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20 Things You Need To Stop Doing In Your 20s

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20 Things You Need To Stop Doing In Your 20s

Your 20s are a time when everything seems possible, but it also seems like everything is passing you by. It’s no secret that these days, adolescence is being stretched past our teen years, and many of us are suffering for it. Here are some of the habits and hang-ups we typically face during our 20s and what we need to do let them go.

1. Stop caring more about approval than earning it.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel validated for your hard work. The problem is when you spend more time searching for a pat on the back than going out and giving people a reason to recognize you.

2. Stop being thankless.

Being ungrateful, unappreciative, or however else you want to say it, is the same as being selfish. Sure, you’d never admit that you’re an overall selfish person, but you may be oblivious to all of the goodwill thrown your way. Take moments to recognize the people in your life that are responsible for your happiness.

3. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else.

There are two sides to this. On the one hand, it’s essential for you to let yourself be motivated by the success of others. That is what will push and inspire you to accomplish more for your own life. The dark side to this is envy. Your 20’s are a time when you must learn how to be content with your limitations and accomplishments, putting aside the pettiness of envy.

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4. Stop being lazy.

If you really want to stop being lazy and start being more productive, remove the things from your life that are keeping you lazy. Our generation is unique. We have a wealth of technology and endless distractions at our fingertips, but we’re lazier than ever with gifts that should be making us happy, not inactive. It’s time to prioritize.

5. Stop being busy.

Sometimes, being lazy doesn’t look like laziness. It can look like you’re busy. Instead of working, creating, and contributing, you’re settling for an infinite array of tasks that will keep you distracted until you get from point A to point B. Start making time for the things that matter.

6. Stop being narcissistic.

Get over yourself. Let people get to know the real you, not a fake image you’ve put up for yourself through selfies and clever Tweets.

7. Stop blaming others.

The buck stops with you now. You’re not a kid anymore, so it’s time to own up to your own failings. Your lot in life may not be 100% your doing, but your attitude is.

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8. Stop putting things off.

Don’t let the prime of your life slip you by. Start taking advantage of the adventures life won’t give you a second chance on before settling down. Go for the dream job. Move somewhere you’ve never heard of. It won’t be long before you lose your chance.

9. Stop thinking you’re invincible.

I love taking stupid risks too, but it’s time to take care of yourself. Go to the doctor, avoid dangerous stunts and stop forcing everyone around you to worry constantly about you.

10. Stop relying on your parents so much.

This is easier said than done, but it’s time. You’ll make mistakes, feel trapped, and it won’t always be fun. But you’ll be amazed at how strong you really are.

11. Stop being disagreeable.

When someone offers a viewpoint different from yours, don’t do everything in your power to prove you’re perfect. Start understanding that there are people in this world who are smarter than you and will disagree with you. Embrace them as opportunities for growth, not ways for you to win an empty argument.

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12. Stop treating your job as a daycare.

I’ve come across a lot of 20 somethings who believe the point of their job is to collect a paycheck and move on. They’re then shocked when they get overlooked for promotions, raises, or keeping that job. Don’t let your work be average or “good enough.” Provide value for the people who employ you.

13. Stop letting fear and uncertainty stop you.

Fear isn’t really a choice. It’s a door that we can choose to either walk through or walk away from. In most cases, it’s never going to be easier to walk through later on, so let it go. Don’t let yourself become full of regret.

14. Stop being cheap.

There’s value to a minimal lifestyle, and frugality isn’t something to trend away from. But you should also let yourself spend money on the things you truly want, within reason. Buy the nicer clothes once in a while. Buy food that is good for you. Saving money is vital, but so is investing in the things that make you happy.

15. Stop daydreaming.

You should never stop having dreams and goals, but the time is up for you to spend all of your time planning ahead. Live in the moment more and focus on accomplishing what’s already before you. Save the dreaming for moments of meditation and reflection.

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16. Stop expecting life to be fair.

Bad things happen. People will wrong you. Instead of dwelling on what you can’t change, consider that you can’t expect the world or anything to be perfect when no one is more imperfect than you.

17. Stop resisting change.

Your 20’s are a volatile time. Let go of the past and adapt to the inevitable changes of life. Start appreciating the new and memorable things that come your way.

18. Stop allowing yourself to be too comfortable.

Your best is ahead of you.

19. Stop living your life for others.

You should take care of your responsibilities and those who rely on you, but you also need to start making your own decisions. If your career, lifestyle, and location have all been decided for you, then there’s less for you take ownership of.

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20. Stop being a follower.

There’s nothing with having mentors and people to look up to, but it’s time for you to start leading. Do what it takes to formulate strong and respectable opinions on what you value. As you navigate through the many challenges of young adulthood, get used to exhibiting the leadership that is expected of you once your 20s are over.

You may also want to read: 7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life.

More by this author

Jon Negroni

An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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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:

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  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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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  • 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

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