Everyone has their own idea of what it means to be truly independent. To people, it means being financially independent and for others, it means to think for themselves and making their own decisions. When it comes right down to it, though, true independent is a mixture of both these things. You definitely need a plan set in place in order to achieve real independent. It's just not something that happens overnight (no matter how much you might wish that was the case!). Once you can create a plan, you can definitely set out on your path to living an independent life. Think about your current situation: what could you do to allow yourself to become more independent? Are you relying on anyone? Are you making your own decisions? How's your bank account doing? These are main questions you need to be asking yourself. The following 15 tips will help you become the most independent version of yourself that you possibly could be.
15 Get To Know Yourself
Getting to know yourself should be the first thing you work on while trying to be more independent. It's pretty much impossible to be who you want to be if you have no idea who you are right now. To get to know yourself, try writing in a journal and reflecting on what happened during your day, as well as how you felt about it and what you did. Think back on your past and ask if you really behaved in a way that was authentic and really reflected how you felt inside. You may be hiding someone you truly are... like a more responsible person. Find out who it is you are. Look deep down inside and find out what you really think, what your dreams and passions are, how you really feel about certain situations that you never let anyone know about before, and anything else you can learn about yourself.
14 Challenge Your Assumptions and Beliefs
Have you ever believed something because everyone else did, so you figured it must be the right thing? This could be about anything at all, like the current U.S. election. Part of being independent is challenging your assumptions and beliefs. Think back to that moment when you automatically made an assumption for this reason. How do you really feel about it? Just because your friend gave an opinion on something doesn't mean that you should take their word for it. Find out for yourself if that is what you believe too. Is your belief completely different than theirs? It’s okay to not believe the same thing as others and that is key to realize before you can be completely independent. It’s crucial to always listen to your own perspective on things. It doesn’t mean you have to argue with other people. Truly knowing your own belief system allows you to be more in touch with who you really are, and that's always going to be a good thing.
13 Be Assertive
Enhancing your self-esteem is always going to have a positive effect on your life. Becoming assertive is something you can learn by practicing it. How can you do that? Learn to say no and always stand behind what you believe in. Those are two totally crucial things when it comes to becoming more assertive. This doesn't apply to everyone of course, but some of us aren't assertive because we're stressed out or have super low self-esteem. So forcing yourself to practice this is the best way. It's best to start small and become assertive in situations that aren't really important. As you get more used to acting this way, you can stand up for yourself in more tricky, crucial situations. Learning to say no, for instance, is a hugely important thing since that's how you form healthy relationships and focus on your wants and needs. It's not about being selfish, it's being your own person and being independent.
12 Make Your Own Decisions
You can’t be independent by asking other people what you should do in a particular situation. It's not up to them to tell you. Making your own decisions is definitely key to becoming more independent. How many times has someone asked you what you want to do for the day and you said “It's totally up to you” or “What do you want to do?” Sure, it’s great to care what other people want to do, but once in a while, you need to make decisions as well. When someone asks you what you want to do, let them know and don’t hold back on making your own decision. Do you have an important decision to make in your life? You can consider opinions from other people, but it’s crucial to form your final decision on your own. What makes each person so unique is how we all have our own opinions.
11 Love Yourself
While it may seem that many people have so many negative thoughts about themselves, a lot of us have great self-esteem and think positively about the people that we see staring back at us in the mirror. The main problem is that most of us only focus on the negative. But what do you love about yourself? What are some good traits you like about yourself? Are you caring? Helpful? Motivated? Self-Driven? Optimistic? Even if it isn’t any of the traits listed, think of something about yourself and always focus on that. When you think negatively of yourself, overpower that thought by focusing on what you love. By being aware of what you love about yourself, you can focus more on being independent as you will have more confidence in the decisions you make in your life and what you choose to do with your life.
10 Give Yourself Emotional Support
In order to become independent, you definitely have to take charge of your emotions, and that means supporting yourself. Allow yourself to actually feel your feelings. It's never good to hold everything inside and brush them off. You need to be self-aware. You'd be surprised what a difference that means in how independent you feel. Don't hold anything in. Don't just say to yourself "I shouldn't feel this way" and try to push your emotions deep down and ignore them. When you become more independent, you have to take your own feelings into consideration. You feel the way you do for a reason, so you need to honor and respect that. When you can learn how to comfort yourself and work through your feelings, that's a huge step toward self-fulfillment. We can’t really live our dream and have a positive outlook on life by ignoring our feelings and not addressing them. That's a recipe for disaster.
Never settle for what your life is like right now. There's an entire world within your reach and solo traveling can teach you independent skills. The more you explore your options and find what is available to you, the more you become independent. Start by exploring new places, reading new books to tap into the minds of other people who are comfortable independent. You can take what you learn from others and use it as exposure for yourself to learn how you can become independent. Attend as many events as you can and ask any questions on your mind. Ensure you are absorbing experiences that you can apply to your current situation when possible. Try volunteering for a project, organization or charity. When you become involved with something, that can make you a lot more independent.
8 Make A Plan
Start thinking about your vision for your life, including what kind of salary you want to be making. Once you have that stuff squared away in your mind, you can put a plan together to achieve your vision. For example, if you want to buy a home within two years, create a plan that will allow that to happen. The more time you invest in your goals, plans, and future, the more you can be independent and actually bring your vision to life instead of just thinking about it and wishing that things were different. The best part? You can visualize your future at any time and any age. By having a plan, you will feel more confident, which means you are more apt to stick to the plan and not depend on anyone for your future. You may change your plan around as it fits your life, but never stop focusing on your goals and dreams.
7 Stick To A Budget
Tracking your budget is one of the most important aspects of being independent. You can’t rely on anyone else for your future, so you really need to learn to take care of yourself. You need to create a budget and stick to it. To be responsible, you need to be honest with yourself about your spending. While you are keeping track of your budget, make sure to write down every dime that you spend. It doesn’t matter if that Starbucks coffee was only $4 that one day last week you were dying for some caffeine – $4 adds up over time. If you spent $4 once a week, that's $16/ month. Think about all those times you went out to dinner. Say it was $10 and you went one each weekend with your friends. That “one” meal each week comes out to $40 per month. That $40 plus the $16 is $56 per month. You could be saving that money, of course. So make sure you're not only sticking to a budget but keeping track of how much cash you're spending.
6 Make The Right Career Choice
In order to be financially stable, you don't have to quit your day job. You just need to have a steady income that you can put towards savings and other commitments. It’s wise to have a career that provides the flexibility of paying bills, saving money, and investing, as well as having a job you love.Along with making money comes taxes and most people dread that time of year. To enhance your new independent skills, seek out a tax expert. They are trained in the area you know nothing about. It’s wise to have all of your paperwork organized and ready each tax season so your taxes can be accurately completed. Not only do you need a tax expert, but you may also benefit from hiring a professional to go over 401 (k) options and IRA accounts. The sooner you start contributing, the better off you will be when you reach retirement age.
5 Stay Aware
It’s not okay to be late paying bills. It can hurt you in the long run, especially with credit cards. One late payment on a credit card can knock off quite a few points on your credit score. Get a planner! You can find a super pretty, girly one and only write in it with brightly colored pens. Whatever works! Start by making a list of all the payments you have. Next, according to the days the payments are due, write each one down in your planner. Repeat this each month. At the beginning of each week, look in your planner and see what is due that week. For extra security, you could always look ahead one month and make sure your financial situation is on point and that you will have enough money to cover your bills. As long as you make the effort to keep track of what bills have to be paid and what's due when, you'll start feeling a lot better about yourself, and you won't have to worry!
4 Celebrate Your Success
We all need to brag sometimes. It’s totally okay! If we didn’t celebrate our success, what would be the point of even achieving anything? It's not selfish to be proud of yourself. Track each goal you accomplished and make a brag book! Nope, they aren’t just for college students! When you are feeling down or need some motivation, look at your brag book, flip through the pages and you will be able to feel that excitement all over again. If you don't celebrate when you achieve something amazing, it can be hard to keep track of your successes, and you definitely want to be able to remind yourself of how awesome you are when you're having the worst day ever! When you feel like you can’t reach a goal, you can look back and notice how far you've come and that you did it all by yourself. Yay for being independent! When you keep track of your success and make sure to celebrate it, that motivates you to keep going.
3 Be The Change You Want To See
What type of change do you want to see? You obviously want to be more independent. What type of changes can you make to do so? Can you start looking at your budget and making adjustments to your spending? Can you start going certain places alone? Can you go after what you really want without holding back? How about saying what is on your mind and voicing your opinion, no matter what others would think? These are all very important questions you need to ask yourself in order to move forward. Think about the changes you would like to make for yourself. Where are you in your life? What is holding you back at this very moment from being the independent version of yourself that you would like to be? Write those changes down if you have to. Cross them off as you accomplish them (and don’t forget to add them to your brag book!).
2 Learn to Cook
It’s crucial to learn how to cook. Sure, you can go out and order meals every day, but where is that going to leave you financially? Not to mention, how is that going to affect your long-term health?! Probably not that well. Take some cooking lessons or ask your mom to teach you the basics. She's definitely going to jump at the chance! Look up recipes online and make meals from scratch. There are tons of resources when it comes to learning how to cook. Even if you have to ask someone to teach you, that's totally okay! It’s never wrong to ask someone for help. Learning to cook will allow you to cook your own meals at home, provide for your current or future family. You won’t have to worry about having someone else cook for you or wondering what restaurant your next meal will be at.
1 Purchase Assets
When you're financially stable, you can definitely purchase access that generates income, and that will definitely send you on the path towards independence. It doesn’t matter if you invest in collectibles, real estate, stocks, or cash investments -- they all have up and down markets. It’s crucial to truly understand the assets you are about to invest in. Having a professional to assist you would be a wise decision. There are many different things you can invest in and it’s important to learn everything you need to about investing before you jump right into it. Researching everything you can about investing is the best step you can. Nothing says being independent like having purchased assets. It shows you are reliable and looking to better your future. If you follow these steps, nothing will be able to stop you from being super independent, so why not start today?!