25 Things to Do in Your 20s to Live a Longer, Better Life

Being young is not easy nowadays. Now is the time people in the 20s are starting to learn how to become responsible grown-ups and how to navigate this complex world. Parents and peer are quick to offer their advice, but “adulating” is not rocket science. 

Pay your credit card every month

Don’t get caught in the vicious cycle of owning money to banks – don't rack up debt. It may be hard to set money aside for rainy days, but you don’t want to spend your 30’s paying off old debts. Debt will also ruin your credit score, which you will need to be high if you ever want to purchase a car or even rent a house.

Don’t eat just before bedtime

Avoid eating within 2 hours of bedtime, Dr. Tania Elliott, Chief Medical Officer, at EHE, says. This will also help improves the quality of you sleep as well as aid in weight loss. Besides, trying to fall asleep on a full stomach is just uncomfortable. It may cause gas or heartburn, which will keep you awake.

Sleep in complete darkness

This also improves the quality of your sleep and can decrease your hunger hormones and cortisol (stress) levels in your body, Dr. Elliott says. Light disrupts the pineal gland’s ability to produce melatonin. Light can pass directly through your optic nerve to your hypothalamus, which controls your biological clock, signaling your brain that it’s time to wake up.

Don’t exercise just before you go to bed

Avoid exercising within four hours of bedtime to improve a restful sleep, Dr. Elliott says. Exercises right before you’re about to fall asleep has a counterproductive effect - it causes you to feel more awake and alert.

Walk more

Get to know your wearable device, or use your phone as one, Dr. Elliott says. “Physical activity is not just important for maintaining weight—it helps to reduce injury risk and improves stress and mental health.” Staying active is one of the best things you can do for your health, she adds.

Sit less

You may be comfortable sitting but your body will make you regret it later in life. The price of leading an inactive lifestyle is high and it comes in the form of physical pain and obesity. Sitting more than 11 hours a day increases risk of premature death by 40 percent. To find out what sitting actually does to your body, click here.

Move faster

Walking fast – and aerobic exercises in general – help people burn more calories, but also keep low cholesterol levels. Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. If your heart can work less to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure. This ultimately results in a lower risk of developing heart disease.

Focus on core body strength

This is crucial in helping prevent injuries, Dr. Elliott says. “Opioids are our one of the top killers in this age group—the best way to avoid going down this path is to prevent injury in the first place,” she adds.

Improve your posture

Proper posture is key to preventing injuries as well, Dr. Elliott says. Standing up straight and not slumping your shoulders will keep you fitter in the long run. Otherwise, even though you don’t feel it right away, poor posture is taking a huge toll on your spine, shoulders, hips, and even knees. You are guaranteed to feel the effects of that later in life. They come in the form of chronic back pain, fatigue, stiffness, and headaches.

Wear sunscreen

Sunscreen is not just for when the sun is out. You should wear it every time you’re outside, even in the winter months. Everyone gets incidental exposures of sun that in some cases can cause sunburn and significant skin damage. The UV rays penetrate the clouds and windows – they are going to get you if you’re not ready

Focus on mental health

Anxiety and depression are more common than you think, Dr. Elliott says, so be sure to get screened. In addition to getting screened, exercise. Running really helps with anxiety disorders, according to studies. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the U.S., or 18 percent of the population.

Get vaccinated

“Stay up to date with vaccination!” Dr. Elliott says. This doesn’t only mean getting the flu shot every year. Make sure that you don’t need any special vaccines if you travel. Women should consider the vaccine against the human papillomavirus, according to Dr. Elliott. “The HPV vaccine is over 90 percent effective in preventing cervical cancer,” she adds.

Don’t starve

Many people in their 20’s do whatever it takes to lose weight. Full on deprivation isn’t the answer, Dr. Daryl Gioffre, author of Get Off Your Acid: 7 Steps in 7 Days to Lose Weight, Fight inflammation, and Reclaim Your Health & Energy, says. “But if in your 20’s you can maintain a balance of eating foods that are 80% alkaline and using the other 20% to indulge in your favorites.” That way you are setting up healthy habit, he adds. “Aim for 7-10 daily servings of Alkaline foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, cucumbers, celery, artichokes, avocados. If getting 7 servings in is tough, you can take powdered greens such as Alkamind Daily Greens.”

Don’t focus on regrets

Talking about regrets doesn’t help moving on. Always look to the future, Jami Bertini, a certified Life Coach and mindfulness expert, says. Practice mindfulness, which is the act of focusing your awareness on the present, living in the moment and cutting out all negative distractions.

Spend more time with family

This is a major regret people have later in their lives, Bertini says. “Work less and be with your family more.” Research has shown that family time has profound benefits. The study focused on 1, 600 elderly participants for six years. Fourteen percent of the seniors who died had regular visitors. In contrast, 23 percent had no family or friends who came by to see them. Also, chatting with family can help reduce stress.

Acknowledge your accomplishments

Self-acceptance is key to a happy life, Bertini says. People should spend time to acknowledge what they do and what they have accomplished in order to accept who they are, she adds. “Usually people move too quickly from one task to another and don’t take time to see what they’ve achieved.”

Forgive yourself

Positive people understand the importance of forgiveness. As hard as it may be, they forgive themselves and others regardless of the circumstances. Holding grudges and focusing on the negative side of everything is toxic. Recognize that holding onto negative feelings is a burden to carry and in turn promotes negative emotions. Forgiveness allows you to put the burden down.


Learn to say “no”

“When you say ‘yes’ to something, you say ‘no’ to something else,” Bertini says. People often agree to do something because they want to be helpful but in the process they forget about themselves, she adds. “Pause for a moment and mindfully look at what you’re being asked to do.”

Take risks

“Take lots of risks,” Bertini says. People in their 20’s should absolutely take risks with their job because they need to find out what they truly like, she adds. Now is also the time to invest money, Bertini says. “Take risks with ideas at work because you never know what will stick.”

Turn a weakness into strength

It starts with recognizing what your weakness is in the first place. Every strength and weakness has an opposing side, Bertini says. For example, if you are a perfectionist, your weakness is working too much, but you should focus on how this is your strength – the result will be great.

Talk less, listen more

Communication is imperative to all businesses and relationships, Bertini says. “People need to listen more, including to what’s not being said, which include the tone.” Most people just wait, sometimes impatiently, for their turn to speak and are not interested in finding common ground.

Be curious

Ask a lot of questions and be and act interested when communicating with other people, Bertini says. “When you’re curious, you cannot be judgmental.” Nobody likes to be judged. “Stay curious and don’t make any assumptions.”

Stop comparing yourself to others

“Comparing is a fear-based emotion that is rooted in ego and keeps us closed and in fear,” Bertini says. Social media is making this a huge problem for young people because they think it’s real, she adds. “It is real but for the three seconds when the photo was taken.” You don’t have all the facts, she adds. This won’t be a realistic comparison.


It’s OK to change careers

Most people are excited but also afraid to start anew, Bertini says. There are ways to deal with these emotions so they don’t hinder your success. “Create a big vision but take on one task at a time,” she adds. Make a list of what needs to be done and check the items on it one by one. Look at how far you’ve gone, acknowledge your success and then take the next step. “Before you know it you’ll be there.”

Forget the “what if” argument

“Most people I see worry a lot about the future,” Bertini says. “They don’t stay in the present.” They focus too much on what tragedy will occur if something happens. How you focus your energy is crucial, she adds. People spend their energy worrying about not being prepared, and that is nor preparing. “Focus on what needs to happen today, and don’t mix anxiety and worry into it.”



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