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20 Things 20-Somethings Need To Stop Doing Now

20 Things 20-Somethings Need To Stop Doing Now

Having reached the end of my twenties, I realized that looking back, there were a lot of things I did that made me lose focus and not make the most of my youth and energy.

Many 20-somethings make the same mistakes and don’t tend to realize it until the very end, upon reflection of how they spent their last 10 years.

Here are 20 things 20-somethings need to stop doing now in order to kickstart their lives and make rapid progress.

1) Putting off tasks that are boring.

You never seem to realize until much later that the things that are worthwhile in life are often very boring. The things that improve you as a person tend to be difficult and boring to do. Embrace the boredom and do it anyway. It’s a brilliant way to build character and perseverance.

2) Putting off your career in favour of traveling.

While traveling is a brilliant way to build your worldliness, many youngsters use it as an excuse to put off the fact that they need to establish themselves. Being young and energetic is great, but it doesn’t last. Use the time to do something that’s of a higher purpose, while you still have the energy.

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3) Ignoring parental advice.

Your parents might not make sense to you and seem against you right now, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re talking about. Its always advised to follow their advice even if it doesn’t make sense at the time‒you will thank them when you’re older.

4) Putting off going to the gym in favor of drinking and partying with friends.

As with point #1, going to the gym can be grueling and painful. It is very rarely fun to do the same things over and over again. It may feel like a waste versus going out with friends on a bender. But you will thank yourself 10 years from now when you see your friends overweight while you’re still youthful and in great shape.

5) Complaining that life is too difficult.

Life is difficult for a reason. It is designed so that we work hard for it and appreciate the things we eventually get. Getting things for free is hardly ever worthwhile and rarely ever valued. The harder you work, the more grounded you become as a person. You might as well embrace it.

6) Comparing yourself to your friends and peers.

While it’s good to have role models and ideals, it’s never healthy to frequently compare yourself with other people. Everyone has their own path to follow with different goals and ambitions. In the end, the only person you’re really in competition with is yourself.

7) Not keeping a healthy diet.

Your diet becomes increasingly important as you age as your metabolism starts to slow down. What you can typically get away with eating when young isn’t necessarily the same as you get older, since what you eat makes a longer term impact. Start getting used to eating more healthily and investing time in educating yourself on healthy nutrition.

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8) Excessive sleeping.

Too much sleep is just as unhealthy as too little of it. It also makes the days far shorter, which could otherwise be spent doing more productive things. Develop a healthy sleeping schedule and try to stick to it on a daily basis.

9) Practicing poor time management.

Time is the most valuable thing we have. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. It’s therefore imperative to know how to manage your time effectively and to not waste it doing things that won’t benefit you moving forwards.

10) Putting off your passions.

If you’re currently lacking motivation to do anything, it is precisely because of putting off your passion. Maybe its because you just don’t know what it is yet. You should use your 20s to discover what you really enjoy. Once you’ve found it, spend time developing it. It will be of great value for you in the future.

11) Looking for quick fixes and shortcuts.

The media tends to convince us that there are easy fixes to difficult problems. But you don’t tend to realize the truth until you see that it was all designed to get you to ‘buy their products.’ The real solution is often a bitter pill to swallow‒it’s hard work and effort that will provide you with long term solutions.

12) Looking at life in black and white.

When you’re young, you think you have life all figured out, only to end up seeing something that tarnishes that belief a few months later. This happens throughout your entire life, and you eventually realize that there really is no set belief or construct that governs the world.

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Everything is open to interpretation. What’s important is how you personally define it for yourself.

13) Managing your money badly.

When you get your first taste of money with your first paycheck, it’s very easy to splash it out on things you once were not able to afford. This is a big mistake and will build bad habits toward your relationship with money.

Instead, learn the difference between assets and liabilities and focus on investing your money in places where you’re likely to make even more. The sooner you learn to do this, the sooner you’ll experience financial security. And another thing‒lay off the credit cards!

14) Watching too much television.

Television is perhaps the biggest influencer of all the media. It instills beliefs and values without you even being aware of it. While some TV is good, limit it as much as you can in your daily activities and replace it with things that are designed to mentally stimulate you.

15) Being influenced by friends.

Your friends will seem like your backbone in your 20s. They’ll appear to have your back during tough times. As a result, you won’t want to let them down and will do anything to conform to their ways. The truth is this: they will all move on and start their own families. You will see less and less of them as you get older.

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You will come to realize that no one else really has your back besides you and your own family. Learn to count on yourself and be the one to judge your current state in life.

16) Not focusing on the big picture.

Whatever it is you do when you’re young will make a dramatic impact on your life later on. In general, life gets harder as you age. People will no longer go easy on you because you’re young and inexperienced and will begin to expect more from you.

The sooner you focus on the outcome of your future, the better equipped you’ll be at preparing yourself and becoming focused.

17) Doing things with no thought of where it will lead you.

As with point #16, it’s important to know where your actions will take you prior to doing them. It might seem fun in the beginning, but it’s always wise to weigh things up before taking the plunge.

18) Worrying about what other people think of you.

When all is said and done. No one really cares whether you succeed or fail. All that matters is what you think of yourself‒are you happy with what you’re doing? If you are, stay on track. In the end, that’s all that’s really going to matter.

19) Not focusing on your talents.

Spend time discovering what you’re really good at and nurturing it as much as possible. By the time you reach your 30s, you will have acquired 10 years of expertise and have developed a skill you can market and sell moving forward.

20) Not giving it your all in the things that matter.

Whatever you do, DON’T dabble. If you decide to do something in your life. Give it your best shot and become ambitious. You will feel a lot better about yourself and move your life towards a more prosperous direction.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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