Next Steps: What To Accomplish in Your 20s, 30s, 40s, and Up

No matter what phase of life youre in, theres always that question of whats next? It is human nature to want to improve ourselves and our circumstances, but theres 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 lifes unique phases.

Next Steps: What to Accomplish in your…


  • Education &#8211Whether its 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 &#8211Student 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 &#8211Wash dishes in the back of a restaurant, get up at the crack of dawn to work at a call center, but its a rite of passage in your 20s to work a few crummy jobs so that you know the value of hard work.
  • Travel – Youve probably heard this, but now is the best time to travel, when you dont 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 youre smart…just make a plan and do it!
  • Healthy habits now &#8211Oh to have the body of a 20-something-year-old. Up to this point, you havent had to watch calories like a hawk or hit the gym every single day. But its acoming. After the 20s, thats 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 &#8211Gone 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 – Its time to wipe out any debt that you accrued in your 20s. If youve made saving a priority, now its 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 &#8211Your 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 its okay to say no. You just cant do it all.
  • Travel &#8211You 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, its well worth it. (Traveling to Italy was the one thing I will NEVER regret about my 30s!) Experiences are way more valuable thanthings.”
  • Your health matters &#8211Things you didnt 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 &#8211Try scuba diving or learn a new language. Do karaoke or even take a leap on a movie youve never heard of. Now is a great time to live more spontaneously!
  • Splurge on something youve always wanted &#8211Whether its that car you dreamed about in your 20s or that piece of jewelry, youve earned it.
  • Reconnect with an old friend &#8211Reach out to an old friend who just might become a new-again friend.
  • Become an expert at something &#8211At this point in life youve 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 &#8211Visit the Great Pyramid of Giza, see the Temple of Artemis, or travel to Olympia to see the famed Statue of Zeus.
  • Forgive an old grievanceIt gets burdensome carrying around old grudges. Time to let go and forgive.
  • Participate in something you believe in &#8211Find 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.

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