10 Mistakes I Made In My Early 20s (And How to Avoid Them)

My early 20s were a hot mess. I made enough mistakes that can fill an encyclopedia page. 

Sincerely, I wish God would give humans the ability to go back to the past and right our wrongs. 

Well, now that I can’t change the past, I can only share my experience and ensure upcoming generations don’t make similar mistakes. 

What am I talking about? Well, here are the mistakes I made in my early 20s.

1. Not Building Strong Relationships (Isolating Myself) 

This is one of my greatest mistakes that somewhat affected my growth as a person.

Oh! if you knew me back then, you would understand what I mean better. 

Have you ever met someone who wouldn’t mind spending 48 hours indoors without any issues? 

I am that person. 

Being a freelance writer didn’t help my case either.

I would remain inside my room all day, scrolling from one website to another searching for resources for my articles. 

In my quest to build my career, I often turned down invitations from friends and found excuses not to socialize. 

I told myself there would be time for that later. 

Consequently, I felt very alone and missed out on building valuable relationships.

Prevention 

Don’t overlook your social life while pursuing a better future. 

I understand the need for discipline and focus in your quest for success, but ensure you regularly connect with family and friends. 

Strike a balance between work and social life, build strong relationships with people, and you will live happily. 

2. Poor Saving Habit 

I wouldn’t beat myself over this because I didn’t make much money in my early 20s.

I was struggling alongside my cousin. 

We couldn’t make money as students in a strange land. Hence, I don’t have enough to eat or save. 

I spent money as fast as I made it, with little regard for saving or building an emergency fund. 

Nonetheless, I still believe I could save a small fraction of my earnings at the time. 

Prevention 

Make saving a habit, even if you can only afford to put away a little bit each month. 

Having a financial cushion will prevent you from going into debt when sudden expenses arise.

I suggest you save 30% of your monthly income if you command a heavy paycheck. 

You can make it 3% if your earnings are as little as mustard seeds. 

3. Ignoring My Health and Body 

No one eats late-night junk food like I do. 

Me and my financially handicapped cousin would deliberately keep our dinner till 10 p.m. before eating. 

We will go to bed 30 minutes after eating so that the food can stay in our stomach till 9 AM or 10 AM the next day. 

Don’t blame us — we were struggling to keep up with everyday needs and demands, especially feeding. 

Apart from the food aspect, my sleep schedule was inconsistent in my early 20s. 

I didn’t make my health a priority and sometimes neglected basic self-care. As a result, my health wasn’t in top shape. 

Prevention 

Don’t take your health for granted! Visit your doctor always, check your BP rate, exercise regularly, eat nutritious meals, and get enough sleep. 

Meanwhile, I understand the role of finance in maintaining good health in your early 20s. 

You need money for good food, drinks, fruits, exercise kits, and other health-related materials. 

Hence, I slammed an 80% discount on my book that discusses 9 Proven ways to make money as a student without affecting your grades.  

The book contains a step-by-step guide to making your first $100 as a freelancer or side hustler. Get it for just $5 using this link

4. Keeping Too Many Things To Myself 

Is it true that introverts hate speaking up or sharing what bothers them? Let me know your thoughts in the comment 

Do you know why I asked that question? That’s because I have seen many introverts who prefer hurting in silence to sharing their pains or asking for help. 

Unfortunately, I belong to such a ‘funny’ group in my early 20s. 

I was hesitant to speak up in meetings or pitch my ideas to clients and colleagues. 

I downplayed my talents and let opportunities pass by.

Only later did I realize how much stronger my career would be if I had been more confident.

Though I have improved in that aspect, I still have a lot of work to do.

A depressed man

Prevention

On the first of January a couple of years ago, I promised to always say whatever comes to my mind as long as they are edible and true. 

That was it. That was the turning point. 

Since then, I have mastered the act of speaking for myself, which has helped a lot. 

I no longer find it difficult to ask for help or render help vocally. 

So, learn to advocate for yourself! Ask for help when and where necessary. 

Don’t let fear and imposter syndrome stop you from exploring your potential and skill. 

Share your opinions, volunteer for projects, and don’t underestimate what you have to offer. You have to be your champion.

5. Being Impulsive with Major Life Decisions

I wish I had two mouths to discuss this point. I feel like screaming on top of my voice just so you can hear loud and clear. 

Being impulsive with a major life decision affected my growth and journey in life. 

All of a sudden, I stopped chasing my football dreams and I decided to live far away from home and family. 

Sincerely, I paid dearly for such rushed decisions, especially when things went haywire. 

Those rash choices ended up being very detrimental. I kid you not! 

Like I said earlier, if only I could turn back the hand of time, I would have made better decisions. 

Prevention

Pray before you make any life decisions. 

Seek God’s face and directions, especially when it deals with career, marriage, residence, and others. 

Think through big life decisions carefully, consult mentors, and seek advice from your spiritual father. 

Don’t make major changes just because you’re bored, your senses think it’s good, or you’re going through rough patches. 

Don’t take a step until there’s a strong conviction in your spirit or peace in your soul. 

6. Not Investing in My Career

I was a freelance content writer for many years but I hardly invested in my career. 

I rarely purchase Upwork Connect to bid for jobs. 

I didn’t have a website until I eventually had one that crashed prematurely. 

I wasn’t building any relationships with writers and bloggers on social media. 

I ignored LinkedIn because I felt it was too professional

Do you know why I did all of that? 

I didn’t treat writing as a business. I saw it as a hobby and a side hustle. 

As a result, my skills and resume suffered. Real one! 

Prevention 

You can avoid similar errors by knowing what you want from the start. 

Invest in anything you do — whether hobby, side hustle, business, or career. 

Investment isn’t just about money, it involves giving your time, effort, and concentration to what you do. 

Be strategic in advancing your career—get qualifications, make connections, and update your skills. 

Don’t rely on your company to guide your career path, you can achieve better things in your early 20s.

7. Not Praying Enough 

I am a Christian and a son of God. Forgive me if you’re hearing this for the umpteenth time. 

I grew up in a Bible-believing family that doesn’t joke with prayers and services to God. 

However, my prayer life (and spiritual life) wasn’t great in my early 20s when I was chasing after money. 

I struggled to pray and fast because I had lots of things to settle. 

Don’t get it wrong, I still prayed but it wasn’t as ‘fervent’ as I was trained. 

 Prevention 

Don’t chase after money at the expense of your relationship with God. 

Matthew 6:33 should be everyone’s watchword because that’s the only way we can keep up with God amidst our busy schedules. 

Pray and study the word of God in the morning, ask for his guidance before stepping out, commit your days to his watchful eyes, and you will enjoy his peace and see his glory.

Fast and pray at least once a week and you will see the results in your spiritual and physical achievements. 

8. Inconsistency and not Having a Personality 

This is a two-in-one point. Let’s begin with inconsistency. 

At some point, I launched my first football website (soccerstarng) to remain in the football industry since I couldn’t pursue professional football. 

I wasn’t consistent with the site and it crashed after a year. 

Later, I jumped from football to lifestyle niche— chasing after quick money. 

I got some money truly, but I wasn’t building anything for the future. 

No consistency — nothing, nothing. 

Meanwhile, consistency wasn’t the only problem, I don’t have a persona. 

Yeah, I know I’m a simple, easy-going guy but I let simple things change my thoughts and mindsets. 

I was more like a “yes-yes” or “okay-okay” guy who rarely turned people down. 

Only God knows how much I suffered for not being able to create a unique personality of my own. 

I regretted it a lot. Trust me, it’s not something you would want to do.

Prevention

I understand that in your early 20s, you are finding what works and what doesn’t. 

However, build your personality as soon as possible.

Know your strengths and weaknesses.

Create a personality that suits your ability and find the best way to live your life without compromise. 

9. Comparing Yourself to Others

Though I didn’t do this in my early 20s, I add it to the list because I have seen lots of young people repeating the same errors. 

They constantly judged themselves against what friends, classmates, and coworkers were achieving.

They let people’s achievements be the yardstick for their success and growth. 

Hence, they rarely celebrate their small wins believing they ought to have achieved the milestone many years before now. 

Prevention 

Don’t judge yourself based on your colleague’s achievements because we are all running a different race. 

While you can drive motivation from other’s successes, don’t be obsessed with it. 

Don’t be affected by their growth. Instead, be content with what you have as you strive for a better position in life. 

Know that the only person you should try to be better than is your former self. 

Be your benchmark for success, not anyone else.

Run your race at your own pace and stop comparison from ruining your happiness.

10. Staying in a Bad Relationship

Again, this is another point I added because I’ve seen many people in similar unhealthy conditions.

I haven’t been in a relationship yet! 

Yes, you heard that right. 

I feel like I’m not financially and ‘situationally’ ready for a romantic relationship. 

I want to be that guy who will treat his woman well and cater to her (at least to a better extent).  

Therefore, I’m taking my time. 

Unfortunately, only a few people are happy with their single status.

Fighting couple

They would rather stay in a dysfunctional relationship way too long because they are scared of being single.

They will sacrifice their happiness trying to fix a relationship that will never lead to a permanent site. 

Prevention 

Don’t start something you aren’t prepared for, especially marital affairs. 

Like I always say, a relationship isn’t only about love — it involves finances that will allow you to show your love and care to the fullest. 

Don’t let society set a standard for you. There’s nothing wrong with being single at 27 if you are financially unstable. 

Meanwhile, in case you’ve rushed into a relationship and it’s not giving you joy and happiness, kindly walk away. 

Marriage isn’t what you endure, it’s meant to be enjoyed.  Ask LING and LAMB ( my favorite YouTube Couple

I understand the need to persevere and tolerate some things with your spouse (my mother did).

But I advise you to dump any relationship that doesn’t make you feel valued, respected, and appreciated.

Don’t settle for less because there’s someone out there who will eventually find you worthy, lovely, and respectable. 

Don’t force it if it isn’t working.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • Why should you make mistakes in your 20s?

Making mistakes in your 20s can actually help you grow wiser and stronger. 

Taking risks, testing limits, and pushing boundaries is part of self-discovery. Don’t play it too safe. 

Meanwhile, use common sense because some mistakes have serious consequences. 

As you can see, I made mistakes and I realized it at the latter stage of my life.

Mistakes build and shape those who learn from them. 

  • Is it okay to make mistakes in your early 20s

Absolutely! Your 20s are all about figuring out who you are and what you want from life. It’s inevitable you’ll make blunders along the way. 

Don’t stress. You have time to bounce back from most mistakes. 

Let go of perfectionism. Making mistakes doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

It means you’re brave enough to keep learning and growing.

  • What are major mistakes that people make in their early twenties?

Common mistakes you are bound to make in your early 20s include poor money management, isolating yourself, and ignoring God’s purpose for your life.

Others include being in bad relationships, making poor decisions, neglecting your health, not exercising, and procrastinating. 

  • I’m in my early 20s and feel totally lost. How can I figure out what I really want?

It’s normal to feel uncertain about the future in your 20s.

Try new things, meet new people, and pay attention to what energizes you. 

Make a list of your strengths, passions and values to gain clarity. 

Don’t panic about finding your one true calling immediately. 

  • I want to be more social but I’m introverted by nature. Any tips?

Start small by pushing yourself to have one or two social outings per week. 

Try low key get-togethers before big groups.

Find people with common interests by joining clubs or taking classes. 

  • How can I fulfill my dreams without money?

You don’t need a fortune to make progress on dreams. 

Start small by breaking big goals into smaller steps and celebrate small wins. 

Find low-cost ways to gain skills and experience in your preferred career. 

Try volunteer works, apprenticeships, and read online courses for better knowledge. 

Leverage public resources like libraries and parks. Saving little by little helps too.

Group of volunteers offering help

  • How do I appreciate what I have?

Limit social media use since it fuels comparison. 

Focus on your definition of success based on your unique values, not society’s narrow standards. 

Write down accomplishments and qualities you’re proud of.

Spend time with positive people who boost your self-worth. 

Conclusion 

Your early 20s are a challenging time full of new responsibilities, tough choices, and lots of screw-ups.

In other words, it is a perfect storm for making mistakes!

Looking back, my early 20s feel like one cringe-worthy facepalm after another. 

If I could tell my early 20s self anything, it would be to slow down, be thoughtful, and think long-term. 

Meanwhile, don’t beat yourself up over mistakes – learn from them. And know that your 20s don’t define you because the best is yet to come!

What aspect of your early 20s would you change if you had the opportunity? 

Kindly share your experience with me. Tell me about a time you made a mistake in your early 20s.

The mistake with the highest number will make it to the main article in the next update. 

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