Time flies when we’re in our 20s, and it’s natural to worry about whether or not we’ve made the most of it. Did we focus on the right things? Are we where we want to be now? The best way to prepare for these questions and answer them honestly is by making sure to spend time focusing on what really matters and what may help us down the road. After scouring a Quora thread for the best advice, we’ve compiled a list of things 20-somethings should invest their time in.

1. Network.

Surround yourself with driven individuals to create more opportunities for success in both your professional and personal life. Forge relationships because you don’t know when you’ll need them. As Karan Jaiswani said, “seize the day and plan for tomorrow.”

2. Read. A lot.

Took the time to read Not only is reading productive, but it also helps you better understand people and the world around you. So go ahead and read anything you can get your hands on—current news, nonfiction, fiction, self-help books, or career advice!

“This will keep your mind stimulated and open to ideas. You will get a number of ideas for each author that you can implement in your life. You will also get opinions from across the globe,” Rizwan Aseem says.

[Related: 6 Things You’ll Regret in You 20s]

3. Take care of your body.

Although it may not be at the top of your list, priorities-wise, taking care of yourself by washing your face at night, exercising, and wearing sunscreen (and re-applying as needed), is important. These are general healthcare habits that you will appreciate later in life if you start considering them now, in your 20s. As Aseem points out, “No matter what you do in your life, you will do it in your body. You can’t replace it, get a new one, or trade it in. This is your body and you will live in it.”

4. Use your time and money on education.

Anuj Kumar says that education is a worthy investment because it allows you to figure out your passion in life. He suggests trying different things until you find something you’re passionate about and then finding a way to make a career out of it. If further education is necessary, don’t hesitate to get it.

5. Pay attention to your mental health and well-being.

It’s crucial to invest time into not only taking care of your body but also your mind. Be intentional about what you expose yourself to on a daily basis and make an effort to regularly challenge and stimulate your mind. Keep in good mental health by using it frequently- just as you would any other muscle! If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

6. Learn new skills (and master them).

Although “follow your passion” is decent advice, John. J. Bowman argues that it’s better to excel in a set of skills that can be handy no matter what you’re passionate about.

7. Create and maintain good habits.

The most challenging element of developing healthy habits is simply taking the first step. However, once you are able to do that, they’ll have an incredibly positive influence on both your current and future life. This is because, as Rizwan correctly points out,” once a habit is established it lasts for a lifetime.”

8. Build meaningful relationships.

It’s time to get rid of the people in your life who are only there when things are going well and make room only for those who will stick by you no matter what. Just as you grow and mature, so should your relationships. You can’t afford to waste any more time on people who will hold you back from achieving your goals instead of helping you reach them.

9. Eat well.

Taking the time to plan ahead for healthier meals pays off in the long run. You’ll have more energy and be able to maintain a healthy body as you age. When you’re younger, it’s easy to get away with eating junk food like chips and sodas, but those days are gone. It might take a little extra effort, but your future self will thank you.

10. Establish a system for handling finances.

Aseem lays it down—if you want your finances to take care of you tomorrow, then today is the day to start taking care of them. To do this effectively, assess where your money goes and what regular expenses look like for you. Most importantly, avoid any business opportunity that seems too good to be true because most likely it is). Additionally, try not to use credit cards as often as possible and make a point to save regularly so there’s always something set aside for a rainy day.

11. Travel.

In your twenties, you’re usually full of energy and enthusiasm, and you have the mobility to travel and explore. So go ahead and indulge your wanderlust! Experience new cultures, countries, and challenges. You will learn things that you can take with you back home.

12. Communicate with loved ones.

By showing the people in your life that you remember and care about their important days, you create a two-way support system of love and appreciation. It doesn’t take much time or effort to write a card or make a call, but it means the world to those on the receiving end.

13. Examine what you really want in life.

With everything that happens in your 20s, it’s easy to forget what you really want in life. Tonya Turpin advised that you “actively, and with intent, become aware of the world and everything it holds. Not just about the outside world, but also the one in your head. Spend time alone because it is the only true way to get to know yourself. Be curious and question everything.” Figure out what you’re passionate about, and make a plan on how to achieve it. You won’t regret taking the time to better yourself.

This was originally posted on POPSUGAR.

Photo: SplitShire

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