Small steps, big rewards

Take action now so that you’ll have more opportunities later. 

Plan for the future every day. 

Set yourself up for success. 

It all sounds great. But how do you do it? Here are four ideas. As always, it’s your life, so feel free to modify as you see fit.

Start a side hustle.

Even if you love your job, you should have more than one source of income. And even if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur, you should learn to think entrepreneurially.

A great way to do that is through a side hustle—a project you start in your off-hours to earn extra money. Over and over, I’ve heard from readers that seeing even a small amount of money come into their bank account feels incredibly satisfying. You look at it and think: wow, I did that!

And as a bonus, you also have… more money.

 

Identify a travel goal and work toward it.

You don’t need a lot of money to see the world. If you can save just $2 a day, within a year you’ll be able to go anywhere. Literally anywhere! Most people who read this blog can save $2 a day, even if times are hard, you’re in school, in between jobs, or whatever.

Furthermore, a year is the maximum amount of time it would take to achieve this goal.

  • If you don’t want to go somewhere exotic or expensive, it will take a lot less than a year
  • If you can save more than $2 a day ($4? $10?), you can accelerate the plan even further

To fast-track the entire process, you can learn about travel hacking and earn miles for nearly-free flights. Shazam!

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Learn or improve a new skill.

Successful people are always learning. What do you want to learn?

Here’s a tip: don’t think about skills that you’re supposed to have. Think about what you want to learn. Learning is important, but you’ll be much more motivated to do it if you care about the subject.

A few ideas:

  • Learn a new language, or brush up on one you studied long ago
  • Learn how to code
  • Learn how to blog
  • Learn geography without going to every country in the world
  • Learn to cook

These are just a few suggestions, so don’t consider yourself bound by them.

Take a big risk and pursue a big challenge.

I’ve been thinking a lot about both of these things lately. In short: risks and challenges (AKA “hard things”) are not the same. Hard things require effort, but are theoretically within your control even if they are very difficult. Risks may also require effort, but mostly they require decisions.

When you say yes to a challenge, you’ve got to make a plan and get to work. When you say yes to a risk, you release control of the outcome.

So as you plan for the future, what risk will you take, and what challenge will you pursue?

 

 


A version of this article originally appeared on Chris Guillebeau’s website