Our whole life, we hear that we need to be healthy. “You have to eat your vegetables.” “You need to work-out.” “You need to floss.” The list goes on and on, and it seems to only grow bigger and bigger as we get older.
While there are many “aha!” moments in our lives when we have the realization that we are “behind the ball in life”, this article will focus on our third decade: our 30s.
It’s an incredibly unique point in our lives where we are physically, mentally, and professionally capable of accomplishing an incredible amount….BUT only if we make the changes necessary to truly make the most out of our physical and mental abilities, leaving a positive indelible mark on as many people as possible.
Teamwork makes the dream work. So let’s get to it! Here are several lifestyle changes that could help you feel AND look healthier in your crucial 30s.
10 Lifestyle Changes To Make In Your 30s
1. Get in physical shape.
Our 30’s offer us the time in life when we are physically capable of enduring anything (many of the Tour de France winners are in their upper 20’s to mid 30’s). AND, we are still capable of adding vital muscle mass (without a lot of struggle).
This is our last chance to take advantage of a deck that is still stacked in our favor. GET TO IT.
ACTION ITEM: Try a group fitness class twice a week. Make it something you genuinely enjoy! If the gym isn’t for you, but you really love ballet, cycling, running, or rock climbing, then do that!
It’s important that you start with what you enjoy. Just know that no matter what sport or activity you choose, you’ll need to add some proper strength training to it as well – a three days a week is best – as increasing your muscular strength and the balance of muscles at each joint are the cornerstones of living a healthy and active life well into your 90s!
Dentists rejoice! Someone listened to you! While yes, I DO mean floss your teeth (seriously, at least twice a week), I also mean mental floss – READING (let’s kill two birds with one stone here, eh?).
Listen, I don’t know if you realize it yet, but LeVar Burton was right (that’s a Reading Rainbow reference for all you PBS kids out there):
“Take a look, it’s in a book!”
A saying I heard recently that’s been running through my mind:
“We stand on the books we’ve read, in order to reach those top-shelf things which we desire.”
Let that sink in for a minute. It’s a deep one.
Kindle, Amazon, your local library…Knowledge is there for the taking! Accessible at the tip of your fingers for free, or at super low costs. Go TAKE IT!
ACTION ITEM: Head to your local library, or jump on to Amazon and pick up ONE book on a subject that interests you. Read at least ONE page a day for the next 60 days. (Don’t forget to renew that library book though!)
3. Start saving and/or investing.
As we enter our 30s, we’ve now lost over a decade of time when we could have taken a big bite out of our journey to financial freedom and retiring comfortably.
How? By taking advantage of saving and investing opportunities.
Now I’m not any kind of financial expert, so I won’t try to make any recommendations (although I have read quite a bit on the subject – see item #2 on this list), but I will point you to three fantastic reads:
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel
- The Little Book Of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle
There are many other books for aspiring investors. Find what works for you, but GET STARTED. Even just $20 a week makes a big difference. Don’t put it off any more as you’re already 10-12 years behind everyone else.
If you don’t believe me, pick up a small quick read by Darren Hardy called “The Compound Effect”.
ACTION ITEM: Pick one of these up as your first or second book to read. Make sure to take notes, as each book packs a TON of information that can help you get started on the right path. Do this and you check off TWO items from our list of lifestyle changes in one fell swoop!
4. Stop drinking all those energy drinks.
Coffee and tea tend to be far healthier than energy drinks (unless you add tons of sugar to them). Start practicing the “less is more” mantra for these lifestyle changes. Start with your coffee: those fancy lattes pack hundreds of extra calories that are not being kind to your waistline or cardiovascular health.
ACTION ITEM: Start by dropping off all those additives or syrups. Look for quality tea or coffee houses. Tea and coffee offer us a fantastic and seemingly endless spectrum of flavors… but you have to look beyond what’s on the shelf at the grocery store!
OR, even better, hit up #5 on our list so you don’t need those drinks.
5. Get more quality sleep.
While those with kids will LOL at this one, we still need to think about a regular bed time for ourselves. This is so we can at least have some sense of rhythm to our lives. This can help the body replenish and rejuvenate itself, even when life throws you a few curveballs.
Note that it’s NOT “get more sleep”, but “get more QUALITY sleep”. The quality has a big impact.
ACTION ITEM: No TV in the bedroom, and no falling asleep in front of a screen. Aim to wean yourself away from gadgets for a full 30 minutes before you head to bed. This is another great opportunity to get some solid reading time in!
6. Stop eating like a college student.
Your body is starting to “hate you” for having those nachos at the ball game, and Chinese takeout after, well, anything. Our bodies are starting to change. We want to make sure we are giving it what it needs.
Start eating like a healthy adult. Keep those junk meals to fewer than twice a month, preferably as far apart from one another as possible. This will allow you to still “live your life”, but get on to healthier lifestyle changes that will improve the quality of life in your later years.
ACTION ITEM: Start by taking out ONE junk food or poor food choice from your weekly grocery list. Replace it with a fresh fruit or vegetable instead (frozen are acceptable as well!).
7. Get a mentor.
If you haven’t done this yet, you’re missing a fantastic opportunity to really excel in your personal and professional life. Having a mentor can really accelerate your professional and personal development, and truly help you become more productive. They can also support you in your quest to provide a positive impact in the world.
ACTION ITEM: If there is someone whom you’ve often sought counsel from, ask them if they would mentor you in that area. If you don’t have anyone in mind, start putting together a list of things you’d like to improve in your life, and begin asking around if anyone has suggestions for people to learn from for those areas.
“When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready… The teacher will disappear.” – Lao Tzu
8. Practice gratitude everyday.
There is a post making its way around social media these last few months of a shop that posted new price guidelines for ordering coffee that goes something along the lines of:
“Large coffee”- $2.50
“Large coffee, please”- $1.75
“Good morning! Large coffee, please!” – $1.25
Life is the same: the more gratitude and positive feelings you put out there, the more you’ll get back. Don’t be a d*ck. Be positive and grateful, and the world will pay you back tenfold. It’s one of the easiest lifestyle changes to make and doesn’t cost a dime.
ACTION ITEM: Each morning, within two hours of waking up, you must say at least five things you are thankful for, out loud. Yes, some days having that big mug of your favorite coffee counts. But try to get a bit more creative as the days go by.
9. Work when you’re at work, and play when you play.
Seriously, put the phone away! Be present when you’re away from work with others. The work will always be there, but the time with your friends/ family/ significant others will be what you remember 10, 15, 40 years from now – not what Mr. Shields needs you to finish.
ACTION ITEM: Put your phone (or other gadgets) on silent mode, or leave them at home.
10. Take time to travel.
Whether it’s an hour-drive with the kids to a farm for fall harvest, OR a 10-hour flight with your significant other across the globe to a far away destination, traveling to meet new people from different places can help you have a greater understanding of how the world works – and learn more about yourself.
Besides, it’s fun to get out of your routine and try something new. That’s how we grow, and growth is one of the keys to success.
ACTION ITEM: Start small! Take a day trip somewhere outside of your area. Take a bike, a train, plane, or boat. Whatever your chosen mode of transport is, go explore some other part of town or a new region.
Implementing these 10 lifestyle changes can have a powerfully positive impact on your 30’s and beyond. But you have to start. So get to it!
If you have other lifestyle changes that YOU have made and which have had a significant impact on YOUR path to living a fulfilled, successful life, please share them below in the comments!