Advertising

10 Things 20-Somethings Should Give Up Doing To Thrive In Life

Advertising
10 Things 20-Somethings Should Give Up Doing To Thrive In Life

Your twenties are a time of self-discovery and trying to figure out what you want out of life. Many 20-somethings are finishing up college and university studies or are embarking on such studies. Most 20-somethings are determining what they want to be in life, and what kind of life they want to live.

In the process it is easy to develop useful and helpful habits that will last you for the rest of your life. Whether you are studying in school or working a full-time job, you will learn necessary life skills such as time management, organization, and leadership. Skills like these can only be cultivated when you are independent and on your own, which is what many 20-somethings experience after “flying the coop” they have been accustomed to for many years.

Concurrently this is also a time where you develop not so useful habits and activities. Being out on your own offers you a freedom unlike any you have ever had. Your 20-somethings is the perfect time for you to explore yourself and the world around you. Trying new things is a part of the process but often so is continuing desultory habits since you no longer have mom and dad telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

As someone who experienced plenty of ups and downs throughout my twenties, I believe I can offer a refreshing anecdote. I don’t regret any of the experiences I had during my twenties because they have helped mold me, but I realize now that giving up certain ways of thinking, acting, and living that were prevalent during my twenties, was fundamental for my progress in life. I am not suggesting 20-somethings shouldn’t encounter struggles and unfavorable experiences but there is a time to move on from these, and truly flourish in life.

1. Don’t Think Self-Centered and Ego-Centrically

I want to preface this by stating I am not suggesting that all 20-somethings are selfish, egotistical, and narcissistic. There is a tendency for 20-somethings to be completely absorbed in their own agendas especially when they are attempting to determine what they are going to do with their lives. It is an important time in a young person’s life where a lot of time and effort is put into studying, working, etc.

Amidst this grind it is easy to get completely wrapped up in everything you are doing. It is ok to be ambitious and focused on achieving your goals. That is essential for a fulfilling life. But don’t forget that the world doesn’t merely revolve around your needs. Try exploring not only what you can accomplish for yourself, but also concentrate on what you can do for others. If you haven’t already learned this or implemented this kind of thinking into your life as a 20-something, than make the effort to integrate it as soon as possible.

If there is one thing I wish I would have done sooner in my life, it is to think about others more. I wish I would I have focused more on serving others and performing more random acts of kindness. Not that I was a selfish person before but I was definitely more selfish during my twenties than I am now in my thirties. It is never too late to begin living a more selfless life, and from experience, it is one of the most gratifying transformations you can make.

2. Don’t Focus Too Much on Money

I know there are a lot of people who will probably disagree with me on this but I think 20-somethings fixate too much on money. I am sure the opponents of this argument would find my thinking backward and unreasoned but I am standing firm with my opinion.

Advertising

I suspect that 20-somethings who just graduated from college assume they have to find a great paying job right away in order to start saving and building for the future. There are typically more expenses to consider specifically if you are living on your own and not under your parents’ roof so the pressure is magnified.
Society tells you money will make you happy, or at least that was the old way of thinking. This distorted ideal about money becomes ingrained in many 20-somethings so they are willing to endeavor in high paying and stressful job situations even though they are completely miserable in the process. Eventually the money is supposed to make you happy, but when does that occur?

If you have a healthy concentration on earning money and you love the way in which you do so, more power to you. Getting paid well to do something you love is what most people aspire from life. Money is not evil and it should not be viewed as such. Still, too much focus on money, especially at a time in your life when you are in search of your niche, could be detrimental. It could take you away from other opportunities that might be more meaningful.

3. Don’t Feel Pressured to Marry and Settle Down

I know plenty of people who married young right after college, settled down, and had children. They are completely happy and content with the lives that they lead. These are examples of people who desired this kind of life because they were deeply in love with their partners, and they were ready to take this enormous step in life.

I have also encountered people who wish they had experienced more during their twenties, and not been in such a rush to marry, have kids, and settle down. They feel they missed out on a lot of wonderful experiences in life because they felt pressured or they felt like they were supposed to settle down.

It obviously depends on the situation you are in, but in our society I believe there is an assumption, especially if you are in a relationship, that you need to get married when you are in your twenties, and determine which path your are going to take in life. It is often viewed as the right thing to do. I believe women feel this pressure more than men simply because their biological clocks are ticking. I have spoken to women who feel that if they don’t get hitched, or at least find a partner by the time they are thirty, they might not ever have children. It seems a bit drastic and outdated to me, but I presume, perhaps, this is the portrait our society has painted for twenty-something females.

As I stated previously your twenties are a time for self-discovery and self-revelation. Take time to travel and see the world or engage in other hobbies and activities you might not be able to partake in once you marry and have kids. You might learn something about yourself and other people. Don’t tell yourself you will do it after you settle down because that time may never come.

4. Don’t Live in the Past

No matter how painful the past was for you, and how difficult it is for you to move on from it, the past is over. It is not coming back. You won’t relive past moments again. When moments pass, they are in the past. All you can do is live in the present.

Living in the past is destructive because it prevents you from enjoying the present moment. You don’t know how many moments you will be given. Yes I said given because every moment you experience is a gift. You aren’t entitled any moment in life so why not take advantage of them? You can’t enjoy the present moment when you are living in the past.

Advertising

As a 20-something you have a wonderful opportunity to become aware of the toxic thinking which is replaying your past. Your mind is often going to attempt to suck you into its stories of past occurrences but with a present awareness, you can combat this thinking and flourish in life. As a teenager you might not be mature enough to understand how your mind works, but this is something you can take advantage of as a 20-something.

It took me 29 years to understand that my incessant thinking of the past was not out of my control. When I finally chose to accept responsibility for living in the present, my life changed for the better. It is a relief knowing that you have a choice in what thoughts you want to have in your mind. Focus on being present and don’t let your twenties pass by without doing everything possible to live in the moment.

5. Don’t Consistently Stay Up Late

You tell yourself if you don’t get enough sleep tonight you will make up for it tomorrow. Tomorrow turns into the next night and the next night, etc. Before you know it you are exhausted and not yourself. It is easy when you are a 20-something to develop poor sleeping patterns. It is often popular when studying for exams at colleges and universities to “cram” with late night study sessions even though it behooves you to undertake a more planned and organized study schedule.

It is easy to get distracted with the multitude of social media and entertainment options at your disposal. 20-somethings like staying up late even if they need to get up early the next day. 20-somethings often feel invincible in that they don’t need much sleep. You might get away with this kind of lifestyle for a while but eventually it will catch up with you.

Developing healthy sleeping patterns is imperative for you as a 20-something because you are in the prime of your life. You are most likely involved in a lot of activities at this point of your life, and your body needs proper rest. Staying up late on a consistent basis is not going to benefit you mentally, physically, or emotionally.

It is important to remember that if you don’t get enough sleep at night because you stay up too late, then your body is going to attempt to get it sometime during the day. This could be during crucial parts of the day where you need to be productive (at work) or focused (while driving), for example.

6. Don’t Live With Unhealthy Eating and Drinking Habits

When you are young you can seemingly eat whatever you want and drink whatever you want because you can get away with it. Your body is typically metabolizing at a quicker rate when you are younger so your body is more lenient when you eat fatty foods and drink sugary drinks.

As a 20-something your metabolism may start slowing down which means it is vitally important you begin eating and drinking healthier. Unless you want to be overweight, diabetic, or incur some other health issue, you want to make this change better sooner than later. When you are living on your own as a 20-something you aren’t going to have your parents there preparing your meals and providing you with proper sustenance. It is easy to fall into the trap of eating out all the time or consuming unhealthy foods and drinks. Often it is quicker and perhaps cheaper to eat McDonald’s than to go home and cook a well-balanced meal because you are just too busy.

Advertising

Unhealthy consumption doesn’t merely include foods and drinks loaded with sugars but it also includes alcohol and other harmful products. As someone who drank my fair share of alcohol throughout my 20s, I can say without a doubt that I feel much better, much healthier on a day to day basis since I have really limited the amount of alcohol I consume.

20-somethings are prone to excessive alcoholic intake, and while it can be fun and a way to socialize with your friends, it can have damaging effects to your health when abused. Enjoy alcohol responsibly, and pay attention to what you put into your body. Your body will thank you!

7. Don’t Live Without Intent or Purpose

Intent and purpose is defined as resolved or determined to do something. It is synonymous with setting goals and objectives, or seeking to achieve an aim or target. Living with intention and purpose helps you determine what is important to you in life and what isn’t. It keeps you focused on the things in life that matter, and prevents you from being distracted by things that don’t matter.

In order to live with intent and purpose you have to define clearly what your intent or purpose in life is. There is no better time in life to do this than during your twenties. Often as a teenager you might not be mature enough to really understand what your intent or purpose is in life, and as you get older it becomes easier to just “float” through life aimlessly. Use your twenties to ascertain what you want to do with your life. You don’t have to develop a grandiose plan of everything you are going to do in life from the time you are twenty until you die. That would be absurd, but you can make an intention or seek out a purpose that is meaningful for you.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a major purpose either, rather one that is important to you. Being grateful for everything you are given in life is an example of a simple, yet powerful intention. If you carry this intent with you from the time you are in your twenties throughout your life, you are probably going to live a very contented life. Your intent and purpose can always change as you continue on your journey through life. You are constantly changing and evolving so your intentions and purposes may shift as well. That is ok.

Use this pivotal time in your life to figure out what makes you excited about getting out of bed in the morning and living your life. What are you passionate about? What brings joy into your life no matter what is going on? The sooner you discover your intent or purpose in life, the sooner you can begin really living.

8. Don’t Plan Every Detail of Your Life

In the previous paragraph I outlined the importance of having an intent or purpose in life. Living a well-intentioned life doesn’t mean you are required to live a well-planned life. You don’t have to have every detail of your life planned out before you. Often this kind of obsessive planning can lead to high levels of stress and the inability to live presently. This especially becomes apparent as plans don’t unfold the way you hoped they would.

Part of the innocent joy of life is taking in all the experiences you are blessed with on a daily basis. Learning how to accept what life delivers is an extremely useful skill. Often your twenties can be an anxious time when you become so focused on obtaining a job and/or starting a family. These are great things to have in life but don’t let these plans cause you unhealthy amounts of tension and strain. Enjoy them as they occur.

Advertising

As life gets busy people often forget to live because they are so worried about planning for the next step. If you learn as a 20-something not to over plan and relish life, you are more likely to experience the life you desire. It is easy as a young person to tell yourself that you will plan everything out now and burden yourself when you are younger so you can enjoy life later. But often when later comes you are still living the same life as before, planning out the next detail in your life.

9. Don’t Carry a Sense of Entitlement

There is a sense of entitlement that accompanies being a 20-something that you might think vanished after your teenage years. I think this sense of entitlement is quite profound in 20-somethings who are very educated.

After you finish college the next step is finding a job. You assume you will be granted a job of your choice because you graduated from college and procured a diploma that proves you are willing and able to work. Unfortunately a diploma doesn’t mean you are entitled to a job. Especially today college degrees don’t hold the weight that they used to. More people are attending college so the job market is much more competitive. Entering into the job market with a sense of entitlement is not going to increase your chances of securing a job, rather it could be detrimental to it.

When you are fortunate enough to get a job, doing your job with a sense of entitlement will not behoove you in the workplace. Just ask your coworkers. No one wants to work with the young, inexperienced newbie who thinks he or she knows everything. It is best to eliminate this sense of entitlement as soon as possible.

Perhaps sense of entitlement is a fancy way of saying that young people have too gaudy expectations, and maybe it is a term older folks came up with. Whatever the case is, don’t let your needs guide your decision making in life. You aren’t going to get everything you want. You aren’t privileged in the sense that you deserve everything you desire. Be humble and learn to accept adversity.

I am not offering this advice because I feel the need to talk down to 20-somethings, rather I am offering this advice as someone who lived with a sense of entitlement. I expected things to go a certain way and when they didn’t, I shut down. I didn’t know any better at the time so I am trying to save you the burden of living with unreasonable expectations.

10. Don’t Keep Friends That Hold You Back

I know how difficult it can be to disassociate yourself from a friend whom you have known for you entire life. But what happens when this “friend” begins to become less of a friend and more of a nuissance? If you have any person in your life who is holding you back for any reason, your twenties is a great time to move on from this relationship. If you have friends who are regressing, than you should be focused on progressing.

It sounds rude and harsh but associating yourself with people who add no value to your life is eventually going to bring you down. I am not suggesting you should merely discard friends from your life completely but you can limit your contact with them.

Advertising

Let’s be clear what kind of “friends” I am referring to. I am referring to people who are completely self-absorbed; people who are constantly pessimistic all the time; people who misuse your friendship and take you for granted. These are not the kinds of friends most people want to be around. It is great to be compassionate and loving and caring and understanding. You aren’t going to throw away a lifelong friendship without at least trying to help, but you can’t change people.

You can’t choose family but you can choose friends. You know deep down if there is someone in your life whom you shouldn’t be spending a lot of time with. As a 20-something there is no better time to strengthen your development by giving up anything, including friends, that is holding you back.

More by this author

Mike Oppland

Mike is the Creator of Carpe Diem Motivation. He aspires to inspire individuals who are seeking a little extra boost in their lives.

9 Simple Cardio/Core Exercises You Can Do At Home 14 Books That You Should Read When You Feel Lost In Life 10 Things You Need To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Successful 5 Reasons to Live in the Moment and Stop Planning Too Much 10 Reasons You Should Meditate Every Day

Trending in Communication

1 10 Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship (And What To Do About It) 2 I Want To Be Happy: 7 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness 3 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 4 10 Morning Habits Of Happy People 5 What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Advertising
How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

Advertising

  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

Advertising

Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

Advertising

However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

Advertising

Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

Advertising

  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

Read Next