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15 Things Everyone Should Avoid In Their 30s

15 Things Everyone Should Avoid In Their 30s

Let’s face it, we all grow old.

It’s become almost cliché that once you reach the end of your third decade you start to let yourself go. Assuming their best days are behind them, people over 30 start gaining weight, giving up on dreams, and losing an overall passion for life.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Just because your body is growing older doesn’t mean you can’t live an amazing life into your 30s and beyond. If you eliminate bad habits and negative influences, life can still be great even after your glorious younger years.

This post is dedicated to identifying these habits and correcting them for a better outlook on life.

1. Avoid Thinking You Have It All Figured Out

Modern education has trapped us into thinking learning only takes place during school. Just because you finished high school and maybe have a college degree doesn’t mean you’re done learning about the world around you. There’s an endless amount of information and no matter how hard you try you’ll never consume it all. You don’t know everything, and that’s okay. The unknown is what keeps us exploring and experiencing new things every day.

2. Avoid Working A Job You Hate

It doesn’t matter how much money you make, what benefits you have, or how many years you’ve been working at the same place: if you hate your job, nothing will save you from your misery. This doesn’t mean quit right away, but the worst thing you could do at 30 is realize you hate your job only to find yourself still working there when you hit 40. It’s okay to change jobs or even careers. It’s much better long term to take less money for a job you love and enjoy than to torture yourself for a bigger paycheck.

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3.  Avoid Couch Potato Syndrome

Between desk jobs, binge watching TV, and overall laziness, we spend a lot of time sitting down. As we grow past our 20s our metabolism becomes dramatically less effective, making it harder to stay in shape. Whether you’re still below the 30 mark or well beyond, the best thing you can do is to start taking care of yourself now. It’s easy to make excuses for not wanting to get in shape, but when you’re overweight and out of breath after a trip up the stairs remember you have no one to blame but yourself.

4.  Avoid Giving Up On Your Dreams

Just because you’ve surpassed the third decade doesn’t mean you’re too old to turn your dreams into reality. A common misconception is that only young people have unlimited potential to create something amazing that truly changes the world. The truth is plenty of people over 30 are changing the world everyday. Colonel Sanders was over 60 years old when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. Stan Lee, creator of Marvel, didn’t start writing comics until almost 40.

Age brings experience and wisdom, which gives you all the more reason to go after your dreams and do what you’ve always wanted.

5.  Avoid Distancing Yourself From Friends & Family

As the years pass it seems inevitable that we fall out of touch with family as phone calls and reunions happen less every year. If you’re 30 now, your parents are probably in their 50s or 60s.  Life can be taken at any moment, and one of the worst regrets people have is not spending enough time with their family before it’s too late. The only way to change this is to be the one who keeps in touch. Be that annoying friend that gets everyone back together and talks to everyone in the family. People will remember you for that, and they’ll admire what you do.

6.  Avoid Thinking Your Best Years Are Behind You

If your 20s were like most, you probably spent the decade partying with your friends, staying up late, and job hopping until you found one that paid you enough to at least pretend you liked working there. Yet somehow we trick ourselves into thinking that after our 20s our best years have passed and it’s going to be a boring ride the rest of the way.

The only place this holds true is in your mind.  If you believe your best years have came and went, it will be that way. But if you focus your attention on seizing each moment, there’s little doubt your most triumphant days are ahead of you.

Keep your eyes on the future, that’s where true glory lies.

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7.  Avoid Spending Beyond Your Means

Financial advisers suggest to retire by 65 you need to start saving by 25.  Obviously this depends on a lot of factors, but the best way to guarantee you never save money is by living beyond your means. We thrive on instant gratification in a material world, buying things that make us feel better momentarily only to leave ourselves upset at our purchase later.

In your 20s, it’s simple pleasures like shopping or a night of drinking, but at 30 purchases turn into bigger financial holes like leasing a car or buying a house too big for your own good. Living more with less is a very real thing. Spending less on things that don’t matter and having money in a savings account gives you a sense of security and comfort that will enhance your life in later years.

8.  Avoid Holding Onto Resentment

Life long grudges hurt nobody except yourself. Feeling disgust for not getting hired to a certain job or staying angry at a friend because you can’t allow yourself to forgive them creates a negative energy that diminishes your level of well being. Holding onto resentment doesn’t make the situation any better for either side of the party, and the longer you hold on the stronger that negative energy affects your life.

Holding grudges are for middle schoolers, so hopefully by the time you reach your 30s you can learn to forgive and let go. If not for the other person at least to bring more joy and positive emotions to your life.

9.  Avoid Holding Onto Your High School Identity

For people who didn’t have a lot of friends or despised their time in high school this is easy, but when you were the class clown or a star athlete it’s difficult to let go of the labels you earned. The truth is no one cares what you did in high school, they care about what you’re going to do next. It doesn’t matter what athletic awards you won: if you don’t play any sports or stay in shape, you’re no longer an athlete.

Living in the past is a dangerous path to tread, especially when you look back with pride and admiration. Save yourself the trouble and change your vision from who you were towards who you want to become. This way you can avoid becoming the guy at the bar who tells everyone he would have gone pro if it wasn’t for his bum knee.

10.  Avoid Staying In One Place Too Long

There’s nothing wrong with becoming part of the community and establishing roots in your neighborhood so your kids have a place to come back to when they get older. There’s a big difference, however, between growing roots and never leaving home.

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Rather than living in the same 50 mile vortex your entire life, a simple road trip or vacation every now and then can give you a whole new perspective of the world. The longer you wait to travel the harder it is to finally do it. Start before your 30s if you can, but even if you’re older it’s never too late to see a different part of the world. I’ve never met someone who said they regret traveling, but millions regret never seizing the opportunity to set foot on new soil.

11.  Avoid The Routine Trap

When you’re young life is constantly changing, but once you get older and have a full time career working it’s easy to fall into a routine: wake up, shower, rush to work, spend the next 8 hours there, drive home, eat dinner, watch TV, sleep. Some people are stuck in this routine until they retire. There’s nothing wrong with having routines to help you be more productive but your entire life shouldn’t become a routine. Leaving yourself room for spontaneous action will keep you feeling younger as you age.

12.  Avoid Having Too Many Opinions

Everyone has an opinion about something. Whether it’s fashion, sports, global warming or the president, the opinions people feel strongest about are the things they don’t like. Opinions are almost never based on facts but rather rumors we hear and experiences we have.

Holding onto a negative opinion is like picking up a piece of burning coal and squeezing because you don’t like it. You only end up hurting yourself and nobody cares because what you’re doing looks completely dumb. Instead of holding onto your opinions for the rest of your life, let them go and see what happens. For one, you’ll still be perfectly okay. But who knows, once you gather a broader mindset you might find the exact opposite of one of your old opinions to be true.

13.  Avoid Caring What Other People Think

If nobody cares about your opinions then you shouldn’t waste your time caring what they think either. It’s human nature to want people to like us, but it should never be at the expense of changing who we are. When you were younger if someone called you stupid or ugly, it might have bothered you for weeks. As you grow older it’s important to let go of caring so much what people think.

Remember, everyone has an opinion. If you spend your time worrying what everyone else thinks about you, you’ll never know what you think about yourself. And that’s much more important. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone you should never have to change who you are just because someone else wants you too.

14.  Avoid Continuing Bad Habits

As humans we have a terrible habit of doing things to our bodies that aren’t healthy whatsoever. Eating processed foods, smoking, excessive drinking, lack of sleep, and plenty more.

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In our 20s, our bodies are still young enough to put up with it and keep us functional as long as we don’t go overboard. But as you grow older and your body ages these habits start to wedge their way into your life and take over. Look at it this way, most people don’t get cancer from smoking one cigarette but from years of smoking that eventually deteriorated the body.

No bad habit needs to come with you into your older years. There’s still time to change and make a positive impact on your life. Leave your negative habits behind and your body will thank you in the future.

15.  Avoid Thinking You Need To Settle Down

Just because you’re getting older and your friends are married with kids doesn’t mean you have to start doing the same. If you aren’t at that stage in your life there’s no reason to rush into a relationship because society says it’s time to slow down.

This is more than relationships, too. If you want a career change, have a desire for travel, or want to move to an entire new place, do it. You can settle down later when it’s right for you.And honestly, you never have to settle down if you don’t want to. There’s no law saying you have to slow down your life at a certain age, if the status quo isn’t working you have to do what’s best for you.

Being only in your 30s, you still have lots of life in front of you. You can call it quits and assure the next few decades will bore you to death by staying at a job you hate, giving up on your dreams and continuing your bad habits. Whether you’ve passed 30 or yet to reach the Big 3-0, you can set yourself up for success to live a long and exciting life by deciding to take care of your body and committing to causes that mean something to you. It all comes down to a set of simple choices that no one else in the world can make except you.

So choose.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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