20 Life Skills That Will Make Your 20s Way Better

Posted by GreaterGoodness

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Your 20s can be a challenging decade. With the safety net of college gone, it’s finally up to you to not only take care of yourself, but set yourself up for future success. Pressure’s on, right?

Luckily, you have the power to make this decade one of your best! Learn to do these 20 things and you’ll keep yourself happy, healthy and on-track for the next 10 years.

Cook.

At least one great meal. And that doesn’t include something with directions on its packaging. Buy a cookbook, Google a recipe, or call a kitchen-savvy family member and have them walk you through a favorite dish. Knowing how to feed yourself is important for your health and your checkbook.

Write a check.

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but growing up in a credit/debit card world means not everyone learns how to do things old school. You can’t pay every bill with a credit card, so don’t wait until it’s too late to learn how to write a check.

File your taxes.

It might be a snooze, but knowing how to file taxes is an important rite of passage (sigh). There are plenty of programs online to walk you through the process, but no matter how you go about it, save your important documents — W-2s, loan interest reports, bank statements, receipts, etc. — in a folder for when the time comes.

Tip.

Wait staff, bartenders, hairdressers, valets–they all should be tipped. The standard rate is 15 percent. The better the service, the better the tip should be. If you can’t figure out what 15 percent of your bill is, don’t guess. Use the calculator on your iPhone.

Take care of your body.

Gone are the days when a bowl of cereal can pass as dinner. Taking time to wash your face, exercise and use sunscreen may not be at the top of your priority list, but you’ll be kicking yourself later in life if you overlook them.

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Sew.

Buttons fall off and seams unravel, but that shouldn’t mean your clothes are ready for the trash. Buy yourself an emergency sewing kit with the basics — black and white thread, a needle and a pair of mini scissors. Scour YouTube for tutorials if you’re stuck.

Exercise your brain.

The mind, like your quads, is a muscle. Use it, or lose it. Now that you’re out of school, it’s up to you to be proactive about staying mentally sharp. Challenge yourself with stimulating conversation, thoughtful media and hobbies that encourage your growth.

Write an email.

Sounds easy, but in this age of quick-reply messaging, it’s easy to do wrong. Learn how to reach out effectively and respectfully to people you don’t know, and save the emojis for your cell phone.

Floss.

The little things count. It’s easy to neglect dental care when it’s expensive and there’s no immediate payoff, but trust us, doing so will come back to bite you (no pun intended). Build the habit now!

Grocery shop.

Sure, anyone can walk into a store and pick up ingredients for recipe, but it’s hardly sustainable if you’re going four times a week. Meal planning and shopping efficiently requires some strategy. Make a list, set a budget and try to shop for a week’s worth of food.

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Throw a (good) party.

Keggers quickly lose their appeal once everyone passes legal drinking age. By now, you should know how to throw a decent party with snacks (besides chips and salsa), nice drinks, appropriate music, pleasant conversation, and maybe even a group activity.

Stay informed.

With all the screen time we indulge in every day, there’s no excuse for not knowing what’s going on in the world. You don’t have to be an expert, but you should be able to contribute to conversations about current events. Bookmark a few news sites, or sign up for an email news service like theSkimm.

Clean.

Dorm life is over and so is the excuse not to vacuum. Invest in some basic cleaning supplies and create a weekly routine — scrub the toilet, wipe the mirror, sweep the kitchen, etc. And don’t forget deep-cleaning projects like scrubbing the bathtub and cleaning the oven.

Follow a budget.

You’ve been hearing this from your parents for years, but now it’s really time to start. With student loan debt, rent, cell phone bills and groceries to juggle, you should have a good grasp on how how the money is flowing every month. Do some math, buy a calendar, and keep track.

“Do it yourself.”

Pick up a basic toolkit and get to know the hammer and nails. Learn how to do simple household chores like putting up a shelf, hanging a picture and fixing a broken doorknob.
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Date.

Yes, dating is a skill. And it only develops with practice. Understanding the art of conversation and the way to tactfully express your feelings is crucial for building healthy relationships, and it will serve you well beyond your love life.

Parallel park.

It may feel like it will never come up, but trust us, it will.

Approach strangers.

Whether it’s for directions or simply to pass time on an airplane, knowing how to strike up a conversation is a great skill — and not everyone has it. Learn how to ask genuine questions, be approachable, and pick up on signals that someone would rather be left alone.

Write a cover letter.

Filling out an application is a pretty simple process, but the jobs you really want are going to require more than a resume. Cover letters require some effort, but they make all the difference. Practice writing genuinely and passionately, without sounding desperate.

Support a cause.

Finding purpose by contributing to something greater than yourself is what life is all about. Your 20s are a time to examine your values and find ways to take action on them. Doing so will not only make the world a better place, it’s also one of the most fulfilling ways to spend your time. A click below is a great place to start!

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