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Have you ever witnessed an older person who was stuck in their ways?
It's frustrating to watch when they repeat bad habits that are detrimental to their livelihood. However, the saying is true that old habits die hard.
A Harvard study pointed out that “we're motivated too often by a sense of guilt, fear, or regret. Experts who study behavior change agree that long-lasting change is most likely when it's self-motivated and rooted in positive thinking.”
In other words, it’s really hard to change as you age.
Because of this, it is vital to start success habits early in life. This isn't to say you can't find success in later life, but if you begin these good habits now, you'll be in great shape later on. I encourage you to think of your habits as compound interest.
Compound interest is a financial term that refers to interest on top of interest. When you make an investment at a specific interest rate, over time, the interest will compound on its own interest.
If you made a $1,000 deposit into a savings account with a 3% interest rate, you could earn another $600+ dollars within five years without depositing any more money. As the years go on, that same $1,000 can turn into well over $50,000. In this case, results really do build on results.
The lesson here?
If you build great habits when you’re young, you'll set yourself up for success in the long-term.
In this article, I go over 20 habits you should build before the age of 25.
Let’s get to it.
20 Habits to Build Before You're 25
1. Travel the World.
It's important to see the world. Getting out of your regular routine and comfort zone can help broaden your perspective. Traveling can really help you understand and appreciate different people and cultures.
There are lots of online deals for those who want to travel inexpensively. Travel with groups of friends to keep costs low. Consider using sites like Airbnb for inexpensive lodging. The American dollar goes farther in a lot of third-world countries, so you may have more to spare than you realize. Check out different airlines and book tickets when they have really low rates.
As long as you plan your travel excursions in advance, you'll be able to see the world on a dime!
2. Learn to Cook.
Everyone has to eat. As someone in their twenties, you need to know how to prepare meals and create magic in the kitchen. It may seem really cheap to buy fast food on the go, but those dollars quickly add up. If you're dining out for two out of three meals a day, you'll easily blow a ton of money that you'll never see again. Instead, save your money and buy groceries for half the price.
Log on to YouTube and you'll be able to find people who know how to make your favorite meals. Experiment and continue to perfect those dishes. Before long, you'll be able to whip up a gourmet meal in no time. For educational and recreational enrichment, consider taking a cooking class over the weekend. Purchase a few interesting cookbooks and learn how to make a new dish every month. Your taste buds and wallet will thank you!
3. Don't Worry About Finding “The One.”
Yes, I know this a time when hormones are in full swing and gorgeous people are everywhere. You're at an age where many people will be looking for Mr. or Ms. Right Now. But don't spend a large portion of your time trying to find the perfect match.
In order to avoid getting your feelings tangled up, keep things light. Don't spend a lot of time perusing social media for a new date. It's best to really focus on developing your mindset, career, and other habits on this list.
If you spend most of your time talking about the opposite sex, you'll struggle to maintain an enlightening conversation on any other topic. Use this time to stay abreast of current events. Develop hobbies and decide what you like and dislike. Don't get lost focusing on the next set of abs or curves that walk past.
4. Date a Variety of People.
In this time of your life, it's a wise idea to get to know a lot of people. And by the way, you don't need to sleep with someone to get to know them. Instead:
Of course, if you are dating a few people at once, make sure they know about this. You don't want to be labeled a player. Just learn to enjoy their company without getting incredibly attached or serious. When you do this, you'll learn the things you like and dislike. This will help you as you begin the process of finding a lifelong partner (if that's what you desire). Consider different nationalities and cultures as well. Love knows no color.
5. Never Chase Happiness.
Don't get caught up in what you think should be happening for you right now. Furthermore, don't look at what you see on social media and assume that it's happiness. Learn to be happy with your current state and develop a sense of contentment.
Sure, there are things you'll probably want to improve down the line. And maybe your current circumstances are less than ideal. But while many people believe that happiness is found within the next pay increase, soul mate, or wedding day, that simply isn’t true. While those things are all nice, they won't make you happy for long. Happiness is something you'll have to work at and avoid chasing. Never rely on someone else to make or keep you happy.
An amazing spouse is wonderful during the honeymoon period, but eventually they'll do something that really makes you upset. It's not because they don't love you, it's simply because they're human. Humans mess up, so don't put too much pressure on them to provide your happiness.
Happiness is an inside job.
There are tons of reasons why it's important to develop a reading habit. Many of the most successful people in the world are avid readers who intentionally read every day.
Eliminate the excuse of being too busy. Nowadays, there are audiobooks and reading apps, so you can read anytime and anywhere. Reading will broaden your perspective and expand your vocabulary. Always develop your brain, and challenge yourself to read daily.
7. Stop Bad Habits.
Just like it's important to cultivate good and healthy habits, it's important to eliminate the bad ones.
One prime example is smoking. There's absolutely no benefit to smoking. Before 25, many young adults like to experiment with weed to see what it's like. Don't succumb to the temptation. Beating a cigarette or weed addiction is really difficult once it develops. And as a gateway drug, it leads to more drug experimentation.
Plus, bad habits like smoking affect more than your health. They can also deplete your financial resources and eliminate your chances of developing a positive support system of friends. Smoking, overeating, and overspending are all rooted in emotion. It's worth it to visit a counselor or seek help in order to deal with the root cause. Become intentional about trying different ways to stop your bad habits so you can move forward in a healthy manner.
8. Drink More Water.
For optimal health, you'll need to consume about half of your body weight in ounces of water. Many people are walking around dehydrated and unaware. Many try to fix the problem by eating food or drinking caffeinated beverages. However, the root cause is usually dehydration. Your body needs to flush toxins out of its system, and it thrives on water.
Imagine a toilet that gets clogged after an entire day of use. You wouldn't want to be near it because of the smell and what's inside. The same goes for the body. Our bodies are incredibly resilient, so we underestimate the power they have to overcompensate for our negligence. However, your neglect can quickly result in compounded interest in a negative way.
Recharge, refresh, and cleanse your internal body by drinking the right amount of water every single day.
9. Exercise Every Day.
Make sure you're getting a good amount of exercise every day. As you age, your body will naturally begin to decline unless you take good care of it. If your job requires you to sit at a desk all day long, wake up earlier in the morning and go for a brisk walk or jog. Getting outside in the fresh air is also a great way to recharge and wake up your body for the new day.
Staying active will also help you in the area of weight management. In order to lose weight, the best approach is to combine diet and exercise. (Want to get started on your exercise habit?
Another great exercise habit involves weights. Weight training burns calories long after the workout is complete. It's also great for toning the body, regulating stress hormones, and improving heart health.
If you don't really like to get on the treadmill or walk around the neighborhood, try dancing, swimming, or tennis classes. These options are lots of fun and get your body moving.
10. Start Eating Greens.
As a child, most kids hate the thought of eating Brussels sprouts, spinach, and kale. As an adult, you've got to get out of that mindset. The foods you hated as a child are usually the very same foods you'll need to stay alive as an adult.
There are tons of ways to incorporate green foods into your diet in a healthy and tasty manner.
For breakfast, try a large green smoothie. Add a cup of soymilk to the blender. Drop-in a banana and a few cubes of pineapple for taste. Then, add a handful of organic kale. Blend together for a few minutes and you'll have a delicious breakfast smoothie to go.
11. Practice Portion Control.
Yes, it may seem more enticing to eat to your heart's content. However, portion control is pretty important for optimal health. Many people eat copious amounts of food and then wonder why they gain weight easily!
The American diet consists of a lot of large portions. The average meal at a restaurant like The Cheesecake Factory can easily feed three people.
It's important to know your portion sizes and understand when it's time to stop. If you have a piece of meat in your meal, the full serving shouldn't be bigger than the size of your palm. On a plate, your vegetables should take up half of the space.
Take a look at some of the drinks you purchase. If it says there are two servings in one jar, only drink half. Even though candy isn't good for you, most people love to enjoy a bag of gummy snacks on occasion. If the bag says the serving size is five gummy snacks, don't eat the entire bag at once.
When you look at the labels, you'll get a better understanding of how much is too much.
12. Set Wild Goals, but Create Realistic Plans.
One of the most exciting parts of being a young person is all the potential you hold. You have the power and ability to be anything you want to be. All the dreams you held as a child are within your reach with the use of goals you set as a young adult.
Allow your mind to roam freely when it comes to what you'd like to become. Whether your dream is to become an astronaut, a professional singer, or a physician, now is the time to sit down and create a plan to reach that goal.
Think about what you'd like to build toward. Make sure you do your best to compete against yourself and no one else. When you formulate your goals, remember to start small and knock out those smaller goals first. Soon, you will build momentum, confidence, and the ability to conquer more. Before long, you'll be right where you've always dreamed you'd be within your career.
Need some inspiration? Here are 35 examples of SMART goals for all areas of your life and this step-by-step guide for creating goals for teens.
13. Know That a Career Isn’t Everything.
While it’s important to develop a sense of focus and dedication to your goals, remember that your career isn't everything. You don't want to look back on life with regret.
Remember to take time out to invest in your family and social life. Remember to have fun.
When your career gets stressful, it's always good to have outlets like family, friends, and hobbies to get you through.
Make a point to:
When you take the time to enjoy life, a thriving and successful career will feel much more fulfilling.
14. Understand That Reputation Is Everything.
Your reputation precedes you. A wise person once said, “Be kind. The world is a small town.” This is truer than many people realize. It's so important to avoid burning bridges with people within the workplace. Even if a colleague or client is totally awful towards you, do not allow their unprofessionalism or snarky behavior to take you to a place that can ruin your reputation.
A bad reputation is very hard to clear up. Once someone thinks poorly of you, they'll remember that, even when it's time to find someone to do the work that you're capable of doing.
Even though the movies and television shows portray the people who get ahead as ruthless, conniving, and shady, this doesn't translate well in real life. Sure, there are some people who deceive their way to the top of the proverbial food chain—it's just not what sustainable success is made of.
15. Discover Your Passion.
As the old adage says, “If you love what you do, you'll never work another day in your life” Sure, there are some elements of your job that you may not particularly care for. However, it's important to find a career that you love and enjoy. After all, you'll spend most of your life at your job. It's better to live a life that you don't need a vacation from.
The best way to do this is through making sure you build a life you want to live. This includes your job. Don't choose a job based on the salary or prestige. If you make those factors the sole reasons for working in a particular field, you'll be miserable.
No dollar sign or award is worth your sanity and happiness. Figure out what makes you light up inside and then put your whole heart into it. When you're able to solve a problem and pursue a passion simultaneously, this is where true satisfaction within a career path can really happen.
For more on this, I recommend reading 50 Questions to Find Your Passion.
16. Get a Credit Card.
Once you're earning money and starting off in the professional world, you'll want to begin building credit. At some point, you'll want to make major purchases like a car or a home—and you'll have a harder time getting a loan if you don't have a credit score.
The key to using a credit card is to keep the balance low and pay it off each month. Don’t overspend with credit cards. Try not to spend over 30% of the available credit limit. It might be tempting, but you'll appreciate the discipline when you look at your credit score and see that it's excellent.
17. Save for Your Future.
Compound interest is a powerful concept. The earlier you start to save, the more money you'll make. Once you receive a paycheck, do everything you can to make sure you pay yourself first. If you don't have a big financial margin yet, try to save at least 5% of your paycheck.
It's important to get into the discipline of saving money because there will always be someone or something taking money away from you. It may feel difficult at first. This is why it's important to get into the habit of doing it sooner than later. The sooner you practice this habit, the easier it will become. As you begin to see the money pile up and compound, you'll thank yourself and stay motivated to continue this habit.
One tool that I use for saving is a Robo-advisor tool called Betterment, which simplifies the process of saving by putting your money into funds that earn a much better rate than the 0.02% you typically get with a bank savings account.
18. Maintain a Monthly Budget.
Keeping a monthly budget will help you stay on track with your financial goals. It'll also help you get a clear understanding of where your money is going.
Keep a zero-based budget. Every dollar that comes into your grasp should have an assigned place.
When you create and keep a budget, it's your decision where the money goes. If you want to start working out at the gym, you can budget that in. If you'd like to start putting more money into your mutual funds, this is your decision.
Create a budget at the beginning of every month. By the end of each month, take a look at how you did and what you can do to improve.
19. Have a Contingency Plan.
When you're young, it's really easy to assume you're invincible and nothing can happen. But you must plan for emergencies. To start, take a detailed look at your health, car, and life insurance policies.
Accidents happen, and you'll need to make sure your insurance can cover the bills. Cancer is no respecter of age. While you don't want to live life assuming you'll get a terminal disease, you never know what the future holds.
Make sure your employer has a good sick leave policy if you ever became ill and need to take time off. Always keep a personal emergency fund. If money is tight right now, build up savings of $1000 in an untouchable savings account. An emergency fund can give you a little wiggle room for flat tires or when you need to book a quick flight for a funeral or unexpected circumstance.
20. Curb Overspending.
We're living in a tech age where everything is done with the simple swipe of a debit card. Most people don't carry much cash anymore, and it's easy to spend money online with the click of a button. With so many companies making it easier to spend, it's important to watch how much you're spending.
It's simple to overspend when you don't physically feel the money leaving your account. To get yourself out of the habit of overspending, consider using cash for a while. Once you feel the cash leave your hands, you'll have an easier time holding on to your money.
How to Create Life-Long Success Habits
Creating new habits doesn't need to be as difficult as it might seem. There are a few keys to creating new habits.
First, you should focus on establishing one at a time. Give yourself a month to master each new habit. During this time, take baby steps and create a contingency plan. There might be times when you'll mess up. Having a plan in place will help you stay motivated and hopeful to continue the journey.
Now, how do you feel about this list? Does it motivate you to begin the development of your success habits?
I truly hope so.
If this has really encouraged and inspired you to do better in your own life, please comment below and tell me what you're going to work on first.
Want to start early with good habits? Check out this list of hobbies for teens.
Finally, if you need help with building habits, then check out this nine-step blueprint that walks you through the entire process of creating lifelong habits.)
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