Quarter-life Crisis: Creating a Plan to Move Forward

What is a quarter-life crisis? A quarter-life crisis can be defined as the period of time during a person’s mid-20s when they start to experience intense doubts about their professional and personal life. At the same time they may also face challenges with trying to become a perfect version of what success means to them.

As Millennials, this feeling is all too familiar. We survived the holiday season when we were bombarded with questions about grad school plans, romantic relationships, work-life and scolded for not visiting the family more often. We made it to the new year when every networking group we are a part of is having a “New Year, New Me” goal setting workshop. We have successfully finished our vision board and are ready to make 2017 our year!

If you ask someone who is older they might tell you this is no big deal. They will say it’s a rite-of-passage of sorts. The truth is, our crisis is a lot different from what past generations experienced in their mid-20s. We are the most educated generation in the nation. With so many qualified people in the job market, finding a job has begun to feel like the Hunger Games. We entered the workforce during the deepest recession in decades and with so many adults holding a Bachelor degree, it turned those degrees that our parents told us were the most important thing, into the equivalent of a high school diploma. We are drowning in the highest amount of educational based debt in our nation’s history.  And unsurprisingly, we have the highest reported cases of anxiety, depression and stress. It is not easy for Millennials.

We are anxious. We are a little bit scared and we have so many goals that we want to accomplish that it is hard to see them clearly. Here are some tips to calm your nerves a bit and help you thrive, adapt and overcome your quarter-life crisis:

1. Stop comparing yourself to your Instagram timeline

Social media is a blessing and a curse for the Millennial generation. It is undoubtedly the best way to connect with family and friends around the world but the perfection that is presented through the lens of social media can be discouraging. Your friend from high school just got another promotion at her dream job, multiple people are getting engaged and your best friend is traveling the world teaching English. Comparing yourself to what you see on social media can create unnecessary pressure to do more but always remember life through the internet is not always as picture perfect as it seems. Most importantly, everybody’s journey is different.

2. Start big, then go small

When setting your goals start big. Write down your dreams even if you think they are too big to achieve. Nothing is too big. Understand that your goals will change and shift and that is okay. Work your way down from five-year goals to one-year goals and even as small as one-month goals. Starting big and focusing in on specific actions to take will make your everyday goals much easier to plan and achieve.

3. Highlight the positives

Small wins are still wins. Give yourself some credit. Make sure to recognize the positive things that happen throughout the year to remind yourself how much progress you are making. Did you finally send that email to grab coffee with somebody that can help you with your business? Did you stick to your budget for the week? Write it down and every week look back on that list. Everything takes time but celebrate the small moments just as much as you celebrate the big ones.

4. Create a support group

You are not alone in this. Gather your friends and keep each other accountable. Use some of the time you all are together to check-in on each others goals and make sure to keep each other on track. There are also great networking groups like Levo League that can act as a support as well. Find others who can help you in your journey.

5. Aim for financial security

Show your bank account some love. Create a budget for yourself and stick to it. Make it the year you don’t transfer money from your savings to your checking account because you overspent. Use apps such as Digit to help you save and start small. Start learning about ways to invest your money and make sure you are spending your money strategically. Student loans, credit card debt and everyday finances can be overwhelming but try to organize them and remember every dollar counts.  

6. Give yourself a break

Schedule in some you time. You are the most important person in your life. In order to grow into the amazing person you are meant to be, you have to take care of yourself. Instead of filling your day with meetings and appointments make sure there is some time to relax. Give yourself some time to reflect and prepare yourself for the rest of the week. Whether that means taking a walk or listening to a podcast you love. Pencil in your me time.

7. Congratulate yourself on your journey

You have done a great job. It is often hard to recognize this when you are facing challenges or having trouble reaching a goal. Everybody’s journey is different and the timeline to success will be different for each person. The path you are on is perfect for you. Take the time to congratulate yourself on how far you have come.

It may seem like life is overwhelming at the moment but take the time to reflect, reevaluate and create a plan to help you move forward knowing that your version of success is not too far away.

Our generation has been shaped by major events like wars, protests, and a financial climate that in turn affect the way our generation experiences life. There are real issues contributing to the fact that you are feeling like you are in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. It is important to reach out to support and also reach out to employers, mentors and family members for a listening ear and advice.

What are other ways that you know to help young adults reach the best version of themselves during this time?