Your 30s are an exciting time! You may feel like you’re in the prime of your life—or you could feel like you’re slowing down a bit. Either way, you are wiser and have experienced a little more of life. You’ve, hopefully, gotten some unhealthy behaviors out of your system like clubbing all weekend and spending all your disposable cash on new kicks or handbags. You are now easing into the motions of adult life.
To give you a heads-up on this new, exciting phase of your life, here are 10 lifestyle changes you should make in your 30s to enjoy wellness of body and mind, and lay the foundation for lifelong success.
1. Start loving yourself more
Loving yourself and becoming comfort in your own skin is particularly important in your 30s as you settle into adulthood and all it entails, including bills, career, taxes, a spouse and maybe even kids. Only when you love yourself can you truly be able to extend love to others, both in your personal and professional life. Besides, embracing yourself during this period is incredibly freeing.
Start each day by appreciating and applauding yourself for you are beautiful, smart and capable, and you are doing the best you can. Be confident and proud of all of your choices, likes, dislikes, hopes and dreams. And stop hanging around people who don’t treat you well. Instead, spend more time with loved ones who make you feel good. This will nurture your emotions and boost your self esteem.
2. Start building your dream private life
Your private or personal life is going to play a major role in your happiness, success and satisfaction in life. So, if you want to get married, have kids or buy a house, your 30s are a great time to get started on those goals. Ask yourself what you can do between now and the end of the year to embark on your dream private life. Don’t delay pursuing your dream life. Putting off starting a family or having children, for example, is not advisable. If you want kids, have them now before it’s too late.
Blogger Mark Manson writes it best, “You don’t have the time. You don’t have the money. You need to perfect your career first. They’ll end your life as you know it. Oh shut up… Kids are great. They make you better in every way. They push you to your limits. They make you happy. You should not defer having kids.”
3. Start pursuing work that you actually love
Your 30’s are also a great time to explore other areas of your line of work and develop your truest passion(s), whether it is music, writing, or business. Nothing could be worse than anchoring yourself to a job you hate, having to make your living at it and never having an opportunity to pursue your truest passions. There is actually an economic term for that: Sunk costs—where you figure you should continue with something because you’ve already sunk so much into it. It’s responsible for many a disastrous careers, many a failed businesses and many an unhappy life.
Find a job you actually love where your passions meet with your talents and where you get the greatest fulfillment. As Steve Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life… And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
4. Stop comparing yourself to others
Thanks to social networks life Facebook, it’s easier than ever to compare yourself to friends and peers who may have married, gotten kids or bought a house and feel like a loser. Don’t do that. Stop comparing yourself with others. We are all different and grow at our own pace. It’s particularly important that you understand that in your 30s otherwise you might feel depressed and derail from the true path to success and happiness. As one psychotherapist writes, constantly comparing yourself to others creates unnecessary psychological stress and can throw your self-esteem out the window.
Love yourself and keep taking good care of yourself. That means allowing yourself to grow and evolve at your own pace. “If you are unable to do some things in life compared to your siblings and friends, then please be at peace with yourself,” advises Mahesh Kay. “Don’t be harsh on yourself.”
5. Start being content with what you already have
Rather than be bitter and envious of other people, be calm, patient and content with what you have. Research shows that appreciating what you have can increase happiness and decrease negative feelings. Of course, you should strive for better, but understand that life doesn’t always work out exactly how we want or plan. Knowing that can shield you from adverse effects of life’s inevitable disappointments.
Borrow a leaf from Oprah Winfrey and start counting your blessings, even when you don’t have much. Keep a daily gratitude journal like she did. It will do you a whole lot of good. And remember, as Khalil Gibran says, “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”
6. Start forgiving yourself for your mistakes
You probably made many mistakes in your teens and 20s. Everybody makes mistakes. Your 30s are the right time to reflect and forgive yourself for those mistakes. People who practice self-compassion see their weaknesses as changeable and try to avoid making the same errors in the future.
Learn from your mistakes, let them go and move on. Don’t dwell on the errors of the past. Psychologists say that the ability to forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes is the key driver of success.
7. Start exercising regularly
Make time for exercise in your 30s. Your future self will thank you for it. In the latter half of your 30s, you will start to lose muscle mass and begin to gain a few pounds as your metabolism slows. That’s why it’s especially important that you exercise at this time.
Try to move yourself as much as possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s walking, jogging, hiking, swimming or weightlifting—as long as it involves some movement—do it. However, choose physical activities that you love as you are less likely to continue exercising if you dislike your workouts.
8. Start calling your parents at regular intervals
Many 30-somethings get so caught up in the motions of raising a family, building a career and so on that they forget to attend to their relationship with their parents. Remember that your parents grow older as you do, and they will not live forever. Neglecting them may be neglecting opportunities you may rue.
Call your parents regularly. A simple “Hi mom, how are you? Yeah? Yeah. She’s doing fine. I know. I’ll keep warm. OK, love you, bye.” That’s all it takes to alleviate their concerns, keep their mental and emotional wellbeing intact and keep your relationship with them healthy. Visit them whenever you can.
9. Start making healthy eating habits a priority
One of the things that can go with a growing list of responsibilities is healthy eating habits. However, not making healthy eating habits a priority in your 30s can make you get to your 40s and later years being slow, tired and burdened by a list of health complaints that could have been avoided.
Eat a well-balanced diet, low in saturated fats and full of fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed and junk foods as much as possible. Quit smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. No hard drugs either. Make your health a priority because your health is your wealth.
10. Continue enjoying life
Just because you’re not in your 20s anymore doesn’t mean you should stop having fun. Spending all of your 30s chasing after money will only make you grumpy, cynical and unhappy about life. The resounding theme among those who have lived through their 30s is that none of the money you work hard to make matters if you’re not enjoying life. So enjoy life with those you care about while you still can.
Go on dates with your partner; play with your kids (if you have any); organize group trips with your close friends to go see the world. You only live once. Why not live the best way you can? Have a blast in your 30s and make fond memories, but remember to build your purpose.