How to Improve Your Adulting Skills
“Adulting skills” may be a relatively new term, but there’s nothing new at all about the concept. It’s basically fresh verbiage for the concept of “growing up.”
We all share the same apprehension for growing up. And we also share the reality there’s nothing we can do to escape it. Not if we wish to live productive lives.
In the following article, we’ll be talking less about the skills themselves and more about the attitudes and mindsets that will put you into the position to “adult” effectively. Let’s begin!
1. Develop Exercise Skills Early
It may be hard to develop exercise skills early in your adult life. And by this, we’re talking right after high school (for those of you involved in organized sports). If you’re not involved in sports, then it could be difficult earlier than usual.
In both cases, the difficulty comes from the same source. You don’t have anyone to make you get out there and put your body through controlled Hell for 30 minutes to an hour everyday. You have to force it.
There are invaluable benefits if you can. You’ll look better. Feel better. Have more confidence. And, yes, think better.
Not only will you retain more information, you’ll also be able to apply it in the most beneficial way for your life.
And it stands to reason that taking care of your body would enable you to mentally perform. After all, your brain is part of your body, is it not?
2. Stay Motivated
The same reason you have trouble staying motivated in exercise is why you’ll also find it more difficult to get to class on time (or at all) once you go off to college. No one is making you do it.
It’s difficult to switch those gears and find the real motivation that will need to power the next several years of your work life. When someone is making your decisions for you, you get used to that happening. When the onus is on you, important things can fall by the wayside.
- Filing your taxes
- Applying for FAFSA by the deadline
- Signing up for classes on time
- Studying enough to ace the final
- Getting car tags renewed
You get the point. We at least hope you will before reaping the consequences. The good news: once you get burned really bad on something, it becomes easier to remember it the next time around.
Before going that far, though, make sure you take every precaution upfront. Make a list of your obligations and priorities. Then, do this exercise.
On a sheet of paper, answer one question about each task. What is the worst thing that can happen to me if I don’t complete this task? Then, take about 10 minutes to brainstorm a variety of answers — mundane and outlandish — to that question.
3. Say ‘No’ to Handouts
Whoever told you the government or anyone can just keep paying for program after program without it crippling the country is out of their mind. And we know many of you already know that and are (rightfully) rejecting the notion.
In any economic or governmental system, there are winners and losers. Most of us cross over into both of those areas with regularity. It’s the way things are supposed to be because it allows for personal responsibility, freedom, and limitless success with the right amount of effort and luck.
Governments that take from one group to give to another have never succeeded for any length of time because they devalue the individual. They also have a hard time scaling back the “taking.” Instead of finding contentment at a certain point, they expand the demands that they place on their citizens.
The US has had an entitlement problem since the 1930s, and until a generation breaks the cycle, this fact will continue to make the issue more difficult to solve and more of a burden on future generations. Tough decisions have to be made, and they have to be made sooner rather than later.
You can start where you are by saying no to handouts. (A college loan you’re going to pay back is not a handout.)
Just be leery of people who want to give you free crap because the keyword is crap. And there’s always a cost.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep
You can sacrifice many things in life for the sake of your adulting skills. Sleep should not be one of them. If you’re not getting 6-8 hours of sleep per night, then you’re heading down a bad road.
It’s a road that will take its toll on your mental and physical health. That makes it hard to be a great student or student-athlete. It also ensures you’ll fail at your major and have to go for something less challenging (and less rewarding).
So make some adjustments if you’re staying up too late. Go to bed earlier. Take a nap during the day. Do what you have to do to make sure your mental gas tank is full.
5. Listen First, Speak Second
Social networking should probably bear much of the blame for making everyone think they have something valuable to say. While we all do — at some point — have something valuable to say, we don’t every single day. Yet that’s how often people post, sometimes multiple times.
It’s resulted in a whole lot of chatter but not a lot of conversation. We all want to be heard, but no one wants to listen.
When it comes to adulting skills, it’s important you snap out of it. You’re not going to become the person you need to be, or the person that people want to be around, or the one who finds true and lasting success, until you learn from others and listen to what they have to say.
You don’t have to agree. You don’t have to become convinced. But you do have to listen. That’s non-negotiable for adulting.
6. Limit Alcohol
No one is telling you to cut it out entirely. But going out and getting so drunk that you’re destined to end up fired from a job or injuring yourself or someone else is a stupid decision, and one that is completely unnecessary with all that we know about drinking impairment.
You don’t just slide behind the wheel for your first solo car trip without knowing all about the fact that it’s dangerous. Ignorance is no longer an excuse.
So if you want to “adult” better, then call an Uber. Make sure you’re in a group that takes care of each other. Drink at home. And try never to drink excessively.
Alcohol in great quantities can cause digestive, liver, and heart problems. Don’t let it victimize you. (And the same goes for recreational drugs.)
7. Own Your Life
Do not blame other people for your position. They may very well deserve that blame, but it does you no good whatsoever to engage in that practice. That’s because you become more focused on the past pain than the present or future.
Be analytical. If you notice yourself making a lot of excuses or harboring a lot of resentment for a situation you’re in that may be due to someone else’s decision, get rid of it. Commit to finding a way through, not the way back.
The way back will only take you where you’ve been. The way through will lead you to wonders you never thought possible.
8. Make Learning ‘Cool’
Seriously, what kind of a knucklehead walks around thinking it’s not okay to better yourself? The world is so competitive today that if you don’t embrace a love of learning, you’re destined for Loserville.
Sadly, you’d be in a lot of
good bad company. A lot of students tend to check out mentally and not apply themselves to the best of their abilities. They fall short early on and end up behind the 8-ball and having to learn a lot of life lessons the hard way before making any progress.
Decide you’re going to learn something everyday. Learn at a pace you can handle. But learn. Learn, learn, learn! Don’t let a day go by without being able to look at something with a little more understanding than you had the day before.
9. Don’t Live On Credit
It should be illegal for credit card companies to market their wares to anyone before junior year of college. Many students who’ve just earned their adulting privileges in freshman and sophomore years are ill-equipped to handle the allure of “free money” that comes from using plastic.
Buy now, pay later. Win-win, right? Definitely wrong! It’s too easy for a young person to overspend without realizing the bill is going to come due with interest at some point. Compound that with the ease-of-use from month-to-month (and the growing interest), and you’ve got a recipe for long-term disaster.
Learn this rule only: if you can’t afford it now, don’t buy it now. Period. That’ll save you a world of trouble down the road, and it will ensure you never carry bad debt.
10. Choose Your Passions Wisely
Some things cost lots of money with no real upside. Others cost very little and prove to be very fulfilling. Ideally, you’ll find something closer to the latter end of the spectrum than the former.
But it is important to have a passion. Why? Because passion feeds your love of learning, and it motivates you to work harder, live smarter, and do better.
As a rule of thumb, you might consider turning this heading around. Instead of choosing your passions wisely, try letting your passions choose you. That’s the only way you’ll be able to guarantee the motivation and enthusiasm necessary to make a sustained impact.
11. Build Something Special
Write a book. Join a band. Create something with your hands. Start a side business. There are numerous ways you can “build something special.” It just requires time and effort.
But the only way to make the time and the effort is to be passionate about it. To stay motivated. To be active. You’re probably starting to see how this utilizes many of the other adulting principles we’ve listed above!
12. Put Kindness Into the World
If you’re kind to others, it’ll take you much further than if you’re the opposite. People will want to include you in on things — groups, lively discussions, business ideas, etc.
People who complain too much or too unreasonably at waitresses are more likely to end up with spit in their food (or something worse). Keep that in mind the next time you get the urge to be a jackass.
13. Make Social Media an Afterthought
We’re not going to tell you to stay away from it. Heck, we don’t do that! But we do recommend you use it for constructive purposes.
Constructive purposes exclude things like airing your political rants. No one’s mind was ever changed that way, and it just comes across as condescending and mean-spirited.
It’s far better to use social media for things like keeping up with friends and documenting special memories.
14. Never Use ‘Cruise Control’
In other words, stay open to opportunity. Cruise control only does the job as long as there are no obstacles in your way. Life doesn’t work that way. So put your foot on the gas and keep your head on a swivel!
15. Stop Dreaming, Start Doing
Ideas are great. But there is such thing as having too many. That’s because they can paralyze you into inaction. So learn to set aside that part of your brain and choose something that can feed your passion in a sustainable manner.
Adulting Skills Will Determine Your Success
If you’re worried because your adulting skills aren’t coming along, then you should be! Obviously, you’ve got the conscientiousness to do it or you wouldn’t be worried about it in the first place. So get away from whatever (or whoever) is holding you back and make this world your own.
Now it’s your turn, readers. What adulting skills are the most valuable in your world, and which ones are giving you the most trouble? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Practically Salad]