How to Be a Responsible Adult: 7 Things You Should Be Doing

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The generation of millennials are entering or well into adulthood, but many haven’t yet learned what it means to be a responsible adult. You may have gotten away with slacking off and making poor decisions up until now, but the stakes are higher and you need to take action to get your life in order.

Whether you are tired of screwing up and disappointing others (or yourself) or you’re starting a family, it’s time to learn how to be responsible. 

Luckily for you, it just takes a shift in mindset and a bit of time, and then you’ll be on your way to becoming a productive member of society. 

Here are 10 things you should be doing as a responsible adult.

1. Start Budgeting

Budgeting doesn’t mean occasionally opening up your bank account and freaking out about your spending problems, promising to change your habits. Budgeting means sitting down and setting strict rules for what you do with your income.

You can still have fun, but don’t spend all of your money every month on draft beer and new clothes. After taking into account your necessary expenses such as rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities, car payments, etc., see how much you have left each month.

Some of your extra money should go towards your savings, some may go into investments, and some into extra spending money or fun activities. Get a quality credit card like mbna smart cash to help diversify and improve your credit. 

Once you start tracking your spending each month, you’ll be shocked at how much you had been wasting on unnecessary expenses. Be smart about your spending habits and you’ll be on your way to responsible adulthood.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”…

Do you find yourself taking on tasks that you hate doing? Or maybe you continually are there for others who are never there for you?

You’re an adult with real opinions and emotions, so why are you letting others walk all over you still?

Being a responsible adult means standing up for yourself and what you want. Don’t agree to do something just because you feel bad. Once you start to say no to things that don’t serve you, you’ll have a ton more time for things you actually want to be doing. 

3. …And Be Okay with Being Told “No”

Rejection is hard to take, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s completely unavoidable. You may get rejected by job opportunities, friends, or partners, but how you deal with it is up to you.

The best advice to keep in mind when you are told “no” is to not take it personally. Don’t let the rejection completely derail you and destroy your self-confidence. Allow it to fuel you to work harder and turn that “no” into a “yes” next time. 

4. Stop Making Excuses

Do you continually put off things like exercising, cleaning the house, or running important errands? Maybe you think you don’t have the time or it doesn’t hurt to put it off a bit longer.

Wrong! Stop making excuses and start doing the things you need to do every week. Putting it off will only add to your stress and turn your to-do list into a short novel.

Also, stop making excuses that are holding you back in your personal or professional life. Do you want to finally start that business you’ve always dreamed of? The only thing that’s stopping you is… you.

5. Admit to Your Mistakes

Admitting that you’re wrong or that you made a mistake is difficult. It puts us in a vulnerable position and leaves us open to criticism. But admitting to mistakes is an important part of growing up.

It goes along with no longer making excuses. Take responsibility for your actions, regardless of the consequences, instead of hiding from your mistakes. 

It may be difficult at first, but the people around you will respect you so much more for owning up to your errors. It’s a tell-tale sign of truly growing up and becoming a responsible adult.

6. Learn Self-Discipline

Being an adult requires a level of self-discipline that you may not have needed in the past. You have bills to pay, a family to support, and people that rely on you every day. This means you need to get your stuff done and motivate yourself every day.

You’ll be faced with choices between doing something fun and being responsible, and you should start choosing the be responsible. Once you learn self-discipline, you truly are a responsible adult.

7. Be Reliable

Responsible adults don’t arrive an hour late to work. They don’t cancel on friends or family at the last minute. People rely on you and it’s time to stop letting them down. 

Turn into someone who your friends, family, and coworkers can always rely on. You don’t want to be that person that people expect to be let down by. Even if you have been unreliable your whole life, surprise the people in your life and change your ways.

8. Stop Complaining and Take Control

Life happens and things go wrong, even if you do everything right. But how you react to things going wrong says a lot about your maturity.

Do you sit back and complain about how the whole world is out to get you? Do wonder what the point is of even trying if things don’t go your way?

Stop complaining about external forces that you can’t control. Accept what has happened and figure out what you can do about it.

It’s okay to feel sad or disappointed at first, but don’t let those emotions consume you. Get back up, dust it off, and take control of what happens next.

Now That You Know How to Be Responsible…

It’s time to make some changes in your life! Stop making excuses and become the person you’ve always looked up to.

Part of learning how to be responsible is making smart financial decisions. Check out our blog page on frugal living for some great tips!

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