It’s easy to get carried away with work. It’s an important part of your life and you will spend more time at your workplace than you will just about anywhere else, but that’s no reason to let the rest of your life suffer. It’s important to take some down time and focus on the things that you want to do with in life that aren’t necessarily career related. To help you out we have come up with this awesome list of ten things that you really need to do before you hit the big four-zero.
1. Conquer Your Fear
The majority of people will have at least one thing that they’re scared of. It’s time for you to face this fear*, and in doing so you will realise that actually there is nothing to be scared of. Scared of rejection? Put yourself out there, make people say no! Scared of heights? Get that bungee jump booked! *Does not apply if your only fear is being eaten by a crocodile…Making a crocodile eat you will not serve you, the crocodile or anyone else.
2. Make a genuine effort to like something that you currently dislike
Whether it’s hip-hop, avocado or film noir, spend some time with whatever it is that you dislike and really try to appreciate it. You never know, you might have a real change of heart and end up loving it.
3. Start your own business
No one wants to spend their life working for someone else, not when such riches await the owner of a successful business. You don’t necessarily have to have a huge amount of capital to get set up either, so if you’ve got an amazing idea that you’re sure would succeed that stop procrastinating and get cracking.
4. Apply for your dream job
It’s easy to over-analyse your skills and experience when you’re applying for work and this might put you off applying for whatever it is that you really want to do. Screw that! Apply for it anyway, you never know what might happen.
5. Spend more time with your parents
The older you get, the closer they are to being gone. Save yourself from having to live with the regret of not calling them or seeing them enough and not taking the time out of your life to spend with them.
6. Get rid of toxic relationships
We’ve all had them and they all end eventually. You can’t change who someone is and if someone in your life makes you feel worse rather than better it’s time for them to go.
7. Practice meditation
Meditation has a calming and stress relieving affect that will improve every other area of your life from work to home. It’s simple to do and not as scary as you might imagine.
8. Start a family
Don’t get so distracted by your career that you find yourself regretting the fact you didn’t have children, or that you were so busy at work you never had time to meet that perfect partner. Give time to your relationships, enjoy your family and watch them flourish.
9. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy
As a society we put so much emphasis on health and fitness which might lead to you feeling obliged to spend most of your spare time torturing yourself in the gym. The only way to gain real fitness is to find something you could do forever and that will be the thing you enjoy! So ditch the gym and find get yourself a Swing Ball or trampoline instead of an overpriced gym membership.
10. Stop buying stuff
None of the stuff you buy is going to improve your life. You might think that once you have that new phone or TV that your life will be just perfect. It won’t. Spend your money on experiences instead. The memories will last far longer and mean much more to you.
They say that travel broadens the mind and it's true. Learning first-hand about different cultures and how people live, work and enjoy themselves is one of life's pleasures. Whether you're lucky enough to take a year away from work to travel the world or you use your annual 2 week break to visit far-flung countrues, make sure you don't settle for a Spanish holiday in the same resort each year.
12. Learn a language
Most European countries speak least two languages. The problem for us is that typically their second language is English. This makes English speakers lazy when it comes to learning a new language. In this day and age the best languages to learn are Spanish - certainly if you plan to visit Spain or South America (Brazilian speak Portuguese) and Mandarin. These two languages alone account for over over 2 billion people, many of whom don't speak English.
13. Stop dieting
Most people have, at one time or other, started and failed on a diet. As you approach 40 you may find that your flat tummy disappears and your love handles get bigger. But don't diet. Simply eat a little of what you like but fill your fridge with wholesome, non-processed foods. Also, cut down on the carbs (breads, rice, pasta, potatoes, fruit, cakes, doughnuts etc). Simply dropping the amount of carbs you eat will see you drop inches from your waste without even trying, even if you enjoy a cake or biscuit once in a while.
14. Keep in touch with friends
As we get older and people move or start bring up children it is easy to fall into the trap of putting off seeing friends. This is a shame because when circumstances change it is easy for time to pass very quickly before catching up. Weeks can turn into months, months can turn into years and before you know it so much time has past that it almost feels impolite to contact them after so long. Don't let this be you. At least once every few months call a friend and arrange a get together.
15. Improve your sex life
Typically people approving 40 are in a long term relationship. Sex with a long term partner can (sometimes) feel a little familiar; you know which buttons to push so you do and things are great, until sex turns a tad predictable. So, look to spice up your sex live a little by role playing, discussing your fantasies and if you're both happy acting them out. Just keep things hot ans steamy rather than cold and dull.
16. Say yes for a month
Be a "yes" person for at least a month and agree to do anything that people say. "Can you stay late tonight at work?" Sure. "Fancy a pint down the pub?". Yeah. "Would you like to go out to dinner tonight?" Why not. Whatever it is saying "yes" to everything will seriously change your outlook on life.
As we get older it is easy to like what you know and know what you like; ergo, get stuck in your ways. But agreeing to say "yes" will mean that you will be open to the suggestions of others, rather than automatically saying "No" and missing out on some of life's opportunities.
17. Learn to fail
With your new found openness now is a great time to fail at something you've never done better. Pick up an instrument and learn to play. Try a new sport. Learn to play chess or poker. Paint. Whatever it is make sure that it is a new skill you're trying to master and be aware that whatever you try for the first time, you will suck at it. But with practice comes confidence and the chance to get better.
For many of us, as we get older, our world gets smaller. This means we challenge ourselves less and less. But trying something completely new will keep your mind sharp and allow you to do something you may really enjoy doing in your down time.
18. Go to a concert
Live music is one of life's pleasures. So find tickets to your favourite band and go and see them - whether they are playing in your local town or whether they are playing in another country. Or better still, buy a tent and go to a music festival with your partner, friends or your kids. This will allow you to see as many bands as possible over the course of 3 wet and wild days.
19. Drink coffee
Caffeine has been shown to improve mental alertness and research has linked drinking coffee in a lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease. Also, drinking coffee improves your mood. So, aim to drink at least 2 cups of coffee (ideally black) a day to stay sharp, happy and ready for the day ahead.
20. Reduce your time on social media
It has been shown that logging onto Facebook too much can make you depressed. The primary reason is that everybody you know on Facebook always seem to be having a better time than you. Serial Facebook posters always show themselves in the best light - visiting the best places, hanging out with friends and generally having a whale of a time. But, if you're not doing these things, it can make you feel miserable and make you feel like life is passing you by.
So, rather than surfing Facebook, go out, have fun and try some of the suggestions we have made in this list. Then don't feel compelled to post your photos on the web.