How the pandemic has impacted our life milestones

We all have goals we want to achieve: whether it’s to get married and start a family, or relax and enjoy our retirement.

But the pandemic has forced many of us to put our plans on hold and question what we really want in life.

We want to achieve our milestones in the next one to five years

Certain milestones have more importance at different ages. Our research shows that some of the biggest milestones for those aged between 18-24 and 25-34 are making a big purchase, like buying a home, travelling the world, and starting a family. For people aged between 55-64, the biggest milestone is retiring.

The majority of people said they wanted to achieve their key milestones in the next one to five years.

When asked why they started thinking about their milestones during the pandemic, the three biggest reasons for those aged between 18-34 are:

  • they’re ready to settle down

  • they need some happiness in their lives

  • they want to be more independent

Those aged between 55-64 felt a little differently – basically, just wanting to focus on themselves and live with no regrets.

The fact is, spending more than 12 months mainly at home has given us time to think about what we truly want in life. Whether that’s getting on the property ladder, travelling the world, or getting married and starting a family.

Top tips for achieving your milestones

Of course, the way to achieve your milestone depends on what it is. However, Gemma Perlin, Behavioural Change Coach, has shared some tips on how you can best plan for achieving everything you want to in life.

1. Visualise it – then write it down

Dreaming of something is very different to putting a plan into action. If you want to travel the world, where exactly do you want to go? Do you have an image in mind of being there? What does it look like? Feel like? Smell like? You have to know the destination to work out the journey.

Start thinking of a list of cities and countries, and then create something visual you can see every day – for example, you could make a scrapbook of your dream destinations, or buy a map of the world, where you can pin your chosen cities.

2. Break your goal down into smaller steps

‘I want to buy a house’ or ‘I want to start a family’ are very general statements, and trying to work towards that goal can feel overwhelming. Instead, break it down into smaller steps that you feel are easily achievable.

For example, step one of buying a house could be to work out all of your incomings and outgoings, and calculating how much money you can put towards your deposit each month. Then, you could arrange a visit with a bank or mortgage advisor to see how much you could borrow. Just by doing that, you’re already taking actionable steps towards achieving your key milestone.

3. Make sure your goal is realistic

When I’m coaching someone and they want to achieve a goal, I often ask: ‘what’s stopping you?’. They look surprised, but then I ask what benefits of your current situation would change if your goal was achieved? For you to achieve your goal, ask yourself what you will lose, and whether it’s worth it to you.

4. Get support if you need it

If you do feel overwhelmed, it can be easy to give up – especially if you don’t have a support system in place. If you’re feeling down or unsure about whether or not you’ll actually achieve your dreams, speak to someone – whether it’s your family, friends or a neutral third party like a coach.

Simply talking about your doubts can be really therapeutic, and having someone encourage you can uplift you and help you continue on your path to achieving your goals.

Having key milestones you want to achieve can give you something to look forward to in life, but it’s important to remember not to beat yourself up about it if you haven’t achieved something by a certain age. Instead, it’s key to plan and prepare, so you’re setting yourself up for the best possible chance of succeeding.

But be kind to yourself. Your emotional journey through life is more important than ticking off milestones along the way.

Brought to you by the life insurance experts at


Survey of 1,004 UK adults via TLF in May 2021.