1. Drinking like you’re still in college.
Becoming a certifiable adult is a good time to stop reliving your glory days and start figuring out what moderation is. It’s all fun and games until someone gets a DUI.
2. Burning bridges.
Whether it’s an ex-boss or an ex-lover, you never know when leaving things on bad terms could poison your future well. Write down how you really feel in an angry letter, toss it, and attempt to move on respectably.
3. Too much fried and processed food.
Lazy eating is a hard habit to reverse, especially as we get older and our lives only become busier and more complicated. Before you know it, you’re passing your crappy habits onto your children — and that’s where the real guilt comes in.
4. Feeling entitled.
A coddled and narcissistic attitude will only highlight your worst qualities — not your best. There’s nothing this world loves more than knocking down our entitled, delusional youths back down to cold, harsh reality.
5. Staying in relationships with people who aren’t supportive or kind.
It’s not uncommon to get consumed by toxic relationships and friendships. There’s even something oddly enjoyable about getting caught up in the drama of it all, especially during these years of heightened confusion and questioned self-worth.
In hindsight, you will look back and wonder why you spent all that energy that could have been channelled elsewhere.
6. Spending money on dumb shit.
Money only buys happiness temporarily, and things only keep you happy for so long before fading away into utter futility. At the end of each year, try adding up the amount that you spent in each shopping category (like clothing or electronics) to get a reality check on the money you could be saving instead of spending.
7. Falling into insurmountable debt.
The worst part about debt is that while it hangs over your head, you’re always going to be paying out instead of saving. And waiting until you’re 30 to start saving is getting a bit of a late start, especially if you want to own a home someday and build up a decent retirement fund.
If you don’t start smoking before you turn 30, you probably won’t ever start. Which will save you not only your health but lots and lots of money.
9. Screwing up your employment history with stupid stuff.
Any hole on your résumé could signify a major red flag to future employers. Coming in late, not being reliable, turning in subpar work, and being negative on the job are all easy traps to fall into when you’re not happy. But don’t kill your chances of one day landing your dream job by blowing off your current one.
10. Spending too much time on the internet.
Your online life can be a great supplement to your real life. But you don’t want to miss out on meaningful experiences that you’ll be much more likely to remember forever than a Gchat conversation.
11. Caring too much about what others think.
Looking for validation in others is human nature, but it can also seriously derail you on your path to finding happiness on your own terms.
12. Setting unrealistic milestones for yourself and feeling like a failure when you don’t reach them.
Setting yourself up for disappointment and beating yourself up about it is one of the most self-destructive things you can do.
13. Blowing off your education, especially if you’re paying for it.
Did your parents start saving money for your college fund the moment you were born? Are you going to be paying off student loans until you’re 35? If either of those situations apply to you, then you should be feeling a motherload of guilt every single time you skip a class or miss a homework assignment.
14. Waiting too long for the right job to come along.
Nothing wrong with being a little picky, but at some point, you have to just get out there and start building experiences. You never know when you might meet someone — perhaps while working that shitty service or retail job — who could open a previously closed door for you.
15. Injuries to your back, knees, and shoulders.
These problems will only compound in your old age and manifest in an ongoing source of pain and strife.
16. Contracting an STD.
STDs have become so commonplace that they’re less stigmatized. But that doesn’t change the fact that on a wholly personal level, a viral STD is still something you have to live with for the rest of your life, impacting not only your health, but every future relationship you ever have.
17. Always staying in your comfort zone.
Eating the same food, socializing with the same people, and staying in the same places are all touchstones of a boring existence. You will have many years of old age to stagnate, so why start now?
18. Putting off the one thing you’ve always wanted to do.
Of course, you can start a band post-age 30. But it won’t be a cool band.
19. Putting off the habit of exercise.
As you get older, your energy will dwindle and you’ll find yourself getting tired and sluggish much more easily. Exercising and eating well are the best ways to combat those symptoms, but motivating yourself is so much harder if you’re not already in the zone.
20. Jumping to conclusions in your judgement of others.
One thing that you will become glaringly apparent in your twenties is that tables always turn. Perhaps that weird intern will one day end up as your boss, or that waiter you were just rude to will one day end up as the singer of your new favorite band. The world is just weird like that.
21. Neglecting your teeth.
You know what’s actually worse than ginormous dental bills? Chronic halitosis. So use a water flosser and go see the dentist regularly, if you can help it.
22. Having a kid before you’re ready.
While you may or may not end up with a little baby Rory Gilmore, chances are that you’re just not ready for this epic level of responsibility. Waiting until you’re older will mean a better quality of life for both you and your baby.
23. Frying your skin in the sun.
You will pay for that weeklong tan in premature aging and wrinkles later on.
Frying your hair isn’t so great either, but at least it grows back.
24. Wallowing in self-pity.
The problem with being self-absorbed is that you’re too self-absorbed to even realize that you’re self-absorbed. While you’re feeling sorry for yourself, you have no room in your heart for empathy toward others. So unless you want to spend your life sad and alone, snap out of it!
25. Mistaking impulse for intuition.
A naive disposition can result in life-alteringly bad decisions, especially before your risk assessment skills have fully developed. You don’t want to be known as “the girl who didn’t go to Paris.”
26. Getting a meaningless tattoo.
BTW, the lyrics to your favorite Limp Bizkit song does not count as “meaningful.”
27. Putting yourself voluntarily in serious physical danger.
We all think we’re invincible until something terrible actually happens. I’m looking at you, reader who rides your bike all over the city with no helmet.
28. Drifting through life without setting any real goals.
The point of goals isn’t necessarily to reach them. But always keeping them in mind will prevent you from getting distracted by things that are a waste of energy, whether it’s an emotionally draining relationship or a soul-sucking video game.
29. Freaking out about being single.
It leads to desperate actions, and a lot of hooking up that will just make you feel empty inside. You can make goals for every other aspect of your life, but finding real love is something you can’t force.
30. Being afraid to fail.
As you get older, it becomes a lot harder to take huge chances. So dare to fail. Fail in love, fail professionally, fail yourself. Making mistakes and learning from them are the kinds of life experiences you definitely don’t want to avoid.