I’ve officially entered the second half of my 30’s. In my 20’s and early 30’s, there were some life lessons I learned the hard way, and something I didn’t figure out until my 30’s that I wish I would’ve understood much sooner.

Here are some habits to master before turning 30. If you get these figured out in your 20’s, you’ll enter your 30’s with a great start.

1. Self-acceptance

Becoming a self-expert is the key to beginning to accept – and love – yourself. I recommend devoting time in your 20’s to self-discovery. I didn’t have a strong understanding of who I am until I reached my 30’s. If I would’ve really known myself in my 20’s, I believe I would’ve avoided many bad decisions. Once you truly know yourself, you can learn to accept yourself and all your unique traits. When you understand who you are including your natural strengths, quirks, and potential shortcomings, you can make decisions that better suit your personality. This will affect all areas of your life – your career, your relationships, and your lifestyle.

2. The ability to drown out your inner critic

Start paying attention to the messages you tell yourself. If you’re inner dialogue is self-defeating and negative, it’s time to make a change. Feed your mind with positive thoughts. Compliment yourself. It’s time to treat yourself like you are your own best friend. 

3. Healthy stress relief habits

When you’re in your 30’s, you’re officially an adult, which comes with its own set of stressors. How you deal with life’s stressors will make a huge difference in your happiness. Work on getting rid of self-destructive coping mechanisms. Experiment with healthy stress management techniques, such as exercising, meditating, or socializing, and adopt the techniques that suit you best.

4. How to give without expecting anything in return

Giving to others altruistically helps them and also changes your life. When you help others – either by giving your encouragement and emotional support, lending a helping hand, or donating your time and money, great things happen. It will help many lives significantly when you get out of your head and think about others.

5. How to forgive

Oprah Winfrey describes her favorite definition of forgiveness as “giving up the hope that the past could be any different.” Oprah writes, “Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone the behavior or, in any way, make a wrong right. It just means you give yourself permission to release from your past – and step forward with the mud of resentment cleared from your wings. Fly!”

Harboring anger toward yourself or others you feel have wronged you can significantly hold you back in life. You absolutely must learn to forgive those who have hurt you to be truly free. Amazing things can happen in your life when you let go of your anger, resentment, and bitterness.

6. How to have healthy relationships

Being able to build healthy relationships will affect almost every area of your life. One of my favorite quotes is by Jim Rohn, who said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” When you surround yourself with people who build you up, inspire you, and encourage you to be your best, you will do amazing things. The sooner you develop a strong network of friends and learn how to have healthy relationships in your love life, the better.

7. How to tolerate your own company

You don’t have to love time alone; many people would prefer to be in the company of others than spend a day alone (myself included). However, it’s important to tolerate being alone on occasion to reflect. Try doing little things on your own without scheduling your day around others — even something as simple as a manicure for yourself teaches you that time alone is valuable.

8. Spend your life doing what actually matters to you

Millions of people spend their lives doing work that isn’t meaningful to them. I believe you can find and do work you love, and your life will be so much more fulfilling if you do work that lights you up. If you’re not sure what you’re passionate about, this free workbook is a great start.

9. How to stand your ground

Learning to say no is an essential part of living the life you deserve. Decide what behavior you refuse you tolerate from others, draw your line in the sand, and stand your ground to people who are toxic. Learn to say no to being treated with disrespect. Learn to say no to time-sucking activities you dread but feel obligated to do. This is your one life. Learn to hold true to your values and focus your life on your purpose, priorities, and passions.

10. How to gain control of your finances

Become financially literate and work on improving your financial situation. Learn about investing. Taking time to invest at a young age can make a huge difference to your financial future.

Do you have additional suggestions for people in their 20’s? I’d love to hear them.

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