13 biggest mistakes everyone makes in their 20s

It will all work out, we promise.

Untitled 1

You're 20-something now. That's great. Well done for getting this far. Some even say it's even the best period in life. But of course, it ain't easy.

Trying to figure out who you are, chasing after that dream job, and navigating the dating scene all at once can be very tricky.

Luckily, we compiled a list of common mistakes people your age make so you can avoid them.

  1. 1 Blindly pursuing passions

    Don't ignore your passions, but be realistic about what you'll be able to achieve.

    However head in the clouds your dreams are, you go for them. But (yes of course there's a but) make sure to have some sort of backup plan that will allow you to pay your bills just in case (even if only theoretically).

    For example, you may not be able to make a living as an artist - your dream profession - but with some work you can use your talents to start a career in graphic design which is much more realistic.

    Trust us, waking up one day when you're 30, with no money to your name, still living with seven other flatmates in a tiny apartment is not worth blindly doing what you love.

  2. 2 Blaming others for everything

    Hold yourself accountable for everything. Don't rely too much on others. Instead of making problems, create solutions.

    Whether it's missing out on a promotion at work, not being able to afford a nice holiday you dreamed of for months, or messing up that important presentation you had to do, there is no one that can be held accountable in this universe except for you.

  3. 3 Neglecting your health or finances

    Okay, fine. Your 20s are about living life big, being creative, and seeing the world. But they’re definitely not about being dumb.

    You can't be a waiter or an occasionally-commissioned freelance writer and expect it to be a financially smart decision to travel the world for six months. Of course, you could argue that experiences are more important than things (which is partly true), but it's important to remember that money won't magically appear in your bank account. It's all about balance.

    Saving as little as £2 a day when you’re 20 can help you have £10k of savings when you're 35. Just think about it.

    The same goes for your health. You are now young and free and your knees work great, but in 10 years time, they might not. Take care of yourself. Go for a check-up occasionally. Try to stop drinking quite so much.

  4. 4 Comparing yourself to others

    We will let you in on a secret: no one has it "figured out", 99.9% of us have no idea what they're doing till the day we die.

    And yes, your uni nemesis Becca may have her own company by 24 and a summer house in France, but that doesn't mean she's any closer to the finish line.

    We’ve all got our own paths, and you’re on yours. Don’t let the pictures filtered with Earlybird and fake happiness give you a negative mindset.

  5. 5 Wanting to be the smartest / happiest / funniest person in the room

    The hard truth is - if you’re the best person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

    Part of growing up and becoming an adult is being shaped and motivated by those around you. If you’re around friends that push you, that challenge you, that expect you to be better every time you meet, you’ll likely rise to the occasion.

  6. 6 Giving up too easily

    Instant gratification is your biggest enemy. The only thing that ever comes close to this expectation is when you order pizza - and even then you have to wait half an hour for the driver to deliver.

    Relationships, jobs, self-made businesses, artwork, success - it all takes time, work, and, more often than not, it takes failure.

    Giving up is like deciding to quit running a marathon two yards before the finish line. You've come so far already. Look back at all your achievements, those big and small. Don't give up.

  7. 7 Fearing failure

    It's very likely that the constant fear of not meeting expectations paralyses you to the point where... well, you don't meet those expectations.

    No decision should be made out of fear, much less ones as big as those about your life, relationships, and careers.

    It takes many years to learn, but failure is just part of the learning process. Sure, give yourself a week or two to be sad, but then regroup and see what else you can do to succeed. Some of the best successes came out of failures.

  8. 8 Getting involved in relationships that hold you back

    The girlfriend that doesn’t want you to travel. The boyfriend who takes up all of your free time, leaving no room for personal growth.

    The relationships you build with people are an investment. Of course, you can't go around creating friendships based on hard calculations alone, but you also have to be realistic here: those who hold you back have to go.

    The only people you need in your life are the ones who respect you, make you happy, and push you to be a better person. And that's not necessarily the person who was holding your hair out of the toilet in Fresher's week.

  9. 9 Not travelling enough

    We know, we know - we've just told you to save up your pennies and not waste them on backpacking through Europe or hiking in Asia. But at the same time, your 20s is the best time to see the world. The secret lies in balance. Save some, and spend some.

    When you're older, with a mortgage to pay off and perhaps a couple of children frolicking in your living room, you definitely won't have time or money to see Spain, Japan, Canada...

    Make a financial plan. Be realistic with your wants. Don't be reckless.

  10. 10 Not continuing to learn

    A lot of people in their 20s graduate from uni and happily declare they will never pick up another book in their life ever again. Which is one of the dumbest things you could do, actually.

    Sure, your all nighters and painful essay writing sessions are behind you, but you should never stop searching for knowledge.

    The good news is - this time around you can choose what you dedicate your time and attention to. Whether it's the history of a specific country, or the new advancements in molecular chemistry, there must be something that sparks your interest. Don't let that spark die out. And now you don't HAVE to learn, it's way more fun.

  11. 11 Relying on social media

    No, we don't mean to suggest you should give up social media altogether. Quite on the contrary - we are big advocates of it.

    HOWEVER, in the spirit of "keep on learning" we mentioned before, try to avoid shaping your knowledge of things based only on headlines you see on Facebook and Twitter.

    Question everything you see and always look for reliable sources. Social media is great for introducing you with new issues, but don't let that be your only source of information about the world around you. Maybe, like, read a paper. A paper one.

  12. 12 Wasting time

    Marathoning six seasons of a TV show in a week sure seems like a great idea now, but when you'll look back at your 20s with sentiment 15 years from now, you will regret wasting so much precious time.

    Of course, you don't need to give up watching Orange is the New Black entirely, but make sure to pick up a useful hobby or two to make a better use of your spare time.

    And you never know, maybe the skills you learn will come in handy in your next job. Win-win.

  13. 13 Thinking you're the only one struggling

    News flash: you're not. Yes, you are a special snowflake and there's no one quite like you out there, but most of your experiences are at the very least, relatable to other people.

    So when things get too overwhelming, don't hold back - talk about your feelings to your friends. Have a conversation with your parents. Hell, even reach out to strangers on the internet! A lot of people your age (and older!) are bound to have been through the same problems and doubts and are happy to share their wisdom with you.

    Now, take a deep breath and repeat: EVERYTHING WILL BE JUST FINE.

    Feature image © NBC

    RELATED: 21 things I would tell 20-year-old me now I'm 30