7 Steps To Getting Your Life Together When You Realize You're An Adult

Get this adulting thing right.

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Unless you're that kid from the Boss Baby franchise, you weren't born into the world knowing the basics of adulthood. And unfortunately, many of the facets that comprise how to be an adult aren't taught in school.

While you legally become an adult at the age of 18, at that time most people are only just leaving high school and getting their bearings in the "real world."

When do we become adults mentally, then? Well, according to research, that doesn't happen until our 30s!


"There isn't a childhood and then an adulthood," Professor Peter Jones from Cambridge University explains to BBC. "People are on a pathway, they're on a trajectory."

If you need some assistance in getting yourself on this forward trajectory, there are a few steps you can take to prepare yourself for adulthood.

RELATED: 20 Hilarious Quotes That Prove There's No Such Thing As 'Adulting'

From becoming financially literate to learning successful communication tactics and more, here's how to be an adult in 7 steps.

1. Take responsibility for things.

One of the biggest markers of adulthood is taking responsibility for your actions.


"There can be a moment in a person’s life when taking responsibility for their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors is no longer optional," Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Gestalt Therapist Christine Vargo says.

"The process of being an adult requires a capacity for self-awareness," she continues, "undoing old patterns learned from one’s family of origin and recognizing ownership of choice."

An adult doesn’t make excuses when they’ve messed up — they take accountability instead. 

An adult that refuses to own up to their mistakes is immature.

Accountability and self-hatred are not the same things. An adult is able to identify a mistake and move forward without spiraling into anxiety and guilt


2. Have tough conversations.

Nobody actually enjoys having difficult conversations. Adult life, unfortunately, entails a good amount of confrontation.

From discussing relationship values with a partner to confronting roommate disagreements, an adult is able to have hard conversations.

During these difficult conversations, they’re able to listen and speak openly without criticism toward others. 

3. Be honest.

Lying to others — and to yourself — has never been a good look. 

While most people don't lie maliciously (in fact, a 2020 study found that people may lie in order to appear honest), eventually, telling lies will undermine people's trust in you.


It's also just as important to be honest with yourself, especially about your feelings. Bottling up your emotions and denying your feelings only leads to more resentment. 

RELATED: What To Do About The Agony Of ‘Adulting’ (At Any Age)

4. Learn how to apologize.

Learning to apologize is similar to taking responsibility. 

Nobody is perfect. In your adult life, you’re bound to disappoint people — sometimes even the people you love.

Sometimes people will lash out over you for things you find ridiculous, but other times you will be the one who makes a mistake.

Instead of deluding yourself into thinking you did nothing wrong or wallowing in self-pity, take accountability and move forward. 


5. Say "no."

Saying "no" is something a lot of young people and adults struggle with.

Oddly enough, young adults tend to find comfort in people-pleasing and catering to other people's needs.

If you are an empathetic person, people will try to take advantage of you.

Setting boundaries is crucial in your adult life. It's okay to say no.

6. Keep a tidy space.

Believe it or not, keeping your home clean is essential.

Having a messy room can interfere with your well-being by raising your stress and anxiety levels, and can even your ability to maintain a healthy romantic relationship

One way to keep your home organized is to have a place for everything.


You can purchase things like closet organizers, desk organizers, and filing cabinets for a pretty cheap price.

7. Save money.

Financial literacy is the holy grail of adulthood and one of the most important things on the list of responsibilities for adults.

While money isn't everything in terms of living a happy life, living paycheck to paycheck isn't ideal. 


Though circumstances out of your control may hinder your ability to save extravagant amounts of money each month, being aware of how much you're bringing in vs. how much your spending is essential to staying in the green.

There are (free!) online resources you can use to learn how to budget effectively.

Most importantly, try not to compare your life with the lavish ones you may see on TV and across social media, which can induce you to live above your means.

RELATED: 7 Steps To Gain Financial Freedom, Save For The Future, & Get Out Of Debt

Izzy Casey is a writer who covers pop culture and entertainment for YourTango.