When I was just about to turn 30, I had a few choices to make. I could have gone on teaching and eating out every night in Naples. But my career was knocking at the door and I started to get serious about it. I decided to start studying for a new qualification and then taking two years out to do a Masters’ degree. I missed all the fun times and the seductive Neapolitan lifestyle. But these were short-lived regrets as I saw my career advance.
Nothing is written in stone about what you should stop doing once you turn 30. But it is usually around then that life, relationships and career start muscling their way into your life.
You also have the added complication of whether to start a family and what sort of relationship could help you fulfil that ambition. Does parenting really appeal to you?
Here are 15 things people should stop doing now to make their future more secure and tranquil.
1. Stop spending money extravagantly
You have to start thinking about a pension which you might need just 30 years from now. If you are lucky, you can get good financial advice about pension funds or figure it out yourself by investing wisely. This will give you financial security to help you buy the property later on.
2. Stop dithering about job or career moves
The best thing to do is to start getting rid of mismatches and gaps in your resume. Stress the fact that your best talents and skills set can be leveraged to fit the demands of a new job or career. In this way, you are displaying how proactive you can be.
3. Stop using social media so much
Time to get real and start making some valuable connections out there. That means using social media less and less. It also means that you should be aiming to network outside your organization. If you are an introvert, this may be a bit daunting.
Susan Cain in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking has some good advice. There is no need to take the standard extrovert as the norm. You should be trying to make more meaningful and deeper contacts so it really is worthwhile getting to know people at more than a superficial level.
4. Stop posting silly things on Facebook
Yes, employers do check your social media profiles so if you are really serious about a career, delete all those photos of you having a great time. Post some really professional stuff such as your networking at a conference.
5. Stop thinking about your past failures
Maybe a relationship went all wrong or you did not get the dream job you wanted. Most psychologists agree that too much ruminating and blaming yourself for past errors can have lasting negative effects. If these regrets are keeping you from getting on with life and planning your future, then it really is time to stop.
6. Stop texting while driving
Not that all the people who do this are under 30! I daydream about fixing an anti-phone device in each car. Problem solved and people start driving responsibly. But if you cannot control a texting addiction at this age, then it is time to think about this.
7. Stop sleeping in at weekends
Maybe you think that you can recover your lost sleep at the weekend. You need to, because of all that hard work and late-night partying during the week. Scientists have shown that this recovery sleep is not going to fix all the problems and the long term effects are unknown. Much better to start getting more regular sleep. That will leave you much more time to do something fun and productive at the weekend.
8. Stop having hangovers
What a waste of time! You feel lousy for days afterwards and you cannot even get going on work, leisure and all the other things that make life worthwhile. If you cannot get out of that social whirl, you can easily prevent and cure a hangover. How? Just by drinking plenty of water, before, during and afterwards. Water will keep you from getting dehydrated. This is the main cause of a hangover.
9. Stop having toxic friendships
Time to have a good clear out of people who are simply poisoning you with their toxicity. Maybe you have been too lazy to do that up to now. But if a friend is always criticizing you, taking advantage of your kindness, or just not being reliable, then you have to cut them off.
Remember that real friendships are like gold. They have to be long-lasting and keep their value. If they do not, then it is time to move on.
10. Stop making excuses about your workouts
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin
These excuses about skipping your gym class or workout are now getting a bit thin as you turn 30. Time to concentrate on getting results, enjoying yourself and measuring your progress. The excuses will soon start to fade away as you get more motivated.
11. Stop eating fast food
I had to start to learn to cook as I was getting embarrassed about all the dinner invitations I was receiving. I never bothered in my twenties and I was just plain lazy. The number of pizzas I ate must be a record. Once I started to learn how to cook, my life, health, and social standing all changed dramatically. Yes, I had to study and try things out. Living in Italy was an enormous advantage but also an enormous challenge. Italians know a lot about good food!
12. Stop closing your mind to certain beliefs and ideas
“Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out”. – Carl Sagan
Learning about new ideas and exploring the world are great ways of challenging the preconceptions we sometimes latch on to in our twenties. The best way of doing this is to travel and have a great time. Try out new things and judge them as objectively as you can.
13. Stop driving recklessly
Last weekend, a 22-year-old Italian driver lost control of his car at a roundabout. The car ploughed into a group of guys who were having a drink at a nearby bar. Four of them were killed, including the driver’s own brother!
It is never too early to start driving responsibly and making sure that you are not over the alcohol limit.
14. Stop playing Wii and video games all the time
These games are great to help you pass the time when you have to wait for public transport. But if this is your favourite pastime at home where you become a games slave, then there must be something wrong.
15. Stop adding new tattoos
You might well be embarrassed when you have to hide certain tattoos at your workplace when the company culture is pretty strict about these things. Nothing wrong with having a few inked spots but when you have to explain new ones after 30, this may make you feel uncomfortable.