Whether you’re excited to turn 30, dreading it, or are already there, there is something momentous about saying goodbye to your 20s and entering into the realm of 30-somethings. When you’re in your 20s you pretty much have a “get out of jail free card” attached to everything you do. You can stay up too late, sleep into the afternoon, drain your bank account, eat crap, and even on occasion, neglect personal hygiene. For some reason, it’s implied that your 20s are meant for making mistakes as you transition from your irresponsible teenage years into adulthood. During this time period, you’re testing out the waters of responsibility while occasionally relapsing into your old, childish ways.
When 30 hits, it feels like you should have adulthood mastered. But what if you don’t have a 401(k), still skip brushing your teeth from time to time, rarely do your laundry, and still get wasted on weekdays? You may not be alone, but it’s time to get it together and drop some of those lingering habits from your 20s. Your 30s are your chance to start fresh and create healthy habits that build the foundation for the life you want to have.
1. Constant party mode
It may have been OK to show up to a college class hungover beyond belief or to stay out until 2 a.m. when you had a work presentation the next day, but the act will get old if you keep it up through your 30s. Binging on alcohol has a greater physical impact in your 30s and beyond, due to changes in your body composition, liver function, and brain sensitivity. Not only will your body suffer, but partying on a weeknight will leave you sleep-deprived, which can impair your decision-making, lower your productivity at work, and lead to weight gain and mood swings.
You’ve always known it was bad for you, but once you’re out of your 20s smoking goes from something that may have seemed cool and edgy to something that makes your teeth yellow and your clothes smell bad. Your 30s mark an important quitting window because as you age your body becomes less adept at recovering from the effects of smoking. Trying to quit? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some great resources that can help.
3. Getting sunburnt
In your teens and 20s, you may have spent hours in the sun in search of that perfect bronze tan. Skipping sunscreen and getting sunburned was just part of the process. It may have seemed harmless enough, and at the time, the tan may have seemed worth the peeling sunburn. As you age, your skin goes from something you didn’t think twice about to becoming a primary concern. Sunbathing destroys the elastic fibers that keep skin looking firm and smooth. It leads to wrinkles, blotches, freckles, and skin discolorations. Vanity aside, sunburns also contribute significantly to skin cancer.
When you had mom and dad to bail you out, it may have felt like no big deal to overdraw your checking account or blow your savings on tickets to a big game. As an adult you need to start managing your money in a smart, conservative way. This may mean putting money into a 401(k) instead of blowing it on a round of shots and working extra to pad your savings account. Overspending and going into debt is one decision that leads to major consequences. In addition to impacting your credit and financial well-being, financial stress is a major contributor to high blood pressure, depression, ulcers, insomnia, and headaches. Make a point to only spend what you have and put any extra money into savings before you have a chance to blow it on something you’ll only regret later.
5. Phone obsession
You may do everything on your phone, and as a result, it’s probably always by your side. It may seem normal in today’s world to absentmindedly check the results of last night’s game while your friend is talking or check your social media anytime you have a down moment. Letting go of your cell phone dependency and making an effort to be present in the moment is one way to evolve into true adulthood. By downloading an app like Moment, you can actually track the number of hours you spend on your phone to initiate some boundary setting.
6. Skipping meals
Breakfast is often the easiest meal to skip simply because we all want to lie in bed until the last possible minute, trying to ignore the pending day ahead. By the time you’re awake, you may be already late and focused on getting out the door as fast as possible. At this point, a sit-down breakfast can seem practically impossible. Whatever you do, make time to eat three meals a day, even if it means less time in bed. Skipping meals can cause adverse effects on the metabolism, increase your chance of obesity, and elevate your blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes.
7. Blowing off family
When you’re caught up in your own life it can be far too easy to allow your relationship with your family and old friends to lapse. You may find yourself only calling home when you need something or only reaching out to your high school or college friends when it’s convenient to you. Your 30s are an important time to stay connected to those you love. Set aside time every week to reach out to those most important to you.
8. Fast food diet
You may have been able to get away with a steady diet of cheeseburgers and fries in your 20s, but as you age your metabolism slows and your body composition changes. Suddenly, you’ll notice the effects of poor diet much faster. While convenient and cheap, fast food is often packed full of trans fat, which raises your cholesterol and can lead to heart disease and diabetes.