11 Little Goals To Establish When You’re Starting Out, To Make Adult Life A Little Easier
Adulting is hard. The harsh reality of bills, a viable career path, and general responsibility eventually hits us all, no matter how young we may feel on the inside. While acting carefree and impulsively at the beginning of our young adult lives — say, immediately following graduation, or before starting our first real job — is a rite of passage, at some point, we need to start planning for the future. And we don’t mean figuring out what we’re going to do over the weekend. We mean looking months, years, even decades into the unknown and attempting to prepare ourselves for what’s to come.
Of course, it’s impossible to fully prepare for the future, but there are things you can do right now to set yourself up for success down the road. As humans, we have basic needs that require food in our bellies, roofs over our heads, money in our pockets, and people we can lean on in both good and bad times to make our lives as interesting, fulfilling, and enjoyable as they possibly can be. To help you meet all of these needs and make "adulting" not so scary, we teamed up with State Farm to put together little goals you can establish now to make your future as a slightly-less-young adult easier.
1. Become A Morning Person
Sure, you got away with sleeping in until noon in college, but that won't work out as well when you're a grown person with responsibilities. When you wake up early, your whole day opens up. You can cook something healthy for breakfast, you can meditate, you can read the news, you can do something creative — all before the concerns of everyday life (i.e., texts and emails) pop up. It'll give you a head start every morning, and over the course of a lifetime, that'll make a huge difference.
2. Make Your Health A Priority
When you’re in your early 20s, bouncing back from consecutive late nights is as easy as grabbing some coffee, applying extra concealer, and taking a power nap. But your insomniac tendencies and yo-yo diet habits can follow you later in life, so making your mental and physical health a priority now is especially important. By focusing on a healthy lifestyle and what works for you and makes you feel good, you’ll create more room in your life for growth, exploration, and eventually success.
3. Establish An Emergency Fund
No matter how organized or careful you are, life happens. And in the event of a crisis such as an accident or job loss, you might find yourself needing a little extra cash. Unfortunately, surveys show that half of Americans would have trouble coming up with $400 in the event of an emergency. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a sticky situation without a safety net. Establish an emergency fund — or enough money to live on your current budget for six months — which can come in handy down the road in the event of sudden, unexpected, and costly event.
4. When It Comes To Relationships, Know Your Deal Breakers
Walking away from people who don’t serve you or provide a positive influence in your life can not only help you feel free, but it can also prevent you from wasting time or fostering toxic relationships. Knowing your personal deal breakers can help you pull out the weeds and keep the flowers.
5. Satisfy Your Wanderlust
You have your whole adult life to settle down and stick to a single zip code. If you have any interest in exploring a different city, town, or coast, your early 20s might be the perfect time to do it. Find a way to get to where your curiosity wants to take you — for a few months, a year, or longer if you so desire. While it may seem like it gets in the way of your goals to save your money or establish yourself in your career, looking back you’ll be happy to have indulged your restless soul early on.
6. Establish Good Credit
Money matters — especially when it comes to establishing good credit. Without a good credit score, it can be increasingly difficult to get loans to go back to school, or get approved for an apartment, or buy a car and/or house. Monitor your credit score, pay your bills on time, and be mindful of your interest rates so that you don’t sabotage your future self.
7. Take Photos Of Your Everyday Life
Thanks to Instagram, you'll have more than enough photos of mind-blowing meals, exotic vacations, and awesome makeup experiments. But will you have photos of what life in your early 20s really looked like? Take an unfiltered photo of your tiny first apartment, your co-workers in their cubicles, your local grocery store, your best friends eating ice cream on your futon. Chances are, none of these things will look exactly the same for long, and when you're older, you'll want to remember what exactly it was like. It'll seem so exotic!
8. Don’t Just Make Money, Save Money
This may seem obvious, but establish a plan to put aside part of your paycheck every week and continue working, even if it’s just part-time, to build your personal savings fund. If you start doing this early, you’ll have a greater nest later into your 20s and early 30s and thus will be better prepared for the rest of your adult life.
9. When It Comes To Your Career, Think About Your End Goal
Hardly anyone lands their dream job fresh out of the gate, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about your long term professional goals, and where you see yourself working in the future. Think about where you ultimately want to end up in your occupation — whether it’s working in a particular field, at a very specific company, or in a certain managerial position — and use that as your guide in all aspects of employment. This can help give you direction when asked what types of projects you want to work on, pave the way for how and where to take initiative, and even push you to take on freelance work, side projects, or extracurricular activities that can help build your resume.
10. Try New Things
Your early 20s are a time for exploration, and being insecure or afraid of the unknown can hold you back. Sign up for activities you want to pursue, chase new career opportunities, and test the waters of the unknown, even if it means doing it solo — and don’t let the fear of failure or looking uncool stop you from taking a chance or exploring a new opportunity.
11. ...But Don’t Stop Doing The Things That You Love
As a young professional, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a new career and let other interests — like exercise or music or hanging out with friends — fall to the wayside. Don’t sacrifice what really matters to focus 110 percent on work.
This post is sponsored by State Farm.