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8 Life Skills You Must Develop To Succeed in Your 20s

Have you ever found yourself wondering, “Why is ‘adulting’ so difficult and complicated?” I get it, sometimes adulthood can feel extremely overwhelming and something that you want to run away from.

However, I promise it is not as scary as it seems. As you develop these important life skills for adults, not only will you start to feel more confident, but you will also start succeeding in life. 

So, whether you’re starting college or you’re a twenty-something, these eight valuable life skills will help you succeed throughout adulthood.

8 Life Skills for Adults To Nurture In Your 20s

1. Build Your Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence

By understanding your feelings, you can effectively manage your emotions, which can lead to better decision-making skills and stronger relationships. 

For example, instead of lashing out at your partner when you’re upset, try to journal how you feel. It’s a simple yet effective tool for self-reflection. It helps in recognizing and understanding your emotional patterns. You can set healthy boundaries by learning how to say no. When you feel conversations are becoming toxic, you should agree to continue the conversation with your calm and can think clearly.

As you build your self-awareness and emotional intelligence, you will navigate life’s challenges with more confidence.

Life Skills for Adults

2. Learn How to Communicate Effectively

Knowing how to communicate is a basic life skill that will either make or break your success. Whether you’re communicating on social media, writing papers for school, sending professional emails, or speaking to your friends, we communicate in every aspect of our lives. 

Your communication skills aren’t just built from speaking effectively, but it’s also about actively listening to others. 

When you’re actively listening, you show that you value the conversation and the other person’s perspective. This can be done through various verbal and non-verbal cues. Such as keeping your tone friendly and your body language open and receptive by occasionally nodding along. Then, when you speak, confidently express your ideas, and don’t feel afraid to speak your mind! 

As you learn how to communicate effectively in your writing and through speaking, you’ll see how it can boost your self-esteem and open doors in every aspect of your life.

3. Understand Your Finances

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your financial situation? Whether it was the first time that you were paying bills, applying for a credit card, or even doing your taxes for the first time as an independent. These situations can feel overwhelming and make us feel as if we have no idea what we are doing. 

But by mastering just a few money management skills, you will be on the financial path to freedom and peace in no time. 

Start by tracking your income and expenses. I promise budgeting is not just something your parents do, but I find it oddly therapeutic. Having a plan for your money and knowing where it goes, can bring a lot of peace of mind and control back to your life. 

The next biggest financial tip is to start saving every chance that you can get. Every time you get a payday, automatically put $50 or whatever you can afford into your savings account. 

Then, once you’re ready for the next step, start investing and saving money for your retirement. I know that we, twenty-somethings, are going to live forever but the money that you save today will compound in interest, making you more money by the time you retire!

As you start to understand your financial priorities, you can transform your bank account, and your self-confidence in handling money which will put you on financial freedom throughout your life!

Life Skills for Adults

4. Learn How to Manage your Time and Stay Productive 

Every day you have to meet some sort of deadline, whether it’s arriving at work on time or submitting an assignment, mastering your time management skills is essential to succeeding in life. If you find it difficult to stay productive or meet your deadlines, then you have to start prioritizing your tasks.

Break down your goals into smaller, manageable steps. Then use tools that help you stay accountable for achieving those goals. Whether it’s a planner, a to-do list, or an alarm on your phone, use something that allows you to keep track of your tasks and set time aside every day to achieve those goals. Then enjoy that amazing feeling when you can cross off an item from your to-do list.  

If you still find it difficult to stay productive, then identify a time of day that works best for you. If you work most efficiently in the morning, then schedule your most important deadlines soon after you wake up. 

Managing your time and staying productive is arguably one of the hardest life skills for adults, but as you master this, you will become unstoppable!

5. Learn How to Build Strong Relationships

Building strong relationships, whether in your personal or professional life is one of the most important life skills that you could develop. Professionally, don’t just limit yourself to networking events or webinars. Engage genuinely with others in your field and be proactive on platforms like LinkedIn. 

But what about after college, when making meaningful friendships becomes surprisingly difficult? One effective way is to immerse yourself in activities that align with your interests. Whether it’s joining a local cooking class, attending sporting events, or traveling the world, choose activities that align with your passions. I have found that traveling solo not only builds confidence and self-esteem but also empowers you to build relationships with like-minded individuals with friendships that can last a lifetime.

Remember, a few close and meaningful friendships are more enriching than numerous superficial ones. As you invest time and effort into these relationships, you’ll find they add immense value to your life, offering support, joy, and a sense of community that lasts for years. 

6. Start Thinking Critically and Problem-Solving

Critical thinking is more than just solving a riddle, it’s the ability to think independently and for yourself. Especially in this day and age, where it’s easy to be told what to think and how you should act, it’s more important than ever to start thinking critically.

To develop these skills, start by questioning the status quo. Why are things done a certain way? Could there be a better approach? And when you’re faced with a problem, don’t just jump to conclusions. Break it down, analyze the parts, and look at it from different angles.

As you hone your analytical skills, you will become more adept at overcoming challenges and convert your problems into solutions. Whether it’s in your personal life or career, these skills empower you to tackle obstacles head-on, making you a more confident individual. 

Life Skills for Adults

7. Be Mindful of Your Health and Well-being

Navigating the challenges of college, grad school, or the early stages of your career can often take a toll on your health. But your well-being is the foundation upon which all your successes are built. Physical and mental health are equally important and deserve your attention. 

Start by incorporating simple wellness habits into your routine. This could be a daily walk, a yoga session, or just ensuring you get enough sleep. Find stress-relief activities that work for you, like meditation, journaling, or even therapy. 

It’s easy to get caught up in work or studies, so it is crucial that you take some for yourself, your hobbies, and your loved ones is vital. This balance of self-care is what sustains your energy and passion in the long run.

8. Adaptability and Continuous Learning

In this fast-paced world, adaptability isn’t just a skill; it’s a necessity. The only constant in life is change, and being adaptable means you’re ready to evolve with it. 

Challenge yourself to learn new skills, whether it’s one of these basic life skills for adults, a new language, a tech skill, or anything that piques your interest. Lifelong learning keeps you relevant, resilient, and ready for whatever comes your way.

Time to Practice These Life Skills:

As you gain more professional experience and by exposing yourself to new things, you will easily develop these important life skills for adults. But as in everything, you should dedicate yourself to improving each skill so you can succeed in every area of your life. 

As you start today, you will see how your life will transform into a person that your future self will be proud of. You got this! 

Daisy Valdes

Daisy Valdes: Daisy Valdes is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, blogger, and avid world traveler. From solo traveling to adventurous destinations, her blog helps all kinds of travelers on their journeys. So join Daisy on her mission to inspire positive change through sustainable adventures!