1. Focus on one goal at a time.
Not three, six, or twelve. One. A big reason “almost adults” tend to fall into the ~quarter life crisis~ is because they realize their humanity, limitations, and aspirations all at once. Understandably, they then try and tackle it all of their goals and fears and hangups. And, it never works. Instead, it leaves them feeling defeated and hopeless, and alas, the quarter life crisis is born. However, focusing on one area of your life at a time (career, love life, personal growth, etc.) will make it all seem less daunting and make your goals feel more feasible.
2. Read personal development books. (Yes, seriously.)
Hear me out. Personal development books are the bomb.com. I know, I know. Some can be preachy, others hoaky, some downright dumb. BUTTTT, there are plenty of awesome titles out there to get you inspired and ready to take your life back (and don’t suck, like, at all). My recommendations are You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think by Brianna Wiest, and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.
3. Research all of your career options and interests.
Your job matters. 40+ hours of your week is a huge commitment and devotion of your energy, time, and, well, life. Make sure you’re embarking on the path to a career that gives you a sense of purpose, supports the lifestyle you wish to lead, and doesn’t drive you totally crazy in the process. Doing a little research can help you discover what the best fit for you might be.
4. Cut back on the damn Instagram (and Snapchat and Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter).
Social media been linked with higher risks of anxiety and depression, and understandably so. When we’re constantly exposed to carefully curated images of our online companions’ lives, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparison and feel less than. While we can always tell ourselves that social media isn’t completely accurate (which it totally isn’t), the messages of being behind can still filter through (pun intended). So try and lay off the Instagram. If you have to, leave your phone in a different room or hand it over to a friend for safe keeping when you hangout. Your mental health will thank you.
5. Call a friend (instead of text).
Texting is impersonal, leaves room for many questions (“WHY DID SHE USE AN ELLIPSIS?!!”) and frankly takes away from our present. But when you actually need to catch up with a friend who lives far away or whom you haven’t had the chance to see in a while, try giving them a call (or better, FaceTime or Skype!). You can hear inflections in tone, leave less room for miscommunication and honestly just have a more fulfilling, meaningful conversation.
6. Let the stream of consciousness flow.
Each morning, set a timer for 20 minutes and journal. But the catch is this: Don’t try to choose one specific theme or attempt to make what you’re writing coherent. This exercise is solely for your eyes and your eyes only. Just. Fucking. Write. Brain dump. Let it all out.
Putting your steam consciousness down onto paper will help you uncover what’s really eating away at you. Each day it might be different, or you may start to see a trend in what you jot down.
7. Find a career mentor.
Once you’ve done the research and self discovery required to find the career path that’s right for you, finding a mentor in your chosen field will be your next step. Not only is networking incredibly important, it’s also great to have that go-to person who can supply the support and guidance needed when just starting out. Be prepared, though; it may take some time to find the right fit. Having a shitty mentor is just as bad as not having a mentor at all, so be choosy, patient, and don’t settle.
8. Move it!
You’ve been hearing forever about the physiological and psychological benefits of exercise. You know it’s good to get your heart rate up and get moving. But it’s worth the reminder. Need some parameters to get you started? The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Find the type of movement that works best for you, be that running, lifting, walking, yoga, etc.
9. Make a budget!!
A major part of #adulting is learning to live within your means. Creating a budget will help you achieve this. Figure out how much money you can spend each month on certain areas and stick to it. Also, be honest about your financial pitfalls! Are you an impulse shopper? Emotional spender? Getting real with yourself and acknowledging your weaknesses can help you overcome them simply through your awareness of them.
Totally new to budgeting and everything that come with it? Check out TheFinancialDiet.com, the fantastic personal finance website founded by the lovely Thought Catalog OG, Chelsea Fagan!
10. Realize everyone’s faking it.
Repeat after me: No one knows what the hell they’re doing. Not a single soul. To be honest, we’re all a little lost in this world and just figuring it out as we go along. Give yourself a break!
11. Cook more than you eat out.
You’ll save money, eat better, and feel great. What’s the downside?
12. Practice delayed gratification as much as possible.
Delayed gratification, or impulse control, is a skill that has been correlated with everything from higher SAT scores to higher incomes. It’s truly a fundamental skill for successful adults; the wait makes everything so much sweeter. And the best part? It can totally be learned! According to that 1970’s psychological study with the children and the cookies, by
13. Let yourself have fun (for nothing more than the sake of fun).
Play is just as important for adults as it is for children. It helps reduce stress, gives your mind a break, and makes life enjoyable.
14. Breathe in.
To the count of 5.
15. And then, breathe out.
You got this shit.