20 Non-Negotiable Things Everyone Should Aim To Do In Their 20s

Your 20s are the defining decade. How you spend your 20s will impact the rest of your life, both personally and professionally. Although this may sound daunting, making mistakes during your 20s is inevitable. You should be open to failure, change, and risks.

Below are 20 things that you should do before you’re 30 to live a more fulfilling life.

1. Take risks

When you’re in your 20s, you’re still figuring out how you want to spend your life and who you want to become. The only way to figure out what makes you happy is to try out different things.

Since you have no prior experience, trying out something new often feels scary. But in your 20s, you have nothing to lose, because you can always switch up your life path. Even though you’re free to take action, you aren’t free from all consequences for those actions. This is why it’s essential to take risks on your own dime and on your own time.

When trying new things, you, and only you, should be the one to reap the rewards and pay for the consequences. Using your parents’ money to invest in a business won’t help you manage money, and living with them won’t help you figure out how to pay rent.

Trying new things while still relying on your parents to back you up is not taking risks. The only way you’re going to learn how to grow personally, professionally, and financially, is if you go out and do it alone.

2. Live on your own

After relying on your parents your whole life, living on your own can seem terrifying. Not only will you have to do laundry and wash the dishes, but you’ll have to decide on the best apartment, make a consistent income, and learn about the real estate market.

Your 20s is an era of independence.

When you live alone, you don’t need approval or external validation to go out and try something new. Instead, you’ll learn to trust your instincts and figure out what you want out of life, not what anybody else thinks you should want out of life.

3. Hold yourself accountable

When you make a mistake in your 20s, nobody else is going to be there to back you up or punish you. Instead, you’ll learn how to problem solve and fix your errors.

Holding yourself accountable in your 20s can mean making meditation a habit, waking up at seven every morning, or living up to your own defined standards. Remember, this decade is all about manifesting the life you’ve envisioned, not the one that anybody else has in store for you. 

4. Say no a lot

Going after your goals requires sacrifice. To identify and create the life you want, you must eliminate the non-essentials. More specifically, you must get rid of anything that does not contribute to your vision of success.

Although trying new things is crucial to finding your passion, saying no to things that don’t interest you is also necessary. Anything that doesn’t make you happy or contribute to your success during your 20s is an ultimate waste of time.

5. Embrace change

“Change is the only constant in life” — Heraclitus

Whether you’re moving into a new place, moving to a new city, or quitting your old job, embracing change in your 20s is necessary when it comes to finding comfort in uncertainty.

Since it’s important to visit new cities, meet new people, and try new things during this defining decade, embracing change is vital.

6. Save more money

Your 20s is a great time to start thinking about saving for a new place, identifying a budget that works for you, and even saving up for retirement. If you save money in your 20s, and live either at or below your means, you will thank yourself later in life.

There are many ways to save money in your 20s, including:

  • Identifying a plan to pay off debt
  • Automating your savings
  • Creating a long-term retirement plan
  • Finding a new source of income
  • Keep track of your finances

7. Invest more money

When it comes to investing, youth is your most valuable asset.

Your 20s are the most significant time to invest since you have so much time ahead of you to learn about finances and get top dollar for your investments.

Investing in your 20s can look like…

  • Starting a business
  • Taking a new class
  • Improving your skills
  • Hiring a business coach, life coach, or therapist
  • Attend networking events

Most of the things above can be done for free as well! You can invest in yourself without spending tons of money.

8. Increase your income

Although saving and investing are essential, the most straightforward way to make more money (if money makes you happy) is to increase your income.

You can become rich doing any job if you’re one of the best at it.

One of the best ways to increase your income is to improve your skills and keep on learning. Once you provide irreplaceable value, your work will be worth a ton!

9. Make more connections

Creating your dream life is all about connecting with the people who have already done so.

Networking on LinkedIn, attending network events, and finding a mentor are all great ways to get connected with the right people who can help you reach your goals. Remember: before asking them for anything, be willing to offer them value first.

10. Take care of your body

Your 20s is the best time to establish healthy habits. After all, this is when you build a strong foundation for the rest of your life.

Getting adequate sleep, exercise, and nutrition are all crucial to maintaining good health for the rest of your life. If you start prioritizing your mental and physical health in your 20s, these self-care tendencies will become habits that carry on into the rest of your life as well.

11. Don’t rush into things

With change comes uncertainty. Embracing uncertainty is crucial to staying calm and optimistic during your 20s.

Since this defining decade is all about trying new things and exploring your ideal career path, keeping an open mind is necessary.

12. Spend more on experiences than material items

When planning out a budget, it’s important to note that you’ll probably be much happier going conservative on material items than life experiences.

Your 20s are all about exploring and trying new things. Spending too much money on material items and not enough money on travel or activities could lead to regret and a lack of fulfillment down the read.

13. Fail on purpose

With any risk comes the potential to fail. Your 20s are the worst time to play it safe. Acknowledging that you are going to fail will let you be more accepting of yourself and open-minded toward new experiences.

14. Try new things

The only way to figure out what makes you happy is to try new things.

Figure out where you want to live by traveling to various cities. Figure out what your passion is by finding new hobbies. Figure out who you want your friends to be by meeting new people.

15. Move to a new city

Staying in your hometown isn’t the best way to grow as a person, especially if you’re trying to escape your past.

Moving to a new city in your 20s will allow you to check almost everything else off this list. Once you move to a new city, you’ll be able to embrace change, meet new people, and try out new jobs.

16. Be part of a meaningful organization

Although our professional careers should always be fulfilling, they’re often seen as a means to an end.

Doing something solely for the greater good will help you feel more personally fulfilled and joyful.

When networking and meeting new people, don’t just look for ways to make more money. Instead, look for more ways to provide value, despite the presence or lack of monetary rewards.

This will help you identify the person you want to be and the difference you want to make.

17. Stick to your standards

Don’t settle.

Learn to say no, cut off toxic people, and eliminate the non-essential actions in your life. Being in your 20s, and the rest of your life is all about living on your terms.

18. Document your experiences

Whether you want to write notes to your future self or take pictures of yourself in each new city, documenting your experiences is something that you can show yourself, your children, and your grandchildren someday.

Your 20s are some of the most eventful and exciting years of your life, so make sure to document each new experience, and the good and the bad, to see how much you’ll grow in the end.

19. Practice self-care

People will try to convince you that the most crucial part of your 20s is landing your dream job and building a successful career. Although the professional and financial areas of your life are essential, your well-being is always #1.

Practicing self-care can come in many forms, including:

  • Daily meditation
  • Rewarding yourself after a long day
  • Cutting off toxic people
  • Raising your standards
  • Scheduling mental health days

Once you start practicing self-care, it will become second nature, and these helpful habits will be a new part of your life.

20. Realize how young you are

Although it can seem like your life of fun is over the minute you turn 30, the life expectancy of your generation is likely around 100 years old.

Realize that you still have time. It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going, as long as you keep going. The more experiences that you can fit into your life, the more you’ll get out of each day, and the longer you will live.

About the author
I read Thought Catalog ALL the time! Follow Alicia on Instagram or read more articles from Alicia on Thought Catalog.

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