30 before 30

A valuable aspect of my way through life is making a roadmap for what lies ahead. Every year around my birthday, I like to set goals or targets for the coming year. These are not set in stone by any means – rather, they are a guideline for structuring my days, but are open for change if need be.

Next year I will turn 30, hence the title of this post. There are not things that everyone should accomplish before that milestone, but just something I’d like to do in the coming year.

Creative habits

  1. Photography. I’d like to take photographs more often, something I’m not currently making enough time for. How: I’m going to offer to do photoshoots for friends, and if none are forthcoming I will go out to places that are likely to provide good subjects for my own personal shoots.
  2. Sew something I’m going to use. I tend to put my crafts on the back burner, and I’d like the accomplishment of using something I made. How: Pick a pattern for something I like and need, and make it! This will also involve scheduling regular time for crafts to avoid neglecting this aspect of my life.
  3. Crochet something wearable for myself. Since I started learning to crochet a little while ago, I’d like to have something tangible to remind me of this. How: Set up a good crafting routine so that I can practise regularly and improve until I can make something I really like and will wear often.

Work

  1. Register a business. I’d like to do occasional freelance work, and would like to set this up officially. How: I need to research the various aspects of setting up a business, come up with a good name and fill in the paperwork!
  2. Pass probation. I recently started a new job, and am hoping to stay in it for some time! How: Keep an eye on probation requirements, while maintaining a solid standard of work day-to-day.

Projects

  1. . Can’t talk about this yet – but a massive project I’ve been looking forward to setting up for many years!
  2. This blog! I’m taking a bit of a leap with starting this, and am hoping I can maintain it on a regular basis. How: Creating an editorial schedule, and regular brainstorming for ideas on what to write about.
  3. How I spent my 20s. This is an idea I spied somewhere else online, but I think it’s a good one. The plan is to put together a summary looking back on the past decade and what I’ve been up to. I’ve been quite busy, so this should be interesting! How: I expect this to be a PDF document with photos and text about what I’ve been up to. I’ll start by compiling things from my CV, Facebook and the depths of my hard drive to remind myself of what I’ve been doing and what I’ve achieved.

 Body

  1. Eat better. I’m guilty of eating whatever I like without concern for my health. As I get older, this approach is not doing me any favours. How: I’m starting by reducing my carbohydrate intake, and making a note of what I’ve actually eaten every day.
  2. 100 push-ups challenge. This is a fun one, and a relatively easy encouragement to work on my fitness. How: I’m starting with knee pushups, and planning to do it again with proper ones.
  3. Build an exercise habit. I’d like to move more overall, and this is more likely to happen if I build this smoothly into my everyday life. How: Start by recording the number of steps taken each day, and any other exercise I’m doing. Over time, think of ways to build more movement into my days.
  4. A yoga routine. This was something I really enjoyed at university, and have been neglecting ever since! I’d really like to integrate yoga into my life again. How: Make time to practise my favourite poses, and some sun salutations. I’ve also found some online videos with yoga routines I’d like to try.
  5. Breathing exercises. Despite being well aware of how much difference breathing makes, I haven’t been making sure to watch my breathing and use exercises to improve it. How: I’d like to learn to use breathing exercises to better handle life’s challenges. This will involve learning specific calming and focusing exercises, and making sure to do them when I’m feeling stressed.
  6. Improve my sleep. I tend to feel better when I’ve had enough sleep, but I struggle to set aside enough time for it – there’s always something more exciting on the Internet! How: Set a ‘bedtime’ alarm every night and actually use it. I’m also using a sleep app to track my sleep patterns.
  7. Find a physical activity I enjoy. One of the reasons I don’t exercise enough is because most standard fitness activities fill me with dread. How: Keep looking into locally available classes and resources, and try some out until I find something I’m willing to do on a regular basis. I’ve promised myself not to start running though.

Mind

  1. Get into a reading routine. I love reading, but don’t make enough time for it. I’d really like to read more. How: Set aside time for reading regularly, and set an alarm to make me do it! I’d love to be able to read at least 20 books in the next year.
  2. Learn to meditate. This is something I’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t practised consistently. How: There are plenty of resources, apps and videos I can use. I will set aside regular time to practise meditation.
  3. Learn a poem off by heart every week. This is something I used to do when I was in school, and I feel it would enrich my life again. Also a good practise for exercising my brain! How: Pick a poem every week and study it every night before bed.
  4. Brain training. Age catches up with us all, and I have noticed I’m not as good at remembering things and figuring things out as I used to be. I’d like to change this. How: Memorising poems is a good first step, and there are also many games and programmes I could use. I have a brain training game on my Nintendo DS I can start using again.
  5. Learn about mindfulness. This technique is all the rage these days, and I’d like to study it properly and see if I can make use of it. How: I already have a few books to read on the topic. There is an online course I could take if I want to pursue it further. If this agrees with me, I’d like to integrate it into my day-to-day.

Home

  1. Money management. This is something I’m notoriously bad at, but I’m told budgeting is a key skill in adulthood. I’d really like to get a good handle on my finances. How: I’d like to read about different strategies I could use, and try them out.
  2. Weekly reviews. This is a strategy I found useful in the past, and would like to get back into. It involves spending some time each week reviewing my days and life and goals, and planning for the coming week. How: Just start! I need to allocate a time slot once a week for sitting down and having a look at how things are going and how to make them even better.
  3. Grow my own vegetables again. This is something I’ve enjoyed before, and would love to do again! How: before winter ends, I’ll make a plan for what I’d like to grow this year, and order seeds. I will then plan things once it’s warm enough, and hopefully reap what I sow.
  4. Declutter. Anyone who’s been to my house know that my belongings are crowding me out. How: I’m considering a variation on the Kon Mari technique, but probably not the whole shebang.
  5. Streamline housework. Another adulthood skill I’ve yet to master! I have a feeling that a good routine will be helpful in keeping on top of my housework. How: Plan a schedule and allocate some time each day to carrying it out.

Experiences

  1. Horseriding. Not something I plan to do regularly, but I’d like to go on a horseriding trip. How: There are some stables around that do hacking for adult beginners. Next summer, I’ll pick one and book a session.
  2. A long hike. I’d really like to do a proper hike next summer. One possibility is the Yorkshire Three Peaks Valley Walk, which I’m struggling to find a map for at the moment. How: Pick a route and book some time off work to do it. I expect the summer will be the best time for it.
  3. An animal experience. One option is the Port Lympne Reserve, where you can camp in the safari park overnight. How: Research places that offer this, and plan something for the summer. When the evenings are long, you can walk around the park after visitors have left and see the animals at dusk.

Language skills

  1. French. I used to speak French when I was younger, but have abandoned it over time. I’d really like to get back into it. How: Pick a language activity I could do – perhaps an online course to follow. I can also read French books and do some conversation practice with native speakers.
  2. BSL. I recently started learning British Sign Language – something that’s been on my to-learn list for years. I’d really like to pass Level 1 in the next year. How: I’m taking weekly classes, and would like to use some online games and resources to boost my learning.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything I’d like to achieve, but rather what I hope to be a realistic plan. I will talk more about the way I plan and set goals in the coming weeks.

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