George Bernard Shaw once said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” Looking back on my life, I can think of some years of my life that were essentially wasted; as we get older, it is an easy thing to do. Every single day is an opportunity to change our futures for the better, and to start enhancing our lives. The following list is a collection of things that you can start working on today while you are young, that will go a long way towards making your golden years that much better. This collection of ideas is universal; so even if you are like me and well out of your 20’s, that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep your future in mind.
1. Quit Smoking
If you are a regular smoker, there is nothing better in the world that you can do for your health than quitting smoking. If you aren’t a regular smoker, don’t even think about becoming one. It is a dirty, expensive, damaging habit that is hard enough to kick that you are better off not even starting it. Now, as a former smoker, I can tell you current smokers that quitting is not fun, easy, or quick. It is also not impossible, so once you have made the decision to quit, stick with that decision. It is worth sticking to, trust me.
2. Watch What You Eat
When we are young, we don’t think about things like diet often enough. We pay attention our waistlines and not other aspects of our health. Too often when we are young and our metabolisms are in high gear, we think we can eat whatever we want. The reality is, those junk food binges and other dietary disasters add up to things like heart disease, diabetes, and other health complications. Eating right is just as much of a habit as eating bad is, so developing those good habits while you are young will make them easier to stick to as you get older.
Exercising is another habit that is easier to develop when you are younger. Exercise is more popular these days than it has been in previous years, so there is almost no excuse for not being able to find a routine, group, or facility to help you get back in shape. Even things like doing yoga routines from Youtube instructional videos in your living room can increase your physical fitness, and benefit your health.
Get out and see the world around you. When you are young and have fewer responsibilities, there is no reason to not travel. Most people think you have to travel thousands of miles to see anything new, but little weekend road trips can be just as fulfilling. Granted, not all of us had the means to travel the world when we were younger, but there is more world around you just outside of your back yard than most people think of. Some of my fondest memories are from short 2-3 day trips that required nothing more than a car, a tent, and a couple of friends to share the experience with. Some of the best trips don’t even have a destination – just a desire to explore and an epic iPod playlist.
5. Save Some Money
This is a particular list item that I was TERRIBLE at in my 20’s that I wish I hadn’t been. Again, this is a habit that has to be developed and cultivated. The older we get, the more we get set in our ways. The more we get set in our ways, the harder it is for us to break our old bad habits. Saving even a little bit of money when you are younger is a way to develop that habit, and actually see the results add up. There are dozens of effective ways to save money that will help you sustain that good habit throughout your life.
6. Develop/Maintain/Repair Your Relationships
This one is a big one. Too often in our 20’s we lose touch with friends, and alienate ourselves from our families. A major cause for this is when we are young and rebellious, it can seem like our parents are overbearing, or trying to control our lives. In most situations, our parents are just trying to help us not make the mistakes that they made, but we don’t see it that way when we are young. We see it as an attack on who we are. The same can happen with siblings and friends, and in the end – we just need to get over it. Keep people in your life that love you, and understand that they are just trying to help in their own way. Appreciate that you have people around you that care enough to tell you that what you are doing might not be the best idea. If you wait too long to repair those relationships in life, they can become a bridge too far to cross.
7. Wear some Sunscreen
Seriously, put on some sunscreen. I know when you are young and rambunctious it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but just do 15 seconds of skin cancer research and you’ll see what the effects can be by not wearing it. Sunscreen has come a long way from the days of pasting toxic chemicals on your body, so there is almost no excuse to wear at least a little sunscreen while you are outdoors.
8. Be Appreciative of what You Have Right Now
This is an item that anyone of any age can do right this second while they are reading this. When we are young we often times want for so much more than what we have, that we completely ignore what we have right in front of our face. Being appreciative for what you have right now is an ageless habit. It’s something we can all be better at.
9. Quit Waiting
The younger you are, the easier it is to say, “oh, I’ll do that (in the future).” If you have a goal in life, why wait a single second to get started on achieving it? I know it seems like we have all the time in the world to get started on a goal, but the faster you achieve what it is that you want to achieve – the sooner you get to enjoy the benefits. This si another thing I personally was bad at until the last few years, and I can tell you that the difference between procrastinating and succeeding is amazing.
10. Read a Book (or 10)
This is another item I harp on a lot, but only because it is so important. There is limitless knowledge in the universe, and countless people that can contribute to your personal knowledge. As an experiment, pick something that interests you and do a quick search on Amazon just to see how many different books there are on the topic. The answer will blow your mind. Services like Kindle are priceless when it comes to building your personal knowledge, and enhancing your world.