Lifehacker is filled with advice on how to improve yourself and do things better. Advice on what to avoid can be harder to come by - especially for the over 35 set, who are supposed to have everything worked out by now. With that in mind, here are 15 things that should be a distant memory by the midpoint of your thirties.
Change doesn't need to be scary. By shedding layers of unwanted and unnecessary stuff in our thirties, we’re honing in on the important stuff, almost by default. Cut out the time-drains that don’t yield a high ROI and focus solely on the wins and fixes that do.
So, here are 15 things that you can do without once you hit 35. (And probably, even if you’re not yet 35.)
#1 Wearing a cap backwards
A cap is one thing. Turning it around is a whole new level of misguided. You don’t look dope and you’re not a b-boy. You just advertising the fact you don’t have a clue. For everyone’s sake, turn it back (or take it off.)
What to do instead: Invest in a better hairstyle.
#2 Sniffing (AKA cocaine / methamphetamine)
Probably best to lay off the gak, yeah. Cool and exciting 10 years ago when the quality was good and the banging was epic. Now you can’t even get a boner.
What to do instead: It's not the same thing, but according to this year's Global Drug Survey, munching on magic mushrooms is the safest way to get high illegally.
#3 Any Trouser Featuring An Elasticated Ankle
The margin for success here is close to zero. You would need at least: impossibly tanned ankles; perfectly proportioned legs; a sleeve tattoo (or half-sleeve, minimum), a really strong butt (that fills out jeans but isn’t a lady-bottom).
What to do instead: Stick to regular pants and stop buying clothes you never wear.
#4 Those shit Espadrille-style shoes that aren't Espadrilles
What to do instead: Pay for quality clothes and accessories: you'll look better and spend less money in the long-term.
#5 Pokemon Go
Words. Fail. Me.
What to do instead: Anything.
#6 Student-style living conditions
Not your own house? No worries.
Sharing with a flattie? No big deal.
Place be like a pigsty? Okay…this could be an inhibitor.
What to do instead: If you're renting, try these DIY upgrades and hacks to make your dwelling feel like a proper grownup's home.
#7 All-night benders
They’re just not worth the recovery. Are they?
#8 Skinny ties and skinny collars
You’re not in a boy band. You’re never gonna be in a boy band. Best to dress the part, eh?
What to do instead: Wear clothes that match your body type. (There's an app for that.) And fer God's sake, dress your age!
#9 Not giving serious consideration to whether you want kids
You might as well get the consideration out of the way now. Before it sneaks up on you and send you into a blind panic.
#10 Playing the field
Being a bit of a lad, you know, a top shagger, is all well and good. Two chicks in two nights - bingo. Two chicks in two hours - you should be on Geordie Shore, lad.
But consciously doing it is expensive in both time and money. And if they’re just coming round to yours for bang-bangs then it says rather a lot about both of you.
Although I could just be saying that because I’m over the hill and have lost my mojo.
What to do instead: If you're not interested in commitment, at least find a like-minded partner in crime.
#11 Getting angry about things you have no control over
Accentuate the positives, yo. Otherwise it can be a maelstrom of malcontent.
I learnt this the (very) hard way.
#12 Longing for threesomes
From a logistical perspective, this gets progressively harder as you get older.
If it’s an itch that needs scratching, though, jump onto it now before you find yourself partying with the 50-something swingers on Chatroulette.
What to do instead: Strike while the iron is still lukewarm. If you're in a relationship, here are some tips to make it happen.
#13 Spending more than 15 minutes per day on social media
There are some good things on social: cool or funny sports clips; videos of squirrels water-skiing; sharing photos with people on the other side of the planet. But it’s a massive time-drain that sucks your energy away from things you could be doing to serve you and other people better.
What to do instead: Block all your social sites now, for your own damn good. Also, calculate the time per week you spend on Insta / FB / Twitter / Crapchat etc. Then donate that time to volunteering at places like OzHarvest Market; actually doing something worthwhile with the same time units. You’re now a f*cking legend.
#14 Having a shit suit game
One decent suit isn’t a lot to ask. With good accessories. No skinny ties, no cartoonish collars, no contrasting collars and cuffs (unless it’s fancy dress), no rubbish shoes. And absolutely no suit jacket-and-jeans combos.
Weddings, the races, interviews, bar mitzvahs, court appearances…this one-stop wonder should cover a multitude of bases. It needn’t even be expensive but it should be the best you can afford.
What to do instead: If you only have enough dosh for a single suit, make sure it's versatile enough to pass for every occasion.
#15 Not knowing your purpose
Yeah, I know.
If you have kids, you’re purpose is them; providing, shepherding, nurturing, loving.
Absolutely. Agree 100 per cent.
But – and I’m gonna challenge you on this one – your kids will move out one day.
And what if you decide you might just want or need more? Or better still, what do you want your legacy to be for your kids? What would you like written on your tombstone?
I had no fucking clue about this until relatively recently. I still don’t, really. But I found I functioned far better once I had some kind of understanding of what I want to achieve, rather than just going with the flow.
Earl Nightingale defines success as “the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal.”
This video is the best 20 minutes you’ll spend today.
Zig Ziglar talks about aspiring to be a “meaningful specific” rather than a “wandering generality”. Here are some classic Zigisms.
Ben Ford is the author of SuperFitDad, a lifestyle blog that focuses on health tips for busy dads.
This story has been updated since its original publication.