by Liberty Stembridge, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 5th August, 2019
What's life without a little risk? As we age and get older, our tendency for risk-taking lessens as we start to settle down. We move from being reckless teenagers to more careful adults. Risk-taking can be good though - studies show that taking risks can increase self-esteem, reduce the fear of failure and encourage creative thinking. So don't stop taking risks!
Even if you don't realise it, there are opportunities everywhere, just waiting for you to grasp. Opening yourself up to these new opportunities, whether it be a new job, a new school, volunteering, socialising or learning a new skill can not only change your life in ways you might not predict but forces you to put yourself out there, improve yourself and boost your confidence.
One of the most common regrets people have on their deathbed is that they didn't get to see the world. Your twenties are the perfect time to make sure that you don't have that regret later in life. It might seem like you don't have the time, but truly, no one does.
It's going to be a lot harder to travel once you've settled down or had kids. Use this time to explore the world, broaden your horizons and meet new people.
Spending money is great, but saving money can be even better. You're an adult, and having financial stability will not only make your life much less stressful, but it will teach you a lot. Having the skills to make, save and manage your money well takes time, but will be useful to you for the rest of your life.
Whether that's investing in a money management course, taking more of an interest in your finances or simply downloading a budgeting app.
In the same way you might invest in looking after your finances, you should also invest in looking after your health. This is not to say you can never have another kebab after a night out on the town, but that educating yourself as to how to improve your health and wellbeing, as well as what works best for you is important.
Try out new foods, different diets and read up on nutrition and fitness. You don't need to do an iron man, but increasing your fitness and improving your health will serve you well.
Routine is great, it can create a rhythm and flow to your life, reduce stress and encourage good habits. You know what else is also fun? Breaking routine. Getting stuck into a boring routine for too long can kill your twenties, but so can never having any routine or stability to your life.
Balance the two carefully and you'll find yourself with the perfect mix of comfort and adventure.
Everyone says it, and it's because it works. As boring as it may sound, sitting in silence for ten minutes a day can actually do the world of good for you mental and physical health. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve mood, reduce pain, improve sleep, encourage better eating habits and much more.
There are plenty of resources available online to help you learn how to meditate and strengthen your brain.
Confidence is an elusive skill that takes time, patience and commitment to obtain. The only way to become more confident is to push yourself, put yourself out there and do the things that scare you. Whether it's public speaking, taking exams, making friends or going for that promotion at work, learning how to manage your fears and pursue what you want regardless.
Don't be afraid to use your twenties as a way to explore your likes and dislikes when it comes to relationships. For many young people, one bad breakup prevents them from getting out into the dating world again for quite a while, because they're afraid of getting hurt again.
Unfortunately though, breakups and hurt are a part of life, and part of your twenties is learning how to deal with that, pick yourself up and do it all over again.
Your twenties are a great time to figure out what your boundaries are, in your professional life, personal life and in your relationships. Boundaries might sound harsh, but they are important tools you can use to maintain your own mental and emotional well-being, as well as improve your relationships with friends, family, and co-workers.
A common boundary that many young people have to learn to set is at work. Often if you don't have boundaries, you'll find yourself being taken advantage of, particularly in the workplace.
You may find that you end up working late too often, your boss expects you to take on more work than you should, or you settle for being paid less. Setting a boundary such as I will not take on more work than I can complete in a day' and communicating this to your boss can not only improve your working life but improve your confidence and relationships within the workplace.
Education doesn't stop when you leave school, it's a lifelong adventure and there are many different ways to go about it. Whether it's the communist manifesto or a DIY magazine, there are plenty of educational resources out there to keep you on your toes - it's your job to seek them out and actually read them. Although reading is a great way to educate yourself, it's not the be-all and end-all of learning.
Audiobooks, online courses, and practical courses are all great ways to keep expanding your knowledge.
We've all got plenty of embarrassing memories that we'd rather not look back on. As painful as remembering the times you've made a complete fool of yourself are, embarrassment isn't a bad thing - but fear of embarrassment is.
Rather than living in fear of being embarrassed or being made fun of, embrace that you probably are going to be embarrassed from time to time, and don't be afraid of making a fool of yourself. The more you own this, the easier it will be for you to live life as your most authentic self.
Learning to listen to others will not only help them but improve your life too. Learning to listen well and support those around you is a key skill that's difficult to learn for some.
Not all of us are born as naturally good listeners, but with a bit of effort, we can become them. Making sure you allow others time to speak, ask about your friend's and family's days, and sympathise without jumping down their throats with solutions are just small steps you can take to become a better listener. Before you know it you'll have your friends and family lining up at your door to talk out their problems.
Life is what happens when you're making other plans. And nothing will ruin your twenties more than thinking you should have it all sorted it out. No one does, really. So take of all that pressure you've put on yourself and accept that no matter how much you plan, things will change, and that's okay. You may not end up where you expected and that's cool too. Instead, practice gratitude for all the hard work you put in, and how far you've come.
Friendships come and go, especially in your twenties. While it can seem difficult to make friends, it's ridiculously easy to lose them. Whether it's getting into a fight, or simply losing touch, the fact of life is that you will lose friends, and that's okay. Try to see each friendship as a place for fun, learning, and growth. If it comes to an end, then that's okay - it's the journey that counts.
If you're a natural goal-setter who's always dreamed big, keep doing what you're doing. For a lot of people, especially in your twenties, the idea of setting big goals is scary and unfamiliar. Although it may feel unnatural, it's not a bad thing to have goals and dreams that scare you a bit. In the words of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - "if your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." So dream big, let your mind wander and discover what you truly want in life - and then go for it.