Turning 30 is a watershed moment for most people. It’s officially time to say goodbye to your youthful 20s where you were establishing your identity as an adult. By now, you should have made most of the adult mistakes you’re going to make.
The time before turning 30 is a time for introspection. You need to take a good, long, hard look at yourself. It’s time to ask questions such as, “What have I accomplished?” You need to ask yourself how far you are in the process of achieving your life goals. This is also the perfect opportunity to review some of the bad habits you’ve adopted during your 20s that you don’t wish to carry with you into your 30s.
Use the chance the run-up to turning 30 presents to you to become more mindful of yourself and the people and things you surround yourself with. Make a checklist of the positive habits you’ve developed and the bad habits you’ve broken. Now, make a checklist of the bad habits you want to leave behind. It’s likely the second list will be longer than the first. Then it’s time to sort yourself out. Set goals for yourself and list ways in which you plan to implement them.
If you’re turning 30 and think you’ve got it all handled and you’re on top of it all, you might be in for a nasty surprise. Read about these 30 bad habits you should break before you turn 30. You might find a few that resonate strongly with you.
1. Living from weekend to weekend
Sure, the week is different from the weekend. The week includes work, which takes up a sizable chunk of your time. The weekend is a time to relax, unwind and do things you love. The week is made up of work, eat and sleep. The weekend is made up of having a good time.
That’s not how it’s meant to be. You do have some free time during the week. Learn to put it to better use than staring at the TV like a zombie. Find a hobby you can incorporate into your daily routine. Think about joining a book club or a wine-tasting group. It allows you to meet more people and make use of that time after work in a constructive manner.
If you’re office-bound in front of a computer all day at work, make sure you choose a hobby that doesn’t involve a screen at all. Take up a hobby that requires you to interact with people and forget about your tech for a few hours.
2. Caught up in fast fashion
Getting caught up in the latest fashion trends and spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on them is a habit you need to drop. The money you spend on these items would be far better utilized if it’s invested in your retirement. The things themselves may not be that expensive, but if you get hooked on every fad, your spending will skyrocket. Sure, it’s hot on the catwalk and quickly makes its way to the shelves, but do you have to indulge in it?
Statistics indicate that fad fashion items are worn about seven times before they are out of style. Looking at it from that point of view, can you justify spending that money?
It’s time to start thinking about buying fewer clothes. Go for high-quality, timeless pieces that can be worn many times on different occasions. They may cost you a little more than fast fashion items. However, weigh that up against how much wear you’ll get out of them.
3. Social smoking
If you fancy yourself a social smoker, it means that you only smoke when you’re out with friends or you only smoke when you drink. Don’t think that being a social smoker is somehow okay. It is still a form of addiction, even though you’re not smoking all the time. If you can’t go for a drink without smoking, you’re addicted to smoking. Whether you’re addicted to the nicotine or the habit, you’ve got an addiction.
Don’t think just because you don’t smoke often that you’re unlikely to experience the illnesses and health problems heavy smokers do. If you smoke at all, you’re exposing yourself to the risk of cancer and cardiac disease. It dries out your skin and gives you wrinkles. Do you want to look 5-10 years older than you are?
Work out how much money you’d save if you stopped smoking socially. You’d be surprised by how much it is. Put the money to better use, like a gym membership.
4. Hanging onto friendships that aren’t productive
People come into your life in different and unexpected ways. Some should remain in your life for a season, while others should stay there forever. It’s a common mistake to hold onto friends who represent your younger life. Ask yourself this: Are these friends the type who should’ve stayed in my life for a season and wound up staying long-term? If the answer’s yes, you need to re-evaluate your friendship with those people. It might be time to go your separate ways.
As you approach your 30s, your pool of friends will decrease. You’ll shed acquaintances and hold onto true friends. Have a healthy understanding of what a friendship is and what it should be. If there are people in your life who don’t meet the criteria, let them go. A friendship should be mutually beneficial and worthwhile.
With fewer friends, you’ve got more time to spend with them. This will lead to the development of your friendships and make the bonds stronger.
5. Going to bed whenever
In your late teens and 20s, you feel like you can get by on the bare minimum of sleep. You tend to go to bed at wildly varying times. You’ve been living by the principle of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Those are great lyrics from the legendary band Bon Jovi but not words to live by, especially as you get older.
To get the best quality sleep, you need to have a set pattern of bedtimes and waking times. You can’t stick to the exact some bedtimes and wake-up times without deviation; the realities of life won’t allow it. On average, an adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep each night. When we’re younger, we add it up and work out our sleep quota. Then we sleep as little as possible during the week and catch up on the weekend, or vice versa if we wanted to spend the weekend partying. Quality sleep doesn’t work like that. You need to get roughly the same amount of sleep every night.
6. Relying on your metabolism
If you were gifted with a fast metabolism, you’ve likely never had a problem with your weight. You’ve managed to keep the pounds off and maintain a good level of fitness without too much effort.
Your 30s can be a wake-up call. Your metabolism starts slowing down. Without exercise, you’ll find yourself gaining weight and being less fit than you were. You won’t be able to eat whatever you want without gaining any weight.
Before it happens, it’s a good idea to develop healthy eating and exercise habits. Regular meals that contain all the food groups will be to your advantage. You need to put the days of not eating during the day and binging at night behind you.
It’s also time to join the gym and spend time working on your body. Vary your workouts to target all your muscles and the different fitness types such as strength and endurance. It will soon be an enjoyable part of your routine.
7. Drinking cheap wine
As you get a bit older, the quality of the alcohol you drink becomes more important than the quantity. Could it be that your priorities around alcohol are evolving? When you were younger, the aim of drinking alcohol was to get inebriated. Cheap drinking did the job. It suited your pocket, and so you were able to buy more significant quantities.
Now, you might find the quality of your alcohol more important than before. The motive of drinking is to relax and enjoy yourself. You can get away with being falling-down drunk in your 20s. People will look at it as a time of experimentation. But it doesn’t look good on a 30-year-old. It seems downright messy.
Spend a bit more and savor the taste of the alcoholic beverages you choose to drink. You’ll wind up drinking less of it and behaving in a far more responsible manner than you have been. Become a connoisseur and enjoy the journey.
8. Not recognizing key moments with your friends
Your friends are an invaluable support system who will share all your ups and downs with you. The years leading up to your 30s will be filled with trips that create great memories. Some of your friends may get married during this time. The idea of shelling out your hard-earned money on flights and accommodations probably won’t appeal to you.
However, missing out on these occasions will cost you more in the long run. You’ll miss out on the amazing times you could be having with your friends, celebrating and enjoying special times together. Summers at the beach and music festivals are two of the best experiences you can share with your friends. They won’t all be happy occasions: You may need to travel to console a bereaved friend.
If this is a friend you deem worthwhile, don’t miss out on the chance to be with them unless you cannot avoid it. It will keep your friends close and bond you together for life.
9. Settling for second best
In the lead-up to your 30s, you want to find that special someone to settle down with. It may take a few attempts before you find “the one.” You’re going to need to be prepared to deal with some heartache along the way. Things get messier if you become entangled financially and are living together.
What you shouldn’t do in the lead-up to your 30s is settle for a relationship with someone for the sake of being in a relationship. If you’re with someone who makes you unhappy, don’t stay because you think you won’t find anyone better. This is the worst decision you can make. Don’t compromise your morals and integrity to be in a relationship. Don’t chase after someone who isn’t interested in you.
The right person is out there. You might need to be a bit patient, but you will find him/her. And if it takes a bit of time, don’t beat yourself up. Live and enjoy the single life.
10. Feeling obligated
If you look at your behavior patterns, ask how many times you do things because you “feel you should.” You attend parties you don’t want to go to because “it’s the right thing to do.” Doing things under duress will bring you no happiness. They take time away from you being able to do the things you want to.
It might mean a few hurt feelings, but set boundaries in your relationships with others. These should include limits about being able to be honest about going to parties and other functions. People who accept you for who you are will understand. They may impose the same boundaries on you.
Your dad might insist you play golf with him every Saturday. You hate golf. Don’t spend every Saturday doing something you loathe. Have an open discussion about it with your dad. Tell him how you feel. It might need some compromise. One Saturday a month is better than all of them, isn’t it?
11. Ignoring mental wellbeing
Many of us are so busy taking care of our bodies that we forget to take care of our mental health as well. Physical fitness is easy to monitor and treat because you can see that something is wrong. Mental health is a little bit trickier to track.
Your mental health can be a direct result of how you treat yourself. If you’re punishing yourself for the way you look or who you are, you’re going to feel bad about yourself. When you’re in situations that make you anxious, prolonged experience to such anxiety can harm your mental health.
You need to spend enough time looking after your mental health. Do some introspection and determine how happy you are with the state of your life. If you’re not satisfied, it’s essential to address the cause of your unhappiness. If work is getting you down, the sooner you make a career change, the better. It’s best to do it before you even reach 30.
12. Falling for fad diets
Waking up on a Monday and realizing you need to lose 4 pounds before the weekend to fit into a bridesmaids’ dress. When that happens, what do you do? You turn to the latest fad diet that guarantees quick results. You start it without giving any thought to what the potential harm might be. Juice cleanses, fasting and the cucumber diet sound like a good idea. However, such fad diets can be dangerous to your health.
By the time your 20s end, you should have realized that the risks far outweigh the benefits. The best way to keep your weight steady is to eat healthy meals and exercise regularly. Fad diets will come and go, but healthy eating is the only way to keep your weight constant and your body healthy. Falling for the fake promises a fad diet makes is a bad habit you should leave behind in your 20s. Understanding your body and what makes it healthy is the way to go.
13. Ignoring the value of loyalty and frequent flyer points
We tend to look at membership points at different retailers and associations as unnecessary when we’re in our 20s. We do the same with the frequent flyer miles. What we cannot see at that time is how these can accumulate over the years.
If you travel by plane and don’t claim frequent flyer miles, you could miss out on a free flight to a holiday destination. The benefits of claiming points may not seem critical in the short-term, but they do pay off in the long run.
It takes no extra effort on your part to get membership cards. The only thing you have to do is register. After that, you can start claiming your points. You may get discounts on items that non-members aren’t eligible for. Have membership cards for various stores, but try to do your shopping in just one of them so you can accumulate points quickly. Having the others is worthwhile for those occasions when you’re in a hurry, and that’s the closest store.
14. Feeling small
We spend a lot of time with friends, partners and family. Not all these people offer us beneficial relationships. Many times, this group includes toxic people who make us feel bad about ourselves. They minimize us as people and make us feel insignificant. This leads us to feel bad about ourselves.
As the magic age of 30 approaches, you need to have identified who these people are. After that, it’s time to make some critical decisions. Do you want or need these people in your life? If you feel you don’t, purge them from your life. If you feel you don’t, it’s time to sit down for a one-on-one talk with the person. Explain how you feel and what they do that makes you feel like you don’t matter. Give them a chance to show you that you matter to them. However, don’t give chances time and again. If they don’t change right away, they’re never going to change. It’s time to move on.
15. Being environmentally unfriendly
Being friendly to the environment and taking care of it isn’t difficult. There are small changes you can make. If we all make small changes, it can have a significant effect. Thinking that being environmentally responsible is not your problem is a mindset you need to leave behind in your 20s.
If you start looking at the horrible stories about the state of the environment, you can think about what you can do differently. Stop choosing single-use plastics and don’t use plastic straws. Use glass instead of plastic. Have fabric shopping bags so that you don’t need plastic bags. These are not big asks.
Look at the cleaning products you buy. How environmentally friendly are they? Perhaps the ones that more beneficial for the earth’s environment cost a few cents more. Isn’t it worth it, though? After all, we’re trying to preserve the planet for our children and grandchildren.
It’s about making a conscious decision to do things in a way that will make a positive impact on the environment.
16. Cutting out at the last minute
Think about how many times you’ve made plans with a friend or family member. How many times have you canceled on them at the last moment? It may be more often than you think. Sometimes it’s inevitable that plans must be canceled at the last minute. Something happens at work, or you have a personal emergency. Count how many times that’s happened. That leaves you with a balance of occasions you’ve canceled plans at the last minute without a valid reason. What are your motivations for doing that? Do you want to be that person that people who know and love you think of as being a flake?
As we get older, we get busier and so do our friends. Plans need to be made well in advance. Sometimes, these plans are months in the making. If you cancel at the last minute, it’s a valuable opportunity lost to spend some quality time with someone special.
17. Crossing the set budget
We all make financial mistakes when we start working. You need to leave such mistakes behind in your 20s and be more responsible in your 30s. Saving should by now be a habit. Looking before you leap when buying things should be the principle you live by when shopping.
Another thing you should no longer be doing is spending all your money and having nothing left in the bank. Living hand-to-mouth from month to month can be avoided. Draw up a budget and stick to it. If you’re more tech-savvy, use a budgeting app to help you see where most of your money is going. This will help you to start changing your spending patterns.
Prioritize life insurance and retirement savings. It may feel like it will be a long time before you’ll need these, but time flies. You don’t want to be caught resting on your laurels when it comes to getting your financial priorities straight. Get help from a financial advisor if you need it.
In your 20s, you’ve possibly put off having some meaningful conversations. Some things need to be said. Somehow, though, you’ve not gotten around to it. Maybe it wasn’t a priority, or perhaps it’s the elephant in the room you’ve done your best to avoid.
Life is short. You’ll start to become more aware of this as you get older. There are difficult conversations you’ll need to have, and it’s vital you have them before it’s too late. These are issues that weigh on you and burden you. You owe it to yourself, if no one else, to get things off your chest.
We all enter adulthood with some baggage. There are conversations about things from our childhood we may need to have with our parents. Some people need to tell their parents about traumas they experienced as children and young adults. It’s hard to have these conversations, but it’s necessary. Gather your courage and get it done.
19. Not getting your priorities straight
Think about how you prioritize your life in all aspects. This includes your social life, your work life and your health. Are you putting partying ahead of work? It might not seem to affect you now, but it will catch up with you. Will your party animal friends support you when you’ve lost your job?
Are you working all the time? Do you feel like all you ever do is eat, sleep and work? That’s not a right balance either. You need time off to socialize. Before you know it, your friends will have drifted away because they never get to see you.
Do you think going to the gym once in a while is going to keep you fit? Do you tell yourself you’ve had a tough day and you deserve that WHOLE pizza? You need to assess if you’re putting your mental and physical well-being at the center of your decision-making.
It’s time to look at making some adjustments to your priorities.
20. Not drinking enough water
You’ve had it drummed into you since you were at school. You have to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Your body needs it to function at its best. Drinking enough water keeps you hydrated. It keeps your skin hydrated, keeping you younger-looking. It helps your body’s digestive system. Your kidneys need it to work correctly. You’ve heard it all. However, are you doing it?
Keep to your normal routine and track how much water you drink each day. You’ll probably be shocked at how little it is in comparison with the expected 8 glasses. Tea and coffee don’t count. Only glasses or bottles of water.
If you’re not drinking enough water, it’s time to break the habit. All the things you learned at school are true. Your body needs water. Make a conscious effort to drink more water. You owe it to your body. Keep track of how many glasses of water you drink. We’re sure there’s an app for that too!
21. Pulling all-nighters
Staying out partying all night is what college and your early twenties are all about. However, the next day’s hangover is sure to keep you in bed for hours.
The older you get, the harder it is to get over an all-night party. The hangover seems to take longer to pass. The effects don’t last into the next day, they go beyond it. As you age, you might find it takes two or three days to get over an all-nighter.
By the time you enter your 30s, you need a relatively set sleep pattern. You also need to be able to moderate how much alcohol you drink. It’s drinking for enjoyment now, not drinking to get drunk.
You need to start weighing the enjoyment of the all-nighter against the costs you face in the morning. You might have the occasional all-nighter if the occasion is right. Your best friend’s bachelor or bachelorette party would count. However, regular all-nighters as a habit shouldn’t form part of your life.
22. Too much of junk food
Regular trips for takeout need to taper off as you head for the 30-year milestone. We’re all guilty of a stop at McDonald’s or another fast food outlet after a night out. A good fix of grease and a full stomach will make the hangover easier to manage. It might work for you, but it won’t work for your waistline if you make a habit of it.
Stopping for fast food on the way home from work because you’re too tired to cook is something we’re all guilty of. But if it becomes a regular habit, your balanced, healthy diet is compromised. Are you spending more time looking at the takeout menus on your fridge instead of reaching inside it for healthy food? This is a habit that can affect your health. Too much junk food can lead to conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Reconsider how you approach eating. If you’re too busy during the week, cook and freeze healthy meals, so you don’t resort to takeout.
23. Ignoring dental care
We’re drilled about brushing our teeth twice a day every day from the time we go to preschool. Once we lose our milk teeth, our permanent teeth grow out. This is the set of teeth you have to live with for the rest of your life. If you don’t look after them, they won’t look after you.
Your parents may have spent a fortune on orthodontists to get your teeth straightened. They took you to an oral hygienist to get them cleaned. Every cavity was filled.
Once you become an adult, there’s no one there to check that you brush your teeth and look after them. Neglecting them is easy. However, if you make a habit of not looking after your teeth, a lot of harm is possible. Cavities, abscesses, and teeth damaged beyond repair can loom on the horizon.
Few people like the dentist. However, if you want to keep your teeth in good health, you’ll need to go for regular checkups.
24. Not taking care of your skin
The skin is the largest organ in the human body. It has an important role: it protects the body from outside pollutants and substances. Your skin needs to be cared for. It needs nourishment exactly as any other organ does.
We tend to look at our skin and think it will forever look the way it did when we were in our late teens and early 20s. That’s too good to be true. As you age, your skin begins to lose its elasticity. The collagen in your skin is not as firm as it was. It now takes more to moisturize your skin than it did before. If you do not have a good skincare routine, your skin will look older way before it should. Spending too much time in the sun without sunscreen dehydrates the skin.
Failure to look after your skin will result in the early appearance of fine line and wrinkles. “Iron” this issue out before you turn 30!
25. Giving a hoot about the opinions of others
The minute puberty hits, we care a lot about what other people think. Some people become obsessed with this. It doesn’t necessarily stop when your adolescence ends. A lot of young adults are consumed by what other people think of them. They allow the opinions of others to define how they feel about themselves. This has become heightened by social media. Before these platforms, we only needed to worry about what people we knew thought of us. Now we must worry about what the world thinks.
If you’re allowing yourself to be controlled by the opinions of others, it’s time to take back control. You define who you are and how you feel about yourself, no one else.
In your late 20s, you need to develop a thicker skin when it comes to the opinions of others. Not everyone is going to like you. And you don’t have to compromise who you are to make everyone like you. Do you and let the chips fall where they may.
26. Drift through life goals
A lot of people enter their 20s with a vague plan for their future. These are the people who wake up one morning just before they turn 30 and wonder where the last ten years have gone. The answer? They’ve been wasted because you didn’t have a plan. Don’t let this tendency follow you into your 30s.
Having a plan for your life is critical. This includes your work life and your social life. You need to have goals you want to achieve. They must be SMART goals. That means they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. It sounds trite because you’ve heard it a million times before, but where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Can you see it? What plans do you have in place to make sure you achieve it?
Turning 30 is a time for introspection. If you didn’t have a long-term plan, develop one now. If you have one, are you on track? Keep your eye on the prize.
27. Not keeping records of plans
Life is busy when you’re an adult. You have work commitments to remember. You have social plans. Friends’ birthdays must be remembered. It can become too much to keep it all straight. Eventually, you’re going to drop the ball and forget something or someone.
Your 20s will teach you this lesson at some stage. Hopefully, whatever it is you forget won’t be too serious. However, learn from this lesson. Have a written schedule of what is going to happen in the upcoming weeks and months. Keep one schedule that incorporates all the aspects of your life.
Your 30s may see you develop a love of the feel of pen on paper. Keep a diary or appointment book. If you’re more of a tech junkie, get a calendar app and add your events and important things to remember. Set it to remind you of important things you cannot afford to forget. Make it a daily habit to add to your calendar so you don’t forget anything.
28. Spending a fortune on coffee
Stopping for your morning coffee fix on the way to work quickly becomes a habit. Before you know it, you won’t be functional until you’ve had a good cup of coffee. Do you know what your daily coffee habit is costing you? Go ahead, add it up and think of all the other things you could be doing with that money.
Now think about all the disposable cups and straws you’ve used. What is their impact on our already fragile environment?
Next, consider the payoff from your cup of coffee. It’s more psychological than physiological. You feel good because you’re programmed to feel that coffee gives you an extra buzz. It might, but it doesn’t last very long. So, can you justify the expense and then complain about how tight your budget is?
Treat yourself to a cup of coffee on the way to work once a week. For the rest, make your coffee. It costs a lot less, and there are lots of varieties to try.
29. Not following your passion
Many of us spend our twenties trying to establish careers and get ahead on the job ladder. It’s about earning a good salary and the prestige that comes from being a success.
If you’re doing your dream job, that’s all good and well. But if you’re in an industry you detest doing a job that’s sucking the life out of you, is it worth it? If you feel like you’re trapped on a hamster wheel, it’s time to get off it.
If you’re not following your passion, work is going to be a grind for the rest of your life. It might be because you made an ill-advised choice what to study in college. If it means you need to study again to work in a different field, do it when you’re in your 20s. By the time you reach your 30s, you might have a spouse, a mortgage and children who need your financial and emotional support. It will be challenging to make a change then.
30. Social media addiction
Millennials who are in their 20s approaching turning 30 make a lot of use of social media platforms. They’re active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They take selfies and share pictures of every meal they eat. Sometimes they overshare. They overshare a lot. Many spend so much time on social media that they forget the real people who surround them. They also don’t understand that what they put on social media stays on social media forever.
If you’ve made some social media faux pas, you need to forgive yourself. However, it’s important to learn from them and not repeat them as you get older. Let social media take a back seat to your friends, partner and family. Give them your attention instead of devoting it to a mass of people you’ll never meet in real life. You’ll learn they add a great deal of value to your life when you spend time with them. Don’t make them compete with your cell phone for your attention.