11 Grown-Up Life Changes You Can Make Right Now | The Financial Diet
How to Be Grown Up
Being a grown up is a lot of work, but it's very rewarding and well worth the effort. You can't live irresponsibly forever, and at a certain age you'll need to start taking care of yourself, taking responsibility for your own life, and working hard to create a better life for yourself and your family. Being grown up can mean different things for different adults, but ultimately you'll need to embody the characteristics of a responsible adult in both your personal and professional lives.
Cultivating Grown Up Characteristics
Act more rationally.In your youth, it's more excusable for you to behave recklessly or out of self interest. However, as you enter adulthood, a big part of your responsibility will involve thinking and acting rationally.
- Rational thought requires you to distinguish between thinking and feeling.
- A rational person exercises control over his or her emotions, and acts based on thoughts instead of feelings.
- Rational thought takes outside interests and moral concerns into consideration during the decision-making process.
- To act rationally, try taking a breather when you feel your emotions running high. Come back to the decision when you're calmer and more capable of thinking critically about the issue.
- Any time you exercise restraint based on thoughts and moral/ethical considerations, you are acting rationally. With practice, acting rationally can become more natural to your decision-making process.
Develop meaningful, balanced relationships.As you learn to live a more grown up adult life, a big part of your focus should be on how you interact with and treat the people around you. Your relationships - which includes friendships, familial ties, and romantic relationships - should be meaningful, balanced, and healthy for all parties involved. This can take a lot of work, but it's essential if you want to be happy and make the people closest to you happy.
- Whether dealing with friendships or romantic relationships, you should be able to interact with one another as independent individuals.
- Be willing to negotiate things so that everyone is happy.
- Every adult relationship requires you to give and take a little. The important thing is that everyone's needs are met.
- A balanced relationship involves giving and receiving love unconditionally. Your affection should not be dependent upon certain conditions or expectations.
Prioritize your needs over your desires.One of the things many people struggle with when it comes to entering adulthood is putting off things you want in favor of things you need to do. It's okay to spend some money on fun things when you have cash leftover, but you need to prioritize and take care of the essentials first.
- Identify your needs and your wants. You may have assumed that something was a necessity, but it's worth re-evaluating all of your expenses to see which items can be put on hold until you have extra spending money.
- Set up a budget and track your expenses. Make sure you're never spending more than your total income in a given month.
- Take care of essential expenses first. Before you spend money on anything else, make sure you have enough for rent, car payments, insurance, utilities, and groceries.
- Set aside an emergency fund. Whether you experience a medical emergency, a car maintenance problem, or need to replace a broken appliance, you'll be glad that you tucked away a little money every week instead of spending it all on pleasure purchases.
- Plan for medical expenses. Hopefully this isn't a pressing issue, but it's good to have a little money set aside for doctor's visits, prescription medications, and other health-related expenses.
- Dine in instead of going out. It costs far more to purchase prepared food than it does to buy the ingredients and make it at home, plus it's likely to be much healthier if you make it in your own kitchen.
- If you have money left over after taking care of your mandatory expenses and putting away money in savings, then you can treat yourself to something fun. Even if it's "leftover" money, though, it's important to continue living within your means and prioritizing how you spend that cash.
Take control of your life.One of the biggest aspects of being a grown up is taking control of the life you're living. In childhood and adolescence, your parents and family members may have been able to help you out in many different ways, but in adulthood you'll need to learn how to do things yourself.
- If there is some aspect of your life that you're not satisfied with (or that others have told you is problematic), be willing to address those issues.
- A grown up is capable of assessing her own life and making the changes necessary to lead a fulfilling and rewarding life.
- It's okay to ask for help from time to time, but as an adult you should be able to support yourself and sustain your life independent of other people.
- Recognize that no one can change your life but you. Though circumstances may limit how much you can change things, you need to be aware that you have the power to adapt and grow no matter what is happening around you.
- Start by making and striving towards goals, being independent, and taking responsibility for your actions or inactions.
Developing Adult Skills
Be independent.Being independent builds off of taking control of your life. You'll need to be able to take care of yourself in any way you need to. That can include day-to-day personal maintenance, taking care of your home, going to work on time, being productive, and managing your money wisely.
- Independence can take different forms at different ages. The key is to show independence that is appropriate for your age.
- Independence can also involve age-appropriate responsibilities. As you get older, your responsibilities will change, and you'll need to be able to accomplish what's expected of you.
- A teenager has dramatically different levels of independence than someone in their 20s or 30s, just as that individual would have different levels of independence than someone in their 50s or 60s.
- Look to peers you know and respect for a living example of what someone in your age range must do to be independent.
- If you're struggling with independence, try talking to a life coach or career counselor. You can find these services by searching online or in a phone book.
Develop and implement SMART goals.As an adult, you'll need goals of your own creation. Goals help give your life meaning and purpose by giving you something to strive towards, and offering you accomplishments worth celebrating. Implementing your goals and working towards your next great accomplishment requires you to prioritize your life, both personally and professionally.When you make goals for yourself, studies show that S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) goals are the most likely to succeed. A S.M.A.R.T. goal should address the following components:
- Specific - narrow down the scope of your goal. Rather than dealing with broad, generalized terms, focus on a clearly-defined outcome that you hope to achieve.
- Measurable - decide how you will measure success, both incremental and long-term. You'll need to know that you've achieved your goal at the end, and you'll need a way to track your progress along the way.
- Attainable - make sure that your goal can feasibly be accomplished. It's good to push yourself to achieve great things, but you need to work within your capacity at this moment to accomplish this particular goal, and develop strategies to do so.
- Realistic - ask yourself whether your goal is something you're both willing and able to strive for. Again, it's good to push yourself, but make sure that your goal isn't too far fetched.
- Time-bound - set a clear time frame for you to meet your goal. Don't make it so close that it will be impossible to achieve, but by the same token don't give yourself an unlimited span of time.
Strive for integrity and honesty.Part of being an adult involves telling the truth and living a morally upstanding life. This can obviously be interpreted differently depending on your situation, but ultimately you should be able to take pride in the choices you've made and the life you've lived.
- One aspect of integrity involves following through on your commitments. If you give your word that you'll be somewhere or help someone, make sure you carry out that promise.
- A life of integrity requires you to stand for something that you believe is just and true.
- Morality often comes into play when people speak of integrity, but morality is not necessarily universal. However, moral integrity may be thought of as being dedicated to the pursuit of a moral life (as you define what a "moral life" is).
- Honesty is often intertwined with integrity. For example, academic/creative integrity requires you to present your work as your own, and to give credit to anyone who may have contributed in any way.
Take responsibility for your life.Everything that helps you become a grown up builds towards taking ownership of your own life. Taking responsibility means not shifting the blame to others when things go wrong and not dodging responsibilities. Instead, a responsible adult is capable of answering for every decision she makes.
- Being responsible can involve many facets, depending on your age and circumstances in life.
- Responsibility is a life-long process that involves responding to situations and circumstances, as well as engaging with every possible outcome.
- Basic responsibility requires you to think things through, make decisions, and take the credit (or blame) for the outcome of those decisions.
- By planning in advance and anticipating things that might go wrong, you can more easily take responsibility for the situation as it unfolds in the future.
- Remember that being responsible for your own life also includes celebrating your victories. Don't brag or boast, but do take the time to feel good about your accomplishments.
Being a Responsible Employee
Manage your time.If you want to succeed as a working professional, you'll need to manage your time responsibly. This may mean putting off things you enjoy doing so that you can get to work on time and finish what you need to do each day. It may also require you to submit reports or projects before a deadline, which means you'll need to be aware of what day/time it is and when your obligations need to be met.
- Be punctual. Always show up for work when you're supposed to (or a little early, just to be on the safe side), and stay until you've finished what you need to get done that day.
- Make the most of your time each day. If something is important or a deadline is looming, prioritize your time to get those projects finished on time.
- Use a calendar or planner to keep track of what you need to do and when.
- Try to plan out your day either in the morning or the night before. That way you can go into work knowing what will need to be accomplished that day.
- If you find yourself procrastinating, remind yourself that the work still needs to be done. Putting off work now will only make things more difficult in the future.
- Focus on one thing at a time. Keep a mental note of what needs to be tackled next, but focus on the task at hand so that you can complete it efficiently and thoroughly.
Take action.Action-oriented employees are typically considered the best kinds of workers. That's because instead of putting off tasks or having a "someone else can do it" attitude, an action-oriented employee takes initiative and completes the tasks that need to be addressed. This is good for business and can serve as an inspiration to other employees.
- A responsible employee goes beyond the actions he or she is tasked with.
- You should try to take chances and go the extra distance to accomplish more than what's expected of you.
- Always ask yourself whether you're being action-oriented in the workplace, and avoid coasting by or doing the bare minimum.
Be ambitious.Ambition is an important component of success. If you don't have goals and dreams, or if you don't work hard to accomplish those goals/dreams, you'll never be able to change your situation for the better.
- Ambition should push you to accomplish great things.
- It's important to have ambition in your professional life, but also in your personal life. Push yourself to be the best person you can be, both on the job and in your personal relationships.
- Don't just show up to work to perform the job you have; put in the extra work to show your supervisors that you're capable of taking on greater responsibilities.
- As you demonstrate your ambition and work ethic, you may eventually be rewarded with a promotion and/or a raise.
Show attention to detail.Being detail-oriented can help you accomplish things more fully and in less time. Doing a sloppy job that's finished quickly will only leave more work for you and your coworkers the next day. Instead of rushing through and trying to get done as quickly as possible, take the time to do the job right.
- At the end of the day you should be able to take pride in the work you've done. Make sure no stone was left unturned before heading home from your shift.
- Don't overlook any aspect of the job. If a coworker has overlooked some part of their task, offer to help or show them how it should be done.
- It may be helpful to think of attention to detail in terms of cleaning up a store or cafe. You'll need to wipe down the tables first before you can sweep the floors, and those tasks must be completed before you can mop the floor.
- Make sure that every aspect of your task has been completed before moving on to the next task and before ending your shift.
Prove that you're a leader.If you're a responsible and dedicated employee, your supervisor or manager will notice your efforts. Over time, you may be considered for a promotion when an opening arises. By taking ownership of your work, exceeding what's expected of you, and working with your coworkers for everyone's benefit, you will show your supervisors that you are capable of being a strong leader in the workplace.
- Being a leader requires you to first and foremost complete your own work and take responsibility for your own actions.
- Remember that a leader is responsible for the actions of their employees just as much as he or she is responsible for their own actions.
- Leaders should be confident yet caring. If you're able to delegate tasks while also taking a real interest in the concerns your coworkers have, you might make a great leader in your workplace.
QuestionWhat if you want to seem grown up but can't be confident?
M.A, Clinical Mental Health CounselingM.A, Clinical Mental Health CounselingExpert AnswerIf you are concerned about your confidence, check out one of our articles on confidence building. You can also look into reading a few books over the topic. You are very concerned about your confidence, I’d suggest making an appointment to see a counselor.Thanks!
QuestionHow can you show your family that you want to be treated like a grown up?
M.A, Clinical Mental Health CounselingM.A, Clinical Mental Health CounselingExpert AnswerShowing responsibility is one of the best ways to be treated like an adult. Completing tasks without being asked, offering to help even if it isn’t your job, and taking initiative with work at school and home are all good ways to start.Thanks!
- Set a career goal that is right for you, and not for someone else.
- Be sure to pick a career that you enjoy and love, instead of hating it or just applying to a job for the money.
- Live within your means. This can help you tremendously as you strive to be independent and take control of your own life.
- Accept life how it is, and change the aspects of your life that you're not satisfied with.
Sources and Citations
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