24 lessons I learned in my early 20s


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Hey there 👋

It’s been a memorable 2023 so far, and I trust you are smashing your goals.

Our 20s can be a time of big changes, full of fun, growth, and new things to learn. As young adults, we go through the ups and downs of life and learn a lot of lessons that can shape the rest of our lives. We learn these lessons every day without even realizing it.

There are so many obvious things that I wish I could tell my younger self. Basic life lessons that the majority of self-help gurus overlook entirely.

You’ll be thankful for them once you’ve gone through particular phases and times of your life because they will have helped you grow and learn more about who you are. I’d call these “lessons” because they shape how you think. And at every stage of our lives, we learn something new. It doesn’t matter if you are 20, 40, or 60. I’ve been through a few stages of life and learned valuable lessons that have helped me stay sane and continuously grow.

Here are 24 lessons I learned in my early 20s:

1. You can’t figure everything out

I realized that in life, no matter how much effort you put in, you just won’t be able to predict or control the outcomes of life’s many unpredictable events. It’s okay to not know everything and to admit that you don’t have all the solutions; there will always be problems and difficulties that are out of your hands. Attempting to make sense of everything can be mentally and physically draining and can lead to disappointment and anger. Instead, maintain a positive outlook while embracing the unknown with curiosity and a willingness to learn. Always keep in mind that the uncertainty of the journey is what adds spice and adventure to life.

2. Focus on your physical and mental well-being

Health and happiness can only be achieved by prioritizing one’s own physical and mental well-being. This I learned when it was almost too late. To keep your body in tip-top shape, you should eat healthily, work out frequently, get enough sleep, and never pick up any bad habits, like smoking or drinking too much. Mindfulness training, stress reduction, and reaching out for help when you need it are all part of taking care of your mental health. Spending time caring for your body and mind will pay rewards in the way of increased energy, better mental clarity, and a more satisfying existence. It’s never easy to achieve all of these or make them habits especially when you are just starting but constant practice will help you get there in no time.

Having perfect health is something we frequently take for granted because it is constantly there. If you want to make a change in your life, don’t wait for a mistake to happen. Take care of yourself physically and mentally by giving your body the respect it deserves.

3. Start saving and investing

Yes, we have agreed that we all have to make money either by working, creating products or even starting a business, but most of us don’t realize how important it is to keep track of it. What you do with your money is very important; it matters a lot if you put it in a savings account or invest in big companies (stocks and shares). It would be a bonus point for you if you start learning about money, investing, and budgeting. One of the best things you can do for your money is to start saving and investing when you’re in your early 20s or even earlier.

By putting money aside, you can build up an emergency fund that can help you pay for unexpected costs or get back on your feet if you lose your source of income. Investing can help your money grow over time and give you the chance to make passive income. This can help you reach long-term financial goals like buying a home or retiring. The earlier you start, the longer your money has to grow, which increases the amount of money you could make. It’s important to keep in mind that saving and investing requires self-control and patience, but the long-term benefits can be big.

4. Avoid debts

Avoiding debt in your 20s is a smart financial move that can help you succeed in the long run. If you don’t have any debt, you won’t have to pay high-interest payments, which can add up over time and make it harder to save and invest. Debt can also make it harder to take advantage of opportunities or pay for things that come up out of the blue. Having debt can also hurt your credit score, making it harder for you to get loans or other forms of financing in the future. By living within your means and avoiding unnecessary debt, you can get into good money habits early and build a solid foundation for your future financial goals. I learned this the hard way.

5. Don’t give up

The phrase “don’t give up” conveys a message of optimism and encouragement, reminding us to keep going even when things get tough. It inspires us to keep going in the face of adversity and to maintain our drive and concentration on the outcomes we seek. This phrase can keep us from realizing our full potential and realizing our dreams.

So it is important to always be aware that challenges can be conquered and goals can be reached if we keep going and don’t give up.

7. Invest in experiences

Investing in experiences means prioritizing experiences over material possessions. It involves spending money and time on activities and events that create meaningful memories and personal growth rather than buying material goods.

The idea behind investing in experiences is that experiences provide longer-lasting happiness and fulfillment than materialistic things, which can quickly lose their value and fade away. It encourages people to live in the moment, create connections with others, and pursue personal growth and happiness. By investing in experiences, people can create a rich and fulfilling life that is filled with memorable moments and experiences that last a lifetime. Examples of these experiences are traveling, eating and dining, sporting events, art, and culture, outdoor adventures, etc. You don’t need to have a lot of money to invest in experiences, start with what you have around you.

8. Time is your most precious resource

Time is a limited and irreplaceable resource that is essential to our lives. It is our most valuable resource because once it is spent, we can never get it back. It is important to know how valuable time is and to use it wisely. This means setting priorities and spending time on things that are important and meaningful to us, like spending time with loved ones, pursuing our passions, and investing in our growth. It also means avoiding time-wasting activities that don’t add anything to our lives.

By making the most of your time, you can create a life that is fulfilling, has a purpose, and is full of experiences.

9. Eliminate negative people and vibes

Getting rid of toxic people and situations that bring us down and drain our energy is what it means to get rid of negative people and vibes. It’s important to be aware of how negative people and energy can affect our mental and emotional health and to do what we can to stay away from them. It takes bravery to distance yourself from individuals who put you down. It might be a friend, relative, or coworker.

This can mean setting boundaries, saying no to things or people that don’t help us, and surrounding ourselves with positive and supportive people. By getting rid of negative people and feelings, we can make our lives more positive and uplifting, which helps us grow and reach our full potential.

If you can’t shut them out completely, put up boundaries around yourself. This is very important for your body and mind. Remember that healing takes time — sometimes even more time than it took to cause the hurt

11. Comparison steals your joy and peace of mind

Comparison is comparing yourself to other people, which can make you feel bad about yourself, jealous, and unhappy. It can take away our happiness and peace of mind by making us think about what we don’t have instead of what we do have and by making us compare ourselves to other people.

Comparison can make us think and feel bad things, which can be bad for our mental health and well-being. It’s important to remember that everyone’s journey is different and that comparing ourselves to others isn’t helpful. We should instead focus on our progress and be proud of what we have done. By giving up comparisons, we can find more joy and happiness in our lives and make them more positive and satisfying.

12. No one judges you the way you think they do

The fear of being judged is a common feeling that many people experience. I was a slave to this for years.

We need to recognize that no one judges us as harshly as we judge ourselves. We often create unrealistic expectations and negative self-talk that can lead us to believe that others are judging us, when in reality they may not even be paying attention to us at all. It is important to challenge our negative self-talk and recognize that everyone has their insecurities and struggles. By focusing on self-compassion and understanding, we can build more positive and fulfilling relationships with ourselves and others, and create a more positive and fulfilling experience in our lives.

13. Ask for help when need be

Asking for help is an important part of personal growth and self-care. It is a sign of strength and courage to acknowledge when we need assistance and to reach out for support. Asking for help can come in different forms such as seeking advice, asking for emotional support, or asking for assistance with a task or project.

By asking for help, we can gain new perspectives, learn new skills, and overcome obstacles that may have been holding us back. It is important to recognize that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a way to build resilience and grow in our personal and professional lives. I mean what’s the worse that can happen when you ask for help? It’s a “No” and that should not in any way discourage you or make you give up instead it should make you stronger and tougher.

14. Develop a positive mindset and affirm positive things only

Developing a positive mindset involves cultivating an attitude of optimism, gratitude, and resilience. It means focusing on the positive aspects of our lives and affirming positive thoughts and beliefs. By shifting our mindset to a more positive outlook, we can improve our overall well-being, boost our confidence, and increase our resilience to challenges. Affirming positive things only involves using positive self-talk and affirmations to reinforce positive beliefs and encourage ourselves to focus on our strengths and accomplishments.

Believe me when I say that this can help us to overcome self-doubt and negative self-talk and build a more positive and fulfilling life. Developing a positive mindset takes time and effort, but with practice, we can train our minds to focus on the good and create a more positive and fulfilling experience.

15. Find your calling

Finding your calling means discovering your unique purpose or passion in life, and aligning your career or personal pursuits with it. It involves identifying your values, interests, and strengths, and pursuing activities and careers that are meaningful and fulfilling to you. When you find your calling, you are more likely to experience a sense of purpose and fulfillment in your life and be motivated to achieve your goals.

However, finding your calling can take time and lots of exploration, and may require taking risks and stepping outside of your comfort zone. It is important to stay open-minded and be willing to try new things to discover your calling. By following your passion and aligning your life with your purpose, you can create a more fulfilling and satisfying life.

16. Believe in your dreams and work hard no matter the progress

Believing in your dreams and working hard towards them, regardless of the progress you make, is crucial for achieving success. It involves setting clear goals, visualizing your dreams, and taking consistent action toward them, even in the face of obstacles and setbacks. By believing in your dreams, you create a positive mindset that fosters resilience, determination, and perseverance, which are important qualities for achieving success. However, progress toward your dreams may not always be linear, and setbacks and failures are common along the way. It is important to maintain a growth mindset and learn from these experiences to keep moving forward.

By continuing to work hard towards your dreams, even if progress is slow, you can create a fulfilling and purposeful life that aligns with your passions and values.

17. Family is important

Family is important for many reasons. It provides a sense of belonging, support, and love that can contribute to our overall well-being and happiness. Family members can be a source of emotional and practical support and can help us navigate life’s challenges and celebrate its joys. Families also help to shape our values, beliefs, and sense of identity and can provide a sense of continuity and connection to our past and future generations. While families can experience conflicts and challenges, nurturing healthy and positive relationships with family members can have long-lasting benefits for our mental and physical health, and can create a sense of community and belonging that is essential for human flourishing.

Cultivate the habit of spending time with your parents and other family members and never pass up an opportunity to make them feel special.

18. Build long-lasting relationships

Building long-lasting relationships is important for personal and professional success. It involves cultivating connections with others based on trust, respect, and open communication. Long-lasting relationships can provide a sense of support, belonging, and mutual growth that can contribute to our overall well-being and happiness. To build strong relationships, it is important to prioritize regular communication, actively listen to others, show appreciation, and be willing to compromise and forgive.

Building and maintaining long-lasting relationships can take time and effort, but the benefits can be significant, including increased social support, opportunities for collaboration, and a sense of community and belonging.

19. Cook and eat well

Cooking and eating well are important for maintaining a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Preparing nutritious and delicious meals at home can contribute to our overall physical and mental health, and can also provide a sense of creativity and pleasure.

Cooking at home allows us to control the ingredients and portion sizes, which can help to manage weight and prevent chronic diseases. It also provides an opportunity to try new foods and cuisines and to develop cooking skills that can be shared with others. Eating well involves consuming a balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. It is important to prioritize whole, nutrient-dense foods and limit processed and high-calorie foods. By cooking and eating well, we can nourish our bodies and minds, and create a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. And again, you do not have to break the bank to do this. Start with the resources you have around you.

20. Workout

Working out can have powerful physical and mental health benefits, and for some individuals, it can even be life-changing. For those struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, exercise can be a valuable tool for managing symptoms and improving overall well-being.

Working out releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters, and can also help to reduce stress and improve self-esteem. Exercise can also provide a sense of structure and routine, which can be particularly helpful for individuals struggling with mental health issues. I use to thank my coach for my daily workout routines because I realized that working out is therapeutic for me and he has indirectly been my therapist.

Additionally, setting and achieving fitness goals can provide a sense of accomplishment and confidence. For most people, working out may even be a form of therapy or meditation, providing a space to clear the mind and focus on physical activity. By incorporating regular exercise into their routine, some individuals have found that it can be a powerful tool for improving mental health and overall quality of life.

21. Travel

Traveling and seeing the world can be a transformative and enriching experience. By exploring new places and cultures, we can broaden our perspectives, learn new things, and gain a deeper appreciation for the world around us. Traveling can also provide a sense of adventure and excitement and can create lasting memories and connections. It can help to break us out of our comfort zones and challenge us to try new things and embrace new experiences. Traveling can also provide an opportunity to disconnect from the stresses of daily life and recharge our batteries. Whether it’s a trip to a new city or country, or simply exploring a nearby nature reserve, traveling can be a powerful way to expand our horizons and create a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

I did not think that traveling was something I could take really important but as I got into my 20s and realized that I was fast aging by the day I decided to start exploring places. To the best of my knowledge, I have not traveled as much as I want to yet but it’s in progress and I hope to explore new locations.

22. Set monthly and daily goals

Setting monthly and daily goals has helped me improve productivity, focus, and overall effectiveness in achieving my long-term goals. By breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks, I have been able to create a sense of progress and momentum and build confidence in my ability to achieve my objectives.

Monthly goals can provide a roadmap for our progress, while daily goals can create a sense of structure and routine, and help to prioritize our time and energy. By setting specific, measurable, and achievable goals, we can track our progress and adjust our approach as needed. It can also help to hold ourselves accountable and motivate us to stay committed to our goals. By incorporating monthly and daily goal-setting into our routines, we can create a more efficient and productive life and achieve our objectives with greater ease and confidence.

23. Invest in your looks (people treat and address you the way they see you)

Investing in your looks can have a significant impact on how others perceive and treat you. The way we present ourselves to the world can signal our confidence, competence, and attention to detail, and can shape how others perceive our character and abilities.

Taking care of our appearance can also improve our sense of self-esteem and self-worth, which can create a positive feedback loop that enhances our overall well-being. This may include investing in a well-fitting wardrobe, grooming and hygiene, and other self-care practices.

By prioritizing our appearance, we can create a more positive and engaging first impression, build stronger relationships, and ultimately achieve greater success in our personal and professional lives.

24. Breath — you are responsible for your happiness

Breathing is a powerful tool for managing stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions, and can play a crucial role in promoting happiness and well-being. By focusing on our breath and practicing mindfulness techniques, we can learn to regulate our emotions and create a sense of calm and inner peace. This may include deep breathing exercises, meditation, and other relaxation techniques. By taking responsibility for our happiness and cultivating a positive mindset, we can learn to better manage the ups and downs of life and create a more fulfilling and satisfying existence. Ultimately, by prioritizing our breath and our well-being, we can improve our overall quality of life and create a more positive and meaningful future for ourselves and those around us.

Taking responsibility for our happiness is an important step towards creating a more fulfilling and satisfying life. It involves recognizing that our thoughts, actions, and attitudes play a critical role in shaping our experiences and perceptions of the world around us. By adopting a positive mindset, practicing gratitude, and engaging in self-care practices, we can take active steps toward cultivating a greater sense of happiness and well-being in our lives. This may involve setting goals, pursuing hobbies and interests that bring us joy, and nurturing positive relationships with others. Ultimately, by taking responsibility for our happiness, we can create a more meaningful and purposeful life, filled with greater satisfaction and contentment.

Bottom Line

Don’t forget that life is a journey. Getting somewhere takes time and work. You might get lost or trip and fall along the way. Remember that part of being successful is being able to get back up when you fall. When you fall, I want you to get back up right away. Figure out what you did wrong and move on 🫶

I create content about productivity, lifestyle, and self-care on my YouTube Channel and Tiktok Page. Please subscribe and turn on post notifications so you get a notification when I put out a new video.

Articles from my blog will be coming in every Monday and Friday. Have ideas or specific topics you would like me to write about? Please feel free to make suggestions in the comments section below, I will be taking them into consideration.

XOXO Lady Bella 🫰



Mfonobong Umondia (Bella)