7 Key Mistakes 17-20 Year-olds Make

Updated: Sep 25

We've identified the seven key mistakes many young adults 17-20 year-olds make during a vital time in their lives. The great news is, with a level of intentionality and direction these can be avoided. Let's take a look.


  1. Making a decision that impacts your future life without really weighing the options. There are numerous decisions a young adult faces in this chapter of life. It usually starts with a simple question; "what are you going to do after high school?" Without a purposeful pause to identify your goals and dreams the wrong decision, or right decision at the wrong time could cost time, money and frustration down the road.

  2. Amassing friends vs. building true relationships. Think social media - how many friends/followers do you have? How many of them are going to show up when you need someone? The people who know the true you are the relationships you should invest the most time and energy.

  3. Worrying too much. What are those things that are stressing you out and causing unneeded anxiety? There are things like grades, school (which one, what should I study...), the economy, your future, and even failure that just are not worth spending too much time worrying over. Failure for instance is one we want to embrace - we call it failing forward. Meaning, don't worry about it realize you're going to fail and when you do it at least shows movement - learn from it and keep going.

  4. Debt. It can be crippling and limiting at any stage of life. Failure to plan (create & stick to a budget) ends too many young adults in overwhelming amounts of debt. Either from post-secondary education (tuition, room, books, and all the 'others' that we must have in college), or credit cards that we feel we need to build credit. Don't spend more than you have coming in, even if that means paying as you go for school.

  5. Not taking responsibility for mistakes. We all make them, so just own them. In the long run, you will be a better and stronger person and leader when you own up to your mistakes. Learn from them and keep moving.

  6. Not taking care of YOU. As a young adult, your body is typically in or about to be in it's "prime". Meaning it will likely be more forgiving of lapses in judgment now, but be certain the decisions you make today will have an impact on your health tomorrow, or years down the road. Being intentional with our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health at this stage of life is key to healthier you tomorrow.

  7. Not knowing what you want or what your dreams are. If you haven't or don't take purposeful and intentional time to really identify what your goals/dreams/ambitions are you'll either have to do it later (often wasting time on the wrong thing/things) -or- you'll never do it and never truly live your best life. One of the keys here is making sure it is your dreams, not those of someone else.

There you have it, the 7 Key Mistakes. Now that you know what they are, what will you do to avoid them? The key in most of this and all things is intentionality. When you live intentionally, you're well on your way to being and becoming the best version of you! Having a Leadership Coach is one of the best ways of living intentionally. The Coaches at Leadership Harbor are ready to walk with you. Let's talk today about how Coaching can help you. Email us grow@leadershipharbor.com with your questions or for your free Coaching consultation.

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