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12 No Regrets Mistakes Everyone Should Make in Their 20s

12 No Regrets Mistakes Everyone Should Make in Their 20s

Regardless of what society would have you believe, your 20s are the best years to make mistakes. You should have no regrets making mistakes now, because every mistake can be a learning experience. With fewer responsibilities in your 20s, you are also in a unique position to more easily start over. Failures and missteps are often crucial in finding what works for you, so don’t fret, especially if you’re in the middle of the following 12 key learning experiences.

1. Get too drunk

Feel no regrets if you have too many one night; your twenties are when you should learn your limits. Sure, you might act a little foolish, but wouldn’t you rather figure out where your line is with friends now, rather than with business associates later? That being said, absolutely make sure you have a safe way home, or a sober friend along with you for the night. Safety is a crucial quality in keeping a fun night fun. Additionally, our bodies recover better from all types of wear and tear when we’re young, so you’ll feel less destroyed than you will if you party later in life.

2. Sleep with the wrong people

As dead end as it sounds, sleeping with the wrong people should give you no regrets. There’s nothing wrong with a few bad one-night stands, especially when you’re figuring out the world in your twenties. First off, you have a clearer picture of what to look for when you’re with someone who just doesn’t fit. Plus, you’ll start to figure out what type of person you are in bed, and what will make you satisfied. While a strong emotional bond is absolutely key in relationships, complimentary qualities in your sex life are crucial too. It’s completely normal to learn things by trial and error in other areas in life, so have no regrets if your sex life is the same.

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3. Trust the wrong person

Similar to learning what you don’t need in bed, it’s okay to find out who you don’t need as friends too. Trusting the wrong person will undoubtedly hurt, but you will be more alert to red flags when making friends in the future. It’s particularly useful to find out how to spot a snake in the grass now, since you’ll likely have a lot more at stake, personally and professionally, in your 30s and 40s.

4. Let go with no regrets

It is okay to feel heartbroken over letting someone, or something, go in your twenties. Invariably, you will grow in different directions than those around you in life. Learning how to let things go with grace now will be an invaluable tool for adult life. Whether the loss is sudden or expected, it’s important to know how to move on.

5. Cut off friendships

In a world of ever-increasing connectivity, it can be tempting to keep up with every acquaintance you’ve ever met. However, if other people are taking too much time away from your life, there’s no need to feel bad about trimming your social circle. It’s natural to grow in different directions from your friends, especially those you knew when you were much younger. Streamlining your social life can do a lot for making you more productive and focused, and shouldn’t be seen as self-centered. Your life is yours, and it’s important to have people around you that contribute to your goals, not take time away from them.

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6. Pursue the wrong long-term relationship

Just as important as learning how to let things go is learning how to let people in. Even if your first few long-term relationships don’t lead to a lifetime together, loving and committing to someone else can be scary and nerve-wracking. If you can learn to love and trust other people now, you’ll be more confident, and selfless, in your relationship when you find the one. 

7. Spend money on experiences

We all know we should save every penny, but don’t underestimate the value of splurging on experiences while you’re young. Certainly balance your spending with responsible money management, but spending on a once in a lifetime experience now is irreplaceable. Even if your goals include higher income in the future, you never know what responsibilities will come with it. Traveling and seeking new experiences will teach you valuable lessons you’ll use for the rest of your life, even if others are critical of your spending.

8. Experience failure

In your twenties, you have less responsibility than you’re likely to have in the rest of your life. Among many other reasons, that makes your twenties the ideal time to experiment. Follow ideas or pursuits that might fail, even if you’re scared. In failure, we learn innumerable important lessons. Plus you never feel quite as vulnerable afterwards. By failing now, you’ll lose less than if you crash and burn later in life. If you’re struggling with failure now, try to be excited: you are setting yourself up to be more skilled, and more able to manage risk in the future.

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9. Pursue a passion in place of work

Everyone should have the experience of doing what they love. You never know what the future holds, so seize the day now. Regardless of whether it’s a hobby or professional venture, following your passion can lead to incredible places. You might not have the freedom to pursue anything you choose later, so have no regrets following what you love now. Even if friends and colleagues are immediately pursuing professional options, there is no rule for when you must begin your career. Following a passion over financial gain should give you no regrets.

10. Sleep too much

Again, you never know what the future holds. Whether it’s a demanding career, kids, or multiple jobs, you have the rest of your life to lose sleep over responsibilities. Let yourself feel no regret over days when you sleep a lot in your 20s. Sleep is essential in performing well, plus you’re likely to have more demands on your time during your 30s and 40s. Enjoy the reprieve now–there’s no shame in taking time to relax.

11. Take a horrible job

Much like dating the wrong person will better inform you on who you’re looking for, taking the wrong job will give you a better view on what you want to do. Working the wrong job should give you no regrets, especially if you’re someone who isn’t sure what career to pursue. Being unhappy with your work will give you motivation to look elsewhere. It may also help reveal what you do like. Instead of regretting your decision to take the job, use the time to consider exactly what makes it so horrible so you know what to look for next time.

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12. Follow someone else’s dream

Following the wrong dream can reveal a lot about yourself. Not only will following the wrong dream better show you what you want, you are better able to cut and run in your twenties. If you don’t learn what the wrong dream looks like now, you might fall into the wrong life plan when you’re older–and in less of a position to start over. Have no regrets over taking a wrong turn now, as you’ll be more able to find the right road, and be content later.

Featured photo credit: university student group/www.audio-luci-store.it via flickr.com

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Alicia Prince

A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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