Your 20’s are a major step in your life. One moment you’re home with your parents and the next… you’re venturing off on your own. Now you have all the independence in the world, which can be great, but can also be terrifying. Should you be writing an award-winning novel? Crying? Sleeping all day? Starting a family? Getting a masters degree? There are just too many options and it can be hard to navigate what you should be doing. But one of the most comforting things is creating a routine and setting healthy habits for yourself, so at least you know that you have your life in somewhat of an order!
Here are 10 healthy lifestyle habits that you should set within your 20’s…
1. Get good at cleaning your space
If you’ve ever lived with roommates in your young adult life, then you know one thing to be incredibly true: all young people are disgusting. It doesn’t seem to matter who raised them… once they live on their own, their standards plummet. This can be not only frustrating for everyone who lives with you, but can become a very bad habit.
Cleaning up after yourself seems to be a skill that takes time to develop and the more you practice it, the better.
The first thing you can do to make this a habit, is create set days where you have to clean. There’s nothing more I want to do on a Saturday than lay on the couch and let my brain rot with Netflix. But sometimes getting up early and getting your cleaning done means you have the whole day to do other things. Plus, your house will be spotless for the rest of the week.
Another good practice is just cleaning as you go. Throughout the week, it’s easy to leave crumbs on the kitchen counter, or have your make-up smear the sink. If you just cleaned those things up as soon as you made the mess, your house would stay cleaner, longer, and you wouldn’t have to worry about cleaning all of that up later.
If you do live with roommates, creating a cleaning schedule can sometimes be a good practice… or it can be a disaster. From my personal experience, this can keep roommates accountable for a while. But after a bit of time, it can create hostility and people may get passive aggressive if someone has done more cleaning than others. So maybe discuss this approach with your roommates and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Developing tidy habits is essential for any adult… so start on this one as soon as you can!
2. Take time to be alone and learn to enjoy it
I’d you’ve recently moved out from your family home and now find yourself alone, it can be hard to adjust to the lack of people around you. While some thrive in silence, others get uncomfortable with no one to be with all the time.
Regardless, being comfortable alone is an essential skill and habit that everyone needs to develop.
If you live with a roommate, friend or significant other, it’s still a good idea to take time away from that other person and have some alone time. Ways to get away and enjoy some alone time, include:
- Taking a bubble bath
- Going for a walk/run outside
- Running errands by yourself
- Go out and do a community event alone
- Closing your door and reading a book
- Plug your headphones in and listen to some music
- Do some yoga
- Make some art
The list goes on and I’m sure you get the point- but it’s healthy to get away from others and spend some time with just your thoughts and feelings. If you can’t be happy around just yourself, then how can you expect to be a good companion to others?
3. Create a tried and true skincare routine
As an adult, you can’t just pass-out with make-up all over your face. You’re just asking for a huge breakout and for your sheets to be destroyed. It’s kinda cute and quaint when you’re in your teens… but at this point, it’s time to make a habit of treating your skin with respect.
This means investing in some decent products. There are few cosmetic things I believe warrant a huge shopping spree, but you should never cheap out on skincare. Good quality products will work better and will be made with better ingredients, meaning you’re not absorbing stuff that could potentially be toxic.
Overall, here are some of the items you should include in your skincare arsenal:
- Face wash and cleanser
- Moisturizer (if it has salicylic acid in it, even better!)
- Facial serum
- Spot treatment
- Body wash designed to treat acne
Take time to read reviews online and find products that work for you. Not everything will be a one size fits all solution, so keep in mind that it might take a while to find products that suite your skin and unique needs.
With some patience and trial and error, you’ll have a simple skincare routine that will quickly turn into a healthy habit.
4. Set a realistic workout schedule
No one has to turn into a world-class weightlifter. Believe it or not, it’s not a competition and you don’t have to become an expert. However, everyone should be good at being active and moving their body as much as possible. This means taking time to create a workout schedule for yourself that is realistic and manageable. With time, going to the gym might even become a habit for you.
All too often, people decide they’re going to get fit and they head to the gym every night for a whole week- leaving themselves sore and discouraged with their lack of improvement. Most people want results overnight, but this is unrealistic and you have to be okay with the idea that it takes a while to notice a physical change in how you look.
Within a week of going to the gym, you may notice that you’re slightly stronger, more flexible or able to run a little longer. But everyone is looking for changes in the mirror. You have to come to terms with the fact that this takes time. Everything worth having takes time.
- Start with small goals and start slow- Start with going once a week and let yourself heal when you’re sore. This will make going back to the gym a lot less painful and more enjoyable.
- Do your research- Watch all of the YouTube videos and read all of the bodybuilding articles you need to. This will help with any gym anxiety you may have, or fears that you look silly because you don’t know what exercises to do.
- Write down a plan- Writing down what you will do at the gym will take the guesswork out of your routine.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help- If you need a friend to go with you at the start, that’s okay! If you need to ask someone to spot you, that’s okay! If you need to take that free personal training session at your gym to feel comfortable, that’s okay!
- Don’t try anything you’re not comfortable with- Certain exercises may need to be left to a different day or even different year, when you’re a little stronger and confident. Don’t get discouraged if this is the case for you.
I hope to one day make a whole post on how to start going to the gym and creating a workout schedule for yourself… but for now, this should be a decent introduction.
5. Cook (at least) 80% of your weekly meals at home
After a long day of work, stopping off somewhere to pick-up dinner or ordering take-out sounds so convenient.
However, the amount of money you may end up spending if this becomes a bad habit can drain at your savings. Buying a load of groceries each week and creating full meals at home is much better for your finances and your health.
Not only is making meals at home a great decision for your finances, it’s also a great way to learn how to cook. Try new recipes, or a brand new cooking technique! Buy ingredients you’ve never heard of and see what you can do with it! Being creative and coming up with new meal ideas is a great way to learn how to be a good cook and is a skill that every single person should have. Being able to feed yourself is a major part of being adult and take-out tends to be an all too common way of avoiding this reality.
6. Create a budgeting plan
My first post was related to creating a budget for new graduates. So I won’t go into too much detail on this topic, but needless to say, tracking your income and spending is vital.
There are too many young people who feel that a savings account isn’t something they need to worry about until they’re older. They may also think that investing is too complicated and is something that they should save for their 50’s. All of these ideas are ridiculous and perpetuate bad money habits.
Creating a savings goal and plan is a good way to ensure you can pay for large expenses and not live pay cheque to pay cheque. Creating a budgeting plan early in life also sets you up for better financial health later in life, as you have more savings and better money habits.
This can be a tough habit to build and honestly… may be the least fun out of all the other points I have made so far in this post. But it will be the most beneficial for you and your family later.
7. Take time for friends and family
It’s funny how once we all reach our twenties, we often consider ourselves old. Now I might be wrong in assuming everyone thinks like this. This might just be a Canadian mentality, as most of us have all been drinking legally since we were 19. By the time our 20’s roll around, the glitz and glamour of going out has worn off and we’re all cranky.
Regardless, a night in with junk food and Netflix can sometimes seem much more appealing than putting on clothes and leaving our couch. And sometimes, this is not a good thing.
I’m not saying you always have to go out- sometimes it’s more beneficial to recover mentally and physically, or take some “you-time”. But we shouldn’t make a habit of this.
If your friends or family want to go out and spend some time with you, sometimes you need to set aside your selfishly, lazy desires and go be social. It’s good for you to get out of the house once in a while and I’m sure your peers appreciate you for spending time with them too.
8. Build a strong work ethic
Laziness and procrastination might have gotten you through your schooling, but now that you’re in the real world (or preparing to head into it), it’s time to get your shit together.
No one will laugh and lightly taunt you for getting important things done at the last minute. They won’t think it’s quirky or even be impressed with your ability to throw something together before it’s too late. Instead, people will just think you’re lazy and unreliable. Procrastination is ultimately a bad habit, not a personality trait and you can most certainly train yourself out of this.
I’m not going to tell you to read some inspirational books or watch a TED talk. No one can teach you how to be productive. You just have to practice it.
There are a lot of ways to train a proper work ethic, including:
- Keeping an agenda and being more organized
- Setting yourself personal timelines and goals
- Taking pride in well-done work
- Setting specific times in your day to be productive and allowing yourself breaks to refresh your mind
- Taking your time with your work and having good attention to detail
Over time, all of these things can become healthy habits and you won’t have to think twice about starting a job early and getting it done way before the deadline.
9. Go to bed early, and wake up early
Staying up late and sleeping in all day is another one of those habits that might have been cute when you were young, but now it just makes you gross and lazy.
This bad habit plays into being unproductive and inactive. Believe me, it’s going to be hard to be a functioning member of society when you’re basically nocturnal.
Again, setting a bedtime is another healthy habit that isn’t fun… but it will serve you so well in the long run. Not only will this make you more productive, but a good night’s sleep is a necessary healthy habit to become a functioning human being. Consistent lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, as you rely on food as your main energy source. It can make you cranky and cause hormonal imbalances. Finally, it can cause breakouts, as your stress levels increase with a lack of sleep. Evidently… everyone needs to sleep and it’s in your best interest to put the damn phone down and go to sleep.
If you struggle with getting tired before bed, here are some good healthy habits to set before bed time:
- Turn your phone off at least 2 hours before you want to fall asleep- the blue light from your phone and other electronic devices disrupts your circadian rhythms and confuses your brain, making it think its daytime.
- Keep noise and excitement to a minimum
- Read a book before bed, instead of watching TV
- Take a relaxing bath
10. Go outdoors and put your phone down
As we get older, our drive to go outside and explore diminishes. We don’t want to get dirty or sweaty. We just want to relax.
While there’s nothing wrong with staying indoors every now and then, the best healthy lifestyle habit is unplugging ourselves from our cellphones and going back outdoors.
Go take a walk, ride your bike or rollerblade. If you have a dog, go throw some sticks and take a walk around the block. I’m not saying you need to hike and go hardcore camping every chance you get, but try to spend some time outdoors once a day. We already sit too much all day long in school or at work- so do your body and mind some good and move!
Any other healthy lifestyle habits you follow?
In conclusion, taking some time for yourself and getting away from technology, work and school is the best healthy habit you can set for yourself. Your physical and mental health is always the most important thing and now that you’re an adult, it’s time to take care of both. Ultimately, you’re the most important thing in your life, so do everything in your power to make sure you’re thriving.