Life is a bitch and it slaps you one moment at a time. How can a man be ready when it slaps hard?
I admit I am not a perfect guy – I never was, and will probably never be. But hey… when you reach your 30s, waking up every morning feeling happy, fulfilled, and ready to take bigger challenges doesn’t need to be a pain in the back.
Bridging your young adult and mid-life years, the 30s is said to be a mix of both freedom and responsibility. During this period most guys realize that the party’s over and the idea of settling down begins to linger.
A man in his 30s could reach the peak of almost everything in life – his energy, libido, and career. But on the hind sight, there’s the pressure of independence, existential crises, and a ticking biological time bomb. Early signs of aging and health issues may also begin to emerge later on.
So how do you juggle between the excitement and hitches of your 30s?
A study on The Cognitive Impact of Past Behavior shows how past behavior affects your decisions later in life. Therefore, your life as a young adult greatly impacts how awesome or how dreadful your 30s could be.
As a young adult, there are few simple practical exercises you just need to start doing and get used to. I have summarized eight important habits to help every young man raise himself right, and be equipped for whatever 30s may bring. Let’s dig in!
Habit #1: Saving money
While hope and kindness and peace are important (no question), getting yourself a pleasant place to live in and having a decent meal everyday are survival basics. You need cash for a lot of things – rent, gas, parking fees, clothing, and being able to take your partner on a date once in a while.
According to the Northwestern Mutual’s Panning & Progress Study in 2018, nearly 8 in 10 (78%) of Americans are “extremely” or “somewhat” concerned about having enough money for retirement. And 1 in 3 Americans have less than $5,000 kept for their golden years.
Saving money could be difficult in the beginning, but starting small increases your chances of future successes exponentially, without feeling stuck in a financially deprived lifestyle. The trick? Start saving as early as you can!
To illustrate, say you start saving at the age of 23, it would only take about $15 a day to be a millionaire at age 65. (Assuming a 6% average annual investment return) If you start at the age of 35, however, you need to keep $34 a day to reach the same goal. You see, the younger you start saving, the easier it becomes for you.
A mature man is a self-reliant man. Make it a habit to save at least 20% part of your paycheck, no matter how big or how little it is.
Habit #2: Getting a regular health checkup
Prostate cancer, heart diseases, and lung cancer are three of top health threats for men according to WebMd. The only way for you to know and track your health status is to get a regular checkup.
In a recent survey on Reddit, middle aged men were asked about health issues they shouldn’t have ignored when they were younger. Sensitivity and lumps on the testicles are the common issues most users mentioned.
“A sensitive left testicle which seemed slightly higher than the other one. Casually brought it up to the doctor when I was there to get a wart removed on my finger. The doctor handled my testicle. The doctor invited a student to handle my testicle. The student invited another student to handle my testicle. They sent me to get an ultrasound and she handled my testicle. A urologist handled my testicles. After much testicle handling, I found out I had testicular cancer. They took said testicle. 9 months later, cancer came back and I got chemotherapy. I’m 3 months cancer fee, but moral of the story is: Don’t be afraid to let people handle your testicles if something doesn’t seem right,” one Reddit user shared.
Make time for a regular checkup early and often, and don’t ignore any possible symptoms. Talk to your doctor about the risk factors of lifestyle illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, and stroke.
Habit #3: Eating right
As you age, your metabolism slows down and your immune system gets shaky if not well looked after. Good nutrition is all about making good choices—sticking to a meal plan that provides you with the right nutrients and avoiding those that disrupt your health.
For weight management, researchers at Tulane University found that cutting back on carbs and not fat can lead to better weight loss. You get energy from carbs, so consume less but not totally avoid them.
Adult men take in an average of 24 teaspoons of added sugar per day, according to the National Cancer Institute. But men are advised to no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar a day, says the American Heart Association. That’s almost equal to sugar found on a typical 12-ounce can of soda.
Make it a habit to read food labels. Check if the products are high on ingredients like syrup, molasses, honey, fruit juice concentrates, and those words ending with “ose” such as maltose and fructose.
Enjoy fresh fruits for dessert or add them to cereal and oatmeal as flavorings as an alternative. Fruits like blueberries, grapes, citruses, and mangoes can boost your immune system. Drop the soda and drink plain water or sugar-free beverages instead.
Habit #4: Holding on to your hairline
One of the most obvious physical differentiation between a young adult male and an old fellow is a bald head. Gradual hair loss often affects the confidence and self-esteem. According to the American Hair Loss Association (AHLA), by the age of 35, two-thirds of American men experience initial symptoms of hair loss, and when they hit the age of 50, about 85% will have visible signs of thinning hair.
Male androgenic alopecia, also referred to as male pattern baldness, is the most common form of hair loss in men. While common factors could be overstress, genetics, or a poor lifestyle, AHLA identifies DHT as the main cause of male pattern baldness.
DHT is the short term for dihydrotestosterone, a male hormone naturally produced in your body when testosterone combines with 5 alpha-Reductase enzyme. This enzyme converts almost 10% of your testosterone into DHT in tissues such as the skin, liver, prostate and—you guessed it right—hair follicles.
By the process of miniaturization, hair follicles shrink and eventually stop growing new hair when you reach a certain age, starting as early as the age of 20s for some. But now, scientists have found a way to prevent it, so hair follicles can continue to thrive thicker and stronger.
Experts in the natural products industry have explored what nature has to offer and discovered natural DHT blocking ingredients including green tea extract, rosemary extract, saw palmetto, and fenugreek extract to be very effective. I recommend to look for at least two of these natural goodies when looking for DHT blocker hair care products.
Habit #5: Protecting your skin
Because skin aging is not only for women, men need a good skin care too. An oil free moisturizer is best since men tend to have naturally oily skin. Avoid rigorous scrubbing which can remove the skin’s protective layers that prevent dryness.
An article by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) said that melanoma, the most serious skin cancer, could be another way that men and women differ. By age 50, men are said to be more likely than women to develop melanoma. And the risk increases exponentially as they get older.
Your skin tissues are susceptible to skin cancers, the Skin Cancer Foundation warns. In fact, it was found that skin cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer for men, but only the seventh most common type for women. The reason? Men generally spend more time outdoors without giving a damn about using sunscreens.
Make it a point to always use a sunscreen. Apply it on your hands, face, and arms. The AAD recommends wearing sunscreen with SPF 30, broad-spectrum protection, and water resistance.
Habit #6: On point grooming
Let’s talk about clothes, hair, and makeup for men. I know, it sounds weird when you half-expected tips on the fastest way to shave. But listen to this… proper grooming makes you look more attractive and feel more confident about yourself. This is very important when presenting yourself to someone you need to impress, like when you go on job interviews, important client meetings, formal events, or a hot date of your dreams.
When it comes to clothes, dress up for your body type and don’t be fixated on the trends. No need for a fashion stylist. Pinterest is by far your best source of outfit inspirations for different occasions and body types.
As with hair and face, you don’t necessarily have to put on a full face of makeup, but a comfortable amount of hair fix products, moisturizer, concealer, and lip balm won’t hurt. In a Fashion Beans article, it was found that guys aged 25-34 are the age group that tends to use makeup the most.
Makeup for men may seem noncultural. But did you know that in the history of makeup, kings and pharaohs of the Ancient Egypt blackened their eyes with kohl similar to an eyeliner? In the 1600s, men with powdered faces, and red cheeks and lips weren’t strange at all.
Remember, good impression comes with presentation.
Habit #7: Taking some time off
It is also important to have a downtime to help you recharge. Relaxation gives you the opportunity to reboot your brain, body, and overall mindset. Try going for outdoor activities such as hiking or camping on sites closer to nature where it’s peaceful. This gives your mind the time it needs to destress.
Stress makes you old before your time. It affects almost every aspect of your life from personal relationships, performance at work, and your health. It could havoc your concentration, memory and focus. It’s no surprise why The World Health Organization dubbed stress as “the health epidemic of the 21st century”.
Deep breathing, proper sleep, sex, and regular exercise all help to keep your mind at ease. Consider meditation and yoga if you can slip it on your busy schedule. Part of being a full-grown adult is learning how to manage your stressors. It will help you perform better at work, and generally in life.
Habit #8: Slipping on a condom during sex
A study at the University of Quebec at Montreal found that the reached intensity level and calories burned during a 25-minute sex is significant enough to be considered a moderate exercise. Orgasms can reduce stress and anxiety too due to hormones like oxytocin. And in 2004, a research shows that having sex at least once or twice a week increases the body’s immunity to infections like common cold.
Despite these seemingly healthy benefits of sex, not practicing safe sex could lead to serious health concerns, specifically sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Global statistics show that there were approximately 36.9 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS in 2017. And today, 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV. One out of 7 of them are unaware they are infected. The only way to know is to visit recognized testing centers in your area.
The World Health Organization among many other preventive measures suggest the use of condom to stop spreading of the virus. WHO stressed that “when used correctly and consistently, condoms offer one of the most effective methods of protection against STIs, including HIV.”
So what’s the proper technique for gloving up? Before you slip on the rubber, make sure to leave space and remove the air. Use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze the tip as you’re rolling the condom down all the way to the base of your penis.
The ‘How-to’ of building these habits
Self-help books often cite Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon and author of the 1960 blockbuster book Psycho-Cybernetics, for his notion that it takes about 21 days to get used to something, and therefore form a habit.
No. Twenty-one is not a magic number you have to rely on but it’s the idea of putting these practices into action “repeatedly” to make it a part of your physical, emotional, and mental being. Once they are formed, they become part of your system – your personality, values, and overall behavior as a person.
Building a habit is like weight training. With constant sets and reps, you build strength to help you carry bigger loads on your next session. Practicing these habits can slowly yet firmly etch them on your core and meaningfully prepare you for a better quality of adult life in a major way.