No matter what phase of life you’re in, there’s always that question of what’s next? It is human nature to want to improve ourselves and our circumstances, but there’s no one right way to do that. Progression happens in steps and although this is by no means a rigid checklist, here is a guide to next steps to accomplish that can help you guide your way through life’s unique phases.
Next Steps: What to Accomplish in your…
- Education – Whether it’s college or a trade, the best time to accomplish your education is in your 20s when you are young and have time to devote to building the foundations of a career. Pinpoint your passion and do what it takes to get there.
- Start saving – Student loans are fairly inevitable in your 20s, especially with education costs rising. But if you can start the a habit of saving now, it will benefit you greatly in the future. Start paying down your debt now so you can play more later.
- Have a few crummy jobs – Wash dishes in the back of a restaurant, get up at the crack of dawn to work at a call center, but it’s a rite of passage in your 20s to work a few crummy jobs so that you know the value of hard work.
- Travel – You’ve probably heard this, but now is the best time to travel, when you don’t have family obligations and a career to complicate things. Now is the time to see at least a few corners of the world! You can travel on a dime if you’re smart…just make a plan and do it!
- Healthy habits now – Oh to have the body of a 20-something-year-old. Up to this point, you haven’t had to watch calories like a hawk or hit the gym every single day. But it’s a’coming. After the 20s, that’s when gravity starts to take effect and things start to sag and bulge. Your 20s is the time to really start healthy habits—your future self will thank you.
- Learn to cook – Gone are the days of food from boxes. You realize that there are delicious things out there and you can actually cook most of them, if not all. Your 30s are a great time to hone in on those mad culinary skills.
- Focus on relationships – People are important. Spend time making friends with your neighbors and colleagues and strengthen your relationships with your family, friends, and partner. Positive relationships now will enrich the rest of your life.
- Pay off debt – It’s time to wipe out any debt that you accrued in your 20s. If you’ve made saving a priority, now it’s time to live more financially free and tackle debts one at a time, from the smallest up to the biggest.
- Know when to say no – Your 30s is the time when a million different things try to pull you in a million different directions. It feels kind of like walking a dozen different dogs who all want to run in different directions. Know that it’s okay to say no. You just can’t do it all.
- Travel – You may not have the time, but now you probably have the money to really travel. Get your passport and book at least one trip out of the country. If it means getting a sitter, it’s well worth it. (Traveling to Italy was the one thing I will NEVER regret about my 30s!) Experiences are way more valuable than “things.”
- Your health matters – Things you didn’t have to think about in your 20s—like sciatica, muscle soreness, and dipping energy—really start to creep up in your 30s. Take your health seriously. Make healthy eating and regular exercise a daily priority, even if it means ditching that fourth meal.
40s and up:
- Be spontaneous – Try scuba diving or learn a new language. Do karaoke or even take a leap on a movie you’ve never heard of. Now is a great time to live more spontaneously!
- Splurge on something you’ve always wanted – Whether it’s that car you dreamed about in your 20s or that piece of jewelry, you’ve earned it.
- Reconnect with an old friend – Reach out to an old friend who just might become a new-again friend.
- Become an expert at something – At this point in life you’ve dabbled in a lot of things, but now is a great time to become an expert in one.
- See one of the wonders of the world – Visit the Great Pyramid of Giza, see the Temple of Artemis, or travel to Olympia to see the famed Statue of Zeus.
- Forgive an old grievance- It gets burdensome carrying around old grudges. Time to let go and forgive.
- Participate in something you believe in – Find a cause to stand behind and donate time, energy, and resources into making the world a better place.
Take these suggestions and run with them. Life is meant to be lived wholly and fully.