Can you turn your life around at 40? Here are 18 ways

So, you’ve spent your 30s investing in your career, maybe you have started your family and there has been so much going on that you cannot wrap your mind around it. Now you are approaching this dreadful number 40 and you may even feel a slight panic.

However, you should know that life doesn’t end when you turn 40. It can be the time when you will actually start living! Here are some things you can do to turn your life around at 40!

1) Make peace with your life

We all have something that we regret or that we think we could have done better, that is just how life is. We make mistakes, nobody is perfect.

What you can do now is to think about your life and all the things that happened to you. Analyze them and you will get an amazing insight into the patterns you have been repeating for years.

Cracking the code of your life will give you a chance to change it for the better. The fact that you have so much experience now will give you the necessary wisdom to turn your life around and realize what you need from now on.

Learn from your mistakes and you will spare yourself unnecessary stress and frustration. The thirties are for practicing, forties are for mastering all aspects of life!

You’ve got this!

2) Organize a deep cleaning

No, I don’t mean that you will need to clean your floors and the furniture, although this will come at one point. I am referring to a deep cleaning of your mind.

Imagine your mind as an attic. It is dark and dusty.

You have been storing all the things you thought you may need at one point. Now it is packed with stuff you may not ever need again.

Open it and acknowledge the dust. Take a deep breath and start cleaning.

Take one memory at a time. Look at it from all angles.

What does it mean to you? How did it change you?

Clean it and think about needing it in the future. If you think that it doesn’t have any importance to you, release it.

This process takes time and it is not easy, but it is the most important thing you can do to change your life for the better.

Every time you release something, you will feel lighter and better. Your mind will be clear from the unnecessary things that just burden you.

After the process is over, you will be able to think about the things you want for yourself.

3) Get rid of the toxic people

Once you start flipping through your things mentally, you will realize just how much negativity some people bring to your life. It is difficult when those people are close to you, but there is always a way to limit their influence on your life.

If your colleagues are toxic and they keep talking behind people’s back, you can simply walk away from it and spare yourself the trouble. When they try to pull you into the story, focus on your work.

On the other hand, if you’ve realized that your family is toxic, then you can reduce the time you spend with them. Pay close attention to the way treat you.

Do they always have something bad to say about your partner, your work, or the way you live your life? Well, guess what?

It is none of their business! Your opinion is the only one that matters!

The forties are a blessing. It is a perfect time to show everyone where their place is in your life!

This doesn’t mean that you will need to argue or be rude. On the contrary.

Leave when they start being too noisy and aggressive. Everyone should have the freedom to live their life according to their wishes.

You don’t have to live by the rules of your parents, friends, or anyone else. Respect your own boundaries and the choices you are making.

This will be a clear sign for them that they should leave you alone. Toxic people only want to make you miserable because they are.

Choose something better for yourself.

4) Choose optimism instead

You like sunny days, but somehow people around you put clouds over your head? Well, opt for optimism and limit the influence other people have on you.

Do the things that bring you joy and don’t let every negative person on your way ruin your days too. Every person is responsible for their own actions.

Give other people to choose their way of life. Meanwhile, you do what you like.

Watch funny movies, try new things, and do everything that can help you keep a positive attitude in life.

5) Get rid of the bad habits

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Have you been smoking for years? Or drinking heavily every Friday?

Take a closer look at your life and the habits that have been taking a toll on your life. Everything that impacts the quality of your life is not worth being there.

If you decide to quit smoking, you will give your body a chance to recover from the negative impact it has been causing. You will be healthier and have more money in your pocket.

Drinking a glass of wine now and then can be a wonderful way to relax. However, if you’ve noticed that you cannot stop on one glass, but you keep drinking until you feel sick it is time to do something about it.

If you think you could use some help with cutting these habits, there are people who can help you with their guidance and pieces of advice. It takes some effort, but the positive effect it can have on your life is enormous.

Check your sleeping routine as well. Have you been resting properly?

If you’ve spent the last decade sacrificing your sleep because of everything else that comes into your life, it is time to kick this bad habit once and for all. Give yourself time to relax and sleep at least 8 hours each night.

All of these things will contribute to your personal satisfaction with your own life. Even relaxing in a bubble bath can be fantastic!

6) Decide what you want and don’t want

Sometimes we simply live our lives without any conscious thought about it. We do things because that is how we are supposed to do.

In order to make changes, we need to understand why we are doing the things in our life. Forgetting about your needs and wants is a recipe for disaster.

If you have been doing all the things because you want to achieve perfection, you need to drop everything otherwise you will be headed towards burnout and all kinds of health issues that are not exactly easy to treat.

If you are not satisfied with the job you are doing, change it. This life is too short to be stuck in a place where colleagues annoy you, or you have a knot in your stomach every time you go to work.

Appreciate your health and make yourself a priority. The forties are a perfect time to start listening to your gut feeling!

Is your relationship passionless? Talk to your partner about the things you would like to change.

Start organizing date nights and dress up for this special occasion. Discover each other again.

Sometimes small changes in your routine can make a huge change between you. Start the old flame, spark things up again.

Remember how it was in the beginning. If you have realized that you want to start a family, it is not too late to do something about it.

Even if you are challenged in some way health-wise, there are other options such as adoption. There are many children needing love and care.

If you don’t want kids, that is ok too. Do the things you want with your partner.

Reinvent your relationship. Start doing the things you were always afraid to try.

By knowing where you stand about your goals in life will get you where you want to be in the future.

Related: Are you a late bloomer? 5 qualities people discover about themselves in their 40s

7) Check your health

It is necessary for us to do regular checkups from time to time, so we can do something about it. If you get tired as soon as you walk the stairs or you have frequent headaches, you may need to work on your care more.

Do everything you can to follow up with the advice you get so you can live your life to the fullest. There are so many things coming up that you need your energy for.

By getting guidelines from a doctor it will be easier for you to navigate your daily routines. Turning forty doesn’t mean that everything will go downhill.

That is just a misconception of our society that doesn’t have to be true for you in any way. Set some new rules for yourself and live the way you want to.

Life is not a race, give yourself a chance to enjoy it and live under your own terms.

8) Cook at home more

If you have been eating fast food at work and visiting restaurants too often, it is time to consider investing a little bit into the kitchen gadgets that can help you experiment. Eating home-cooked meals cannot be compared to any restaurant, no matter how good.

Not because you won’t make mistakes, but because you will cook it with love and care for yourself and the people you love. Cooking can be a very relaxing activity.

Think about the way you have been eating. Were you eating too many sweets and cakes?

Do you need to increase the fruit intake? What about vegetables?

Nutrition is crucial for good health. Pay attention to the way you eat.

If you have been eating on your way to work, always on the run, then consider slowing down. Give yourself the chance to enjoy food to the fullest.

Try some new recipes.  Make some changes in the way you prepare your food and the groceries you pick.

You will soon notice that you appreciate food more and that you feel better when eating. Even if you would like to lose some weight, you don’t have to do it by being hungry.

Ask for some advice from a nutritionist who can guide you properly. Your body deserves nutritious food and good treatment from you.

Learn how to thank your body by giving it what it needs.

9) Start exercising

Have you been postponing your exercise routine for ages? Are you thinking that it is too late to start now?

There is a lady that started bodybuilding when she was 71. She started getting noticed because of her age, but also because of her incredible spirit.

She inspires people around the world to get fit. If you roll up your eyes every time someone mentions working out, then it is time for you to change your perspective.

Age is just a number that does not define you in any way. Explore the type of exercise that you enjoy the most and make time for it daily.

At least ten minutes a day is sometimes sufficient for a visible change that can help you feel better about yourself. You can try yoga first because it is very gentle and easy on the muscles until you start feeling ready for a more intense workout.

If you don’t like exercising at home, you can take a walk around the block and simply make your blood running. Your energy will instantly improve, but it will also do wonders for your mind as well.

10) Travel

Have you wanted to go to Greece or Italy ever since you can remember? Well, why don’t you do it?

What is keeping you from fulfilling your wishes? The forties are years when people usually have some money stacked, so one or two travel arrangements won’t leave you bankrupt.

What would you like to see? What would you like to do?

Consider becoming a digital nomad if that is something you’ve always kept at the back of your mind. There is always a way to fulfill your wishes if you want it bad enough.

Travels can enrich our souls in a way that nothing else can. Meet new people, see how other people live and you will get an insight into the things you could change for yourself.

Eat street food and meet the locals, you will taste a unique flavor of the country. It will change your perspective completely and help you enrich your life.

11) Spend your entire vacation the way you want to

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We are mostly raised in a way that implies that we are selfish if we do what we want. However, not only it is necessary to do it, but it is essential for wellbeing and mental health.

Most people make compromises on a daily basis. This is good and encouraged, but sometimes we just need to do the things that make our souls sing.

Do you want to go scuba diving? Go.

Do you want to go dancing all night? Go.

Do you want to sunbathe for most of the day? Go.

Give yourself the permission to do the things that you need and want, so you can come back refreshed and energized. Turning 40 is a wonderful occasion to start giving more attention to the most important person in your life – you.

12) Find a new hobby

Hobbies are a great way to clear your mind from all the negativity we pick up during the hours at work and being in communication with people. Think about the things you used to enjoy when you were younger.

Did you enjoy painting or drawing? Perhaps you used to sketch all the time?

Do you like to make clothes or personalize them? Give yourself the chance to develop this talent.

Besides, when you know that some enjoyable activity is coming your way, it may be easier for you to handle everyday tasks.

Personally, I enjoy adult coloring books. They help me release all the stress and forget about everything else for an hour or two.

I choose the page according to my mood for the day and just pick the colors that feel good to me at the moment. During this time, my phone is off.

This is a good way to recharge and get a breeze of new energy. Find a comfy place and enjoy it.

This may sound very simple and unimportant step to you now, but when you start doing it on a regular basis, you will see it makes sense.

It will give you the time to pull your thoughts together and process the things that trouble you.

13) Read new books

There are books that we always come back to and that is ok. However, it is necessary to choose some new books that are about some new topics that will shed new light on things.

Maybe you could give spiritual books a chance. Reading about meditation or returning back kindness into your world may soften your soul and give you the wanted comfort you need.

Reading a good book is like talking to a good friend. It is like an herbal cream for the soul.

It can help it heal. Sometimes the best way to deal with pain is to read about it.

Running away from it doesn’t bring any good. Face your troubles and all the things that feel like a stone in your shoe will slowly start to crumble and disappear.

Think about giving away the old books that don’t bring you joy anymore. Every object in your home carries certain energy, so think about the energy you have around you.

The book you don’t want anymore can be useful to someone else. Give back to the community and help someone else.

14) Volunteer

Turning forty is a good starting point to turn to things that are not material, but could bring you enormous joy in life. Ask around your home or near the place where you work about the place that could use some help from volunteers such as a shelter.

You can share the clothes that do no longer serve you with the people that need them. It would be a win-win situation since you would get more space and clear the clutter from your home and people could benefit from it.

Make sure all the things you give away are clear and undamaged. Don’t forget that this is the way to invest in good karma.

In addition, you could offer your help to an animal shelter and bring some food for them. Ask what would be the best way to help them.

It can be in the form of services such as cleaning, or the things like promotion online, raising funds, or anything similar. Do what you can and it will surely give you a sense of accomplishment.

You can also see what you can do for the environment. See if there is an organization that works regularly on cleaning the trash at certain locations.

Whatever suits you best is fine.

15) Get a pet

If you’ve always wanted a dog, but you couldn’t because you were moving a lot or because you were at work all the time, this may be a good chance to change that. You can take a dog from the shelter and change destiny for one soul looking for love.

By getting a dog, you will have to go for walks more, which can have a positive impact on your shape. Besides, people with dogs get more chances to meet more people.

Having a dog is a wonderful way to increase the dose of love that you get from life! Every day you come from work, you will have someone waiting for you.

On the other hand, if you are not a dog person, you can get a cat or a hamster. No matter which one you choose, you can be sure that you will get a tone of positive energy in your life.

16) Acknowledge your accomplishments

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We are so easy on giving compliments to others. It feels natural and easy.

However, we minimize our accomplishments and go over them like it is nothing. Your forties should be a celebration of your accomplishments and looking forward to new ones.

Make a list of all the things you have done so far that you are proud of. Give yourself a moment or two to breathe it in and let it sync in fully.

This simple exercise helps in improving confidence. When you see on paper all the things you have achieved so far, you will remember all the hard work and the hours you’ve spent doing it.

It will help you congratulate yourself on the milestones you’ve reached. It will be easier to open up to new things that will come to you later.

17) Be gentler to yourself

The forties are a great time to pay more attention to inner talk playing in your head. How do you talk to yourself?

Are you too harsh? If you are, then make some effort to change it.

Be gentler on yourself, because you dictate the way other people will treat you. When you start valuing yourself more, you will realize that all the negative things will fall behind.

Give yourself the chance to enjoy life. There is no other, right?

Why would you treat yourself badly, then?

18) Enjoy with your friends

If you have been working long hours lately and you haven’t been spending much time with your friends, it is time to change it. Ask your friends about the activities they would enjoy and go away for a weekend.

Spend some time outdoors away from the screens and the never-ending emails. Nurture your friendships and your soul will fall back into its place.

Sometimes everything we need is to spend time with our friends to realize how wealthy we really are. When you have people around you who love you no matter what and are there for you through the thick and thin, everything else feels tolerable.

Final thoughts

Age doesn’t define us, but every year we are older is a wonderful chance to change our life for the better. If you are not satisfied with the way your life turned out, being in your forties is not an obstacle to anything.

It is a chance to start changing everything that doesn’t belong in your life. Do a spring cleaning on your life and simply throw everything away that doesn’t suit you.

I’ve read once that the best way to look at life is like you are making a casting for a movie. Picking the right actors for the roles is crucial.

It is the only way to have the story you have imagined and come to a happy ending you have been dreaming of. Pick wisely and rewrite the play if you need to, but do everything you can that the movie you are making is an incredible one!


Picture of Azra Jovicic

Azra Jovicic

I am Azra Jovicic and I love writing about psychology and wellness. I am just trying to make the sense of the world and share with others the things I’ve found out.

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