The Daring 30 before 30 Challenge You Don’t Want to Miss

I’m a goal-setter and a go-getter. I’m that person who does a full blown year-end reflection and then writes out my yearly goals with quarterly checkpoints. I can get crazy about goals to the point that it stops being fun. But unlike goal setting, making bucket lists is always a joy.

A bucket list is a list of dreams, wishes, and could-be’s that you can spend a season, a year, or a decade, to chase, enjoy, and do. It’s an open forum to stretch yourself and contemplate what you want to do with the time you have. But what are those dreams? Sometimes uncovering them is the hardest part. That’s why I’ve compiled this list things to do in your 20s bucket list so that you can create your own 30 before 30 challenge and bucket list. 

Friends celebrating 30th birthday

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Things to accomplish by 30

When forming a 30 before 30 challenge or bucket list for your 20s, a good place to start is with a list of things to accomplish by 30. When you imagine the future or celebrating your 30th birthday, where do you want to be? What do you want to have done? 

With whatever you imagine for yourself, make sure to leave room for God and life to happen. 

When I was in middle school, I wrote myself a list of things I wanted to accomplish by the time I was 25. When I opened that list at 25-years-old, I discovered that most items on my bucket list I had not accomplished. 

At first it saddened me. But then I realized that as a middle schooler, I never had imagined that I would be a single woman who is a PhD student, business consultant, and homeowner. I also never imagined that I would have learned to speak French fluently or lived abroad on my own for year as an English Teacher .

In other words, a 30 before 30 bucket list is not intended to make us feel sad or ashamed when we hit the 30 birthday mark. It’s to encourage us to try new things, get outside of our comfort zone, and live life with the joy and freedom God wants us to have. 

Even if you don’t accomplish anything, the point of the bucket list is to inspire us to take advantage of every moment. 

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV)

What should I write in my bucket list?

A 30 before 30 bucket list challenge is a list of 30 things to accomplish before 30. It’s like a compilation of your hopes and dreams for what you want to accomplish personally, professionally, and spiritually. 

But the 30 before 30 bucket list isn’t just for you. Expand your list to include others. 

How can you include others? What can you do to benefit your church and your community? I encourage you to think outside the box on how your 30 before 30 list can bring joy and love to others, for God has called us to share his love with others and live in community with each other. 

How do I make a 30 before 30 list?

During the first week of my freshman year of college, I had my university’s bucket list on the wall of my dorm. I was pretty obsessed with checking everything off of the list, and doing it the right way. If the bucket list said to watch a sunset from a certain parking deck, I would make myself do that exactly before crossing it off the list. My friend, however, saw one sunset in town and would cross it off. 

Looking back, I think my friend did it right. I was so obsessed with the “technicalities” that I missed the point – enjoying my college years, having fun with my friends, and making memories. 

James 4:14 says,

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

We never know how many days we have left, so let’s not spend them on technicalities. I encourage you to be like my friend. Don’t make your 30 before 30 bucket list a stringent list of requirements. Consider it instead a way to remind yourself to live life and enjoy family and friends. 

“”Think Big. Go All Out. Be Brave. Don’t hold back on your 30 before 30 challenge.

Finding Things to Do in your 20s bucket list

A 30 before 30 challenge is the same as a bucket list for your 20s. So when brainstorming 30 before 30 list ideas, think about what you want to get done in your 20s. 

The 20s is a time of transition, learning, growing, and navigating the adulting struggle. You’re moving through many different stages of life, which can help you brainstorm things to accomplish by 30.

Brainstorming Categories for a 30 before 30 bucket list challenge:

What should every woman do before 30?

This question is impossible to answer. Adulting is not a one-size fits all. Instead of trying to make all our paths look the same, we should be paving our own path. God has a plan for each of us , and he’s called us to different places, different communities, and different professions at different times.

“”Your 30 before 30 bucket list should be your own—full of your dreams, desires, and goals. 
It should stretch you to try new things and include the things you enjoy and the people you love. 
Those are the things that every woman should do before 30— and every year after that. 

30 before 30 Challenge

I hope by now you’ve gotten some inspiration for your 30 before 30 challenge. To help you formulate your list of things to accomplish by 30, I’ve written some 30 before 30 bucket list ideas. Take what inspires you and use the ideas to brainstorm other things to accomplish before 30. Above all, make your list unique to you.

30 before 30 bucket list ideas

  1. See a ballet (Nutcracker at Christmas is a personal favorite)
  2. Go to the Opera
  3. See a show on Broadway in NYC or a theater close to home
  4. Go to a concert for your favorite artist
  5. Road trip with your family or friends
  6. Cross country trip from coast to coast
  7. Write a book – it doesn’t have to be for publication; it can be a memoir or a compilation of journal entries
  8. Watch a Foreign Movie
  9. Host a party for your friends and family
    • Costume Party (Halloween)
    • Christmas Party
    • New Years Eve Party
    • 4th of July or Memorial Day Barbecue 
  10. Celebrate all your birthdays with flair—not just the 30th one! Here are ideas for what to do to celebrate your birthday during a whole week
  11. Make a piece of artwork or a craft for your home
  12. Spend time with your older relatives and learn about history through their eyes
  13. Take a break from social media
  14. Read a certain number of books each year

As you’re collecting ideas, plan what items you’re going to accomplish this year with a planner for work and home

30 before 30 bucket list ideas – College Years

  1. Pull an All-Nighter in the library
  2. Attend a football / basketball / hockey game and cheer your team to victory
  3. Study abroad for a summer or a semester
  4. Find a summer internship
  5. Find a place to volunteer your time and your talents regularly
  6. Reconnect with friends from college / high school / grade school
  7. Plan your own spa day – massage, manicure, pedicure, facial, etc.
  8. Rewatch your Favorite TV show
  9. Share the gospel with someone (or many someones!)
  10. Make a pilgrimage to a historic Christian site 

30 before 30 bucket list ideas – Adulting

  1. .Rent your first apartment
  2. Buy a House and have a housewarming party
  3. Start Saving for Retirement
  4. Create a budget and stick to it – these tips on managing your finances as a young professionals can help you do just that. It’s part of adulting!

You can find more adulting bucket list items to put on your list from this post about how to start adulting and handle the ups and downs of adulthood

30 before 30 challenge – Spiritual 

  1. Join a Church
  2. Go on a Mission Trip
    • If you can’t go, then commit to giving, praying, or serving a mission group in another way
  3. Find a small group with Christian woman who can support you
  4. Read the entire Bible – You can find a Bible Reading Plan for a year or do this plan I love where you read the Bible in 90 days (EveryWord Bible Study)
  5. Share the gospel with someone (or many someones!) even when you’re afraid
  6. Make a prayer list and pray it regularly
  7. Memorize Scripture
    • Start with 1 a month! 12 verses every year, so 120 verses for your 20s bucket list.
  8. Read some famous Christian theological books, like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis or The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

30 before 30 challenge – Career

  1. Nail an Interview and land your first job
  2. Get a Promotion / Take on New Responsibilities at Work
  3. Find a career mentor
  4. Be a mentor to someone else
  5. Learn a New Work Skill (like how to code)
  6. Set boundaries at work and find your version of work-life balance

Here’s my best career advice for young professionals just starting their career. 

30 before 30 challenge – Traveling Adventures & New Skills

  1. Learn to Surf / Windsurf
  2. Go snorkeling near a coral reef
  3. Learn to Unicycle
  4. Learn a New Language
  5. Learn to Ski or Snowboard
  6. Walk your city like a tourist

More 30 before 30 bucket list ideas for Traveling

  1. Travel to another continent
  2. Visit a classic tourist destination city
    • London, Paris, Dublin, Sydney, Beijing, Tokyo, Berlin
  3. Visit a city (or two) off-the-beaten path
    • Budapest, Oslo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cape Town, Dubai, Seoul
  4. Climb Machu Picchu in Peru
  5. Hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain
  6. Walk the Great Wall of China
  7. Go on a Safari
  8. Take a cruise down the Mediterranean or to Alaska
  9. Relax on a beach in the Caribbean or a Pacific Island
  10. Visit some of the national parks like Yellowstone National Park or the Redwood Forest
  11. Go to Times Square and Ride the ferry by the Statue of Liberty
  12. Visit Niagara Falls
  13. Visit the Washington Monument and pass by the White House
Friends celebrating with confetti

Creating Your Own 30 before 30 challenge / 20s Bucket List

I remember the incredulous feeling I had on my 20th birthday. I just couldn’t believe that I was two decades old. Now, I’m in my mid-20s, and I feel like the days are just flying by. While it’s easy to wish away my grad classes and long for summer break, at the same time, I want to savor every moment.

Before hiring me, my first boss told me that “We work to live; we don’t live to work.” So while there is pressure from school and work or from family or friends, let’s remember that our lives are fleeting. No number of days is guaranteed to us, but this shouldn’t frighten us. It should encourage us to live life to the fullest.

So, now it’s your turn to take these suggestions of things to accomplish by 30 and create your own 30 before 30 challenge. Fill it with your hopes and dreams, and above all be brave. You got this!

What are 10 things you should definitely do before turning 30?

Leave me a comment below!

Don’t miss this! More posts in the Living & Adulting Category:

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