The Best Habits to Develop in Your 20s for a Happy Future

Friday, September 02, 2022

Adulthood can feel like jumping into a cold pool. You learn everything in real-time, like working full-time or signing for your first flat. There’s so much flying at you that your mental health may need a helping hand. Habits keep us in a routine and can help us grow into better people. Building habits take time but can help you progress and feel better. These are a few habits to develop in your 20s for a happy future and improved mental wellness.

Start Every Day With Positive Affirmations

It’s easy to be hard on yourself while juggling many responsibilities. There will be occasional challenges and mistakes that you won’t handle perfectly, leading to internal criticism that destroys your self-esteem. Positive affirmations help your mental health recover from those moments and withstand future hardships. Start every day by repeating phrases that feel true to you, like:

  • I am capable of any goals I set for myself.
  • I can learn from my mistakes and move on from them.
  • I don’t need to know everything all the time.
  • I am thankful for my endless blessings and opportunities.
  • I am grateful I have been given another day to grow.
  • I am proud of myself and my progress.
  • My past does not define me. Every day I grow.
  • I cherish the moments I get.
  • Positive energy surrounds me wherever I go.
  • I embrace living in the moment.
  • I am on my own journey.
  • I can attract money and wealth in abundance.
  • I will let go of my worries and insecurities. They do not define me.

Encouraging yourself with positivity and grace establishes a positive mindset that won’t break down when you face challenges in your life. With time, they’ll come to mind automatically, and you’ll have more peace of mind.

Take Breaks at Work

You may feel an unspoken pressure to prove yourself at your workplace by throwing yourself into your job. Many young people feel this way because they think they need to make up for their lack of age with diligence and productivity. Although working hard at your career is good, it can also ruin your mental health and decrease productivity. Working overtime or taking on too many responsibilities creates additional stress that doesn’t promote a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Taking breaks at work is one of the best habits to develop in your 20s for a happy future. You’ll teach yourself to pause your stressors, regain energy, and return to work with increased productivity without ruining your mental well-being. The practice will also improve how you approach other adulthood responsibilities because you’ll know when you need to recharge.

Ground Your Meals in Protein

Many young adults don’t think very much about what they eat. You might order delivery or eat fast food during breaks at work or school. Your kitchen likely has more snacks and high-carbohydrate foods than vegetables or fruits. It’s a shared life experience that people often grow out of during their 20s. Your physical and mental health will suffer from eating an unhealthy diet long-term, but now is the perfect time to restructure your meals.

The first change you can make is grounding every meal and snack in protein. Protein is an essential nutrient that takes a while for the body to digest. You’ll feel hungry less frequently, and your body can use the protein for standard functions like:

  • Providing cellular energy
  • Repairing muscles and tissue
  • Improving cell signalling throughout the body

There are many places to find protein, like meats, beans, and nuts. Talk with your physician to discuss your current intake and how you can make positive changes to exchange unhealthy foods with more protein. Adopting good eating habits can help you in many ways. You will feel better, look better, and your body will thank you.

Budget Your Income

Budgeting is a skill that changes lives. Young people may learn it later in life because they’re dealing with other priorities. When you have a free afternoon, create a happier future for yourself by learning how to budget your income based on your monthly expenses and financial goals. Consider your standard bills and necessary spending, such as:

  • Rent
  • Utility bills
  • Groceries
  • Internet service

Your leftover income should also have room for spending on things like:

  • Shopping
  • Restaurant Dining
  • Travelling

Without making room for these things – plus any savings accounts you’d like to build – your finances will remain stagnant. Minor changes to your budget will make a big difference over time, allowing you to live the life you want. Budgeting does not have to be complicated. Keeping track of what you spend, reviewing monthly expenses and putting money into a savings account can help. It is also worth looking around for cheaper options or deals. If you're looking for more money habits to adopt, I have written a whole blog post for young adults! 

Schedule Time for Your Favourite Activities

When was the last time you invested your time in something you enjoy that doesn’t result in a pay check? Hobbies are a crucial part of cultivating happiness. They’re activities that engage your passions while releasing any pent-up tension, anxiety, or stress. You’ll need them to better handle whatever you need to face in your early adulthood.

Scheduling time for things like your favourite hobbies will decrease any related guilt you might otherwise feel by stepping away from your professional responsibilities. It may seem strange at first to reserve time for reading books, playing video games, or lounging in a hot bath. As you practice a daily or weekly routine that includes relaxing activities, they’ll become a reflexive part of your life that promotes more happiness.

Related: A Guide to Manifestation & Law of Attraction

Start Meditating Daily

It’s essential to check in with yourself as your 20s progress. You’ll experience many learning moments and morph through different versions of yourself as you get to know who you are. Meditation will ground you during those many changes and help your mental health. You’ll reduce any mental turbulence you may feel related to your newfound adulthood and life changes. Meditation will be a tool you can use for the rest of your life to create a happier future. Meditate daily by anchoring your thoughts in the present moment and slowing your breathing. As your heart rate decreases, you’ll experience things like:

  • A clearer perspective
  • Increased patience
  • Improved nightly sleep

If you don't want to meditate, you might try journaling or yoga to ease your mind. Yoga and meditation go hand in hand. I love doing yoga every other day to improve my flexibility and breathing. This habit can be good for your physical and mental health. If you don't feel up for exercising, you could try daily journaling. Treat yourself to a cute notebook and write down your thoughts. You could keep a diary of the day and write down any worries or anything you want to achieve. It's good to reflect and listen to your body and mind. 

Let Go of Negative Relationships

Your friends and romantic relationships greatly influence what you experience in adulthood. It’s crucial to learn how to spot a toxic relationship and step away from people who don’t make your life more enjoyable. Friendships can be just as toxic as relationships. Now is the time to build meaningful relationship that keep you happy and help you on your journey. Look for red flags in your daily life, such as:

  • Feeling unable to express your thoughts or personality.
  • Being told that you’re the problem.
  • Becoming physically or verbally aggressive.
  • Excluding your from key plans.
  • They monitor your texts and social media accounts.
  • Making you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
  • Withdrawing from social activities or hobbies.

Don’t waste your time, energy, and mental health on people who don’t make your life better. Talking with a mental health professional about how to end those bad relationships and seek better connections will make your future much more enjoyable. Your 20s should be happy and full of plans. If your friends and relationships aren't helping you, it might be time to find better people. It can be hard to break off relationships, especially with family. If you think they'll listen, you could try talking to them and resolving any issues. Consider what you need and not necessarily what they want. 

Curate Your Curiosity

Adulthood can feel like a cycle of going to work, sleeping, and repeating your routine. Without school clubs or university events to help you try something new, you may not engage your curiosity like you did when you were younger. Stay curious by developing new habits in your 20s. Download apps to learn new languages, try new crafting skills or immerse yourself in new cultures if you love to travel. Investing time in things you love that don’t necessarily result in more income will help you discover more about yourself and feel more fulfilled.

You should also consider new opportunities. Don't be afraid to say yes to something new. If someone offers an exciting day out, why not say yes! Sometimes the best experiences happen when you least expect them. Write down a bucket list of all the things you want to do and achieve. See how many you can complete this year and what you'd like to try next year. Lockdown has put our life on hold for long enough. It's time to take back the time and do something new. For me, I'd like to travel more and explore the world. So, I've booked a holiday to New York and am starting to plan my 2023 breaks! There are so many wonders in the world. Don't hold back in your 20s! 

Get Used to Asking Questions

Many young people feel embarrassed about asking questions. You may want to seem like you can handle anything to make up for being the youngest person in your workplace or friend group. It can actually hold you back from thriving. Asking questions is an essential part of being an adult. You should look forward to learning from people who can teach you how to handle your career, personal responsibilities, and dreams. Inquiries also reveal a respectful amount of humility. People will respect how you balance ambition and a humble mindset while you get to improve your life by approaching everything as a learning opportunity.

Related: How to Start Working On Yourself

Attend Your Annual Check-Ups

Everyone needs annual check-ups with their physician. You’ll better handle your changing health as you age and even catch potential health complications before they become life-threatening. Visit your physician at least once a year to take care of any standard preventive care recommendations and feel your best long-term. I recommend having a life admin day where you can sort out your check-ups and make sure you have everything booked. For some, going to the doctor is a chore and can be overwhelming. But keeping yourself in good health is a great habit to build in your 20s. Make sure you have booked the following appointments into your calendar! 

  • Any vaccinations and boosters, including the flu shot
  • Your smear test/other health checks
  • Your annual doctor's check-up
  • A dentist appointment
  • Pill and prescription top-ups
  • An eye test
  • Catch-up with the orthodontist for retainers and braces

Now that you’ve read about helpful habits to develop in your 20s for a happy future, consider which changes would improve your life the most. Whether you start cultivating better friendships or schedule time for your favourite activities, you’ll get more joy from your daily life and thrive in adulthood.

About the guest writer: Cora Gold is passionate about living a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. As Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist, she aims to inspire others to do the same. Subscribe to Revivalist’s newsletter to read more from Cora.

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