Worried about saving for retirement? Procrastinating too much? Letting your health slip?
Don’t worry, I was the same, but at 36, I feel I’ve learned a lot.
Turning 30 is a time of transition; Many people struggle to leave behind a carefree lifestyle and accept the responsibilities of adulthood.
However, your thirties can be a decade that sets you up for life. All it takes is enough self-discipline to avoid these 13 mistakes:
1) Failing to prioritize financial planning
When I turned 30, I was broke.
Although it’s hard to admit, many of us live for the weekend, party, or overspend on holidays as we surge through our twenties.
Fear not; your thirties give you a decade to create a solid financial foundation for the future.
If you start to save and invest over the next ten years, you can lay the tracks for early retirement, stop worrying about money, and clear any debt you racked up in the past.
If you invest smart or seek financial advice, $1000 could compound into $5743 over the next 30 years, and that’s just at 6% a year interest.
Now, imagine if you invested $1000 a month!
2) Neglecting health and fitness
It’s no joke; losing weight, exercising, and maintaining healthy habits become harder as we age.
Still, establishing a fitness routine and healthy diet in your 30s can help you to avoid disease, pain, and body shame as you reach your 40s and 50s.
Like the compound interest I mentioned above, eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can drastically improve your health for the rest of your life.
It doesn’t hurt to quit smoking, drink less alcohol, and schedule routine health checkups to give yourself every chance of happiness and success in the future.
I mean, what’s the point in saving all that money if you’re too sick to enjoy it?
3) Disregarding personal growth
For the first three years of my thirties, I neglected personal growth.
I settled into a comfort zone of work, exercise, and video games.
I always had to have a reward at the end of the day.
It’s so important to acquire new skills, keep learning, and pursue new hobbies throughout your 30s.
Podcasts changed my outlook on personal growth. They allow me to spend an hour learning something completely new or expanding my knowledge whenever and wherever I want.
Online courses, self-improvement books, and fitness goals can all contribute to continuous self-development.
Plus, you’ll become wiser, have more to talk about, and be more confident about the challenges life can throw your way.
4) Mismanaging work-life balance
Many people are in a rush to save money as they work through their 30s. Although this is no bad thing, work-life balance becomes crucial as responsibilities grow.
As a freelancer working across multiple time zones, I still struggle with this concept, but it’s getting easier.
Overwork can strain relationships, decrease productivity, and be absolutely exhausting.
Setting boundaries, prioritizing leisure activities, and scheduling time for self-care/improvement can help you to achieve personal/professional homeostasis.
5) Neglecting mental health
Do you feel burnt out? Are you constantly juggling responsibilities?
You’re not alone. Up to 20% of adults can experience some kind of anxiety or mental health issue in their 30s or 40s.
Stress can be just as damaging to our physical health as a poor diet or sedentary lifestyle.
There is no shame in investing in therapy, practicing mindfulness, or prioritizing activities that make you feel good.
Your future self will thank you.
6) Shelving ambition
Remember the drive you had in your early 20s?
Life had just started; multiple career paths were available, and you could identify and pursue your passions and goals.
Well, it doesn’t have to stop at 30!
Spiderman creator ‘Stan Lee’ didn’t find success until he turned 39.
Ray Croc founded McDonald’s aged 52.
Star Wars kickstarted Harrison Ford’s career when he was 34.
What do these people have in common? Determination, aspiration, passion (and a bit of luck).
Your 30s can be a time to take calculated risks, strive for personal growth, and embrace the opportunities the world has to offer.
7) Procrastination around important life decisions
When’s the best time to start a family? Should I change my career? Is it time to get married?
I’m still asking myself some of these questions. But putting them off can be detrimental to overall well-being and personal growth.
Putting off important life decisions can leave you stuck in an unhappy relationship, working a job you hate, and harboring a declining skillset.
Gathering information, becoming less risk-averse, and sticking with decisions that enhance your life and the lives of people close to you can lead to decades of fulfillment in later life.
8) Ignoring the importance of networking
I’ve seen it happen. You get to 35, and your professional and social circles start shrinking.
People are consumed with raising their kids, overworking themselves, or concentrating on settling down.
Once you turn 30, networking can be the difference between personal and professional growth and regression.
Keeping in touch with old friends, organizing social events, and spending time using LinkedIn or attending networking events can help advance your career and avoid becoming a hermit as you hit your 40s.
9) The comparison trap
There’s always someone fitter, more successful, and generally luckier than you.
So why do people ding themselves comparing themselves to others?
Jealousy is my least favorite trait and one that I’ve fell victim to in the past, many times.
When you hit 30, it’s easy to compare yourself to others in terms of wealth, milestones, and lifestyle. But, realistically, you’re only racing against yourself.
My advice? Focus on your own path, carve out your destination, and do your best to get there without burning yourself out of worrying about the lives of others.
Take time to celebrate the things you have accomplished, and truly appreciate the journey and pathways you pursue.
10) Relenting to the fear of change
Your 30s can be a time of massive change.
Take having kids, for example. Once you have your first child, everything changes forever.
Having lived in three countries since I turned 30, I’m well aware of the anxieties and fears that change conjures up.
But change can be one of the best things in life. Taking a new job, going on a date, replacing NetFlix with a personal growth activity one night a week. Any of these activities can completely change your life’s path for the better.
Many fears are just a matter of perceived risk, and avoiding change limit opportunities and halt personal growth.
If you can embrace change, be open to new experiences, and remove yourself from your comfort zone, your 30s could be much more enjoyable.
11) Ignoring gratitude
Over 150,000 people didn’t wake up today. Let that sink in a second.
Yet, in our 30s, we’re so busy with life that it’s hard to sit down and think about the simple things we take for granted.
I only discovered gratitude lists about three years ago.
And although I’m yet to make this a daily habit, I can see the benefits of listing the things for which I’m grateful.
Practicing gratitude takes time and patience; cultivating an attitude of gratitude can completely transform your adult life.
12) Failing to reassess life goals
I know for a fact my goals and aspirations at 30 have entirely changed in six years.
I’ve changed jobs, moved house, adopted a dog, and taken much better care of myself than I did in my 20s.
As you progress through life, the goals that you set, both personally and professionally, should align with your ever-changing aspirations and values.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to outline the people, places, and things that bring stress to your life and work towards eliminating them (not physically, I don’t advise that).
Regularly taking stock of your priorities, setting new goals, and making adjustments can help you stay motivated and live a life of purpose.
13) Stalling long-term relationship plans
Sometimes, it’s tough to have important conversations with your partner. Often, we don’t say the things we want to, and they come out during an argument completely the wrong way.
Whether it’s starting a discussion on marriage, having children, or maintaining a healthy romantic partnership, honest communication can make or break a relationship.
Working together to establish shared values and goals is a win-win situation for long-term happiness.
Your 30s don’t have to be scary. Every year can be a building block toward self-improvement, financial security, and lifelong relationships.
By avoiding the common mistakes I’ve outlined here, you can own this decade, navigating through every year with confidence, gratitude, and success.
Making self-care a priority, nurturing personal and professional growth, and developing a healthy relationship with your partner are sure-fire ways to improve the rest of your life.
I still play video games, procrastinate, and could definitely be more social.
But I learn from my mistakes.
Embracing the lessons learned from these mistakes can help you to embark on a journey of true fulfillment that lasts a lifetime.