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Your early 20s is such a critical time in your life. You’re learning how to truly be responsible for yourself, establish your independence, and choose your path. Learning how to live your 20s to the fullest on top of all that can be a challenge!
You’re (hopefully) getting the hang of adulthood a little better than you did when you first turned 18, but navigating it all is absolutely still a learning curve.
There’s plenty of moments where you might find yourself questioning “when will I feel like I know what I’m doing?” and “will it get easier?”
I think with time and experience, it will. But for now, I’m learning as I go. So, with my experience so far, here are 20 powerful ways to live your 20s to the fullest!
This post is all about how to live your 20s to the fullest
1. You Don’t Have to Have Everything In Your Life Sorted
This was ridiculously hard for me to accept. Especially in my junior and senior years of college, I truly believed I had to have my career path set in stone and everything about my adult life organized.
But you simply don’t have to!
It all comes in time. We are all going to take our lives at different paces. If you aren’t ready to jump head-first into all the adult responsibilities, then don’t force it on yourself.
It’s okay to take it easy, stick with a part-time job with just enough to make ends meet for a while, and figure things out on your own schedule.
2. Try everything once
Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is scary. I know this first hand with someone that struggles with social anxiety, but pushing yourself results in great rewards.
3. Set Goals
Set both short-term (daily, weekly, monthly) goals and long-term (1 year, 3 year, 5 year) goals for yourself.
I make the habit of writing down my weekly and monthly goals at the beginning of each week and month in my Clever Fox Planner. Then, I plan out the steps it takes to get there.
Like they say: goals that aren’t written down are just wishes. Writing down your goals helps not only to solidify them, but to give you a visual reminder of what you want to achieve!
4. You Cannot Please Everyone
Have you ever seen couples plan weddings and no matter what they do, there’s always Aunt Karen who has something negative to say about one aspect or another?
Yeah, that applies to many areas of life.
Since there’s no way to please 100% of the people in your life 100% of the time, you should ultimately do what’s best for you. Let others’ opinions become more of an afterthought.
5. Work On Your Personal Development
Working on my personal development by educating myself on self-help topics gives me direction and guidance. This is especially crucial when you are adjusting to adulthood.
If you’re reading this blog, you probably already understand the importance of personal development! Go you!
Below are my top picks for personal development books that I loved reading and highly recommend reading to live your 20s to the fullest!
6. Do Not Stay In a Relationship If You’re Unhappy
I learned this in my teen years, but if you started dating later, you’ll find that this especially applies to your early 20s.
If you are constantly unhappy, and I mean you find yourself unhappy more days than you’re happy with this person, you need to re-evaluate that negativity in your life.
So many times have I thought “but this is the best I’ve ever found, I can’t give that up” only to get in a better relationship, look back, and realize I should’ve dropped that person sooner!
7. Move Away From Home
When you’re emotionally and financially able to, of course. If your hometown is the only thing you’ve ever known, I encourage you to move somewhere completely new, and here’s why.
Moving away from your hometown does wonders for your self-growth, development, and life experience. It gives you a newfound sense of independence and lets you be in charge of creating a new life for yourself.
If you’ve been wanting to move but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve got to read my Beginner’s Guide on How to Correctly Move Cross-Country.
Planning a move? Make sure to grab my (free!) moving checklist to make sure you don’t miss a thing!
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8. Pay Your Credit Card On Time–AND IN FULL!
You have to start thinking of your credit card like a debit card. It is not “free money.” It is entirely your responsibility not to live outside your means.
You know those crazy high interest rates you see of 24% APR?
Well guess what?
If you pay your credit card on time each month, in full, you don’t have to pay ANY interest on your purchases!
I don’t say this to sound sarcastic. Many young people in their early 20s are truly unaware of this and assume that credit cards = interest always. But this is not true if you’re responsible.
If you can’t afford to take big international vacations, that’s okay! You can get there through saving wisely, and I encourage you to shoot for that one day.
However, nearby road trips are also incredibly worth it!
Think about the states that border yours. Plan out a day trip and check out some nearby major cities! Since moving to Illinois last summer, I’ve already driven to visit Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
Each place is a new memory/experience that really adds some spice to my life.
10. Make Time For Yourself–Always
I know just how hard this is when you have a busy schedule.
But even just taking 30 minutes a day to watch your favorite show, do your favorite hobby, or meditate can really improve your mental health.
11. Finding Friends is Hard
You don’t have the convenience of spending five days a week with the same people like you did back in high school, which creates the perfect environment for building organic friendships.
In college, and especially beyond, making friends becomes SO hard! And you really have to go out of your way to do it.
12. It’s Okay Not to Know Your Purpose in Life
You’re still working on getting yourself and your sense of identity figured out in your early 20s. So how can you be expected to have your purpose in life nailed down?
At this age, I highly advise just learning about what jives with your personality type. This will give you an idea of what would suit you best.
For example, I’ve learned that I am a very independent person, don’t particularly like working under others, I am creative, and I also enjoy educating others.
As mentioned earlier, the book “What Color is Your Parachute?” taught me SO MUCH about how personality ties into your ideal life path. You definitely need this book if you’re looking for direction!
13. Stop Comparing
On the same token as the previous point, you also shouldn’t compare yourself to people who seem to have it all figured out.
There will always be someone more successful, but there will also be someone less successful.
If you’re going to do any comparing, think about how much YOU have grown from five years ago to now. Shoot for beating your personal best, not someone else’s best.
14. Keep Educating Yourself
Educate yourself through books, YouTube videos, articles, courses, etc. Focus on topics you care about that would be of great benefit to you.
Topic ideas include:
- Mental health
- Foreign Languages
15. Live Frugally (you can do this and live your 20s to the fullest!)
Monitor your spending, make sacrifices where you can, and create financial goals for yourself (WITH timelines!).
My most effective tool for keeping an eye on my spending habits is using a monthly budget spreadsheet. I break my expenses down into categories and compare my income to my spending to ensure that I’m not living outside my means.
16. Prioritize Your Mental Health
If there’s anything I cannot stress enough out of these 20 ways to live your life to the fullest in your 20s, it’s this one!
Mental health is just as important as physical health. If you are mentally unwell, you will have a lot of difficulty just getting through your everyday life.
Did you know that you don’t have to have severe mental health struggles to benefit from therapy?
While therapy isn’t the only thing you can do to improve your mental health, even those with mild depression and anxiety symptoms can significantly benefit from regularly seeing a therapist.
You might want to consider a convenient, affordable, evidence-based option like Online-Therapy.com. Signing up at the link provided gives you a 20% discount!
If anxiety is something you struggle with, you might also like my (free!) printable anxiety tracker!
Managing anxiety is tough. This tracker makes checking in on yourself a little easier. Want to gauge how your anxiety symptoms are doing? ...and want it free? Get my printable anxiety tracker sent straight to your inbox!
17. Put Yourself First
It’s next to impossible to give to others when you haven’t taken care of your own needs first. You’ve got to prioritize filling your cup before serving others.
Remember that it’s okay to say “no.” You’ll be in a better position to help others after you’ve taken care of yourself first and foremost.
18. Let Go of Negative People
Negative partners, negative friends, negative anyone that’s dragging you down! Don’t feel inclined to keep them around.
Unfollow, unsubscribe, block–do what you need to and just say “good riddance!”
19. Don’t Be Afraid to Quit a Toxic Job
Boy do I have some stories to tell about toxic jobs, especially back in food service and retail.
Some of these jobs impacted my mental health so badly that it affected every other part of my life.
As soon as you recognize that your work environment is unhealthy, create a plan to get out of there as soon as you financially can! You’ve got bigger and better things ahead.
20. Entering Adulthood is Hard
VERY hard! Pat yourself on the back for doing your best to adjust to it all.
You might feel alone, especially if you have friends in different stages of life or that seem to have it more together than you do.
But I’m here to tell you that you aren’t alone, that I’m learning as I go too, and that your early 20s is certainly a learning curve.
And in time, more pieces of the puzzle will come together and it will start to make more and more sense.
In the meantime, I hope you learn from my experiences and have something to take away from my list of 20 powerful ways to live your 20s to the fullest!
Good luck out there!