From overusing emoticons to ignoring your 401k, experts identify 10 behaviors that scream man-child.
Jamie Beckman 1 / 11
When you're a young guy who's in shape, middle age can seem like a long way off. Because you look good and feel good now, it’s tempting to say “screw it” and slack on your health — chowing down on the foods you’re craving, coasting through work, and spending way too much time on social media. But once you hit 30, the bad habits you didn’t kick during your 20s can take a toll on every part of your life. Make a few small changes now, and you’ll keep your muscles toned, your heart pumping, your sex life hot, and your career on point for years to come.Win a One-Year Subscription to BirchBox Man>>>The 14 Worst Things You Can Do for Your Body>>>
1. Working out too hard.
Adding a pickup game or a major outdoor chore to your weekend is fine—unless you’re working out way above your fitness threshold. As you age, you’re getting farther and farther away from the awesome shape you were in back in college. “When you overdo it for a prolonged period of time, you exhaust yourself and put yourself at risk for heart troubles,” says Dr. Steven Masley, author of The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up. “Most men don’t have any idea how fit they are and they try to work out either too easily, or worse, at levels they haven’t sustained for years.”The Fix: If you’re not 100% sure where your strength and agility lie on the spectrum, take a fitness test (like this seven-part test) to find your optimal workout zone, Masley says. Improve from there, and soon enough, you’ll be able to play D like it’s no big thang.Train Like a Legend>>>
2. Stalking your ex on Facebook.
Scrolling through an ex’s Facebook page won’t help you get over her faster—it’ll only make you sad and prevent you from moving on. A U.K. study from Brunel University found that the longer the study participants spent on an ex’s page, the more they obsessed about the breakup, felt distressed, and fantasized about getting their ex back. (Is she really dating THAT guy now?) They formed fewer new interests, too.The Fix: Don’t de-friend your ex—that could make her seem more mysterious and attractive to you, the study reported. Block her status updates from your feed as a start, and the next time you’re tempted to spiral into a 'Book black hole, walk away from the computer or smartphone and do something to boost your mood, like hanging out with friends or working out.How to Make Your Breakup Stick>>>
3. Eating high-fat foods.
Plowing through a pile of wings or sharing an extra-large pepperoni pie with the guys every now and then is all right, but doing it on the regular can cause health problems once you’re out of your 20s—and not just a spare tire. “It is a little-known fact that when you eat an unhealthy meal, within 20 minutes, your arteries constrict and you lose 20% of your blood flow,” Masley says. “This diminished circulation can last for six to eight hours and is the reason you often feel heavy, tired, and stuck in your chair. During this time, you grow artery plaque at an accelerated rate, and you are at higher risk for a heart attack and stroke.”The Fix: Don’t freak out about suddenly keeling over. Just have a game plan that’s easy to follow when the waitress comes over to take your order: “Order the grilled chicken, shrimp, or steak with a salad,” Masley says. “Double the veggie portion and skip the bread and starch.”Even in group situations at someone’s house, like when everyone is ordering pizza while watching the game, you can minimize the damage: “Get a salad with Italian dressing and eat it before having one or two pieces of pizza, and skip the bread sticks,” Masley says.The 8 Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat>>>
4. Beating yourself up for taking the wrong job.
So you screwed up and accepted a full-time gig that you hate. Maybe you were swayed by a big salary—or just stoked to get any offer at all. Making the wrong job decision isn’t a career killer, says career expert Lindsey Pollak, author of Getting from College to Career. “It's easier to explain away a ‘career mistake’ earlier in your career rather than later, when employers will expect you to be on more of a consistent upward trajectory,” she says.What will hurt you is slacking off. “It's a mistake to do poorly in a job simply because you don't like it or wish you didn't have that job,” Pollak says. “Never burn bridges or display poor performance or manners—such as frequently showing up late or not checking your work before submitting it—because even in a job you hate, you never know who is watching or whom you might want to work with again in the future someplace else.”The Fix: Learn the skills that’ll translate to what you really want to be doing and meet as many people as you can. “You can find value in any job,” Pollak says. “You can network with your colleagues or clients, learn new skills, or even rule out a job or industry as something you absolutely never want to do again.”How to Make the Perfect First Impression>>>
5. Skipping breakfast when you’re crazy-busy.
A lot of guys don’t eat breakfast. The weird thing is, though, that skipping a meal is more likely to give you a gut and make you sick than having something quick before you leave the house. “If you skip breakfast, the prolonged fasting can slow your metabolism and immune function, leading to weight gain and more frequent infections,” Masley says.The Fix: Steel-cut oatmeal, a veggie omelet, or a protein smoothie with frozen berries are the best choices for breakfast, Masley says. If sitting down at the table just isn’t going to happen, stock yogurt and fruit or a hard-boiled egg that you can take with you.5 Muscle-Building Breakfasts>>>
6. Ignoring the 401k packet from the HR lady at work.
When that glossy folder filled with paperwork about your company’s savings plan lands on your desk, it’s easy to shove it into a drawer and forget about it. If you do nothing, though, you could be missing out on free money (yes, free), and you’ll definitely be cheating yourself out of the interest that accumulates when you start saving for retirement young.The Fix: If your company offers a “match,” that’s where the free money is. Jump on it. “At least, contribute to a 401k with the minimum amount that your employer will match,” says Pollak. “Like insurance, these are small amounts that can be pulled out of your paycheck now, but can pay off in dividends later.” You won’t even miss the cash when it’s taken out of your paycheck each month.Money Moves to Ensure Your Financial Well-Being>>>
7. Wearing the same dress shoes you’ve had since freshman year.
You don’t have to zip your junk into metrosexual skinny jeans to look good. What impresses everyone, from your boss to the group of blondes you’re trying to buy drinks for, is decent kicks. “I personally think the worst fashion habit men in their 20s have is in the shoes,” says celebrity menswear designer Malan Breton. “I'm a huge advocate for individuality in fashion, but make sure your shoes are clean, updated, and not worn to death. You are an adult now, and the first thing anyone looks at when you walk in a room is not your body, your face, or your beautiful teeth, it's all about the shoes.”The Fix: Remember Breton’s rule of three the next time you’re buying a new pair. “I recommend three pairs of shoes: a stylish trainer, a great leather boot—just make sure they are always polished and the soles are never worn down—and a modern leather brogue.” (A brogue is a sturdy dress shoe with a little bit of perforation at the edges, like a wingtip.) “All three of these will be you and your wardrobe’s best friend,” Breton says.13 Style and Grooming Fixes to Make This Year>>>
8. Sneaking a couple of cigarettes at a weekend house party.
You know pack-a-day smoking will kill you, but having cigarettes with your beer every Saturday night still constricts your arteries and decreases blood flow in your body, Masley says. Those conditions increase the chances for a heart attack, even if you only light up on the weekends. “It takes seven days to clear the tobacco toxins from one exposure, increasing risk of a heart attack or stroke by 20% for those exposed to tobacco,” Masley says. “So an exposure once per week increases the risk for a cardiovascular event by 20% all the time.”Tobacco doesn’t just mess with your heart: When the blood supply to vital organs is blocked and artery plaque increases due to long-term tobacco use, it can cause erectile dysfunction. Nobody wants that.The Fix: Say no when a friend offers you a cig and a light. And don’t substitute chewing tobacco instead. If you smoke or chew regularly, the sooner you quit, the better, Masley says.7 Bad Habits That Could Actually Be Healthy>>>
9. Texting Instead of Calling.
Fighting with your lady over text isn’t just exhausting for your thumbs and your sanity. It’s bad for your relationship. Last year, a study published in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy found that guys who texted their partner multiple times a day—usually about mundane things, like resolving arguments or making decisions—reported lower relationship quality. Researchers think texting causes you to miss the emotional reactions that you get when you have a conversation in person, even about boring stuff.If you’re single, closing the deal with a girl you like isn’t as easy as sending a winky face. In fact, sending any sort of face is going to salt your game. The dating site Zoosk found that, statistically, guys who used a smiley face in their dating profiles got 6% fewer messages in their inbox. Guys who used one in a direct message got a full 66% fewer responses. The takeaway: Emoticons creep women out.The Fix: When you find yourself rapid-firing your girlfriend multiple text messages in a row trying to solve a simple problem, just wait until you get home to talk about it—or at the very least, call her. That said, if you get the urge to tell her you love her—or that you “<3” her—definitely shoot her a text. The study found that sending a sweet text was more strongly correlated with relationship satisfaction than getting one. And those emoticons? Just don’t do it, dude.5 Texts That Kill Your Chances>>>
10. Doing real work in between checking social media.
Tech has made life way easier and more fun (Fantasy Football being just one example), but there is such a thing as too much of it. Some people call having multiple tabs open on your browser “multitasking,” but checking social media, box scores, your personal e-mail, and your work e-mail all at once, 24/7, means you’re giving only partial attention to any one thing before switching to something else, says Larry Rosen, author of iDisorder. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but soon you won’t be able to concentrate on the stuff that really matters, like solving a major work problem or having a nice night out with your girlfriend.“This process of constant interruptions causes learning difficulties, communication issues, and more problems than I can list,” Rosen says. “We, as humans, need to completely—and sometimes deeply—process information to make good decisions and have good relationships at home, at play, and at work.”The Fix: If you’ve been sucked into the tech vortex (and you know if you have been), Rosen recommends retraining your brain to focus for concerted periods of time. Turn off your phone and log off of social media for 15 to 30 minutes to focus on just one thing. Then allow yourself a one- to two-minute tech break to check in with social media and your phone. Repeat as necessary until you learn to focus when you need to and shut the other stuff out.7 Dos and Don'ts for a Better Working Brain>>>