you should do. What excites you? Feels impossible? Are there places you’d love to experience?

Making a list is just the beginning—it’s achieving those items on our list that is most important. Anyone can dream, but it takes determination to DO. The things on your list might seem impossible to imagine right now, but step by step, you can finish whatever you set your mind to, big or small.

Things to remember when making your list:

1. Make your list, but choose a #1 priority.

You can’t do everything on your list at once, but you can work towards ONE THING right now. Pick the activity you’re most excited about. Set up a Six-Week Sprint to get your goal accomplished in just a few short weeks – it’ll be your #1 focus until that item is complete. Our next “one thing” is an RV trip traveling across the United States, so let me use that as an example.

2. Research

Once you have your bucket list focus, research everything about it.

  • How much will it cost? For our trip, the campground fees, laundry, internet access, and gas add up to about the same amount as if we were renting a small apartment.
  • What do you have to do to accomplish this task? We need to sell our house, put our belongings in storage, plot out our trip, etc.
  • Are there any warning signs to be aware of? Internet is not always accessible or reliable at campsites, so we need a backup plan to keep KalynBrooke.com up and running.

3. Choose a date

Get your bucket list item on the calendar! If it’s a trip, schedule a date. If you want to write a book, give yourself a deadline for completing your first draft. You need an end goal, otherwise, you might not see it through to completion.

Right now, our trip is planned for January 2019!

Related: The Goal Achievement Secret No One Else is Talking About


If your bucket list item requires money, create a new column in your budget spreadsheet, and set aside money every week or month toward it, based on when you want to accomplish it. Just $5 per week could buy you a night at a hotel you’ve dreamed of staying at—or pay for a couple tickets to a Broadway show.

Our trip won’t necessarily require saving up for, as we’ll be selling our house to buy an RV, and the monthly cost will be less than what we are paying for our current mortgage.

HEAD’S UP: If you want to automate saving toward your bucket list goal, the You Need a Budget app is the easiest and most painless way to do this.

I created a YNAB account for the Caribbean cruise we want to take, and the program shows me exactly when I’ll be able to meet my goal, based on how much I save each month! Psst… you get your first month free, just for signing up through KalynBrooke.com.

5. Do it!

The last step is to actually go for that dream! Make memories. And enjoy that feeling of accomplishment. You did it!

A Peek at My Personal Bucket List

Curious to know what other dreams I have? Here’s the running list of what I’d like to do in my lifetime. It grows every year!

  1. Take a trip to Europe – although, to experience everything I’d like to see, I’m estimating at least 2 or 3 trips.
  2. See Phantom of the Opera on Broadway DONE 6/2012
  3. Visit Australia and hold a Koala bear
  4. Take a Caribbean cruise
  5. Own a house in Florida DONE 5/2014
  6. Own a successful business I can do from home DONE 10/2015
  7. See the Grand Canyon
  8. Scuba dive – would love to combine this with the Australia trip and scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef.
  9. Swim with dolphins – not in an enclosed pen, but actually in the wild.
  10. Visit the Florida Keys DONE 8/2009
  11. Go on a whale watch DONE 9/2010
  12. Visit the New England states DONE 9/2010
  13. Hike the White Mountains of New Hampshire
  14. Go on an RV trip across the United States {Get the scoop on on our news that we’re living in an RV year-round!}
  15. Explore Prince Edward Island
  16. Run a 5k DONE 7/2011
  17. Write a traditionally published book
  18. Travel to Hawaii
  19. Mush a sled dog team
  20. Take surfing lessons DONE 9/2016
  21. Take tennis lessons DONE 6/2017

Some of this list may seem silly to you, but that’s the beauty of a bucket list. And as you can see, I’ve crossed a decent amount off already! That in itself should show you how doable a bucket list really is.

Remember, dreams start with a plan.

Make your list, and don’t be afraid to be ambitious, but plan out the best and most cost-effective way to achieve each activity. Sometimes, you have to be patient, but when you actually get to cross an item off, it will be so worth the wait!

What Dreams Do You Have on Your Bucket List?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Rest assured, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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  1. This is one of my favorite posts from you, Kalyn! I love reading about your life, and how you ambitiously set goals and go after them inspires me to do the same. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Rachelle! It was a really fun post to write, and inspired me to start working towards those goals again myself. I’m curious to know what lands on your 30 before 30 list!

  2. I think it’s awesome that you’re so future-oriented and have crossed so many big goals off of your list! Way to go! Even though yours is completed, we share a common goal of creating a successful home based business, but I’m inspired to add a few more to my list based on yours! As a person who is naturally introverted and reserved at first, stepping outside of my comfort zone is a challenge, but I’ve learned that every time I do I’ve never regretted it! Thanks for such a great post!

    1. Thank you, Mary! That home-based business took 3 years before I saw any significant income from it, but that was before there were so many amazing resources about blogging—I truly think one can do it in less than a year if they really work hard!
      By the way, I had a chance to visit your lovely blog over the weekend, and I resonated with so much of your overall message. You have such a fun writing style, and I’m sure I’ll be back! 🙂

  3. I love how you walk us through these practical tips for making our big dreams come true. And the story of your own surfing adventure is such an inspiration to me! Not to mention all those green cross-outs with the DONE next to them. Way to go!

    1. You need to make the Alaska cruise a reality! I was really lucky and got to go on one with my parents and grandparents when I was in 7th grade. It’s soooo beautiful!

  4. I nave never written down my bucket list…. didn’t even know what one was before I accomplished some things that would have been on it. One thing I always wanted to do even as a little girl was go to Europe to see castles. Well, I did. Three times! 15 days each of the first two and three and a half weeks the third time. You are right. It takes time. Even though everywhere we went would fit in the middle of our home state of Texas. I suggest watching Rick Steves travel videos and reading his books. Find the ones for the places you want to go. We planned our own trips all three times. Allow a couple of “free days” in case unexpected things happen. Also, keep a travel journal so when you get back and look at the photos you will remember where they were taken by the dates. We made a reservation for the first night there and the last night. The others we made one day ahead from wherever we were. Usually the local tourist office will help you with that.
    I’ve also wanted to go to the Holy Land, but the way things are now, I am reluctant to do so. Still might someday. Travel I suppose is one of the big things my husband and I would like to do. That, and have a few acres in the country with a much bigger garden than we have here in town, and some animals. So, I guess about 10 acres would be good. We do love to take road trips with our dog. Planning one to New England next Fall to see the leaves changing. I have been once about 20 years ago, but he hasn’t, so we want to do it together.
    I hope you do make it to Europe!

    1. Those are some great travel tips! Hopefully all of this craziness will be over soon so we can all get back to visiting these amazing places!

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