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A couple of weeks ago, I made the mistake of tweeting that I was procrastinating.

Soon after, my friend Holly tweeted at me with something else for my to-do list– a 30 before 30 list!!

Just kidding– she totally inspired me. And of course, the last thing we want here is to be *uninspired*. Hah. Hahahah. Okay. I’ll stop. Seriously though, it’s so important in your twenties to have goals, which is why I thought Holly’s challenge was an awesome idea. However, I’m going to put my own little spin on it.

I kind of feel like 30 before 30 lists can be like New Years Resolutions. We’re super inspired by something, we write out this list, we knock out one or two (or *ahem* write a couple things we’ve already done) and forget about it. Since one of my goals at Uninspired is to help you actually achieve your goals, this is a great opportunity to show you what good goals look like.

A 30 before 30 list is a bucket list of sorts that helps you plan out where you want to be in life by the time you're 30 years old. My 30 before 30 list will show you how to create goals you'll ACTUALLY accomplish.

You’ve probably heard of SMART goals at this point, right?

If your 30 before 30 list includes things like “travel the world,” you could do a little more to make sure you follow through. To make “travel the world” into a SMART goal, follow these steps:

  1. Specific. What countries would you really like to visit? One on each continent? Or maybe “travel the world” just means one new place for you. Whatever it means to you– write that instead.
  2. Measurable. How will you know when you’ve achieved this goal?
  3. Attainable. If you have no hope that you can actually achieve this, there’s no point in setting it. Instead, set a different goal that will help this one feel more reachable. For example, if you can’t travel the world because you’re broke, you should set a savings plan goal instead.
  4. Relevant. The idea here is to only set goals that’ll help you get where you want to be in life. However, I argue that even setting and achieving a goal can help you grow as a person, so don’t put too much weight here. If you’re a CPA who wants to travel the world, do it. It’ll advance your personal happiness, which will improve many aspects of your life, so there.
  5. Time-restricted. This is a 30 before 30 list so that’s kind of built-in for ya there. But it definitely helps to set more limits that keep you from scrambling to go skydiving, visit ten countries, and fix your relationship with your father three days before your 30th birthday.

So, with all this in mind, I’m structuring my 30 before 30 list with SMART goals in mind, and I urge you to do the same! This way, you’ll stay motivated to complete your goals well beyond this surge of motivation you’ve got today!

What might you avoid putting on your 30 before 30 list?

The easiest mistake is putting things on your list that you really have no control over. Getting engaged or married is one. Or having a baby. These aren’t attainable because you can’t plan when you’re going to meet the love of your life. Or, what if it turns out the love of your life can’t have children? What if it turns out YOU can’t have children? Goals that depend on other people are ones to stay away from. It’s begging for disappointment when your 30th birthday rolls along.

Remember that episode of How I Met Your Mother where Marshall finds a list he wrote when he was fifteen about where he thought he’d be when he was 30? He wanted to have legally changed his name to Vanilla Thunder, still have his rat-tail haircut, and still be able to dunk a basketball. When he realizes he’s not doing any of these things, he has sort of a crisis. But then, Lily shows him exactly how unattainable those goals were, and he makes a goal to do something much more SMART— get a job as an environmental lawyer.

So, I’m going to be like Marshall. I’m going to set SMART goals in my 30 before 30 list to make sure I don’t end up at a basketball court in the middle of the night, trying to prove I can still dunk.

And with that, Holly, I accept your challenge!


Nicole’s 30 Before 30 List

In no particular order, here’s a list of 30 SMART things I’d love to do before my 30th birthday.

1. Date someone outside my type.

I definitely have a very distinct type– skinny white dudes who are twenty-five but still consistently ride their longboard and live in their parents houses but still think they’re God’s gift to this earth. I could definitely stand to try something different. It’ll help me open my mind to what else is out there, and maybe give me some hope for the dating world.

2. Move out of my parents’ house.

This is more specific and measurable than “become financially independent,” which I originally had. How would I know when I achieved that? Turns out, it meant I wanted to be able to live on my own.

3. See where my family is from in Italy. 

This trip seems a little unattainable for me at the moment, but mostly because traveling is a little scary for me. I could make it feel more attainable by going with people I feel comfortable with. But it is specific and measurable because I didn’t just write “visit Italy.”

4. Take a road trip across the US, hitting all 50 states. 

I live in NJ and went to school in PA, so that’s two down! I’ve also visited Delaware, Maryland, California (but I was three so I won’t count it) Florida, New York, and North Carolina. So 43 left to go!

5. Overcome my emetophobia.

That’s fear of vomiting, and honestly, it really holds me back in life. I’ve skipped so many concerts, rollercoasters, and high school parties for fear of being around puke. When I feel I’ve been exposed to a stomach flu, I eat like I’m already sick for three days, I barely leave the house, etc. So, that’s gotta change. I could make this more specific and measurable by saying “go to therapy for emetophobia,” or “be able to be around vomit without wanting to run away crying.” Honestly, I feel like writing this is bad luck. Gonna go wash my hands.

6. Go to Coachella.

Can I do this without conquering my emetophobia? Will this be the test of whether I’ve conquered it? Who knows?! Hopefully I find out before I’m 30.

7. Learn yoga or meditation.

I’ll know I’ve done this when I can follow instructions in a guided meditation or yoga class without overthinking if I’m doing it right, or whether people are staring at me.

8. Learn to crochet more than just square blankets.

Originally, this goal was to take on a new hobby or skill, but that was super vague and not at all SMART.  So, I decided it was SMARTer to become better at something I already know how to do a little. I can make a blanket, but I can’t make little crochet flowers to stitch on. Nor can I make a border for it. I also can’t crochet myself a cute little sweater. So, I’ll get better at that!

9. Start selling coffee mugs and graphic tees on Uninspired.

Originally, this goal was to get Uninspired into e-commerce. But again, that’s way too vague for a SMART 30 before 30 list. So, I got more specific and measurable by defining what I wanted to sell.

 10. Go to a blogging conference

In an effort to make this more specific and measurable, I actually googled what conferences are out there, and found this list from Inspired Bloggers University! There are tons of them, listed in alphabetical order, complete with where they’re located and what they specialize in.

11. Take my parents to dinner

This one’s another way of measuring when I’m considered financially independent. When I can take my parents to dinner, I’ll know that I’m financially stable enough to do for them what they’ve been doing for me the past 23 years. This will be the ONE blog post of mine they both read, and afterward, they’ll never stop asking me when I’m taking them to dinner.

12. Choose a favorite wine

This is a silly one, but I always forget which wines I like and which I don’t like! I’ve been buying the same wine over and over because I keep thinking I like it, and turns out, it stuck in my mind because I HATED it! I need to do some wine tasting and really figure out what I like, so I always have some on hand that I enjoy.

13. Choose a great order-anywhere drink

This is a big one for me, because I’m always that person at the bar that finally get s the bartenders’ attention and realizes I have no idea what I want. I’m the worst. So, I need a good, order-anywhere drink that’s available no matter what the bar. Like, you can’t order wine at a sports bar. And how can you order an Angry Orchard at a classy, upscale kinda place?

14. Learn to drive stick

If you learn to drive a manual car, I honestly feel like there’s nothing you can’t do. You never know when you’re going to need to drive someone else’s car, and if it turns out to be manual, you don’t want to be screwed! So this is a great skill to have. Plus, it’s impressive, especially for a woman. It shouldn’t be, but it is.

15. Learn to change a flat tire

Another great skill to have so you’re never caught in this bind! You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road, hoping for someone who’s not a psycho to come pull over and help you. Be the strong, independent woman that you are. Learn to change a tire!

16. Get my own pet

Another way to make a goal of being financially independent, plus a way to make a goal of taking charge of my happiness. When you have something to take care of, and something that’s giving you unconditional love, how can you not be happy?!

17. Read ten classic novels

I’m not actually limiting myself to ten here, but I’d like to read at least that many. I’ve re-read a few books from high school and I appreciate them so much more. I can only imagine there are more classics out there that would help me open my mind and become a much better adult.

18. See ten classic movies

The same goes for classic movies! In addition to being a great way to open my mind and understand history a little more clearly, seeing classic movies also avoids the awkward situations where you don’t understand what someone’s talking about because they’re referencing something you’ve never seen.

19. Visit Maine

I know I already said I want to visit all 50 states, but I have a special interest in Maine. I’d want to make it it’s own trip. I want see all the quaint sites and eat all the seafood and stay at a sweet little bed and breakfast. It all sounds so adorable.

20. Run a 5k

I don’t know why, honestly. I would probably die. But this seems like something everyone should do once in their life. It builds character.

21. Shoot a gun

I’m not a gun enthusiast by any means. In fact, I’m pretty wary of them. But I’ve heard so much about the power you feel when you shoot a gun, especially for the first time, and I’d love to experience that. I also feel I can make a more firm decision about my opinion on guns once I’ve used one. If I find it terrifying, I know I’m not a fan of them and vice versa.

22. Buy a car all by myself

Wow, I really want to be financially independent. But honestly, when I can buy a car without the help of my parents, I’ll know I’m doing well for myself.

23. Go parasailing

I have this opportunity every summer, and I’ve never taken it! Like with my e-commerce goal, I know this is a 30 before 30 list and not a list of things I could do basically right now, but I’m under 30 now!

24. Visit England

There are so many wonderful bloggers in the UK– I’d love to see what it’s like there or maybe meet some of them! Like with my Italy goal, it seems a little unattainable because I don’t travel often, but I could make it a little easier by going with close friends or family I’m comfortable with.

25. See the northern lights

My mom and I have had this on our bucket list for years. I can only imagine how humbling it must be, and how much it must open your mind.

26. Visit Santorini

The number one place on my travel bucket list is Santorini, Greece! It’s so gorgeous there, I’d love to go just to take pictures!

27. Learn to play piano

First, I have to buy a piano. But once I’ve gotten THAT pesky little detail out of the way, I’ll be golden.

28. Write a novel and have it published

I’ve wanted to do this since I was seven. I wrote a mystery novel in purple Curlz MT font and tried to sell it lemonade-stand-tyle at the end of my best friend’s driveway. She lived on a dead-end street.

29. Become fluent in Italian

Duolingo says I’m 42% of the way there! I’ve taken a lot of classes in high school and college, bu I’m still a little rusty. It’s a lot easier for me to listen and write it than it is for me to speak it. But I’ve heard that’s the way it is for a lot of people learning to speak a new language, so there’s hope I can still get better!

30. Maintain an exercise routine

I’ll be honest, I put this last because I hate the idea of this one the most. But hey, the younger you set these habits up, the more likely you are to stick to them throughout life. So, as much as I hate it, the last item on my 30 before 30 list is to get myself in the good habit of exercising regularly. Specifically, it’ll be a mixture of cardio and weights. To make it more measurable, I’ll know I’m doing a good job when I’m working out at least 3-4 days a week.

So, thats’ my 30 before 30 list, complete with SMART goals! What are some of your goals, and what do you think of mine?!





I'm Nicole, and I've always known that I was meant to be a blogger. I have two fails under my belt and am working hard to make the third time a charm with my newest endeavor, Uninspired. I'm a grad student in marriage and family therapy, but I also love creative writing, cooking and baking, reading, and DIY, which all get to shine in this little lifestyle blog of mine.


  1. Loved your list! the trip across America seeing all the states sounds amazing – I would love to do that…. and coachella I sooo want to go!

    • Plan it right and we could kill two birds with one stone! 🙂 Thanks for commenting, I love your blog!!

    • Aww, thank you so much!! I just started seeing a client who, among other things, also shares my phobia. So, if that doesn’t whip my butt into shape, I dunno what will. I think I’ll work on the other stuff with her first though, haha! And hopefully I’ll see you at Coachella one day then!

  2. I loved this! I feel like I can relate to a lot of things on your list! I was just telling my sister yesterday that I want to run a 5K soon! I also want to go to a blogging conference, learn how to change a flat tire and learn how to drive stick! #goals You got this!!

    • That’s awesome!! Best of luck to you with all your goals 🙂 If you post a 30 before 30 list, be sure to tag me so I can check it out!!

  3. Love the change a flat tire one! You need to know this for safety reasons. It is nice to see lovely young people with great inspirations to go do good things. Driving a stick shift is pretty cool.

    • Definitely! You hear so many stories of something happening to a woman on the side of the road because she had to rely on a strange man to change her tire. And thank you so much! I’m so glad you stopped by!

  4. Yikes.. I turned 40 last year and didn’t complete all of these. I guess I need to catch up… LOL.. Great list..

    • Everyone should have their own personal list, this is just mine! Of course, if any of the goals resonate with you, you can certainly put them on a 41 before 41 list 🙂

    • That’s amazing, good for you!! And ugh, you’re gonna make me wanna bump Italy up even higher on the list!

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