Your 20s are a time for learning, for trial and error. It’s when you (hopefully) learn to drink in moderation, figure out what type of romantic relationship suits you, and really narrow down your career path. However, your mid- and late 20s are also the time to prep for the next decade.
How can you prepare yourself for the next milestone? Here are a few habits to adopt now:
- Establish a sleep hygiene routine. Most Americans are chronically tired due to lack of sleep. Not clocking enough hours is nothing to brag about, and many people have bad habits that keep them from getting a good night’s sleep. Start by keeping technology out of the bedroom and your phone in another room where you’re not tempted to scroll into the wee hours.
- Ditch the soda habit. Whether it’s diet or regular soda, if you’re an addict it’s not doing you any favors. You can wean yourself off by going with a carbonated beverage like club soda with a squeeze of lemon to give you that bubbly burst you crave. However, it’s ultimately best to drink only water or herbal tea instead of anything sweetened.
- Assess your friendships. As we get older, we start to realize just how precious time is. Humans have a tendency to stick with friendships far beyond their expiration dates. Some friendships last a lifetime, but healthy ones are few and far between. We simply grow apart, but not many people know how to tell when a friendship is dead. Take stock of those around you, how much time you spend with them (texting counts), and see if the friendship is still worthwhile to you. If not, it might be time for a friend breakup.
- Put your health first. Health includes mental, physical, emotional, and perhaps spiritual. We often think we don’t have enough time to prioritize health, but our health is the most important thing we have. Without health, we won’t be able to give our all to work or relationships. If you don’t have a healthy exercise regimen, start one. If you think you’d benefit from seeing a therapist (almost anyone does!) start researching options.
- Reduce screen time. Whether it’s social media, Netflix, or even an e-book, spending too much time staring at the screen is dangerous for your health. If it helps, download an app that keeps track of how often you check your phone. Consider screen time outside of work a treat. Instead, think of hobbies or ways to relax that don’t involve a screen. Reading a (physical) book, gardening, or simply spending time with loved ones are better options.
- Start saving for retirement. It doesn’t matter how big or small your income is—the sooner you start saving for retirement, the better. Meet with a financial advisor to see how you can reduce spending and start saving for your future. Most advisors aren’t paid up front, but rather take a small percentage of earnings they make for you.
- Get a deficiency screening. In addition to seeing a doctor once a year for a checkup, make sure to ask for a deficiency screening. It’s not automatically part of a checkup. This is how you can tell if you’re missing any vital vitamins or minerals. If you are, it’s best to get them from diet. If that’s not possible, a natural supplement can help. Many people who live in cloudy regions are deficient in vitamin D, and a supplement can give you instant energy when taken regularly.
As you get ready for the best decade yet, make sure you’re in a good position. Keep the trials of the 20s behind you and start preparing now.