10 Things to Do in Your 30s That Will Make Life Easier in Your 50s

Too bad we are getting older. Our hazy college years, filled with misguided vanity and purpose, are now over. Things that were once considered “normal” in your 20s can turn you into a complete social misfit a decade later.

It’s no longer “alpha” to down things voluntarily at a party. You just can’t guzzle 4 pints of beer in under 2 minutes, remark, “Homer no function beer well without,” and pass out unless that’s the last party you ever want to attend. Meg Jay, Ph.D., psychologist and author of The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter – and how to make the most of them, now says, “The foundation you build in your 20s will define the rest of your life.”

We’re all guilty of doing inexplicable things in our 20s. While life has given us a pass on quite a lot of them, it’s time to roll up our sleeves, get our hands dirty and clean up our acts. Start with these 10 things in your 30s for more personal and professional success in your 50s.

1. Snub the butt, now

Smoking is injurious to health and the sooner you quit, the better. Light up and you risk decreasing your life expectancy by a decade. And e-cigarettes aren’t healthy. Period. Recent findings suggest they are not as safe as an alternative to smoking tobacco as some marketing gimmicks may want you to believe.

According to Professor Shyam Biswai of Johns Hopkins University in the U.S., who led a recent study on the effects of vaping on mice, “Our findings suggest that e-cigarettes are not neutral in terms of the effects on the lungs. We have observed that they increase the susceptibility to respiratory infections in the mouse models…”

So, whether you’ve switched from cigarettes to e-cigarettes or are completely new to e-cigarettes without any past smoking history, you, my friend, are at risk.

2. Start exercising

No, we don’t expect you to become an Olympic lifter or a 5k marathon runner unless that is your aim. But exercising 3-4 times per week with light to moderate weights and throwing in 5-10 minutes of cardio will help you lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. If that’s not your cup of tea, make it a point to move throughout the day. Swim, cycle, run, jog, hike – it doesn’t matter what you do as long as there is some sort of movement involved.

If you live near your office, walk every day to work. If not, walk as far as you can and then take your ride. Research also shows that you burn most calories when you are upright. Get up from your chair every 2 hours for 10 minutes and go high-five your colleagues. Or go to the terrace, cafeteria, parking lot—anywhere. It’s fun, and you don’t have to take time out from your hectic schedule to stay in shape.

3. Start hitting the sack and waking up around the same time daily

As 30-somethings, we have more responsibilities personally and professionally. But we cannot let that hamper our sleep and wake-up routines.There may have been instances when we hit the snooze button several times, but don’t be tempted to sleep till 1 pm on Sundays. You should stick to your set times as much as possible, even on weekends.

Experts believe you risk reprogramming your body clock to a different routine if you oversleep for even a few days. You may fatigue sooner into the day or have difficulty falling asleep at your usual bedtime.

4. Start today with your life’s goals

The time to pursue your life goals is now. Have you always wanted to buy a house? Change your career? Start a business? Write a book? Learn to cook? Get an advanced degree? Run for public office? Then don’t put them off any longer.

Pick one of your dreams and start working on it now. Time seems to accelerate as we approach our 30s, and it keeps moving faster as we already have so much on our plates to keep track of.

Pursue what your heart desires. Start today and challenge yourself to achieve it at the end of the year. Even if you fall short, you would be surprised to see how far you have come. And that is what really matters.

Can’t you wait and do something later in life? Yes, but things get harder as we grow older. Family and kids become our priority. We become averse to risk. How many people in their 50s do you know who take bungee jumping lessons? Start with some of these things in your 30s. You’ll thank yourself when you are 60.

5. Visit your dentist

When it comes to personal care, we spend most frequently on HSN (hair, skin and nails) products. But we forget our teeth, and that can prove costly in the long run.

Befriend a dentist and see him/her more frequently. Cavity? Bleeding gums? Tooth sensitivity? Make an appointment today, and don’t miss it for anything in the world. Do as s/he says. Practice daily dental hygiene. Brush after every meal.

Floss your teeth. Dental problems keep getting worse if left untreated. Certain procedures like tooth extraction and implants can set you back by a few thousand dollars, and even then, there’s no getting around the discomfort and pain they cause. There are fewer joys in life than the joy of eating. And your 30s are the right time to ensure you keep your pearly whites intact for the coming few decades at least.

6. Keep a journal

Journal your life. As Quora member Mark Crawley says, “You WILL forget more of your precious memories than you’ll remember. Your written records will entertain and endear in your future.”

Even if you’d like to keep your deliberations to yourself, penning down your feelings regularly can help you deal with stress.

Keep adding photos wherever possible, especially if there is a baby or a new pet in the house. It will help you relive those cute moments when they grow up. You can easily archive your daily/weekly/fortnightly posts with your computer for instant recall.

7. Be content with what you have

Your dreams should push you to work harder, but they shouldn’t overwhelm you. Slow down. Don’t kill yourself fulfilling a never-ending wish list. It’s perfectly fine if your bank account doesn’t resemble your telephone number. If it does, consider donating to charity. Seriously. Either way, the 30s are a good time to start giving back to society in whatever way you can.

Quora member Robert Walker writes, “If you are content with what you have then you may be a bit less likely to end up a millionaire, but you will have a happier life.”  And even if/when you have the money, you will be more satisfied in your life.

Research shows that gratitude increases happiness and flushes out negative thoughts. Be content with what you have and you will lead a fuller life.

8. Start appreciating your parents

You probably know this, but learn to acknowledge the people who brought you into this world. Don’t wait till Thanksgiving for that customary call or visit. The same goes for siblings as well.

The 30s are an apt time to reconnect with your parents after the rebellious growing up years. Even if you don’t see eye to eye with them on certain issues, understand that it is tough for parents as well when their children move out.

We can never tell from a distance, but they may need help with certain things, like repairing a broken sink or mowing the lawn. What if one of them is sick and the other one doesn’t know how to cook? Your frequent visits can solve some of their problems.

If you were abused as a child, keeping a safe distance is understandable, but people change—they can change—with time, and you can make it possible for them to turn over a new leaf, find a new direction and move away from their misdoings.

9. Start saving money

Research shows that 70 percent of wage growth happens in the first 10 years of one’s career. As we move into our 30s, our disposable income increases and so does our tendency to spend it on new kicks.

Make saving a habit early on in life. You are more likely to continue with it into your golden years. The earlier you start the more time your money has to earn interest. Try to live below your means. Save a part of your paycheck and invest it.

Open a savings account and a self-directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or Roth IRA, if you are eligible, for retirement savings. Make it a point to deposit into each. You can fall back on them when you are 65 and don’t have a steady flow of income.

10. Start nurturing your real friends

As we grow older, our friends change. They move, get married, change jobs, or just cease to be as important as before. The 30s are a good time to hang out with people whose company you genuinely enjoy, who help you feel your best self.

While it’s perfectly fine to party with your gang of girlfriends, it’s also important to spend time with that special someone who consoles you when you feel like garbage, who is your go-to person when you are upset. Because that friend will still care for you 15 years down the line, even when you’re not clubbing around as much.

Be a friend to that person. Take the initiative to  stay in touch at least once a week. Nurture such people. Contribute to their betterment of life. And remember to laugh together, act silly, as if nobody’s watching.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

Too late for me. I did do some of them though.

Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

Some very good advice

Amy C.
Amy C3 years ago

I'm starting this list now, not when I'm thirty! Especially appreciating my parents.. they are always here for me. I am happy with all that i have and I never want to devalue by being unappreciative. There are people that are suffering now, my responsibility is to do the maximum possible and stretch myself everyday for the ones I love and myself. To be a gift and joy to the world i touch, I'm not going to waste my time.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago


Jennifer Manzi
Jennifer Manzi3 years ago

Gotta work on 3

Tanya W.
Tanya W3 years ago

You should know who really are your friends by now at the age of 30....quality not quantity

Tanya W.
Tanya W3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing