College life is an incredible time, for oh-so-many reasons – both good and bad.
You get more freedom and more people to meet and communicate with, absolutely, but it also means you get more irresponsible with the adulting part of life in case you move out from home.
It spreads over many aspects of your life, from food and cleaning to bad habits and work ethic. So how do you figure it all out and put yourself back on track – without the exoskeleton of your parents menacingly looming over you with a slipper in hand?
Count up your expenses.
Thinking of your own health often doesn’t do much – if it did, people wouldn’t derail in the first place.
But once you start thinking of the money the issues suddenly seem more pressing because oh boy.
And estimating doesn’t always help. Get an app that would help you count all expenses up – granted, theres a lot of those now. (1tap receipts [AppStore/Google Play], Expensify [AppStore/Google Play], Yolt [AppStore/Google Play], etc.) Set up a goal: a new laptop/phone/short trip to Lisbon/gaming console – whatever your heart desires.
You will be amazed by how much money can be saved just by grocery shopping and cooking properly; even more so by stopping smoking. To add to that, walking to work instead of taking a bus will help your health – making it a new good habit to pick up – while still saving up the money.
In general, bad habits are expensive – and the wish to save up will help you, if nothing else will.
Get a pet (if you can afford keeping it).
Seriously. Don’t immediately go getting some extremely difficult to handle and unusual pets like tortoises or even, actually, fishes – start with some animal you know better; adopt a small dog or a cat.
The necessity of making better choices and dropping your bad habits will hit you like a truck. Smoking around your pet? A terrible, cruel idea. Leaving garbage or dirty dishes around? May end up very badly. Sleeping in until the afternoon? They simply won’t let you. Going on a three-day bender? You thought, you need to look after the animal now.
To top it off, they’ll give you affection in return.
Force yourself to use a planner.
Planners seem like a lot of unnecessary effort, but, in reality, you don’t really have to follow all of the popular “planner tips” and fill it with hand-drawn flowers and whatnot, you don’t even really need a paper planner. All you really need to do is anything to write down your plans in, even if it’s an app (we recommend Productive [AppStore], Fabulous [AppStore/Google Play] or simply just the Reminders app that comes with your iPhone).
Note it down that you will do laundry and vacuum on Saturday. Mark up every day that you’d spent without touching a cigarette. Write down grocery lists and recipes that looked especially good. It is incredibly satisfying to tick something off after completing it.
In the end, it will end up replacing or pushing the bad habits out. It’s almost magical.
Identify the patterns.
When is it that you want to smoke the most? For some, it’s after eating, for others – when having a drink. You could kill two birds with one stone and stop drinking as well, or you could at least be aware and prepared, so that you don’t start begging strangers for a cig.
What is the most likely reason for you to order take-out? Is it because you are bad at cooking? Nothing a YouTube tutorial can’t help with. Is it laziness? You’re just gonna have to work more hours to get the money spent on take-out back, than you would after buying enough ingredients for three whole days.
Realise that leaving the dishes dirty will end up wasting more of your time later because when the remains of food dry up, they’re harder to get off.
Work through the patterns – understanding them is a very helpful step.
Find a hobby.
This simple suggestion is a solution for a lot of things – from bad habits to loneliness and/or boredom.
Hobbies will take up too much of your time for you to drink too much. They might, sometimes, cost money – so you’ll need to dial back on spending. They might be too fun for you to consider spending your whole weekend high in bed instead.