The idea of building habits has only increased in popularity with books like Atomic Habits by James Clear or The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, taking the professional development genre by storm.
Dedicating the time and effort to developing life habits when you’re young will only benefit you in the future. Below we break down 6 different habits to master in your 20s:
KICKSTART YOUR SAVINGS IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY
Saving money can be a daunting and stressful task, but starting to learn about finances and the impact of saving when you’re young will only make you thank yourself as you get older. We understand that not everyone is in the same financial situation throughout their 20s so it really comes down to what’s feasible for you.
Maybe it’s $300 a month, $100 a month, $50 a month, or even $10 a month when you first start. Either way, putting money away for paying off debt, saving for retirement, or to feel more financially secure, is key. And, if you’re curious about where to put the money that you save, check out this article on the benefits of saving money when you’re young by the National Bank.
SET ASIDE TIME TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY
It was Michael Dell who said, “Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people or find a different room.”
Building a habit of educating yourself every single day is going to help to build a framework for not only success but also a fruitful life. Learning something new can come from reading, videos, podcasts, or just talking to different experts in their field. The key is to ensure that you maintain an open mind and a level of humbleness to be able to learn from those around you.
Try setting up a routine of dedicating an hour or even 30 minutes a day to learning. You could even dedicate each month to a different topic to learn about. At the end of the year, you’ll be able to look back and reflect on the knowledge and skills you gained through this practice.
MOVE YOUR BODY FOR LASTING PHYSICAL HEALTH
With many of us working at a desk job Monday-Friday, it’s common that we live pretty stationary lives. Moving your body with the goal of physical health and wellbeing is something that you’ll be thanking yourself for throughout your life.
Fitness doesn’t need to just be lifting heavy weights at the gym (unless that’s what you’re into!), it just needs to be something that gets you moving and also can get your heart rate up for heart health.
There’s extensive research around the benefits of fitness. Just some pros include:
- Promoting better sleep
- Combating health conditions and other diseases
- Boosting energy
Check out a full list by the Mayo Clinic.
The University of Colorado also broke down the mental benefits of moving our bodies including:
- Releases endorphins and helps relieve stress
- Allows us to take a break from everyday challenges and responsibilities
- Helps emotions move through our bodies
- Provides an outlet for self-expression
- Strengthens the connection we have with our bodies
Aim to move your body every day, even if it’s just stretching or going on a quick walk.
FOCUS ON MENTAL WELLNESS
Create a habit of focusing on your mental health. Doing this in your 20s is going to set you up to tackle the challenges that life will continue to throw at you as you age, in a more effective and healthy manner.
Saying, “take care of your mental health”, seems wildly broad and not actionable. Not to worry, we’re going to cover a few different strategies you can put into place daily, weekly, or monthly to care for your mind.
- Exercise. As we discussed above, but exercise daily if you can. Again, this doesn’t need to be an hour-long sweat session, even just a short walk will do.
- Prioritize sleep. Andrew Huberman has an amazing sleep toolkit that gives strategies to help you sleep better. It covers what lighting you should expose yourself to and when, caffeine consumption, supplements, and more.
- Make time for yourself. Explore different hobbies and activities that allow you to relax, reflect, and work on yourself. Having quiet time for just you and your body is key to optimal mental wellness. Try meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, journaling, a bath, etc.
- Practice gratitude. This is an activity that’s been talked about more and more, especially with the rise of popular mindfulness products such as The 5 Minute Journal. Every day, write down what you’re grateful for. You can write one, three, five, whatever number feels right to you. Focus on really thinking and feeling what you’re grateful for that day.
- Socialize. We’re social creatures, whether you’re highly introverted or extroverted, spend time with friends and family to build and strengthen deeper connections with those that you love.
BUILD YOUR NETWORK
Today, networking is essential for any career. Start dedicating time and effort to building your professional network. If you start this habit young, by the time you’re in your 30s or 40s you’ll have an extensive network that you’ve spent years deepening your relationships with.
As you build your network, keep in mind that authenticity is key. Create genuine connections with people. Always think how you can help, not just worry about how they can help you.
Building a strong network will advance your career throughout life, gain you more knowledge and expertise, build confidence, and provide new insights and ideas.
VALUE YOUR TIME AND BE STRICT WITH IT
And lastly, value your time. There are plenty of habits that we laid out in this article and we hope it sparks some motivation or inspiration to get started on implementing some of them into your own life.
What we’ll leave you with is: be strict with your time and who/what you dedicate it to. Your time is valuable. Before you give large amounts of time to anything or anyone, ask yourself whether it is a good use of your time and how it’s benefiting you or the mission that you’re on.
Obviously some exceptions apply here, but if the task or event doesn’t match with your criteria to be deserving of your time, then start learning to say no. It will benefit you greatly in the future.