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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 August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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