“It’s important to set goals for your personal growth. So here is a list of 21 goals to set in your twenties. Hopefully they can help.”– Jessa Marie
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I’m sure at some point during your twenties, you’ve wondered, “am I doing this right?” You’ve probably questioned if you’re making the right choices or doing everything you need to do to be a successful adult.
While I can’t give you a recipe for success, since I don’t believe it’s an exact science and I’m no expert, I think I can help you while you devise your own master plan. Here are 21 goals to set in your twenties for your own personal growth.
I believe that there are five areas of personal growth a twenty something year old should focus on when setting goals: finances, career, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and fun!
So let’s get started.
Financial Goals to Set in Your Twenties
It’s important to set financial goals both for short term and long term plans that you have. So here are five financial goals to set in your twenties for your financial growth.
1. Make being debt free one of your goals
If you’re like me, when you graduated university/college, you got your degree, and a letter saying that it’s time to pay up. You know what I’m talking about, student loans. You might also have a car loan. Don’t worry, we’re in that boat together.
It may feel like your debt is insurmountable, and you’ll be old and gray before you finish paying it off, but it’s still important to work towards paying off your long term debt. Set a reasonable goal for when you would like to be debt free, and make consistent monthly payments towards that goal.
You don’t have to pay off all your debt right away or give the majority of your paycheque towards it, but it is nice to pay less interest at the end of the day.
My personal goal is to be debt free before I turn 30. Honestly, the sooner the better in my opinion. I’d rather not have my student loan, car loan, AND a mortgage at the same time. Fortunately, I’m allowed to live at home, while I pay them both off, so I don’t have to take that third one on just yet.
So set that goal to be debt free, and work towards it every month. I truly believe that being free of financial worry is one of the best feelings ever.
2. Budgeting effectively should be a goal you set in your twenties
I know you probably hear this all the time from your parents, but having a budget is a good thing. It helps you to manage your money better, keeps you from accruing unnecessary credit card debt, helps you save for the future, and stops you from living paycheque to paycheque.
Take this from someone who has experienced eating nothing but bread and cereal for a week, while waiting for her next paycheque. It’s not fun.
Budgeting might feel overwhelming to you because it means you actually have to look at all your bills, and what you spend your money on. Or you might be procrastinating because you know that once you do it, you have to actually commit to it.
But I promise you that it’s so worth it when you start. Seeing an example might help, so this is how I budget:
- Open a new note on your phone, a spreadsheet, or grab a piece of paper.
- Write your monthly salary at the very top.
- List all of your monthly “necessity” bills (i.e. cell phone, rent, average grocery bill, gas, car insurance/payments, etc.) below your salary, and subtract. Now you have your salary minus your bills.
- Next figure out what percentage of that value you want to save every month, and what percentage you would like to put towards your student loan.
- Then whatever is left over you get to spend on fun things like going out with friends, takeout, and online shopping.
3. Pay off your credit card in full every month
This is the most important financial goal to set, and it’s only possible when you make a budget and stick to it. Set a goal for yourself to always pay off your credit card in full every month.
It may not seem like a big deal, but credit card interest is no joke. It’s roughly 18% these days, and it’s not worth it.
Think about it this way, when you only pay the minimum every month, you’re only paying off the interest. Your debt never actually gets smaller. So if the minimum payment is $10 on your card, and you pay that amount every month for a year, you’ve paid $120 to the bank.
But your debt of $1000 is still the same, it’s not $880. You’ve essentially wasted $120. That’s a month of gas, a week of groceries, 8 bottles of wine, a year of Netflix!
So pay off your credit card in full every month. You’ll have to do it eventually, so don’t waste a year’s worth of Netflix on interest payments.
4. Make it a goal to save consistently for both short term and long term
I’m sure your parents constantly tell you to save your money, and it can start to get annoying, but having short term savings for emergencies and long term savings for the future is a good thing.
Think about it this way. Where is the majority of your money going? Is it to bills, paying off debt, shopping, eating out? My point is that it’s probably going into someone else’s pocket instead of yours. So, how does that make you feel? Pretty sad, right?
When I first thought about this, I was pretty sad too. So that’s why I make it a point to save the same percentage of my monthly salary every month no matter what. It’s called paying yourself first, something my financial advisor explained to me.
So ask yourself what you want in the future for your life, and how much you should be saving each month to get there. Is it a house, a car, a wedding, to travel, to retire early? Set a goal of how much you would like to save each month for your long term plans and stick to it.
Remember that nothing is certain in life, you could lose your job tomorrow, or your car could break down, so make sure that you’re also saving for the unexpected. It’s important to set a goal for how much you should always have in your short term savings, and only use it for emergencies.
5. Learning how to invest wisely is a goal you should set in your twenties
Learning how to invest is something everyone should do, and I personally think the younger you learn it the better. Especially while you’re still in your twenties and don’t have a lot of bills to pay. So set a goal to learn how to invest your money wisely.
It’s important to have a good understanding of how to make your money grow and how to do it responsibly. Investing is not gambling, but it does come with a certain amount of risk if you don’t know what you’re doing.
This youtube channel called Canadian in a T-Shirt taught me so much about investing, and it’s especially great for beginners.
Realizing the amount of interest I earned on my savings account was less than 0.5%, and the amount I earned on my RRSP contributions was 5%, really put money growth into perspective for me.
Remember that prices continue to go up with inflation at 3% on average every year, so if your money isn’t growing at the same rate or higher, is it actually growing?
So financial goal number 5 is learn how to grow your money wisely!
Career Goals to Set in Your Twenties
It’s important to set goals for your career, and to actually work towards them. It helps you to keep growing, and stops you from feeling bored or stagnant. So here are five career goals to set in your twenties for your own personal growth.
6. Identify the skills that you have and the skills you would like to develop
It’s really important to know your starting point when you want to grow in your career. So make it a goal to identify all of the skills you currently have, and all of the ones you would like to develop for the future.
This will help you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are in your profession, and where you need to spend more of your time when it comes to your career growth.
Instead of spending 70% of your time continuing to develop skills that you’re already proficient in, that time can be better spent on developing your weaknesses or skills that you know you need to get to the next stage of your career.
7. Learn how to network and market yourself
Make it a goal for yourself to network within your field and learn how to effectively market yourself.
Networking and marketing yourself can feel like a lot of effort, but in my opinion, it’s less about the quantity and more about the quality of the professional relationships you cultivate. It can be as simple as making sure that you always do your job well, and are an easy person to work with.
Or you can do active outreach on LinkedIn and at networking events. All that matters is that you make those professional connections and learn how to market your strengths to help you grow in your career.
Those relationships and the professional image you present can help you get your dream job, whether that’s training you, helping you, or recommending you based on your work.
8. Getting a mentor is an important career goal to have
If you don’t have a mentor already, make a goal for yourself to get one. Finding a mentor that wants to help you, that you connect with, and that encourages you in your career growth is so important.
You won’t always have supportive seniors in your workplace, which can have a negative impact on your growth or just cause you to be stagnant. If you really want to pursue career growth, you need guidance.
Choosing a mentor yourself based on what your needs are and where you want to be in your career, will help you get the personalized guidance you need.
9. Set short term and long term career goals for yourself
Make sure that you set both short term and long term career goals for yourself. When you set short term goals for yourself they act like checkpoints in your career growth to help you stay on track to your ultimate goal.
Working towards short term goals will also help you figure out what you enjoy and what you don’t, so that you can change your career path if necessary.
For example, if your long term goal is to be a program manager, and you set a short term goal of being a project manager, but you don’t enjoy managing difficult people, you should probably rethink your long term goal.
Practically speaking, you should have short term goals that you set each year, and long term goals that you want to accomplish in five to ten years.
10. Make it a habit to be patient and kind to yourself as you grow
The most important career goal you should set is to make it a habit to be patient and kind to yourself as you grow. You may not grow as fast as you want to, and it won’t be easy.
Be okay with the fact that you won’t be good at everything you try right away, and make it a point to pick yourself up every time you fail and treat it like a lesson.
Most importantly be humble when you’re not good at something, and ask for help or even training. Growth takes time and consistency. So be patient and kind to yourself as you grow.
Intrapersonal Goals to Set in Your Twenties
Intrapersonal goals are goals that you set for your own inner growth. I like to think of it as setting emotional goals for yourself. So here are five emotional goals to set in your twenties for your own personal growth!
11. Set healthy emotional boundaries in your twenties
Make sure you set a goal for yourself to set healthy emotional boundaries. Take some time to identify what emotional boundaries you need in your life, and have a plan ready so you can stick to them.
Examples of healthy emotional boundaries with yourself are:
- Choosing not to participate in negative self talk.
- Making a list of your triggers and figuring out how you will deal with each of them.
- Choosing not to sit in your negative feelings for longer than necessary.
Healthy emotional boundaries look different for everyone, but it’s important to understand what yours are and to make that a goal for your personal growth. Reading Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend is a great place to start.
12. Practice self reflection regularly as one of your goals
Set a personal goal for yourself to practice self reflection regularly, especially if it’s not something you find easy to do.
Self reflecting can be anything from your career performance to your friendship performance, or just thinking about why you’re feeling the way that you’re feeling right now.
In my opinion the best way to do this is through journaling, which can look as simple as jotting down a few thoughts, or you can write pages and pages if you need to.
Sometimes I just write lists of words, but if I’m feeling really reflective, I’ll actually write my thoughts in a letter.
All that matters is that you do it to understand what you’re feeling, what you’re doing well in, and what you need to improve in. You can only move forward if you know where your starting point is.
13. Acknowledge what you’re feeling and deal with it
Make it a personal goal for yourself to always acknowledge what you’re feeling in the moment and to deal with it. Don’t sweep your emotions under the rug, and pretend like what you’re feeling will just go away. It doesn’t. It just resurfaces as something else.
There is a reason why you feel angry, sad, anxious, scared, or happy. It’s important to notice when you feel these different emotions, acknowledge that they’re real, and deserve your attention.
Knowing why you feel a certain emotion in a specific moment, will help you understand how to deal with it and what to do with it.
For example if you feel anxious in a situation at work, you should know why (i.e. was it the work, a person, the circumstances, etc.), so that you will know how to properly address it in the future.
14. Learn how to let go of your past and forgive yourself
It doesn’t matter how old you are, you should make it a goal for yourself to let go of your past and forgive yourself. But of course, the sooner you do this, the better, so that’s why it’s part of this list of goals to set in your twenties.
We all have regrets and have made mistakes in our lives, but that doesn’t mean you need to continue to punish yourself for those things.
Maybe you’ve hurt someone, or made choices that have resulted in getting hurt yourself. Maybe you feel that you’ve failed in some way or another, and because of that you’re still putting yourself down for it.
It’s time to forgive yourself and let go of the negative thoughts holding you back, whether that means going to therapy or deciding to change your mindset. Either way, it’s a choice to make this a personal goal for yourself.
15. Practice positive thinking and self affirmation consistently
Make it a habit to practice positive thinking and self affirmation consistently by making it a personal goal to do this actively everyday.
This can look like making a list of positive things that happened in your day, acknowledging your strengths, and pointing out what you like about yourself.
A great way to do this actively is by exchanging whatever negative thought that pops into your head with a positive one. For example, if you don’t like something about your appearance when you look in the mirror, exchange it for a compliment.
It takes practice, but eventually you will cultivate a positive mindset about yourself and your circumstances.
Interpersonal goals to set in your twenties
Interpersonal goals are goals that you set for yourself that have to do with the relationships in your life. So I like to think of them as relationship goals, but not like #relationshipgoals. Here are five relationship goals to set in your twenties for your personal growth.
16. Identify the relationships in your life that have an overall positive effect on you
Make it a goal for yourself to sit down and identify the relationships in your life that support your personal growth and have positive effects on you.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Does this person encourage me in my personal growth?
- Do I feel good while hanging out with this person?
- Does this person uplift me with their words?
- Does this person try to help me reach my goals?
Ultimately, you’re trying to figure out whether this person’s effect on your life is a positive one.
17. Identify the relationships in your life that have an overall negative effect on you
No relationship is perfect, and you’re not always going to get along, but if the majority of the time you feel negative with this person, you should know that.
Set a goal for yourself to identify all the relationships in your life that generally make you feel negative feelings, whether that’s with the person or even while they’re not around.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Does this person hurt me often and in the same way?
- Is the negative self talk I experience a product of our interactions?
- Do they often criticize my goals and personal growth and make me feel guilty for having them?
- Do they try to manipulate me into doing what they want at my own expense?
- Are they a trigger for me?
It’s important to identify who is negatively affecting you, so that you can decide how you want to deal with that relationship.
18. Make it a goal to invest your time and effort into mutually beneficial relationships
Set a goal for yourself that you will invest your time and effort into relationships where both of you are committed to helping one another grow. In other words, make it a goal to stop spending too much of your time on one sided relationships.
We all have those friends, the ones who take more than they give, and if it’s not to a toxic extent, it’s okay to keep them. But if you invest the limited time you have in them instead of in friendships that are mutually beneficial, you can find yourself emotionally burnt out and resentful.
I’m not saying cut them out of your life completely, but remember that you’re not responsible for keeping a friendship going on your own, and doing all of the emotional labour it requires.
19. End toxic relationships in your life
Make it a goal to end the toxic relationships in your life. I’m talking about the people in your life that take advantage of you, that manipulate you, that make you feel like you’re never enough, the people who have a generally negative effect on your life.
If the negative self talk you hear in your head has this person’s voice, they’re probably toxic. Do they cause you to experience periods of anxiety or depression? Then they are toxic. If they are emotionally or physically abusive, they are definitely toxic. I think you get it.
You need to identify and end these relationships. Don’t allow selfish people to continue to take advantage of you. You deserve better.
20. Learn how to be okay with your relationships changing in your twenties
The last relationship goal you should set is the most important one in my opinion. Learn how to be okay with the fact that your relationships will change as you grow.
Just as you continue to grow, the other person in your relationship will also be growing in their own way, and that can change your relationship. You may grow closer with this person or grow apart, and you have to be okay with that.
It’s normal and a very natural part of growing up. Be grateful for what your relationship once was, and also what it is now even if it’s not what you thought it would be. It’s all part of the personal growth journey.
The Most Important Goal to Set in Your Twenties
It’s important to set serious goals for your personal growth. But what’s the point of being young and single if you’re not having fun too. So here is the last goal to set in your twenties, and it’s just as important as the first twenty.
21. Set goals for the things that bring you joy in your life
Figure out what brings you joy in life and set goals around those things, whether that’s your career, a hobby, or even a person.
If you love to travel, make a list of all of the places you want to explore before you die, an ultimate travel bucket list.
If writing is a hobby of yours, and you’ve thought about writing a novel, make that a goal for yourself. Just do it.
If spending time with your family makes you happy, then make it a habit to spend more time with them.
Whatever it is that makes you happy, set goals around it. Yes, personal growth for a successful life is important, but it all seems kind of meaningless if you’re not enjoying yourself at the same time.
So there you have it, 21 goals to set in your twenties for your own personal growth!
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