25 Habits To Break By Age 25Laura Donovan

This year, I celebrated my 25th birthday by eating multiple Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, attending improv class and watching a comedy show with friends. It was low key, and that’s the way I’d like to spend the majority of my weekends, as hangovers now take too long to pass and I can finally admit shouting over bars is a terrible experience. I have a lot more maturing to do, not to mention a host of habits I should have broken by 25, so here are some good things to outgrow before hitting the big quarter century:

25. Eating in bed

Unless you want to befriend some cool mice!

24. Too much takeout or Seamless

It adds up, and you never really know what other people are putting in your food.

23. Chasing after unworthy dating prospects

You both know you deserve better. Kick him to the curb.

22. Overusing your debit/credit card

You spend more this way, and honestly, it doesn’t make much sense to use a credit/debit card for that $2 water bottle (which shouldn’t be $2, but that’s an argument for another post…). Always keep $10-$20 in your purse.

21. Staying up late to watch TV/Netflix

This is especially risky if you have a full-time job. Don’t show up to work tired in the morning. Just catch the next episode of American Horror Story (which is amazing, of course) when you get home.

20. Leaving your tab open at the bar

Sometimes this makes sense, but you could wind up spending more money, or worse, accidentally leaving your card with the bartender.

19. Feeling bad every time a new Facebook friend gets engaged/married or has a baby

This is 2013. People are tying the knot and becoming parents later now, so don’t feel like you’re so behind simply because folks you went to high school with appear to be growing up.

18. Failing to floss

The older you get, the more attention you should pay to dental hygiene. Before going to bed, spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth (back when magazines were thriving, YM suggested listening to a pop song at the sink) and flossing. Add some mouthwash to the mix and you’re golden.

17. 24-hour hangovers

As earlier stated, hangovers seem to last longer post-college, so know your limits before going out with friends. I personally cannot have shots, specifically Tequila, without consequences, so I don’t take them anymore. A lot of people make fun of me for it, but at least I’m no longer spending my weekends with my face inside a toilet.

16. Drinking too much at work 

Two of the four companies for which I’ve worked had kegs in the kitchen, and all have supported drinking on special occasions or Fridays. Don’t overdo it — you still need to get your stuff done.

15. Too many conversations via text

Phone calls, emails, and of course in-person meetings are always more meaningful. Strive to have more of these.

14. Sleeping until noon on weekends

Sometimes you need to catch up on rest after long work weeks, but don’t forget to make the most of your days off by visiting friends, exercising, reading, or doing things you love.

13. Gossiping at work

It’s inevitable, and some would even say it’s healthy, but too much can create a hostile environment and come back to haunt you.

12. Getting too comfortable at work

You never know when your bosses could decide to move forward without you, and it’s important to maintain a strong work ethic no matter what, even if you realize your job ultimately isn’t the right fit.

11. Letting the trash bin pile up

Chances are, you’re not looking to share your living space with rats or other awful crawly things, so take out your garbage at least once a week, and definitely be mindful of throwing away items that smell.

10. Revealing too much online, in any capacity

Don’t trash-talk your current employers on social media, via email, or in cryptic blog posts. Invest in a journal if you must, but always be careful of what you put online.

9. Leaving passive aggressive notes for roommates

Confrontation isn’t fun, but email diatribes and notes on the sink can come across as cowardly.

8. Stealing (or borrowing without permission) other people’s stuff

Whether it’s a Mac charger, packed lunch or pair of earphones, it’s not yours, and the owner will definitely notice his/her things have mysteriously vanished.

7. Chasing after trains for your morning commute

Taking the subway/metro is stressful enough, so why add to it by running down a dangerous flight of stairs, weaving through swarms of people, and breathlessly sprinting toward closing doors? Calmly wait for the next train car and your commuter experience will be much more tolerable, both for you and your fellow passengers.

6. Being worked by strangers on the street

When I lived in D.C., a convincing but manipulative woman once tried to force $40 out of me. I support helping the homeless and those in need, but don’t fall for all the stories you hear from random hecklers on the street. Give them change if you’d like and then walk away, as some may try to suck you in and take advantage of your good nature.

5. Facebook stalking old flames

We all do it, and I may or may not have already done it twice today. A good thing to ask is how reading about someone else’s life adds to your own, especially if that person hasn’t done anything positive for you in a while. As my dad used to say, “don’t borrow trouble,” and you definitely borrow trouble anytime you try to keep tabs on your ex.

4. Grocery shopping while hungry

We all know this doesn’t end well.

3. Being too nervous to ask for help

We all have to do it at some point, so never feel weird about emailing an old acquaintance about job networking or advice on moving to a new city. Most people got where they are today with some guidance and help from others, so chances are, they’d be happy to do the same for you (if they have time!).

2. Leaving your umbrella at home before work

This was a huge problem for me in NYC. I’d look at my iPhone, see a wet forecast, stick my hand out the window, feel no rain, and head to work without my obnoxiously big CVS umbrella. Naturally, it would be pouring by the time I got out of the subway station, and silly me had to start the 9-hour work day in a soaking outfit. I’ve always been the person without an umbrella, or the person with an umbrella that self-destructs far too early in our relationship. It’s a traumatic experience to have. If there’s a chance of rain in the morning, always take an umbrella to the office. I know it’s gross, large, and another thing to carry, but damp clothes are even less pleasant. Worst case scenario, it doesn’t rain and you can leave it at your desk in the event of a future storm.

1. Forgetting to say thank you

Thank you notes may seem old school, but they’re still totally necessary and relevant. Whenever someone gives you a present, remember to send a thank you letter or email. If you’ve run out of stamps or become really busy, give the person a call to let them know you haven’t forgotten about the nice thing they’ve done. A sincere “thank you” goes a long way, and that’s never going to change.

Did I miss any? Share in the comments section.

Featured image via ShutterStock.


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  1. People, stop being so childish. It’s a good guide to shape up as you reach your “Quarter-Life-Iversary ” and segway into the next chapter of your life: family, kids or so how you choose it.. The positive additions (i.e. doing your laundry in a timely manner, taking a water bottle or communication) are great! Full responses that pertain to your personal life…not so much.

    Trolling is not a cool thing to do. If anything, be respectful of the person who posted the work.

    Laura, great work.

  2. Waiting until the last possible moment to do your laundry. I’m 23 and this is a habit I hope to have broken before 25. BRB let me check if the underwear I hand washed last night is dry yet.

  3. Random one to add but I think its important.. I feel that we should try to take bottles of water with us from home. Its over priced ($2) as mentioned and bad for the environment. Its one of those things that a lot of people do, everyone knows that we should but some people forget. I say this cause its something that I would personally like to work on.

    Great list by the way.

  4. My goodness people sure are a little bitey on this website. Some of the reasons I agree with, some of them I don’t. Either way, it’s always nice to read posts. :) I definitely enjoy the lack of GIFS and such. :)

  5. Since I’m 23 I’m using this as a list of things that I must do in the next two years.

  6. “19. Feeling bad every time a new Facebook friend gets engaged/married or has a baby///This is 2013. People are tying the knot and becoming parents later now, so don’t feel like you’re so behind simply because folks you went to high school with appear to be growing up.”

    This implies the only way to be an adult is to be in a relatiohip and/or having kids, which is false.

  7. Why was stealing/borrowing without permission a habit you had in the first place???

  8. I don’t know if people already said this, but definitely add eating healthy and exercising to this list. I recently went to the doctor and found out I have several vitamin deficiencies from not eating properly, I would pay all my bills, then go out and shop, and spend the remainder of my money on whatever food I could afford. Usually raeman noodles. Lol now, I started a yoga class, and grocery shop before I go buy cute shoes. Definitely feel healthier and it helps with that whole sleeping till noon on weekends thing.

  9. Dangit! I was going to watch “American Horror Story” after I read this, but it’s 12:43 a.m. .. Now, I just feel like a bum which I know that’s not the case, but I do .need to break some habits I suppose. I brushed my teeth really good after eating so much candy and fast food today and had them sparkling then ten minutes later I drank a Dr. Pepper and ate some Grippo’s chips. I feel more like a 9 year old then a 22 year old. Some day I may grow up. Hopefully before I gain too much weight and my teeth fall out from my bad habits. Other then that I always want to act like a kid and feel young instead of a “responsible adult” (yuck!) I just need to lose touch of the late nights, sleeping in, eating junk, sleeping in my crumbs, and yes the gossiping. I agree.

  10. Went grocery shopping hungry today… I bought FOUR pomegranates.

  11. I would add: Don’t forget to ask how someone is doing/reply when they ask. I can get too caught up in whatever I’m doing and forget simple politeness. Not only is it rude, it hurts your ability to network.

  12. Thanks for the article! #23 makes me feel a bit better.. :)

  13. Tel the thank you part to my boyfiend :(

  14. I definitely appreciate the themes of this article: cleanliness, respect for others, being proactive, and sincerity. These are items that point to maturity! It’s amazing how a few, small changes can have a snowball effect on the effort and outcomes present in a person’s life. As a 20-something myself, I’m guilty of a few of these, as harmless as they may seem: failing to floss and watching too much Netflix at the forefront. But at least I can say I never forget my umbrella and always confront/thank people in person. I do know that if some of my acquaintances would follow the social tips given here regarding over-informative social media, petty gossip, and respectful interactions with others, they would gain a lot more respect from me! It’s sometimes the difference between being labelled an acquaintance or a friend. Just a thought :)

    Something to consider adding to the list would be for people to learn to stop taking internet articles too personally. That might help them gain some respect as well. Just as a little positivity can go a long way, so can a little negativity.

    My favorite realization from this page came in the form of a comment that says companies in Boston have beer fridays… just when I thought I couldn’t find any more reasons to love Boston. I plan to move up there for grad school soon enough. I doubt we’ll have beer fridays in the lab at the university but you never know!!

  15. 25. If I want to eat in bed, I will. You can eat without making a mess.

    24. You’re right on this one. Too much takeout can be bad, both budget wise and health wise. However, if I want that Baconater, I’ll damn well have it.

    23. Dating is overrated.

    22. This is the era of plastic, don’t you know that? It’s far easier to just swipe my card and punch in a four digit number (or sign) than it is to hand over a ten dollar bill and received a bunch of change back. When I carry around cash I can physically see how much money I have, which means I end up spending it faster. Also, I end up hoarding change. As of right now, I probably have six or seven dollars in change, yet I’m too lazy to dig through it while buying items.

    21. My definition of late can be completely different of your definition of late. Staying up around 2 and 3 in the morning is probably the equivalent of your 9 and 10 at night. My work schedule starts a lot later than yours, most likely.

    20. I’ve never been to a bar, nor do I plan on it.

    19. I feel the complete opposite. Every time one of my friends has a child or gets married at 21 or 22 I feel so sorry for them, especially the ones that were just playing Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, etc not even a couple weeks ago. I understand that there are marriages that have that in it, but once you have a child that kind of fun goes down the drain. You can’t do a dungeon when you have a little toddler running around everywhere.

    18. It doesn’t matter how often you tell me, I don’t like to floss. I brush my teeth twice a day and rinse out with mouthwash every morning. I hate flosh. I’ll never stop hating it.

    17. I’ve only ever gotten drunk once. This was a couple months ago. A friend asked me to get drunk before everyone moved away, so I did. On Kraken rum. Half that bottle tasted delicious until about two hours later when I barfed all over the place. I won’t get drunk again, but I still like the taste of rum.

    16. Drinking at work is a bad idea. I’ve never been to a workplace that allowed it. I think it’s wrong to allow it at work. What if you get drunk or buzzed? Some people can’t concentrate while drunk or buzzed and end up doing stupid things, like stappling papers to the walls.

    15. E-mail? How the hell is an e-mail any different from a text? In an e-mail, you cannot show emotion, just like in a text. All it is is a bunch of text. I don’t like phone-calls because half the time I end up having to repeat myself either due to a bad connection or because the other person just didn’t hear me. That or they mishear what I say. “I need 40 dollars for the events,” is misheard for “I need 14 dollars for the events”. People complain to me about how text is degrading social value. It is if you refuse to talk to people, but for now, I’m going to text. It gets the message across in a couple sentences and you can always refer back to the text if you forgot what the person said.
    Besides this, half the time I call my mom, my brother, or my sister-in-law, I end up getting that awkward silence from them. They just sit in silence until I say something else, when my point was already made. That, or every two seconds there’s a TV interrupting the phone call, a child interrupting the phone call, or something else.

    14.Once again this goes back to my point earlier. My work schedule is probably opposite of what yours is. You might wake up sy 6 am to go to work at 8 am and work until 6 pm, get home, go to bed at 10 am, etc. I get up at noon to go to work at 1 or 2 pm, work until 8 or 9 pm, stay up until 2 or 3 am. Sometimes I work on the weekend and sometimes I don’t. Why would I wake up before noon no the weekend when, during the week, I don’t wake up until noon? Not everyone has the standard 8 am job.

    13. Gossiping at work can be avoided. Just don’t participate in it. Where I used to work, my coworkers would gossip about everyone, this included customers and even other coworkers. I wouldn’t partake in it. If they wanted my input, it would either be “I really don’t know what to think about that person” or I’d just go off somewhere else in the store to do work. I hate gossiping. Now that I no longer work there, they’re probably gossiping about me, saying how bad of a worker I was, etc. I have run into several customers ever since I left that place and they’ve told me that the place has gone downhill. The counters are dirty, the items aren’t stocked, and our normal customers (the ones that come in every day) no longer had extras of their items in the back. They were told “Oh, no. We can’t keep extra items.” When I know that’s a damn lie. A customer told me he complimented me on my work habits and missed me, and all the coworkers essentially rolled their eyes, stuck their noses into the air, and scoffed.

    12. This pertains to the above paragraph. I got too comfortable at work. I became friends with my coworkers and let my guard down. I used to work at the same business as my mom and she tranferred out to manager another location. After this, the rest of my coworkers were upset and ended up taking that frustration out on me. Originally, I had taken over my mother’s house, which were 38 hours. After she left, I started only getting 21 hours. I eventually went to the boss (not the manager), and asked if he could do something. I had personal bills to pay, and 21 hours isn’t going to cut it. Sure enough, my minimum hours went up to 28. That was decent, but I was preferring 30 or more. Then one day one of the coworkers (the one in charge of making the schedule) decided to change my hours five times in one day. Every time she changed it, she didn’t call me, I was supposed to know. I looked at the calendar and noticed I had to be to work by 8 am. I went to sleep and woke up the next morning and forgot what time I had to be at work because my hours had changed all within the same day. I ended up being 35 minutes late to work (I showed up at 8:35 instead of 8:00). The boss fired me on spot. It was the first time I was late in 2 years. He told me he needed more responsible workers.
    He fired someone that worked every day almost (sometimes I’d work weeks without a day off, sometimes I’d get my normal 2 days off), made sure things were stocked and straightened, the customers loved, who pulled the weight of two people more often than naught, who cleaned, made sure everything was correct before leaving the store, and even made signs for the product or for store hours during the holidays. There were times that he personally told me I was a hard worker and shouldn’t have to be put up to everything that I did at work, and then he turns around and tells me he needs responsible workers. Don’t ever befriend who you work with. Ever.

    11. The trash bin is that green thing you roll to the street every week, right? I take it out every week. This is mainly because it gets full every week. Half of the trash is mine and the other half is my parents. Because they live out in the country, they don’t get trash pickup,so I let them bring it to my house.

    10. You can trash told employees and businesses, just don’t reveal personal names. Also, don’t reveal personal information such as your address, phone number, name, etc on blogs and the like. I’ve always believed that having more than one e-mail address is handy-dandy. I have accumulated seven ever since 1998. I will always use one e-mail for silly stuff, like forums, sweepstakes, etc, another e-mail purely for business things, such as my website, bank information, etc, and another e-mail is purely for my Blizzard games.

    09. The only time I leave passive aggressive notes is when there’s something I need to say to the roommmates but they’re asleep, and by the time they wake up I’ll be gone for work or something. Usually it’s something like “Please flush the toilet after you pee. That’s just gross.” or “Trash belongs in the trash bin, NOT the back porch.”

    08. I do this a lot, but this is only because the owner has once told me if I need to borrow X item, I can. This is usually an iPod charger. After I’m done using it, I usually give it back. If I forget, he knows I have it and always comes to ask for it back. He’s never angry about it.

    07. I don’t live in a large city, so I’ve never had to deal with the troubles or trains or buses.

    06. Pan-handlers? I don’t support them. I was visiting New York one year to see my boyfriend and a panhandler asked to borrow my phone. I ignored them for the longest time until I finally looked at them and said “I don’t have a phone, sorry.” He then switched topics and asked to borrow 40 dollars. “Please, my daughter is supposed to land soon and I have no way of getting her home. I’m almost out of gas and have no money.” Instead of responding, I instead went over to the window where the others were waiting, pretended to put in my buds, and waited for the front lobby to open up so I could get my ticket and get away from that person.

    05. I don’t know if you call it stalking or not. As of now, me and my exes are on somewhat good terms. I’ll still talk to them as friends. Sometimes I’ll check up on a friend to see if they’ve posted anything interesting. I’ll do the same to an ex. I just like to know what my friends have been up to.

    04. Everyone knows not to go grocery shopping while hungry.

    03. If they have time? Every has at least five minutes to spare. I really hate that saying. “I don’t have time to do X.” or “I don’t have time to look for X.” If you have the time to sit and watch TV for an hour, or if you have the time to sit and play games after work, you have the time to help me with something. Back to the subject at hand. I ask for help right when I need it. The problem is, sometimes I seek help when people are sleeping.

    02. I have three umbrellas. One in my room, one in my car, and one that I keep at work (in this case, now I have two umbrellas at my house and one in my car). This point isn’t that big of a deal, though. My parents never have an umbrella on hand, ever.

    01. If I get a present for my birthday or for Christmas or something like that, I’m not going to go out of my way to send a thank you letter. Half the time, I receive the presents directly from the person, AKA they’re right in front of me. I usually say “Wow! Thanks!” Usually they give me something I’ve really wanted for a long time or something I’ve been needing. It’ll usually be a follow up of “I can’t believe you got me ceramic knives! I’ve been wanting a set of these for so long!” or “Oh thank God socks. I was getting low on these.”
    If the presents are out of pure niceness or for an event like a wedding or baby shower, then yes, thank you letters are a must.

    Also, the fact that was have to connect via Facebook is annoying. I hate connecting via Facebook.

    • Maybe you should write your own blog…just a suggestion, have a good day/or night/or afternoon!

    • Someone is very salty.

    • you sound like a pill.

    • I’m sorry your life doesn’t perfectly fit into the friendly suggestions of a blogger trying to help out any one who may want her advise. I’m also sorry that you’re so narrow minded that you feel the need to take your personal life and bash her insights that she has gained through her different experiences in life. I’m Mostly sorry that i wasted all that time reading your comment which you decided to make scathing and rude instead of simply giving a kind difference of opinion.

      • I mean, it’s great to inspire dialogue and conversation but I agree that was an unusual move —- I do like some of her answers. I’m surprised people got so offended by this list! I was just trying to have some fun but obviously not everyone is going to like the tone or my answers. That’s OK, but yeah — wasn’t expecting that!

    • Well that was an unnecessary waste of your time.

      • That’s exactly what I was thinking. Why feel the need to point out that her 25 points are different/wrong from what you believe? I don’t think this was written as rules for everyone. These are just her habits that she wants to break…

      • Seriously… #26. No one cares about your personal situation relative to these 25 points.

    • Nice work with this!!!! Great additions for sure

    • Gosh you sure know a lot.

  16. 46-year old guy here. Married 15 years. 4-year old son. I.e way the fuck outside your reader demographic. :)

    One of the more sobering realizations I’ve had as an adult is that there are two sides to the saying, “practice makes perfect.”; you get better at _everything_ you do, whether you like it or not. Playing piano? Sure. Rollerblading? Yup. But also lying, stealing, smoking, cheating on your partner, drinking, and all that crap that people do and regret. The more you do it the more ingrained it becomes. The older you get the harder it is to change.

    So pick your battles wisely. Your list of 25 things? Rubbish! You want to impress me? Pick _one_. Pick one thing you really, deep down, want to change about yourself. Hell, I’ll do it for you – drink in moderation – get better at that and you’ll be amazed at how many of the other things on your list take care of themselves.

    But first you have stick with it for a year, because thats how long it takes for lifestyle changes to take hold and have a real chance of becoming permanent. Do that and maybe, just maybe, a year from now you can write your next article about what it felt like to make real change in your life.

    Good luck!

  17. Poster: You should look at the TedTalk “Why 30 is not the new 20″ it supports a good deal of your advice.

    To the Posters below: I wish you luck in your endeavors. Some of us were meant to succeed at a young age and others were meant to spend a decade procrastinating.

    • Also, people have their own ideas of success. Personally, mine probably doesn’t fit in with society – I want to travel the world teaching English. It’s not a job that will make me rich – I’ll probably never own a house, I may never have a family but that’s my decision. It’s my life and I’m not going to do something that will make me “successful” but unhappy. This does not make me lazy nor does it mean that I’m procrastinating simply because I don’t want to climb a corporate ladder.

    • Who says you can’t succeed and still be a lazy slob?! I’ve been a teacher for 3 years and still enjoy crumbs in bed, open bar tabs, and staying up watching Netflix. We all have one life to life, lets live it how we want?

  18. Yeah this list is dumb. Do whatever the fuck you want, ladies.

  19. OH PLEASE….if I had broken all of these habits by 25…..or by 29 (my age now) I would be boring as hell. Who wants to turn into a lame, “responsible” adult by age 25??!! Live it up while you can is all I have to say…

  20. Nice one! :)

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