1. You’re attached to your phone basically always, and kind of ignore everything else around you.
Today you can pretty much do everything through apps on your phone — which makes it unsurprising that in a survey done in 2012, 66% of participants confessed to “nomophobia,” an actual fear of being without your phone. Smartphone dependency has become so common that now recovery centers like The Ranch even provide rehab for it.
Do this instead: You can start by downloading an app like Moment to help you track the amount of hours you spend on your phone. Then try setting small boundaries for yourself, such as:
- Putting your phone away when you’re out with friends.
- Not using your phone when you’re out to dinner.
- Setting it down when you’ve been on it for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Not touching it after 11 p.m.
If you need some extra help, here are 22 ways to break up with your cell phone.
2. You keep all your money in your checking account.
A survey done by Princeton Survey Research Associates International in 2014 found that 36% of adults are not saving for their retirement.
Do this instead: Create a savings account with your bank and try to designate a small amount of money from each paycheck to be taken out and put in your savings. Just putting away $45 a paycheck will add up to $1,080 at the end of the year (if you’re paid bimonthly). If your job benefits include a 401(k) make sure to take advantage of that now as well.
3. You hold grudges forever and always.
When someone burns you — especially someone you trusted — it’s extremely hard to get over the anger and hurt you feel toward them. But a study published in the Association for Psychological Science shows that holding on to those hurtful memories and resentful feelings can have a serious negative impact on your emotional and physical health.
Do this instead: While it may take some time, try to find it in yourself to forgive that person and move on. Don’t waste your time concentrating on what’s happened in the past. Holding a grudge is hurting you more than it’s hurting them.
4. You spend a lottttt of energy thinking about finding a serious relationship.
The idea of needing to be in a serious relationship or being ready to settle down in your twenties is a social construct. And anyone who’s putting pressure on you for not having a significant other needs to CHILL.
Do this instead: Your twenties are a time for exploration and figuring out what you want. By no means should you feel inadequate if you haven’t found “the one” yet. Go out, meet new people, and have fun. You shouldn’t be on a manhunt every time you leave the house.
5. You hate sunscreen (or are totally indifferent to it).
Sun damage can have long-term consequences for your health and also how you look: We’re talking skin cancer, premature aging and wrinkles, and discoloration.
Do this instead: The Skin Cancer Foundation says if you’re going to be exposed to the sun for 30 minutes or more, try to apply sunscreen 30 minutes in advance before you go outside. Make sure to reapply every two hours, especially if you’re sweating a lot or in the water. If you wear makeup, make sure to apply sunscreen first, before the makeup…even if your makeup has sun protection in it. Note: Alcohol also makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, increasing your chances of getting burned.
6. You still get wasted…and sometimes on weeknights.
While it may be tempting after a long day at work, getting drunk and staying out until 2 a.m. will leave you seriously sleep-deprived for the rest of the week — impairing your decision-making, lowering your productivity at work, and making you more prone to mood swings and weight gain.
Do this instead: Hey, you’re not in college anymore. It may be time to start being a bit more responsible. Besides, your hangovers will just keep getting worse and worse — here’s why.
7. You order takeout way more often than you cook.
While it may be convenient, eating out puts a serious dent in your monthly earnings. A survey done by CouponCodes4u showed that the average American spends around $9,000 a year on takeout.
Do this instead: Try prepping work lunches on the weekend so that you’re not spending an extra $5-10 every day throughout the week. This alone could save you around $200 a month. You can also download the app Mint, which helps you create a budget, track your spending, and calculate your credit score. That way you can decide if you should stay in and cook dinner instead of going out.
8. You spend way too much time worrying about what other people think.
You are never going to please everyone. Spending all your time and energy trying to make everyone happy is just going to stress you out and lead to your own unhappiness.
Do this instead: Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions, say no when you don’t want to do something, and start valuing your own judgment. Your physical and emotional health will thank you for it.
9. You think of mental health issues as embarrassing, or a sign of weakness.
If you broke your arm, would you tell yourself you’re weak for needing to get help? No. And the same thought process should be applied to your mental health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, every year, 1 in 5 adults — 43.7 million people — experience mental illness in the U.S. And last year only 60% of adults with a serious mental illness received mental health services.
Do this instead: Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help. If you’re dealing with reoccurring issues that are affecting your everyday functioning, really consider seeking out professional help. Here is a beginner’s guide to beginning therapy and finding a therapist that’s right for you.
10. You love your soda.
Research shows that people who drink a lot of soda have a higher risk of high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess body fat around the waist — all of which could lead to heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.
Do this instead: First, look for a good alternative that will keep you hydrated while keeping your cravings at bay — a great substitute to give a shot is flavored sparkling water. Then, try limiting yourself to a specific amount of soda a day. You can do it!
11. You’re pretty bad about keeping in touch with your friends and family members.
As you get older, it’s easy to form a bad habit of only reaching out to friends and family when you need something from them, which is not a healthy way to maintain your relationships.
Do this instead: Set aside some time each week to reach out to your loved ones, whether it’s by making a quick phone call, setting up a time to FaceTime, or sending a simple “how are you” text. Your relationships are extremely important, especially in your twenties, and you don’t want to take them for granted.
12. It’s been about a million years since you last saw the doctor (basically since your parents stopped scheduling your appointments for you).
It’s so easy to go for years without getting regular checkups now that Mom and Dad aren’t putting them on your calendar. But disregarding your health now could lead to a lot of trouble down the road that could have easily been prevented.
Do this instead: Take matters into your own hands and do your research. Make sure you’re scheduling visits to the doctor, dentist, gynecologist, etc. as often as recommended. Here is a list — provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — of necessary health checks for all ages and genders, and here is everything you need to know about getting checked for STIs.
13. You still smoke cigarettes when you’ve had a few beers (or more often than that).
Smokers die an average of 10 years earlier than nonsmokers, according to the American Heart Association. Around a third of coronary heart disease deaths and 90% of lung cancer deaths are from smoking and secondhand smoke.
Do this instead: Here is a helpful guide, created by the American Cancer Society, for anyone who wants to quit smoking. Also, if you’re someone who only has a smoke after a few drinks, try to drink in an environment where cigarettes won’t be readily available to you. Definitely make sure you’re not carrying them on you.
14. You still use tanning beds, or lie out in the sun.
While any type of tanning can be harmful, tanning beds are especially unsafe because they can emit up to three times the amount of UVA radiation released by the sun. Studies have shown that people who use tanning salons are 74% more likely to develop melanoma than those who don’t. Tanning beds can also cause premature skin aging (like wrinkles and age spots), and if you don’t use proper eye protection it can also increase your risk of potentially blinding eye diseases.
Do this instead: There are a lot of other ways to get a “natural tan” look without having to bake in a tanning bed, such as towelettes (try L’Oreal’s Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes), lotions (try Neutrogena’s Build a Tan Gradual Sunless Tanning Lotion), cosmetics (try Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Mineral Bronzer), or getting a spray tan instead.
15. You still sleep in until 1 p.m. on the weekends to catch up on all that sleep you missed during the week.
After a long week, sleeping in feels like heaven. But a study done at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center showed that while you may think you’re catching up on sleep during the weekend, the extra hours aren’t helping to boost alertness or energy levels. The extra sleep actually disrupted participants’ internal clocks — circadian rhythms — and made them more tired come Monday.
Do this instead: Schedule plans, whether it’s hanging out with friends and family, grocery shopping, or a workout class, so that you’re up by a reasonable time. Also try to get around eight hours of sleep on weeknights so that your body never feels like it has to play catch-up. One way you can get to bed earlier is by powering down your technology one to two hours before your ideal bedtime. Studies have shown the “blue light” from different smartphones and computers can suppress melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep.
16. You generally try to avoid confrontation at all costs…even if it means that you can be a bit passive-aggressive every now and then.
Facing an issue head-on can make you feel vulnerable and extremely uncomfortable. But putting it off and being indirectly aggressive can result in only worsening the situation.
Do this instead: Politely ask the person you’re upset with to talk with you face-to-face. Confronting someone through texts and emails is not ideal because it’s easy to misinterpret tone, which leaves a lot of room for miscommunication.
17. You stay in a crappy relationship way, way longer than you should, and you know it.
While you may know your relationship isn’t working, the thought of being on your own is terrifying. The thing is, dead-end relationships are hurting you so much more than you realize. Not only do they have a negative impact on your health, but they also hold you back from infinite opportunities for self-growth.
Do this instead: Find strength in knowing you deserve so much more than what the relationship is giving you and end things. Here are some tips on how to dump someone like an adult.
18. You try to plan out your entire life and obsess over five-year plans instead of living in the present.
Life, no matter how much you want it to, is not always going to go according to plan. Putting yourself on a timeline is only going to leave you stressed out, disappointed, and unhappy with the present.
Do this instead: While wanting things to happen a certain way or having a plan isn’t a bad idea, understanding that things can always change and accepting that there are going to be things that are out of your control is a huge asset when going through your twenties. Obsessing over age and socially constructed milestones is only going to hold you back from enjoying your experiences and where you are now.
19. You’re convinced that you’re the only one in your twenties who doesn’t have your shit together.
One of the biggest mistakes people make in their twenties is thinking they’re the only ones trying to figure life out. Learning how to be independent for the first time is scary. And it’s so easy to freak out about relationships, career paths, and where to start with it all once college is over.
Do this instead: First, understand that this is completely normal. Everyone thinks they’re the only one who has no idea what they’re doing. But the truth is it takes everyone time to learn and figure it all out. Instead of stressing (which is shown to negatively affect your physical and emotional health), be proactive and make a list of all the things you want to accomplish. It can be as simple as “open a credit card,” “create a monthly budget,” “search for apartments,” “apply to four jobs,” etc. Then attack them one by one.
This post has been edited for clarity.
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