To help devise the perfect “30 before 30” list, we spoke to several life coaches whose job is to literally make your life more awesome.
Here's what they told us.
Bond with your polar opposite
"Talk with someone who doesn’t look, think, or vote like you,” says Julie Coraccio, lifestyle coach and the host of the podcast "Clearing the Clutter Inside & Out."
“Hanging out with carbon copies of ourselves keeps us stagnant.”
"No one can make everyone happy all of the time. The sooner you learn how to disappoint someone and survive it, the better. People disappoint us all the time and we move on. So will the people in your life,” says Betsey Rosenfeld, life coach and owner of With Betsy Coaching & Consulting.
Honor your parents
Immerse yourself wholly in something
Learn that your fears aren’t facts
“Just because you are afraid something is going to happen doesn't mean it will,” says Rosenfeld. “When fearful thoughts creep in — ‘he’s going to be so mad at me,’ 'I'm totally getting fired,’ ‘I just ruined everything’ — stop and ask yourself if that is fact or fear.”
You’ll realize it’s most likely fear. Once you establish that, you can approach the situation with more clarity and tackle the situation.
Find your fitness routine
Befriend a senior citizen
Write your own eulogy
“Your twenties are a really confusing time,” says Quartuccio. “On the front end of your twenties, you're most likely graduating from school and finishing a period of your life where your path was laid out for you. On the backend, you're fully transitioning into adulthood, watching marriages, births, relocations, and career changes happening all around you. You can feel pressured to make life-altering decisions without real clarity about what inspires you.
"Instead of locking into a career or a relationship, first write how you want to be remembered when you leave this world. The legacy you want to leave behind can often illuminate the proper next steps in the present moment.”
Stop playing the comparison game
"Learn to stop comparing the inside of your life to the outside of others,” urges Rosenfeld. “What people put on social media is the best five minutes of their day, and yet you're comparing it to your own 24-hour reality.”
Move beyond your comfort zone
Doing things that lie outside of your comfort zone is where the good stuff happens, says Coraccio. Stretch yourself, open yourself up to possibilities, move beyond your standard perimeter. You’ll surprise yourself and do lots of growing.
Take a trip that didn’t happen
Banish publishing anything from social media during a trip, urges Quartuccio.
“It's amazing how many people's travel destinations and activities during those travels are 110% based on what's ‘social-media-worthy.’ Every decision that's made during the trip is dictated by what meal, what pose, what backdrop looks good on social media, versus having anything to do with what is calling to you in that present moment,” he says. “The only thing that matters is how you and those you are traveling with are connecting with the experience. It'll change your life.”
When you travel alone, you don’t have to be on anyone’s schedule but your own. It also encourages you to “talk to all sorts of people you would never otherwise meet,” says Davia Rivka, a certified life coach with a master's degree in clinical psychology.
Demand an upgrade
"You will be surprised what a hotel will do to make a guest happy,” says Rosenfeld. If you hate your room, ask for a different one. If you want to check out later, ask for it. You deserve it.
Have a steamy vacation fling
And don’t regret it. Later in life, you’ll look back with fond memories, says Rosenfeld.
Visit somewhere they don’t speak your language
Living in a country — or even just visiting — where people don’t speak your native language will push your boundaries, says Rivka. Small tasks like going to the bank, the post office, or the convenience store will test and strengthen you. Rivka suggests going so far as to live with a family in a foreign country.
Splurge on a gift for yourself
When we travel, we often buy tokens for other people. Next time, buy something special for yourself that you can keep forever, urges Rosenfeld. “A necklace, a ring, a painting — something non-trendy that you can enjoy forever and that can bring you back to your trip whenever you see it.”
Work a menial job
Working in the service, restaurant, retail, or labor industry is a rite of passage. Not only that, but it provides insight into how hard that kind of work is, and you’ll certainly interact with thousands of people in these fields in the years to come.
“It’s important to know we all have our roles and that no one is better than or less than another,” says Coraccio.
Get laid off, and get over it
"Knowing you can pick yourself back up and find the next job instills a confidence that will serve you later in life when the stakes will be higher,” says Rosenfeld.
Act like you already have the job you want
"Early in my career, I wanted to be a sales VP. My colleagues also aspired to the same thing, but we were all junior professionals. We dressed, answered the phone, and emailed like junior professionals. We also hung out exclusively with junior professionals,” recalls Quartuccio.
“One day the light bulb for me went on: I didn't have to wait to be a VP of sales to start acting like one. Soon, I was dressing like a VP of sales, and at conferences I hung out with that group. I upped my email, speaking, and presentation game to be commensurate with other VPs of sales. So when a role finally opened, everyone had already seen me as a VP of sales, and the interviews for the role were merely a formality. Don't wait to be in the role to act like the role. Start now.”
Quit a job
"Don't risk your well-being (be sure you have saved some money) and don't quit for petty reasons,” says Rosenfeld. “But if a job challenges your sense of self, say adios.”
Work for someone else
Even if you have goals to be your own boss, you should still work for someone else at some point.
“You can learn from others about what makes a good boss or a great leader,” explains Coraccio.
"In my 15 years in corporate America, one of the biggest challenges I saw for highly talented female professionals is that they routinely had their boundaries trampled on,” says Quartuccio, "constantly shouldering the burden of responsibilities well outside of their job descriptions because they would always get it done and they would always say yes to the added responsibility.
"It's up to you to establish what you will and won't do, so as to avoid inevitable burnout and resentment.”
Ask for a raise
Make sure you’re getting paid what you’re worth and don’t be afraid to ask for more.
“Prepare your case — the value you bring to the company — and stake your claim,” says Rosenfeld.
Break a heart and get heartbroken
"While you shouldn't break up with someone for the sake of it, or pull a ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ routine just to get dumped, getting dumped and dumping someone is essential to personal growth,” says Rosenfeld. “Knowing you can live through both builds the inner strength you need to find the right relationship.”
Ask someone out
It may be easy to sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to do the asking, but taking control over your relationship destiny is empowering. It builds confidence and helps you develop more compassion toward those who may typically do the asking, explains Coraccio.
Date someone who isn't your type
This can be a learning experience that goes both ways. Maybe you’ll get validation that you should stick with your M.O., or perhaps you’ll realize that you should have branched out sooner. Either way, lesson learned.
Learn how to parallel play
You don’t have to be with your S.O. 24/7 in order to be in a good relationship, explains Rosenfeld.
“Learn to know that your partner still loves you even if he or she is not with you and telling you so 24 hours a day. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you can pick a partner for the right reasons instead of out of fear.”
Test the romantic waters with a friend
"A strong, healthy [platonic] relationship has the same foundation for a romantic one,” says Coraccio. If there’s a hint of a romantic undercurrent in one of your relationships, it may be worth it to test the waters and take the plunge.
"Our lives are full without relationships, and yet so many women will let their lives go in the name of putting their relationship first,” says Rosenfeld. “Not to say you should forsake your mate, but learning that your life has value and you don't have to apologize for that is key to a resentment-free relationship.”