29 Habits You Need to Break Before Turning 30

This article originally appeared on Greatist.com

Most of us spend our 20s figuring sh*t out: our careers, our relationships, ourselves. And we’re going to make plenty of mistakes along the way.

That’s more than OK — no one’s perfect. Plus, mistakes build character. As someone recently told me, “Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.”

But as I edge toward 30, I’ve started to want to do more things right and fewer things wrong. Maybe now’s the time to start thinking of life as less of a big, messy experiment and more of a strategic game to be played.

After reflecting on my own experiences, reading books and articles about others’, and listening to advice from some very wise people, I came up with 29 habits that probably aren’t doing us any favors. While they may not be the worst things you could do, holding onto them could be holding you back from the relationships, career, health, and happiness you deserve.

I’m still trying to break plenty of them myself — it’s definitely a learning process. The good news? No matter what age you are, there’s no time like the present to start letting go of certain habits so you can keep crushing it in your 30s, 40s, and beyond.

1. Flaking out on plans with friends.

If you agree to brunch or dinner with a friend, don’t cancel a few hours beforehand — unless you have a super valid reason. Stressed and exhausted? That’s an even better reason to keep your plans.Research shows hanging out with a friend can boost your mood and decrease stress. (Caveat: If the friend in question is dragging you down, maybe it’s time to break ties completely — which doesn’t mean rescheduling and cancelling all over again.)

2. Spending too much money on cheap clothes.

The tank tops and ripped jeans at Forever21 are tempting, but blowing $200 on a pile of clothes you’ll only wear once or twice isn’t a good way to spend your paycheck. Invest in some higher-quality items (and I don’t mean designer) that’ll last you way longer. You may actually start to enjoy getting dressed while saving money in the long run.

3. Obsessing over online dating.

So the person you’ve been chatting with for three weeks still hasn’t asked you out? He or she probably isn’t going to. Accept it, move on, and look up from your phone — you can talk to the cute guy or girl in the coffee shop. Also, let’s stop chasing after people who speak in a virtual monotone, giving only one-word answers. There are plenty of people out there who are a lot more fun to talk to.

4. Being too afraid to ask for a raise.

A 2015 study found that almost 60 percent of workers don’t ask for a raise, mainly because they felt uncomfortable asking. We all need to work hard to prove our worth, but we should also be paid what we deserve. Asking for a raise (that you’ve truly earned) isn’t that scary — here’s some advice that’ll help you feel prepared and calm your nerves.

5. Skimping on skin care.

Yeah, you should wash your face at night. No, you shouldn’t pick at your pimples (unless you’re doing it the doctor-approved way). While you don’t have to pay up for special facials or laser treatments, you should invest in some high-quality products that are right for your skin (and use sunscreen every day).

6. “Forgetting” to call older relatives.

Your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other older and wiser relatives deserve to hear your voice every so often. Stop making excuses to put it off until tomorrow. Pick up the phone, ask how they are, and tell them what’s new in your life. Not only will you make their day, but chances are, you’ll also feel better in the process.

7. Overusing the word “sorry.”

No need to apologize for responding to a text two hours later. Or for staying in on a Friday to save some money and get some sleep. The more I read about our culture’s apology epidemic, the more it irks me when I hear “sorry” tossed around in casual conversation. We could all stand to cut back. Bonus: When you do need to apologize, saying sorry will carry more significance.

8. Feeling guilty for your success.

If you land an amazing new job or start a business, something weird may happen: People might put you down. It sounds cliché, but odds are, they’re jealous or feeling insecure. Don’t let this make you feel bad, embarrassed, or apologetic about your success. Own it and forget the haters. The good people in your life — the ones who build you up and offer support — will be nothing but happy for you.

9. Staying with a partner who makes you feel anything less than awesome.

We know it’s not always sunshine and rainbows; inevitably, there will be bumps in the road. (Here’s how to tell if your doubts are deal breakers or totally normal.) But overall, your partner should make you feel happy, secure, beautiful, and loved — and if those feelings haven’t surfaced in a long time, it may be time to rethink the partnership.

10. Taking “no” for an answer without trying again.

There are going to be things you can’t do anything about (and that’s an important lesson in itself). But when it comes to issues you really care about — at work, in your relationship, anywhere — don’t just accept the first “no” that someone gives you. Ask again, backed with a reasonable argument and without complaining. You never know ’til you ask (again), right?

11. Not saving money.

Whether it’s a 401(k), IRA, or savings account, socking away cash is one of the smartest things a 20-something can do, experts say. In your 20s, aim to save 10 to 15 percent of your paycheck; in your 30s, try to put 15 to 25 percent in your savings account. Set up a monthly automatic transfer to make it easy and check out these 94 painless ways to save more money.

12. Not cleaning your shower until it’s covered in mold.

It’s gross, and it’s not that hard to clean. (I found a toothbrush works wonders on shower tiles.) Same goes for not dusting until dust bunnies take over or not washing your sheets until they start to smell bad.

13. Arguing with your parents.

We know, parents can be frustrating at times. But acting like a sullen teenager, either IRL or over the phone, isn’t going to help. They’re not going to be around forever, so treat them with respect — even when they’re asking when you’re going to settle down for the 50th time.

14. Smoking (or tanning) — at all.

These are two of the worst things you can do for your health. There’s no excuse. Social smoking is still smoking, and a base tan still counts as sun damage. Need help quitting? Here are some useful tips.

15. Waiting around for The One.

It’s tempting to swipe endlessly on apps, but if you’re not actually open to giving someone a chance (even if they don’t look like the guy or gal of your dreams), then you’re not going to find someone. Newsflash: Soul mates aren’t a real thing, so stop waiting for the face of your future partner to magically appear.

16. Not pursuing something you love.

Reading, writing a blog, knitting, doing Zumba — whatever it is, don’t let someone’s judgment stop you from pursuing your passions.Set aside the time for the things you love and consider marking it on your calendar so you’ll actually do it.

17. Constantly running late.

This is a tough one to work on resolving — trust me, I know. But if you can nail the whole being-on-time thing, you’ll be well on your way to a better, less-stressful life.

18. Checking your phone at the dinner table.

Whether you’re with friends, a date, or your family, it’s not cool. Whatever is so intriguing on your phone can wait. And texting while driving? Really not cool. Seriously, stop.

19. Living vicariously through social media.

Amazing vacations, gorgeous homes, and luxurious clothes — Instagram is full of major life #goals. A little peek can be motivating, but the more you absorb other people’s lives, the worse it can make you feel about your own. Don’t let scrolling be your only escape. Put down the phone and make things happen in your own life that make you feel (almost) as glamorous, whether it’s whipping up a green smoothie, visiting a museum, or planning a weekend trip.

Continue reading on Greatist.com.

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