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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Goal-setting groove: Milestone birthdays fuel lists of things to accomplish

This summer has brought adventures for the Spokane family of Danielle Beaudine, from picking huckleberries to cycling the Hiawatha Trail.

Far from random, these activities are connections in a journey Beaudine started more than a year ago to tackle life goals she’d delayed for two decades. Beaudine, 39, calls it her #40by40 list on social media for goals she wants to do before turning 40 in March.

Some are big – as in a Bahamas getaway with her husband – and some are simple like berry-picking. While people might set financial or career targets, others see the need to write down life goals to make idle dreams happen for relationships, personal growth and new experiences.

“I feel it’s really something to celebrate turning 40, and our kids are getting a little bit older,” said Beaudine, whose sons are 5 and 8.

“There are so many things I’ve dreamt about doing for like 20 years, and I just had been putting them on a backburner because I had other goals I needed to meet.”

As Beaudine completes each new goal, she posts with a #40by40 tag on Facebook. Friends who are inspired ask her questions for similar experiences, she said.

A few items on her list? Well, there’s reading 20 books, seeing Glacier National Park and creating a gallery wall of family photos. No. 14 was to try stand-up paddleboarding. Others are volunteer goals and to build a social media research platform for her sister who had Stage 3 breast cancer.

When she and her husband went to the Bahamas, it marked their 10-year wedding anniversary. On that trip, she also checked off scuba diving for the first time.

“It’s kind of great to come up with this list because once you write it down, and I’ve been putting it on social media, it kind of gives you some accountability,” she said. “I really feel like I need to accomplish them now.”

Beaudine, who recently made a career change, will work from home part time. She’s about half-way through marking off all 40 items, but several longer-term ones are close to being done, including the reading goal. She began prepping her varied list about a year and a half ago.

“I’d say these are personal goals and even some aspirational goals,” she said. “Some of them force you to stretch a little – where you’d like to see yourself going in the next 10 years.

“But there are other things on my list, like set up my 401(k) and get my kids’ college accounts in place, and I did those recently. I think at the end I’ll feel like, wow, there are lot of things I wouldn’t have done without creating this list.

“I feel like it’s making me more adventurous, which is nice, but also there is stuff that’s personal growth, too. I’ve been wanting to get certified to hold babies in the NICU at Sacred Heart, so that’s on my list.”

Beaudine first heard about #40by40 from friend Jessie Heaviland, a Seattle-area resident who created her list about a year ago. Heaviland, turning 40 in October, first read about the idea from a Washington state-based blogger who did the same.

“I felt it was a good time and great excuse to think about personal goals for me and for our family,” said Heaviland, who has five children ages 5 to 11. “I love that the goals No. 1 help provide long-term vision, but they also provide me the motivation to try and make things happen.”

Her list of 40 things also ranges from the simple to long-planned adventures, and she highly recommends writing down such a list and sharing it with friends and family. Beforehand, she said it was easy to be focused mainly on the daily needs of family and household.

“One thing on the list was to rent a cabin through the Washington state parks reservation system, but it’s a unique cabin where you have to boat into a private island,” Heaviland said. “I’d heard about it years ago and always thought that would be so fun, but it’s never going to just happen.”

So the trip went on her 40-by-40 list, and with 10 minutes here and there over time, she took the steps from renting kayaks to finding child care for the trip with her husband.

Keys to accomplishing personal goals are to write them down and post where you see them regularly, said John Stenbeck, 61, a Spokane project manager and author.

“A goal that’s not written down is not a goal because you forget about it,” he said. “For a long time, my goals were about how fast I could get to an accomplishment.”

Now, his personal goals are geared toward concrete steps that build relationships. He prints those goals and posts them on his bathroom mirror to read daily.

His goal-setting began in 1976, and by 1997, he had categories such as friendship, fatherhood and personal goals. Divorced, he has two adult sons and two grandchildren, 2 and 4.

“Around personal goals now, it’s to be more present,” Stenbeck said. “I have a friend who is going through a soul-crushing divorce. There is nothing I can do to make that less painful, but I can choose to be more present for him.”

So one goal is to call or text that friend at least three times a week and visit in person at least once a week, he added. “Relationship goals are measured in time invested.”

“Goals are the only antidote for the pressures and busyness of life. Perhaps the biggest reward for me having set personal and relationship goals and sticking to them for my kids as they grew up is I’ve been invited into my children’s lives now that they are adults.”

Beaudine and Heaviland also set some personal goals around family. Heaviland said she’d always dreamed about her family being bell ringers together for the Salvation Army, so that happened this past November.

The family bought and delivered toys to Seattle Children’s Hospital in December. Her kids had always wanted to decorate a neighborhood statue, so they did so for St. Patrick’s Day.

“One goal was to teach my twin 5-year-olds how to ride bikes without training wheels,” Heaviland said. “One was for my middle daughter as she was going to have a golden birthday turning 7 on Feb. 7, and we did a special overnight date.”

She and another daughter planned a dance class together, and Heaviland decided to read the first Harry Potter book with her eldest son.

“There are also some practical goals on there like getting my first baseline mammogram,” she said. “One was to learn how to fold a fitted sheet because when I folded them, they’d end up looking like random blobs. I felt at 40 as an adult, I should finally figure out the right way.”

She tried YouTube until her sister saw the goal and suggested that her mother-in-law had the right touch. “She came over and walked me through the steps. Now I know.”

Other goals are there because of the family’s upcoming nine-month road trip around the U.S., including one to purge household items by at least 25% and another to see Niagara Falls.

“I just love when I write things down as goals – it gives me the motivation to see how to make them happen,” she said.

“It has been so much fun to have a bunch of unusual experiences and share a lot of those with friends and family. I definitely think I’ll be making a 50-by-50 list down the road.”

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