Getting your life together can feel daunting— and as a young adult, it’s something of a joke and badge of honour to not have your shit together. However, I’ve found that once your have your shit sorted (at least partially), you can enjoy your life so much more.
Yes, it does require a lot of effort upfront to get started— but it’s so worth it at the end.
Here are 12 tips to help you get started.
1) Look At Your Finances. Goddamn.
If you’re like most twenty-somethings— you’re afraid to look at your bank account. Do it anyway. Avoiding it doesn’t miraculously make your account have money in it. Pretending you don’t have cancer doesn’t make it go away. So, look at your bank account.
Right now. Do it.
Look at your finances frequently so that you’re never blindsided.
When you have a good idea of how much you have and how much you spend, you can start to develop a weekly budget for yourself. This will help you save money, make wiser purchases, and will give you a better sense of your money’s value and your overall financial health.
It’s also important for you to look at your Credit Score. After taking a look at that, spend time learning how credit works and what strategies you can use to repair or build yours as necessary. Do this now, so that it won’t bite you in the ass a few years down the road.
2) Stop Making Excuses
“Oh, I really want to do that—but I just don’t have the time!”
This ties into number 7. Stop making excuses for why you aren’t doing the things you say that you want to do, and actually do them.
Either you want to do it, or you don’t. Generally, if something is important enough: you will make time. Own your choice. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
3) Stick To Your Promises
Stop being unreliable and flaky. It’s not cute. If you tell someone that you’re going to do something: Just do it.
On top of that, do not make promises or decisions if you’re not certain that you can follow through.
If you need additional time or if you need to reschedule something, learn to communicate that in a timely and respectful manner.
4) Take Care Of Your Body
The older you get, the more your body starts to turn on you. Do what you can now to prevent health issues in the future. Don’t cut corners on your wellbeing.
Make time to be active— whatever that means for you. Build up your core and back strength, so that your body can develop proper posture and actually support itself without compensating.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that everyone should visit a chiropractor at least once in their lives in order to target any existing alignment issues that may become exacerbated with age.
Also, remember that food is fuel for your body. Sure, it tastes good— but it’s just fuel. Learn what food fuels your body the best, and stick with it.
Overall, give your body some TLC now— so that you won’t have to worry about it as much when you’re older.
5) Develop A Routine
Routines can be boring, and it is definitely important to change things up every once in awhile— however it is more important to develop mini-routines in order to keep your life sorted.
By that, I mean: develop a morning routine and have a general idea of different activities (outside of work) that you can do on any given day— with at least one of those activities being a regular occurrence in a social atmosphere. Ex: karaoke, improv, dancing, game night, a night out, etc…
It helps to have one or two events be a regular occurrence, because it sets a norm and helps you maintain balance within it. It also gives you a set ‘normal’ to return to after changing it up, as routines can and do get stagnant.
6) Figure out what you want
What’s important to you? What do you need in life, and what can you live without? What are you actively doing to get it?
Figure out what you really want to get out of your life, and develop a plan to get it. Then, surprise: Go do it.
7) Show up for yourself
No one is going to live your life but you. No one is going to do the difficult things for you. Show up for yourself and do what you need to do in order to achieve your goals.
This applies to everything: working out, eating right, learning new things— whatever. If it’s actually important to you, show up for yourself and put in the work. Again, no one is going to do it for you.
8) Find Your Independence
Independence is so much more than living on your own and being able to financially support yourself. As cliché as it sounds: Real independence is something that you cultivate from the inside out.
You are not the opinion of everyone around you. You are an individual. Embrace that.
Learn to make your own choices with confidence. Learn to support yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Learn how to be okay with being alone. Learn how to love yourself without qualm.
9) Sleep! Goddammit. Why Should I Have To Tell You This?
And this is coming from someone who regularly deals with bouts of insomnia.
Sleep is not underrated or for the weak. It is so important to your entire wellbeing. Make it a priority to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. You’ll thank yourself later.
Yes, I’m sure that project you’re working on is important. However, it’s more important to finish it correctly and well— which is less likely to happen when you’re in a sleep-deprived state. Fun fact: Studies show that getting only 6 hours of sleep on a regular basis slows down your cognitive functioning as much as pulling an all-nighter.
The older you get— the more sleep deprivation affects you. Again, work on cultivating good habits now so that you’ll be healthier and happier as you get older.
10) Regularly leave your comfort zone
If you constantly live in your comfort zone, you’re going to live a very boring life.
Make a point to leave your comfort zone on a regular basis. Learn to say ‘yes’ to things that scare you. Push yourself to experience life, and make the most out of each opportunity that comes your way.
11) Develop healthy coping mechanisms
Develop healthy ways to deal with your stress. Read more about this HERE. Cultivate habits that offer lasting relief, instead of short-term, immediate relief.
On top of that, learn what it is you need to support yourself. If you’re really struggling with self-image, depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns— reach out to someone or someplace that can help you treat those issues and develop healthy outlets. I know it’s easier said than done, but if there’s only one thing that you ever do for yourself— I hope this is it.
12) Calculated Impulse
Impulsivity gets a bad rap. However, I do believe that spontaneity and impulsivity are important to keeping life engaging and interesting. That being said— it’s important to learn how to do this in a non-destructive way.
Learn the difference between a situation in which an impulsive decision has the potential to majorly and negatively impact your life, and a situation in which the repercussions of being impulsive are relatively low.
Let’s say you meet someone amazing at a bar, and they have the following day off. Naturally, you want to extend the evening and stay out with them as long as possible. If you work the next day, and the lack of sleep will negatively impact your job performance (possibly jeopardizing your job)— then you should exchange numbers and plan a date.
If you either don’t work the next day, start late, or the risk of your work being impacted negatively by sleep deprivation (and a hangover) are low— absolutely stay out as late as possible. Take on the town, and see where the night takes you.