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Create a 30th Birthday Bucket List

Whether or not you’re someone who thinks a lot about birthdays, your 30th is a big one. It feels like a major milestone -- the official transition into adulthood.

It’s also a time when many people look back on what they’ve accomplished so far and start to think about what else they’d like to do in their lives.

In order to mark and celebrate their upcoming big birthdays, more and more people in their late 20s are compiling “30 before 30” lists. These “bucket list”-style checklists detail all the things they hope to do before turning the big 3-0.

We love the idea of a 30 Before 30 List for two reasons. For one thing, with these lists you'll celebrate your milestone birthday in a bigger way, but you'll also mark other personal accomplishments and triumphs along the way as well.

What are 30 Under 30 Lists? And How to Make Your Own

Generally, the lists are divided into six categories, with each category including 5 goals.

If you’re thinking of celebrating your upcoming 30th with a list of to-dos, here’s what we recommend:

Some of the categories we’ve seen a lot, and would recommend using, are:

fitness/health - try to eat better, exercise daily, etc.

cooking - try to cook stir-fry, use truffle oil, cook with a crock pot, etc.

travel - hit all 50 states, take a long weekend, camp, go skydiving etc.

relationships - call a family member once a week, send birthday cards to everyone you know, reconnect with an old friend, etc.

career/hobbies - take on a new project, save 10% of your paycheck each week, create a blog, take baking classes, try learning to take photos properly, etc.

Obviously if you’re a voracious reader, you should include a section called “reading,” which comprises the books you’re dying to read, or if you’re a total foodie, include a section called “restaurants,” with a list of your must-try eateries.

We also recommend you include some pretty practical goals -- like, say, learn how to ski --  as well as some more psychologically challenging ones, like, “forgive.”

You're More Likely to Cross Off if...

As is the case with any sort of resolutions, it helps to be realistic. If you’re turning 29 and have never run a day in your life, it’s unlikely you’ll be running a marathon by 30.

Also, set specific goals. Rather than write, “try to cook a new dish,” write, “make roasted duck”. You’ll be much more likely to accomplish your to-dos that way.

Be sure to keep track of everything that you’ve done. Nothing feels better than checking things off of a checklist.

And if you want to go one step further, try documenting each (or almost every) achieved goal, and put it into a “30 before 30” scrapbook. 

Finally, turning 30 is a celebration, so don’t let it dampen you spririts if a few to-do's don't get crossed off in time.

Think about what you were able to accomplish and remember that you've got plenty of more years to check those to-do's off. The point is that these are things you really want to do, and doing them at 30 -- or 31, or 32, or 33... -- will feel just as good.

Find more party planning inspirations for 30th Birthdays

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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