How to Become an Adult

Three Methods:Living an Adult LifestyleAcquiring Responsible HabitsChanging Your Mindset

It can be difficult to make the transition from childhood or adolescence to becoming a capable adult. Everyone has a different version of what it means to be an adult, but there are some common goals to achieve in order to function as an independent person and make your way through life on your own merit, without the help of parents or guardians.

Method 1
Living an Adult Lifestyle

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    Complete your education. Earn a high school diploma or GED at minimum, and go for a college Associates, Bachelors, or even Masters or PhD degree to have better chances at landing a well-paying job that you enjoy. Find something you love to stick with in school, and this will likely give you a purpose in your adult life.[1]
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    Get a job. Diligently search online job hunting sites, newspaper classifieds, or get to know people in your field that might have job opportunities for you to start earning a paycheck. Once you have a job, get to work on time every day, do your work consistently, and find opportunities to learn; this will show your worth as a responsible employee.[2]
    • Submit quality cover letters and resumes that show your education and experience when applying to jobs.[3]
    • Don’t forget to ask questions in job interviews, and research the company ahead of time.[4]
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    Become financially independent. Get a job with a consistent and large enough paycheck to cover all of your expenses, and don’t rely on parents or others to provide for your bills, spending money, or other finances.
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    Get health, vehicle, and renters/homeowners insurance. When you’re of age, research and choose an insurance company for your health insurance and start paying premiums. If you have or plan to get a car, house, or apartment, you need insurance to cover those things, too.
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    Find an apartment/house of your own. Find an apartment or house to rent or buy by searching online, in newspaper classifieds, or at an apartment finder service. You should find something that charges reasonable rent and that’s in a condition and area that makes you feel safe and healthy. Ideally, choose something that is close to work and other activities, and that you can afford to live in without roommates.
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    Have reliable transportation. Depending on what town or city you live in, buy a vehicle or find public transportation routes that you can easily use. You can find less expensive used cars at used car dealers, online, or in newspaper classifieds. You can often buy bus, train, or subway passes for less when you buy them for frequent use over long periods of time.
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    Travel the country or world. Save money and plan to travel to new places in order to experience new things, people, and ways of life.
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    Seek committed relationships. Focus on committing to both friendships and romantic relationships that you see as lasting, with people that are also mature, responsible, and kind to you. Don’t waste time on flings or with people you know won’t last, and cut out anyone that brings out the worst in you.
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    Take responsibility for your actions. Recognize that everything you do has a consequence, and you are in control of the outcome of your life through your own words and actions. If you want to get into a great college or university, you have to do well in school. Or, if you talked back to that former boss of yours, you won't be able to use her as a reference for a job you really want. See that both good and bad actions, and their outcomes, are your choice.

Method 2
Acquiring Responsible Habits

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    Be on time to everything. Be somewhere if you say you will be, and show up on time; a basic sign of responsibility and respect.
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    Use money wisely. Make budgets for your weekly spending on coffee, shopping, groceries, etc., and stick to it. Set a certain fixed amount or percentage of your paycheck that will go directly into a savings account that you don’t spend from.[5] You can also put money into a retirement fund, or invest it in the stock market with the help of an investor or a phone app.[6]
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    Pay off bills, debts, and loans regularly. Set up auto-payments, email or text alerts, or other methods to easily pay or remind yourself to make payments on time, on a consistent basis. Pay your full credit card or loan balance if you can to avoid incurring interest and fees.[7]
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    Organize your possessions. Store and organize things in your apartment or home in a logical way that will make being on time, put-together, and responsible much easier. Buy simple storage bins or closet organizers to reduce clutter and make things easy to find.
    • Follow this list for whether to hang or fold clothes. Hang up on hangers: coats, dresses, nice pants and skirts, button-down shirts, and nice blouses. Fold up in drawers: jeans, t-shirts, underwear, socks, and sweaters.[8]

Method 3
Changing Your Mindset

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    Let go of childish behavior you still have. Recognize if you have these common tendencies and work on changing them through simple intention, mental exercises, or therapy:
    • Sulking, whining, or complaining,
    • Manipulat­ing others to get sympathy
    • Continually seeking direction from others
    • Acting in a disorganized or irresponsible way
    • Procrastinating, carelessness, and frequently being late
    • Driving recklessly, or acting without regard to yours or others’ health and safety.[9]
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    Make independent decisions. Make choices in your life, whether they’re about colleges, jobs, relationships, or goals, because they are important to you and make you happy, not because your parents, friends, or other people tell you that you should.
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    Like the things you like. It may sound obvious, but just own up to the things you genuinely enjoy and that make you happy. If you like a band that most people you know would deem corny or outdated, don’t make excuses or say that you like them in an ironic, joking way; just enjoy them.[10]
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    Respect authority figures, without needing their constant approval. Let go of any tendency to rebel against or defy those older than you or in a superior position. Listen respectfully to those above you, and know that just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you don’t have to listen to others. On the other hand, don’t do everything you do just to seek approval of superiors in your school, work, or social life.
    • For example, if your boss or teacher tells you a report is due, listen and respond by completing the report on time. But don’t come back to your boss/teacher after every section of the report is done to seek his or her praise or approval before you can move on to the next step.
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    Seek out constructive criticism. Listen to and even seek out feedback from teachers, peers, bosses, coworkers, and others in your life, without jumping straight into defending yourself.
    • First, listen carefully to everything the person has to say about you or your performance. Then, decide which parts of their feedback you agree or disagree with, and what could be helpful to you. Finally, respond to them with mature and genuine questions, concerns, and thanks.[11]
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    Develop goals and stick to them. Make goals that are both readily attainable (such as “Make a new friend this week” or “Go somewhere you’ve never been”) and more long-term (such as “Become a chef in a 5-star restaurant” or “Save enough money for a house”). Write your goals down to keep them in your mind, and reward yourself every time you attain one.
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    Don’t blame others for your mistakes; own them. When something goes wrong, avoid blaming other people or circumstances for the problem. Instead, follow this process to recognizing your mistakes without shame and using them to create better circumstances:
    • Acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake
    • Do whatever is possible to correct it
    • Think of how you can prevent it from happening again
    • Come up with a mantra or a phrase to repeat in your head to avoid shame, such as, “It’s over and it won’t happen again.”[12]


  • Don’t compare where you are in becoming an adult with those around you. Everyone accomplishes levels of independence at different times and ages.


  • Don’t try to rush the process of growing up! Nearly every older person you talk to will say that their youth was the best part of their life and they wished they appreciated it more at the time.

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Categories: Youth