1. Distracting yourself from real life. I enjoy a good TV binge as much as the next person, but it is so easy to get sucked in, then blink and six hours have passed and you still haven’t cooked that meal or put in that laundry or worked on the personal creative project you’ve been complaining you don’t have enough hours in the day for. The hours are there — you’re using them wrong. You deserve a little rest and relaxation at the end of a busy workday, but if your life only consists of work and the polar-opposite of zoning out in front of the television, something is wrong.
2. Drinking just because. You don’t need to fall into the 20-something trap of drinking alcohol at every turn just because it is ~on the menu~ for you now. Enjoy a beer or a cocktail when you really want to, but don’t feel obligated to drink in every social situation that involves booze. No one is going to think you’re a loser because you ordered a diet coke at dinner instead of pairing the perfect glass of wine with your meal.
3. Showboating your workload. Chelsea said it best: no one cares how busy you are. And this isn’t to say that your friends, family, and other people on your life-team shouldn’t be supportive in times of stress (and vice versa) but on-the-reg, complaining that your schedule is killing you is more a sign that you need to make a change than an impressive sign that you’re “kicking ass” at life or ~adulting~ harder than your peers. Also, the more you complain about being busy, the busier your life will truly feel. And let’s be real: no one wants to feel stressed and busy as hell.
4. Consuming anything that makes you feel yucky. For me, this means replacing a few of the daily coffees that I’ve tricked myself into believing I needed with tea — the insane caffeine content of the coffees gives me heart palpitations and nausea, but I’ve been sucking a whole pot down daily even though I’ve been aware of these problems for a while now. For you, it might mean scaling back on a greasy food that your taste buds enjoy even though your sensitive stomach doesn’t, or cutting down on alcohol because you’ve noticed yourself with killer hangover symptoms after only having a glass or two. Whatever your poison is, however enjoyable it is in the moment, it isn’t worth it if it is making you feel sick.
5. Spending money on “meh” experiences. That crappy restaurant your friends feel like going to for some reason? Skip it, go home. Music festivals even though you’re neither a fan of music nor festivals? Pass. Fancy cocktails on a night when you know your heart will be aching to be at home in bed? Save your money. Spending is spending, and justifying spending on experiences just because they’re ~experiences~ even if you’re not invested in them will always be a huge waste of money.
6. Overbuying and over-consuming. We’ve been kind of brainwashed into believing that we should automatically go for the deal that gives us more for a lower price. But in reality, you maybe shouldn’t be buying a bulk package of 36 eggs or 5lbs of carrots that you’ll never use before they rot if you live alone. The better deal isn’t always the one that gets you the most “stuff” for the least amount of money — it is the one that gets you the exact amount you need for a price you can comfortably afford, and isn’t wasteful or bad for our environment.
7. Buying beauty/personal products that don’t do shit. I like to smell like a Sugared Lemon Drop as much as the next gal, but spending $13 on a Bath & Body Works lotion that is going to make my skin even drier than before I applied it is such a waste. Just go for the unglamorous body lotion, even though it doesn’t look as cute on your bathroom counter.
8. Subscribing to extreme negativity in your life. For some, that means cutting ties with toxic family members, or friends who have been kept around past their expiration date, and for others it might mean never looking at the comments section of things they write on the internet. It is okay to push things out of your life that add no constructive value, and only make you hurt.
9. Eating too much pre-packaged, processed food. I’m not a ~cleanse~ person nor a health food nut, and I generally don’t subscribe to the clean-eating community in any way whatsoever, but I believe eating less-processed foods is often better for one very simple, no-frills reason: it tastes fucking good. Food is something that should fuel you, excite you, and make you feel good — and as good as it feels to eat chicken nuggets sometimes (don’t worry bbs, I’m not giving you up) there is something incredible about a succulent piece of fruit plucked straight from the vine, or farm-fresh eggs, or a really nice cut of meat, or crisp veggies that taste as juicy and flavorful when raw as they would seasoned and roasted. Take pride and joy in what you have the opportunity to taste and experience and fuel your bod with.
10. Waiting for tomorrow. To start saving your emergency fund, or contributing to a retirement plan, or tucking away cash for a down payment, or making a budget, or tracking your spending habits, or making the career change you’ve been hemming and hawing about for years. It is easy to get caught in a pattern of putting big, scary things off and waiting for the opportune moment that will very likely never present itself. The fact of the matter is, big things don’t happen overnight — they come after a series of shaky starts, tiny victories, and big chips at bigger goals. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get to the finish line.
Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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