“Time nahi hai yaar!” is a type of negative affirmation that has become our go-to excuse for not taking any effort. We believe that there is so much we would have done if we had the luxury of time.  

But is it about the ‘luxury of time’ or ‘unwillingness’ to strive for anything? Would you have changed anything one bit even if you had ample amount of time? Perhaps, some of you would. But I am talking about the majority who associate procrastination with ‘coolness.’ You know who y’all are!

Deep within us, there is this instinct that knows what we should do. We are all gold medalists in ignoring those instincts that exist for our own good. But, we cannot afford to dodge them for long. There are certain habits and lifestyle changes we must inculcate in our 20s before it’s too late. 

1. Make at least one physical activity a part of your daily routine

Seriously, walk, exercise, do anything. You don’t even need to go to the gym. One physical activity is paramount for our physical as well as mental health. We owe it to yourself and our bodies. 

2. Learn money. Start saving and investing

Basic knowledge about how to manage finances is critical. Now just for now, but for the future. Also, money can compound. It may seem like a laborious task at the moment, but exponential returns make it worth it. 

3. Form a healthy sleep cycle

I am not dictating when to sleep. But you know that compromising on your sleep today means you are compromising on your task list for the next day. And this vicious pattern won’t stop. This doesn’t mean you don’t talk to your partners at night or dodge your weekend plans. But, just be wise about it. Sleeping at 5 when you have to wake up at 8 won’t do you any good, especially, if you do this every day. 

4. Travel and explore the world

We all need our ‘Ilaahi’ moments. Steal time whenever you can and go out and explore the world. Traveling is therapeutic, knowledgable, and wholesome. Make your life interesting. Don’t miss out on opportunities to travel. 

5. Learn cooking

Knowing how to cook is so important. You must know how to make survival meals, to say the least. That is very basic if you are thinking about leading an independent life. Parents won’t be around forever to make meals for us, we should know that ourselves. 

6. Just stop smoking

You have heard “cigarette smoking is injurious to health” more than enough. You probably even say, “dhoomrapan se kark rog hota hai” to complete the entire bit. Just take it seriously for once. Try to cut back on a habit designed to kill you. I won’t lecture on this. 

7. Spend time with your parents

The fact that you’re able to read and understand my article on a smartphone or a laptop is because of your parents who took pains to offer you the best education. The least we can do for them is spend good quality time with them. It will make their day. 

8. Just read

Read anything – fiction, nonfiction, news pieces, short stories, insightful articles. However, please be wise about the source of information. There is nothing that you’re facing that some other person before you hasn’t gone through. We are all mirroring each other’s problems in unique contexts. Just read and get to know the world. Our generation doesn’t realize how reading is important for our personal and intellectual growth. I’m speaking with experience. I have seen people who don’t have the patience to sit through even a 100-page novella. But, it is essential. And it would be great if we start working on this habit in our 20s. 

9. Eat healthy food

Having junk all the time is detrimental to our health. All of us know that our bodies need a balanced diet for better functioning. We need to be wise about our choice of food and the frequency of junk food. 

10. Ask questions. About anything and everything

Curiosity is essential regardless of the job we are doing. We must look at the world and wonder why so and so happens. Our thirst for answers can boost our intellect and give us a sense of unshakeable self-confidence. There is nothing in this world that cannot be learned. 

11. Learn to be silent, to spend time with yourself

The truth is adulthood is not as happening as we imagined in our 20s. It is overwhelming a lot of times. The Internet has made us slaves to our smartphones. We have access to constant stimulation behind the screens that most of us do not know how to meditate or just be silent. We don’t give our brains a breather. It is constantly processing different flavors of information that will exhaust us at one point in time. Hence, we need to know how to be with ourselves. We need to know how to do nothing and be patient about it. 

12. Unlearn age-old notions about a happy life

As we grow up, we realize that how certain notions about life we have been brought up with, are messed up. Life is not about “22 tak padhai, 25 par naukari.” It is okay if we quit a job for mental health. It is okay if we are single at 25. It is okay if we do not have our passion figured out by now. The important thing is to keep trying. We need to unlearn these notions about an ideal life. 

13. Prioritize mental health

Mental health is as important as physical health. Prioritize it at all costs. We need to learn to say ‘no’ and avoid populating our task list to exhaust ourselves every day. This is for both personal as well as professional commitments. We need to be kinder to ourselves and it’s better we start off as early as possible.  

14. Have at least one issue you care about

The world is bubbling with social, political, economical, and environmental issues that need to be addressed. We cannot possibly be everywhere. While we can be perceptive to issues around the world, we can have at least one issue that moves us and we should be willing to do something about it, even if it is in the smallest way possible. This is our basic responsibility as a citizen of this planet, of this world, of our country. 

15. Learn how to let go

It is no surprise that change is the only constant. We already know by now how nothing and no one in this life is permanent. When we know the facts, we can try and learn to accept changes. We cannot be entrapped in the past and live life in the present at the same time. Knowing the art of letting go can make us really powerful. 

16. Start writing

Write something, anything. Even if you do free writing at the end of the day by just releasing your pent-up emotions on a piece of paper, it will be therapeutic. Not only does writing improve our vocabulary, but it can also catalyze our imagination and give us perspective. Even if it is just three paragraphs a day, just do it.

17. Consume good content

Sorry to say, but not all content is good. We need to be wise about our choice of content. This is not just for entertainment-related content but also for our sources of information in terms of news, and opinion pieces. There are also deepfakes these days. There is a plethora of information that is misleading and inaccurate. Our source of information matters as much as the type of information we are consuming. 

18. Take breaks from social media if it gets too much

Social media is no compulsion. We don’t have to be on the platform when it gets toxic. Even if our work is the reason we are on the platform, we can try to cut back on personal use. As per Statista Research Department, the average daily social media use by internet users globally is around 147 minutes per day. How much time do you spend? And how much of the time goes into consuming content that is draining your brain? 

19. Be there for your friends when they need you. Don’t abandon them

We all have our low lows. At times, we all need somebody for a perspective or somebody just to listen to us. Be that somebody to your friends. Be there for them like they are there for you. It is fulfilling.  

This may seem like too much, but it’s not. Some of the pointers are just simple lifestyle changes that we can embed any day while others can be worked upon. The idea is to reiterate the importance of small changes for making life a little easier for ourselves. We are bustling with energy at our age. The best time to start is NOW!