Aging

10 Lessons to Learn by Age 40

“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been” -David Bowie

A man showing his son how to bait a fish hook on a dock

Setting Yourself Up For a New Year of Life

One of the amazing things that happen as we get older is that we develop perspective, wisdom, and knowledge through experience. It is only with self-reflection and awareness that we can delve deep into the lessons learned, mentor others, and commit to living life to the best of our abilities.

As you embark on a new year of life, spend some time to reflect on all your successes and failures, and commit to living bigger than you have before. Here are ten lessons that many people have found to be valuable to contemplate on.

#1. Embrace the Journey

Most of your life will be spent in the journey, not the destination. Life is precious and each day isn’t guaranteed.  If you put all your happiness in the destination, you’ll be very disappointed when you get there. This goes for physique changes, financial health, and relationships; once you reach the goal you have set it surprisingly isn’t as sweet as you imagined it. Find solace and peace with the journey to getting there; this is where the real magic happens.

Acknowledge the stage you’re in and be grateful for the experience. The hard times won’t last and instead of feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and negative, are knowing that on the other side you’ll be wiser and more resilient.

#2. Take the Leap

Spend too much time thinking about “what ifs” and you’re just going to delay the action. None of us can predict what the future holds and no matter the outcome, have confidence in yourself that you can handle it. Often the hardest part is letting go of expectations of what things “should” be or succumbing the trap of perfectionism, when what we really need to do is let down our walls, invite possibility of failure in and ACT.

#3. Be Intentional and Live Powerfully

With your time, your money, your actions. With your training program, your nutrition plan, which people you choose to be in your life. Seek to find the “Why” behind everything. Be present, refine your skills, choose to respond vs. react, and expand your thoughts and comfort zones. Increase focus on creating the experience rather than letting things happen to you.

#4. Discipline Equals Freedom

Be afraid of failure. The only person you can control is you. So focus on making yourself who you want to be: Faster. Stronger. Smarter. More humble. Less ego.  Act in according to your values and your goals; Discipline means taking the hard road—the uphill road. To do what is right, for you and for others so you can achieve the greatness you have envisioned for yourself. It will put you on the path to strength, health, intelligence and happiness. And most important, discipline will put you on the path to freedom.

#5. You Are Your Thoughts

Ghandi said: 

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

Excuses only sound good to the person making them. The only way to truly become the person you want to be is by acting in the way that she acts; starting right now.

Your thoughts control your body and your body reciprocally controls your thoughts. If you’re feeling sad, try putting a smile on your face, even if it is the last thing that you want to do. Fake a smile, and feel how your body starts to feel lighter. Sometimes a change in our physical state is all that it takes to create a change in our mental state. Smile more, laugh more, and don’t take life so seriously.

#6. Failure Only Comes If You Quit

Otherwise it just gives you lessons and perspective for new opportunities. Life is too short to not take those chances, to not take that leap. Every experience is an opportunity to learn from and be better the next time around. We only truly fail when we decide to give up instead of finding another way. Time cures all and you’ll live with much less regret by trying and failing, rather than not trying at all. Don’t take no for an answer, especially when it comes to your goals and dreams.

People on a high slope skiing

#7. Trust Your Intuition

When something feels off, it is.  Be in or be out. Let your yes be yes or your no be no. Be 100% in the relationship, in the job, in your travels, in your decisions. We all have that little voice inside us telling us what we should do; don’t be afraid to listen to it.

#8. Never Compromise on Yourself

Your integrity is the thread of your existence. Live according to YOUR values, no one else’s and do what you know in your heart is right.  Don’t let the judgement of others stop you from speaking out or doing what you need to do. In the end, your word, your follow through, and your perseverance when things are tough are what will matter most.

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