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7 Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Twenties

7 Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Twenties

There are so many well-hidden traps that can stop all momentum, growth and success in your twenties. And you can fall into one of these pitfalls without even realizing it, and then stay stuck well into your 30s, 40s, 50s … you get where I’m going.

Now that I’ve successfully freaked us all out, let’s talk about these pitfalls and how we avoid them.

Pitfall No. 1: Thinking Your Circumstances Define You

If you start believing “Well, this is my lot in life and I can’t do anything about it,” then you are more than stuck. Really, this pitfall makes all other pitfalls nonexistent because you never walk far enough forward to even have a chance at failing at anything else.

Don’t be cemented in your circumstances. They change all the time. We all have crappy subplots we need to work through. Don’t let them become your main story.

It’s really hard to step into your future if you don’t believe you have one.

Pitfall No. 2: Settling

Too many people date like they’re in the grocery checkout aisle, grabbing a last-second Snickers Bar because they’re hungry (so why wait?). Too many people are letting their careers pick them, instead of working with grit and determination to choose their career. Too many people are settling in a place they don’t like because they don’t believe they can leave town.

Now, I do think many of us we have to settle for certain seasons without settling completely. That’s different. That’s strategic settling for a season. I know for me personally, there were many times I had to do jobs that weren’t my dream because I was working on my dream on the side. But we don’t have to stay there forever.

Your twenties set the course for the rest of your life. If you start settling for a life that you feel is a “3 out of 10” now, it probably won’t magically become better later.

Pitfall No. 3: Becoming Someone Who Analyzes Without Action

Yes, in order to be healthy—mentally, spiritually and relationally—we need to do the tough work of self-examination. But we can’t perpetually analyze our lives without any action to move us forward.

And we shouldn’t let doing research in order to make a smart decision keep us from actually making a decision at all. There’s such a glut of information at our fingertips these days, it’s hard to pick a restaurant, church, gym or first date without feeling like you’re missing out.

Don’t be wrecked by research. Do your homework and then choose to make a choice. Then move forward in that choice.

Pitfall No. 4: Never Committing to Anything

Find something you enjoy—something that gives you life—and commit to it. It doesn’t have to be what you want to do for the rest of your life, but you can give a little of your life to it.

Your twenties are primarily about what you plant in the ground, not about what you harvest. We can’t keep pulling our seeds out of the dirt before they have time to grow.

Pitfall No. 5: Becoming Bitter Instead of Better

You might be feeling good about life. Maybe you’re even at the grocery store, with an actual list, buying things like kale and arugula! You’re crushing this whole adulthood thing.

And then you jump into the line at the checkout and start checking out Facebook or Instagram. You scroll through the glaring amazingness of your friends buying a new BMW, having a new baby, traveling to Istanbul to take pictures for American Express—and suddenly you want to replace your kale with a box of wine.

Obsessive Comparison Disorder has a way of heightening any discontent to unhealthy levels.

Don’t become bitter. Become better. Don’t smack yourself with some yardstick you’re not measuring up to.

Pitfall No. 6: Doing Life Alone

We are made for community. We thrive in relationships. Your friends are struggling right next to you to find their purpose and place.

Call a friend. Be honest about what you’re going through. Seek out mentors. Ask them to coffee. Call your mom. Find a counselor if you feel you need one.

Don’t do twentysomething life alone.

No matter how amazing we’re making our Facebook profiles look, we all have our struggles.

Pitfall No. 7: Failing to Clarify Your Signature Sauce

I believe you have a Signature Sauce—a unique mix of ingredients that gives the world a flavor that no one else can.

No, I’m not talking about some sort of magical marinara.

I believe that defining, refining, owning and honing who you are—your unique tailor-made-ness, your personal Signature Sauce—is the absolute most important thing you can accomplish in your twenties, but it’s the key to not only finding your passion, but living it for the rest of your life.

Don’t expect anyone to hire you for your passion if you can’t explain what it is. The people who are the most successful know who they are, what they believe, and why they are pursuing what they’re pursuing.

Successful people build a plan that is propelled by their purpose. And when the details of the plan change, it’s not as devastating, because their innate purpose stays intact.

Don’t get me wrong, this discovery process is not always simple and straightforward. This is why I’m working on an intentional program and community to help us refine and define what our Signature Sauce is.

You have a unique Signature Sauce that will bring you life and the world desperately needs. It’s going to take some time, strategy and intentionality to figure out what it is.

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