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What People Should Stop Doing When They Turn 30

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What People Should Stop Doing When They Turn 30

When I was just about to turn 30, I had a few choices to make. I could have gone on teaching and eating out every night in Naples. But my career was knocking at the door and I started to get serious about it. I decided to start studying for a new qualification and then taking two years out to do a Masters’ degree. I missed all the fun times and the seductive Neapolitan lifestyle. But these were short lived regrets as I saw my career advance.

Nothing is written in stone about what you should stop doing once you turn 30. But it is usually around then that life, relationships and career start muscling their way into your life.

You also have the added complication of whether to start a family and what sort of relationship could help you fulfil that ambition. Does parenting really appeal to you?

Here are 15 things people should stop doing now to make their future more secure and tranquil.

1. Stop spending money extravagantly

You have to start thinking about a pension which you might need just 30 years from now. If you are lucky, you can get good financial advice about pension funds or figure it out yourself by investing wisely. This will give you financial security to help you buy property later on.

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2. Stop dithering about job or career moves

The best thing to do is to start getting rid of mismatches and gaps in your resume. Stress the fact that your best talents and skills set can be leveraged to fit the demands of a new job or career. In this way, you are displaying how proactive you can be.

3. Stop using social media so much

Time to get real and start making some valuable connections out there. That means using social media less and less. It also means that you should be aiming to network outside your organization. If you are an introvert, this may be a bit daunting.

Susan Cain in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking has some good advice. There is no need to take the standard extrovert as the norm. You should be trying to make more meaningful and deeper contacts so it really is worthwhile getting to know people at more than a superficial level.

4. Stop posting silly things on Facebook

Yes, employers do check your social media profiles so if you are really serious about a career, delete all those photos of you having a great time. Post some really professional stuff such as you networking at a conference.

5. Stop thinking about your past failures

Maybe a relationship went all wrong or you did not get the dream job you wanted. Most psychologists agree that too much ruminating and blaming yourself for past errors can have lasting negative effects. If these regrets are keeping you from getting on with life and planning your future, then it really is time to stop.

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6. Stop texting while driving

Not that all the people who do this are under 30! I daydream about fixing an anti-phone device in each car. Problem solved and people start driving responsibly. But if you cannot control a texting addiction at this age, then it is time to think about this.

7. Stop sleeping in at weekends

Maybe you think that you can recover your lost sleep at the weekend. You need to, because of all that hard work and late night partying during the week. Scientists have shown that this recovery sleep is not going to fix all the problems and the long term effects are unknown. Much better to start getting more regular sleep. That will leave you much more time to do something fun and productive at the weekend.

8. Stop having hangovers

What a waste of time! You feel lousy for days afterwards and you cannot even get going on work, leisure and all the other things that make life worthwhile. If you cannot get out of that social whirl, you can easily prevent and cure a hangover. How? Just by drinking plenty of water, before, during and afterwards. Water will keep you from getting dehydrated. This is the main cause of a hangover.

9. Stop having toxic friendships

Time to have a good clear out of people who are simply poisoning you with their toxicity. Maybe you have been too lazy to do that up to now. But if a friend is always criticizing you, taking advantage of your kindness, or just not being reliable, then you have to cut them off.

Remember that real friendships are like gold. They have to be long-lasting and keep their value. If they do not, then it is time to move on.

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10.  Stop making excuses about your workouts

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin

These excuses about skipping your gym class or workout are now getting a bit thin as you turn 30. Time to concentrate on getting results, enjoying yourself and measuring your progress. The excuses will soon start to fade away as you get more motivated.

11. Stop eating fast food

I had to start to learn to cook as I was getting embarrassed about all the dinner invitations I was receiving. I never bothered in my twenties and I was just plain lazy. The number of pizzas I ate must be a record. Once I started to learn how to cook, my life, health, and social standing all changed dramatically. Yes, I had to study and try things out. Living in Italy was an enormous advantage but also an enormous challenge. Italians know a lot about good food!

12. Stop closing your mind to certain beliefs and ideas

 “Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out”. – Carl Sagan

Learning about new ideas and exploring the world are great ways of challenging the preconceptions we sometimes latch on to in our twenties. The best way of doing this is to travel and have a great time. Try out new things and judge them as objectively as you can.

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13. Stop driving recklessly

Last weekend, a 22 year old Italian driver lost control of his car at a roundabout. The car ploughed into a group of guys who were having a drink at a nearby bar. Four of them were killed, including the driver’s own brother!

It is never too early to start driving responsibly and making sure that you are not over the alcohol limit.

14. Stop playing Wii and video games all the time

These games are great to help you pass the time when you have to wait for public transport. But if this is your favourite pastime at home where you become a games slave, then there must be something wrong.

15. Stop adding new tattoos

You might well be embarrassed when you have to hide certain tattoos at your workplace when the company culture is pretty strict about these things. Nothing wrong in having a few inked spots but when you have to explain new ones after 30, this may make you feel uncomfortable.

Let us know what things you stopped doing when you turned 30. What were the benefits or drawbacks?

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Featured photo credit: Texting while driving/Intel Free Press via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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