Creating Good Habits

The twenties is notoriously known for a time of self exploration. Why don’t we try to challenge this concept with the idea of twenties being about creating yourself.

The way I see it twenty somethings have two extreme lifestyles; they are either the “No Worries Party-er” or the “Extremely Focused Worker”. The problem is I don’t think anyone truly wants to be just one of these people. Deep down I think twenty somethings search for a balance of these two extremes.

Instead of finding ourselves in our twenties, let’s create ourselves.

Who do you want to be? What type of values do you want to be made of? How do you want people to describe you?

The answer to these questions can help us both learn who we are and make it a part of who we are. I believe the honest answers to these questions tell us who we are at our core. We are answering these questions based on something deep within us. Knowing the answers to these questions provides us with the choice to follow through with taking action on these desires or not.

This is where creating good habits come in. A habit does not just live within us, it comes from repetitive action. If we want something to be a part of who we are we need to make the  daily conscious effort to act in that way. 

These habits can be a concept or a tangible action. A concept would be something like practicing being honest or empathetic. An example of a tangible action would be a healthy diet or having daily prayer or meditation.

I mentioned my resolutions for the year in a post 6 months ago. Two resolutions I’m currently putting the most focus on is being a better friend and adding a work out routine to my work week. I’m practicing being a better friend by choosing one person to reconnect with in a special way each week. I’ve downloaded fitness apps to my phone and signed up for yoga classes in the effort to get into a habit of working out. After awhile it will be natural for me to come home from work and start a ten minute work out routine and to make plans with a friend each weekend.

When I grow up into my full adult self I want to remember people are more important than work and I want to keep myself healthy. What do you want your future self to be like?

Last week I was inspired by a post form Ambition in the City, Reconnecting with Your Passions. Cristina talked about how she reconnected with her inner yearning for painting. I thought this was a fabulous idea. I also love to paint but haven’t since I graduated.

Do you have a forgotten passion? Unleashing these inner passions is another way to create good habits as you build up the new adult you. Go ahead and use your twenties as a positive time of exploration. Try new things. See if you have any undiscovered passions. Learn about yourself outside of your comfort zone. Just remember to come back to reality and get your butt to work.

Combining values, tangible actions and passions is how we create that balanced persona. Obviously taking the time to increase your work ethic and understanding who you are are essential to growing in your twenties, but remember to focus on all areas of life. Develop your work skills, live out your passions and desires, and introduce good habits into your life to create that future self you want to be.

What passions would you like to start again? What type of person do you want to be? 

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Dr. Meg Jay from The Defining Decade – 30 Is Not The New 20

Check out my girl, Dr. Meg Jay! She’s on TED talking about her lessons for twentysomethings.

I did a post series on her book, The Defining Decade, where we learned about the importance of using our twenties to build of future in work, family and personal life. Listen to this talk, read some of my posts, and take the time to read The Defining Decade. If you learn and act, you will be better prepared than most of your peers.

“Thirty is not the new twenty, so claim your adulthood, get some identity capital, use your weak ties, pick your family. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.” ~Dr. Meg Jay

Related Articles:

From Work to Love

We’ve talked a lot about the work lessons from The Defining Decade, but is that all? Is work all we need to concentrate on in our twenties?

“[Society] is structured to distract people from the decisions that have a huge impact on happiness in order to focus attention on decisions that have a marginal impact on happiness. The most important decision any of us make is who we marry. Yet there are no courses on how to choose a spouse.” ~David Brooks, political and cultural commentator

I’d like to know why there are no classes. That seems like a pretty good idea to me.

I love how Dr. Meg Jay opens her section on love with this quote. It really opens your mind to the subject.

Why isn’t marriage a subject talked about? And when it is, why is it frowned upon? We talk about wants in our career and plan for our careers, why aren’t we doing the same for marriage? Is it one of the most important, if not the most important decision of our life.

“With one decision you choose your partner in all adult things. Money, work, lifestyle, family, health, leisure, retirement, and even death become a three-legged race.”

Wow, that’s eye opening and intimidating. Once you say, “I do” you are tied to this person. There’s no wonder why people have so many doubts as they head towards the aisle.

The worst part is if you chose wrongly, you can’t get rid of that person.You can’t give your two weeks and walk away hands free. Sure you can get a divorce, but in some way you are still bound to that person, most likely financially. Then if you have children together, think about the hassle you will have to go through to schedule “drop offs” after the hassle of filing a divorce in the first place. Then of course there’s the most important part, how it will affect your poor children.

Now enough with the melodrama let’s get down to the facts and see what we can do to choose correctly.

“Today’s twentysomething spend more time single than any generation in history… Currently, the average age for first marriage is twenty-six for women and twenty-eight for men, with more than half adults marrying over the age of twenty-five.”

Well that doesn’t sound too bad. Twentysomethings are taking their time picking their spouse. There’s bound to be fewer mistakes made, thus less failed marriages.

WRONG!

“…the divorce rate holds steady at 40 percent.”

The divorce rate has not changed because we’re taking our time. We can’t avoid divorce by delaying marriage.

Dr. Jay shares how her first psychotherapy client was a twenty-six year old  female who was dating down, named Alex. Dr. Jay was also in her twenties at the time ans saw no problem with this. When her supervisor encouraged Dr. Jay to work on this problem with Alex the classic “It’s not like she’s marrying the guy” response came out of her mouth. Her supervisor responded with…

“Not yet. But she might marry the next one. Regardless, the best time to work on Alex’s marriage is before she has one.”

I urge you to start thinking about your marriage before you have one. I will be covering Dr. Jay’s lessons on how to pick your family, living together, dating down and what “being in like” should really mean. I hope you follow these posts and take a serious look at your present and future.

Do you want to grow together with your spouse during your twenties or worry about marriage after the “age thirty deadline”?

Being The Best I Can Be

I’m on this new kick of “being the best I can be”. I’m currently 23, but I only have 2 months, exactly, until I’m 24 years old! That’s almost a quarter of my life and half my twenties!

Honestly, one day I was looking at myself in the mirror and I didn’t love what I saw. Yes, I know I’m skinny and I don’t need to lose weight, but if this twenysomething body is the best body I’m ever going to have, why not make it the best it can be?

I’m starting my version of the South Beach Diet today. My version meaning I didn’t want to pay for the real thing so I tried the free trial, took some notes and combined what I learned with advice from friends. My goal is to slim down my legs and have flat abs, just like every girl wants. What I will really achieve is a healthy life style.

Committing to this diet will start healthy habits I can keep for life. I will learn more about what is good, or bad, for me and about portion sizes.  Then, hopefully, I will create a workout routine that I can continue to keep to.

It is obvious how much I’m enjoying The Defining Decade. I think it has really drilled the idea of the twenties being the years that set up the rest of my life. I do want to do as much as I can now to start living a better life. A better life personally, professional and socially. Everything I do now can only help start a create a habit to help me throughout life.

That’s why I have also been trying to organize my life. Once I get organized I can set routines for managing my money and schedule. I can also find where I need to make key purchases like the external hard drive I need and possibly some new storage units.

Socially, I can start creating habits of meeting up with friends weekly. Saving up for a yearly reunion with friends. Keeping close relationships with my younger siblings. These are just a few ideas, but creating social habits is the most important to me. We forget about people in the chaos of everything else. We need to dedicate time to working on that part of our life as well.

This 23 years and 10 month year old will be spending the next 5 years and 2 months choosing what habits to create and working towards “being the best I can be.”

Tired of lying …

Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find, ten years has got behind you
No one told you where to run, you missed the starting gun.”

~David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright of Pink Floyd, “Time”

I started reading The Defining Decade a book about “why you twenties matter- and how to make the most of them now” by Meg Jay, PhD. I should probably mention that I DO NOT read. Its never been something that has been easy for me to get into so when I recommend a book it must be interesting. Plus, I actually bought it so that’s just another signal that shows how much I like it.

I love this book because it relates to every twentysomething out there. The writing style is very honest and personal, super easy to read. I take it with me to work to read on the subway. The introduction starts with this quote above. I think it perfectly sets the tone for what this book is about. Meg Jay is all about the twentysomethings. She truly believes (and has to research to show it) that the twentysomethings is the start of the rest of your life… which sounds really intimidating but she doesn’t make it like that. I would highly suggest that every twentysomething read this book. If I haven’t convinced you yet I will be writing reflection posts as I continue to read on. Follow through with me on Meg Jay’s advice and share your own thoughts.

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Quick Tip #0012

Talk to EVERYONE!

Talk to as many people as possible. Learn their stories, ask what their days consist of and ask for their advice! You never know what you might learn or you could find a new interest you can apply your talents to.

Stay Involved

Recently I’ve received advice and then read a couple articles with the same advice… I’m taking this coincidence to mean it is actually important to follow this advice, so I’ll continue this trend by passing it along to you as well.

Stay involved.

That’s basically it. Stay involved in the area to which you want to work.

Stay involved even when you’re out of work. 

While you’re looking for a full time position stay involved by volunteering your skills. For example, if you desire a designing position, offer to design a new webpage for a local company. You can then use that work in a portfolio and you keep your resume fresh with new projects (verses handing out resumes where the most recent dates are 3 years old).

Stay involved while you’re climbing the latter.

If you’re just starting out chances our its good to have that line on your resume, but there won’t be work you can add to a portfolio. You may be in a office position that will get you to that next step but you have nothing to show for to prove the skills you have.

This is a great opportunity to stay involved by doing your own work. If you desire to be a writer, start writing your novel on your own time or create a website. If you want to be a director of photography, work on an indie project. You might not get paid, but you’ll get experience and new material for your demo reel. If you want to be a business owner, start a small business on the side, even if it is just selling your friends home made jewelry.

Staying involved means keeping yourself relevant. You know first hand what is happening in the field. You have current experience.

Staying involved shows that you are passionate to be in this field and you want to be here.