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20 Habits For a Better 20s
How to stop winging it.
Your 20s are a strange decade.
For the most part, people in their 20s run around like headless chickens trying to prove their worth and impress each other, and no one seems to know or think about why.
Many people spend their 20s on autopilot, only to realize at 30, 35, or even later that they completely fucked up without even realizing it. They live, but not conscientiously.
These habits will help you change that.
Read a lot.
Most people, in their early 20s especially don’t read. If they do, they do it sparingly, not daily.
Also notice that I didn’t say “read books”.
There’s a lot of great writing out there in the form of blogs, tweets, and also books. Hell, you’re reading this newsletter. I like to think that counts for something.
Naval Ravikant’s Twitter thread on making money, for example, was a piece of writing that was huge for me. Read everything you like to read until reading is a part of your life.
Writing (you don’t have to publish)
Before I started writing, I was horrendous at communicating.
Writing taught me how to better correlate my thoughts and feelings with language, and this made me better at communicating with both myself and other people.
It also gave me a job, new friends, and a place where I could express myself, which leads me to the next habit.
Sharing your ideas with people.
You can do this via writing, videos, or any form of content creation.
You can also just talk to people. Contrary to how it seems online, you don’t actually need to try to make money off your ideas.
What you do need to do is to test and see if your ideas hold any merit.
The best way to improve your ideas is to put them on trial. If you’re pissing people off or being ignored, think about why.
Learn to have quality ideas through testing them socially.
Dating and spending time with friends.
I see a lot of advice online that in your 20s, you should “focus on your career, not dating or your social life”.
That’s kind of bullshit.
Being social is good for you. Dating is good for you. Just don’t be an idiot and quit everything you love and want over a girl.
Don’t take yourself so seriously — have some fun.
None of this matters that much anyway.
Focusing on your career.
“But wait! You just said…”
Nuance and balance are important when it comes to being happy.
Extremes are not good — they’re just trendy on the internet.
That said, it’s easier to focus on your career (and change your career) in your 20s before you’re older and drowning in responsibilities and “life stuff”.
After high school, a lot of my athletic friends went to college and stopped exercising.
They got beer bellies. It’s kind of sad.
Don’t be 22 with a drinking problem and beer gut.
Your body can do crazy things in your 20s. Your metabolism is the best it’ll be for the rest of your life. You heal quickly from illness, injuries, and hangovers.
Take advantage of it.
Lift weights, play sports, or learn to fight. Your older self will thank you.
Skipping happy hour.
I hate happy hour. It feels empty and sad.
They should rename it “sad hour”.
You can be social without going out for drinks. I come from a family with a history of alcohol abuse, so I avoid drinking as much as possible.
Use that time to find people who want to hang out with you sober.
Managing your sleep.
Insomnia is a real condition, but it’s overdiagnosed.
Most people have a stress problem disguised as a sleep problem.
They use drugs and more stress to deal with problems that could be fixed naturally. Good sleep habits will accelerate your skill development rapidly.
Being vulnerable, not weak.
Most men think that if they show any “weakness”, they’ll never attract any women.
The world is more complicated.
It’s fine to cry sometimes. Vulnerability doesn’t make you weak. Bitching and doing nothing about what’s bothering you does.
Being human isn’t unattractive. Being helpless is.
You should have shitty breakups in your 20s.
If you meet someone who’s never had a painful breakup, their worldview is probably pretty naive. Nothing broadens your perspective like a strong pain and social rejection cocktail.
A breakup isn’t going to kill you, but it will make you stronger.
Better to break up at 20 than to divorce at 40.
Testing your limits.
When you’re young, your body recovers fast from injury and exhaustion.
This makes it the best time to test your limits. Learn how much hustle you can take without breaking down so that you can build sustainable habits for your future self.
Optimal performance comes from below your limits, but first, you have to figure out where those limits are.
That’s what youth is for.
Managing your money intelligently.
I’m not rich, but I make a decent living from writing and fighting people.
I do what I love for work — professionally, I can’t really ask for more than that.
I can do this because I don’t spend more than I earn.
Scared money don’t make no money. No money also don’t make no money.
Learn to budget well so that you aren’t 35 and “too poor” to go out to eat with your friends.
Turning off your phone.
Happiness isn’t in your phone.
Cheap dopamine is in your phone, but happiness isn’t.
It’s very easy to get addicted to your phone and social media. I use social media as part of my job, so I get it. You have to make a habit of unplugging from the internet — every single day.
Spending time with your parents.
My parents are flawed people. Yours are too.
Get over it.
Get dinner with your mom and dad every now and then so that you don’t regret it when you can’t anymore.
Trying new things.
No, I don’t mean cocaine or meth.
Everyone has their daily habits — your job, post-work hobby, typical meals, etc.
Make a habit of breaking your habits — maybe once per week. This is how you get to know new parts of yourself.
Developing a good diet.
After a decade in martial arts, I struggled with obsessing over my weight.
For a while, I weighed myself 8–10 times per day. “Eating disorder” isn’t the right word, but it was definitely disordered eating.
I was an emotional eater and obsessed with “being shredded” — a deadly combo. Learning how to eat healthfully and intuitively changed my life.
When anxiety dictates your decisions, your life becomes unpredictable and your potential becomes limited.
Anxiety isn’t like a cold. It doesn’t just “go away” on its own. You have to make a habit out of dealing with it.
Try: therapy, journaling, positive affirmations, mindful observation of thoughts (I like to walk and be mindful)
People in their 20s are usually pretty terrible at listening.
Everyone can talk and write and share ideas, but not many people can listen well. If they did, everyone would probably be sharing better ideas instead of the same political rants on Facebook over and over again.
Listening is the prerequisite to learning and building relationships. Learn to listen well and your life will transform.
The way you overcome “Peter Pan syndrome” is by sacrificing the naivety of your childhood.
Quit stuff that won’t serve you in adulthood (like toxic relationships, bad jobs, your childlike innocence, etc.) and start living life.
Grow up, get your hands dirty, and specialize.
Life is hard.
All of the habits above come from going against your primal desire for cheap dopamine and easy living and choosing something more difficult or complicated.
That’s why they’re challenging.
You’re probably going to slip up at some point.
Failure does not define you.
A while ago, I wrote an article called “20 Habits That Will Ruin Your 20s”.
This article is basically the follow-up to that one. If you want to check out the original piece, here it is: