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20 Things You Need To Stop Doing In Your 20s

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.

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.

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Jon Negroni

An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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