I’m pretty sure that we all have those items sitting on our bucket list that centre around the kind of person we want to be in the future.

“One day, I want to be super fit and healthy.”

“One day, I want to be able to play the piano like a pro.”

“One day, I want to be mega confident.”

Why do we set these goals? Because we have a vision of our ideal selves that we hope to one day be. But we never quiiiite seem to get round to making these dreams a reality.

I definitely have an idea of what the ideal me would look like – however this always seemed very far away and removed from who I currently am. Sure, one day I wanted to be able to play guitar, but that was like… the future. Not now.

However I realised that if I wanted to be that ideal version of myself, I had to take steps of self-improvement towards that goal… right now. Not too groundbreaking, I know, but it’s easy to forget that what you do right at this moment sets yourself up for who you’ll be in the future.

So instead of thinking in terms of ‘one day’, I decided to think about what kind of person I’d like to be when I’m 21. And more importantly – what can I start doing now to get there?

When I’m 21, I want to be conversationally fluent in French

I’m doing NCEA 2 French and I adore it, but I’m a long way from fluency. I want to start learning the language more outside of class now, so I can keep improving when I leave school. I’d love to be able to effortlessly hold a conversation in French by the time I’m 21, so I can visit France after uni or maybe even study abroad.

What I will do now to achieve this:

  • Go on Duolingo daily
  • Watch French YouTube videos and TV shows
  • Do some extra work on all the boring grammar and vocab
  • Start a diary in French
  • Trying to talk in French more during my French classes

When I’m 21, I want to be able to play the guitar properly

I do own a guitar, and I play around with it occasionally, but it mostly sits on my floor or in its case in the corner of my room. I can do basic chords and strumming, but I’ve always wanted to be properly good at it – able to do pretty fingerstyle songs, and cool strumming, and compose my own pieces. As a kind of mid goal, I want to use my guitar enough to justify taking it to uni with me when I’m 18.

What I will do now to achieve this:

  • Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice
  • Try to learn a new song every week
  • Do lots of scales and exercises to improve my technique
  • Actually learn some music theory
  • Actually learn to read music

When I’m 21, I want to be reasonably fit and healthy

Currently, I’m not what you’d class as fit. Healthy? Ish, perhaps. However in my mind, 21 year old me doesn’t get puffed after running for a few seconds.

What I will do now to achieve this:

  • Do living room workouts at least once a week
  • Stretch for 5 minutes every day
  • Take football practise more seriously
  • Learn some self control in regards to bakery food
  • Make smoothies for afternoon tea

When I’m 21, I want to be a well-read, well-informed, interesting person

This is admittedly a pretty broad goal, but there are definitely things I can do now to make 21 year old Kate super smart and interesting.

What I will do now to achieve this:

  • Make more time in my day to read books
  • Expand the variety of books I read to include more non fiction
  • Start becoming more confident in my own opinions
  • Watch lots of educational YouTube videos about things I find interesting
  • Try to become better informed about politics and current events
  • Read the newspaper at breakfast every morning
  • Start making a dent in the classic movies and books that are on my to-read and to-watch list

So, I challenge you to make a list similar to this and set some goals for what you want to be like when you’re 21, or 18, or 30 – whatever works for you.


Kate is a Year 12 student from Canterbury. She enjoys music, languages, sunny days, and a good book.

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