I recently had a reader ask about important things you should accomplish before turning 30. And it got me thinking on what I think is most important to do. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably pretty goal-oriented. I like to have a plan, even if it’s a loose one. Having something to work towards keeps me motivated and focused. While it’s been awhile since I wrote my 30 Before 30 Bucket List, and now that I’m over 30, I have more clarity about what’s really important in your twenties. At least, in my opinion anyway. These are ten important things you should accomplish before turning 30.
I’ve spent the past eight years writing about twenty-something life, sharing other twenty-somethings’ stories, and interviewing people in their twenties and thirties. I’ve heard a lot of dreams and a lot of regrets, so today I’m sharing 10 important things you should accomplish before turning 30.
Now of course, I have to say this isn’t an all encompassing list! But in my opinion, they are things I think we should all be at least considering in our twenties.
10 Important Things You Should Accomplish Before Turning 30
1. Get comfortable advocating for your worth.
Gosh, isn’t this a lesson we could all stand to learn a little sooner? Speaking up for yourself is hard. I don’t feel like it comes naturally to me. It really pushes me out of my comfort zone to have to advocate for myself.
But you know what? You will never have the life you desire if you don’t figure out how to do this.
Yes, it takes practice, and a little gumption, to understand your value an what you bring to the table. We all have value and we all have skills and strengths that make us unique, and most importantly, make us worth it.
2. Start saving money.
Honestly, there’s no easy way to say this really, but you need to get in the habit of saving money. And the sooner that saving becomes a habit, the better.
Putting away a little bit of money is better than putting away no money. Start by saving 10-20% of each paycheck. If you can’t do that, start with 5%. Every dollar you can put away makes a difference.
By saving money, you are helping your future self find financial freedom.
3. Learn to lean into your strengths.
We all have strengths and our strengths are where we really shine! I believe that we should acknowledge our weaknesses and figure out how to not let them detract from what we are truly great at.
Playing to your strengths means you’re always going to come out strong. You’ll always be putting your best foot forward and balancing your sense of self on your most powerful aspects. There are several different assessments you can take to identify your strengths. So if they are not obvious to you, take assessments! Or ask people close to you what they think your strengths are. Chances are they will be able to identify them even more easily than you can.
4. Gracefully navigate hard conversations.
I can’t tell you how many hard conversations I put off having. And the reason I did? Because I was afraid that I wouldn’t handle the conversation well. Or I was afraid to let someone down.
The truth of the matter is that hard conversations are just part of life. We have to have them, often on a regular basis. The sooner we learn how to work our way through these tough conversations with others, the sooner we will all be able to move on.
5. Thinking with the end in mind.
When I’m struggling with a decision I like to ask myself how will I feel about this 5 years from now? Is it something that is going to greatly impact my future? Will it impede on financial freedom for me? Is it going to prevent me from reaching my other goals?
Thinking with the end in mind means you are focusing on how your actions right now impact your future. It takes practice to be able to do this, but I think it’s something worth doing.
6. Have full control of your schedule.
We should be spending our time where we want and need to. Social media is fun but a lot of times it is only a distraction.
Your time is precious and shouldn’t be wasted on things you honestly don’t care about. Does this mean quit your job because you don’t like it? Not straight out the gate, but keep in mind that if you are miserable at your job everyday, there is probably a better place you could be valued and appreciate your own presence there.
Have control of your schedule — don’t let things that don’t matter to you run your day into the ground.
7. Forgive yourself for past mistakes.
You know who lives in the past? No one. But when we hold onto these things that we regret doing (or not doing) in the past, we are living with only memories.
Holding a grudge against yourself for a past mistake is only slowing you down. Mistakes are nothing but lessons! And as hard as that can be to remember, it’s imperative that you remind yourself of that. Failure, in my opinion, is not a thing. All it is a lesson learned because something didn’t go the way we wanted. That’s it.
If you need to, look yourself in the mirror, apologize, tell yourself you forgive you, and move on.
8. Prioritize your mental health.
Mental illness, depression, anxiety… at least one of these things touches all of us. Whether we experience it firsthand or have a loved one who does, it can feel complicated and overwhelming to deal with.
That’s why I think it’s so important that we do as much as we can to prioritize our mental health and self-care on a regular basis.
I encourage you to take at least one hour to yourself every single day to do something that you enjoy just because. I’m a work-from-home mom and I get how challenging it can be to find that time. But I know that to keep myself balanced, I have to take that time. If I don’t every aspect of my life suffers. How I spend that hour varies day to day, but it’s absolutely a priority for me.
9. Aim to understand more.
It’s easy to become complacent in your life. Going with the flow is not always a bad thing, but going through life not questioning anything is not expanding your mind. Understanding more means asking more questions. It means having deep conversations. And, it means recognizing that other perspectives from your own exist.
Make it a goal to learn more about things that you aren’t aware of. Aiming to understanding more will challenge you to grow and expand.
And like I said before, this is by no means an exhaustive list! But they are things that I think are important that we do in our 20s before we get to our 30s.
What would you add to the list?