If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably realized by now that #adulting is actually way harder than we all thought it was when we were kids. I honestly still don’t feel like an “adult” most days, I just read a lot of self-help books (I HIGHLY recommend it) that help keep me in check.
Seriously though, there’s a list a million things long that I feel like I should have done with my life by now, so if you think you’re alone in feeling that way, you’re not. We all move at our own pace, which I think is super important to remember. But because I am such a self-love slash self-improvement obsessed person, there are a few (OK, 25) things I think we should be doing for ourselves by the time we reach 25.
Before I dive in, I want to make sure y’all know I’m not putting this out there to make anyone feel bad if they’re not doing something on this list and are 25 or older. These are just things I’ve learned over the years that truly help me function better when I know I’m doing them. I had fun putting this together, so I hope it’s useful and you can take something away from it!
Get enough sleep
Starting off with a big one! I still struggle with this some nights, but I put a lot of thought into how I can make going to sleep easier. By 25, you’re usually out of college and have a full-time job, so knowing how much rest you need to function is crucial. Some people can literally run on a few hours, some need at least eight. Regardless of how many you need, I suggest developing an evening routine. Go through your skincare regimen, get to sleep at a consistent time every night, turn off tech before getting into bed and use lavender or candles to create a super peaceful and sleep-inducing atmosphere. This formula legit works, trust me.
This one is simple – if you eat pizza or have a heavy weekend, balance it out by going to the gym the next day or cooking healthy meals at home (check out my healthy recipes Pinterest board for inspo) for the next week. No need to beat yourself up over this stuff. Always remember #balance, friends.
Find contentedness in spending time alone
After college, I think it’s essential we all learn how to spend time alone and not feel anxious or sad about it. Being alone is actually a great time for brain dumps, reflection or just reading a book. I embrace it and can confidently say I ENJOY it.
Keep your car clean(ish)
OK, real talk, I’m still working on this one. My car isn’t the worst, but I could do better. Basically, I just think it’s important we start to take pride in the things we own like cars and apartments/homes.
Be able to cook yourself a proper meal
I’m not exactly a chef, but knowing I can prepare something healthy that will nourish my body makes me feel pretty good about my adulting skills. Probably something I should keep on my list of things to work on for 2019, though, if I’m being honest, because I’m past 25 and not exactly sufficient here YET.
Become more self-aware
Part of becoming more self-aware means knowing what you’re good at, what you need to work on, understanding your emotions, beliefs, etc. This may sound kind of elusive, but it’s SO necessary! I wrote this post on self-awareness a while ago, but it includes some really helpful tips on how to tackle it and why you should pay more attention to yourself.
If you’ve been working super hard and deserve more than you’re getting paid, learning to negotiate your salary is a must. My biggest tip here is to set up a meeting with your manager and go in prepared. Have numbers to back up why you should be getting paid more.
Whether you’re communicating to your roommates, your boss or a friend, being able to clearly and concisely express your perspective is key. Learning to master this will help you avoid a lot of unnecessary awkwardness.
Walk away from relationships that no longer serve you
As we get older, even the closest of friendships drift apart and that’s OK. You can’t force a relationship to fit in your life anymore when it clearly doesn’t. Appreciate the time and memories you have with that person and move on.
Take criticism well
I think it’s important to learn to not care what other people think (which is way easier said than done, at least for me), but when you’re being offered constructive criticism, hear people out. It can be a good opportunity to learn something new, especially at work.
No one wants to be the sloppy one at a wedding, concert or just a regular night out. Know your limits and acknowledge them when you’re drinking.
Start to understand your finances
Finances can be tricky, to say the least. I mean, I just learned about stocks last year (and I’m still confused). There’s definitely a reason you can make a career out of managing other people’s money. With that being said, by the time you’re 25, it’s time to start understanding your debt, income and savings opportunities. Whether you have debt or not, I recommend making a budget so you know what’s coming in and going out every month. I wish I would have started doing this a lot sooner, so even if you feel like you still have time to figure this stuff out, do it now! Or at least start asking friends about financial advisors they like.
Admit when you’re wrong
Doing this takes courage, in my opinion, and shows a lot of maturity. As hard as it be, as adults, we should all be able to do this.
Make a new friend
Making friends as an adult can feel awkward, but I challenge you to do it! Join a young professionals organization, host a small group bible study, ask a coworker to hang out outside of the office, etc. Even if it feels uncomfortable, do it anyway!
Read or learn, often
I know reading isn’t everyone’s thing, but there are TONS of amazing books out there that are incredible resources. Try doing audiobooks in the car if sitting down with an actual book feels too foreign to you. It’s basically like listening to a podcast but even better for your brain.
Know how to prioritize
I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to prioritize because I love being able to maximize my time. I also think it’s one of those #adulting skills you’re expected to know, but no ever actually teaches you. If you need some help in this area, read this post on the Eisenhower Method. It’s such a helpful tool for distinguishing priorities.
Advocate for yourself
If you can’t stand up for you, why would anyone else? Speak up, do you, express opinions.
Move your body
I mentioned earlier finding that balance between living your best life (AKA eating all the pizza) and being healthy. Part of that means having an exercise you enjoy! For me, I tried so many different things before I realized how much I like barre. Take a class everywhere and even try doing something at home. Or go for walks (my favorite!). Once you find out what you like, it’ll be a lot easier to make it part of your regular routine.
Give yourself breaks
When you’re young and ambitious, it’s way too easy to get wrapped up in work, work, work. But don’t forget to take breaks every now and then. You deserve it and it will ultimately make your work better. I learned this one the hard way and am still learning it TBH (kind of a life lesson I think).
You probably have some kind of idea by this point what type of job you want. Even if it’s not your dream job, get yourself out there and start meeting people in your industry. It will help you land new opportunities and MAKE CONNECTIONS. Can’t stress the connections part enough. It really is all about who you know!
It’s not that turning 25 means you suddenly have to turn into a boring homebody, but don’t feel pressured to go out every time someone asks you to. If it doesn’t sound like fun to you, say thanks but no thanks. Ain’t no shame in that.
Flossing is just one thing you should be doing for yourself on the daily to stay healthy. This list of 20 quick things to do to be healthier in less than 10 minutes is a great resource for easy tips and tricks to incorporate into your life.
Not stressing about being in a relationship
This one can hit girls in their twenties HARD. Trust me, I’ve been there and I know who much it can suck. But believe me when I say, there is a plan for you!
Hopefully this is common sense, but some days, even I need a reminder. I’ve learned you get a lot further (even in the most frustrating of situations) by being kind instead of acting annoyed or being rude. And putting yourself in other people’s shoes.
Feel a sense of confidence
Easier said than done, I know, especially in your early to mid-twenties (at least for me), but you know what? You’re pretty freaking awesome, so don’t be afraid to flaunt it! And don’t worry about pleasing everyone as much.
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