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Here you are in midlife, the “second act” of life, and you want to make the most of it! You have a unique opportunity for personal growth and fulfillment. For women aged 40 to 70 (my definition of “midlife”), this can be a time of rediscovery, reinvention, and recommitment to living life to its fullest. (The 3 Rs of midlife, perhaps!)
To make the most of this time, embrace habits that promote holistic well-being. I've come up with five transformative habits that can make midlife better. Let's learn to navigate midlife with confidence and purpose.
Habit #1 : Have a Routine
Book Recommendation: The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life by Hal Elrod
The habit of creating routines for repeatable parts of your life can be a productivity and stress-reduction game-changer.
If you've been around a while, you've already heard me tout my routines. I have a morning routine, evening routine, workout program, supplement regimen, and systems set up for just about every function in my home and business. It's how I managed to raise (and homeschool) six kids while working in our tech companies. It's how I continue to make the most of my time.
Midlife can bring a sense of emotional/mental chaos (sometimes due to the removed family chaos!) and create a longing for (re-)structuring. Establishing daily routines can be a powerful way to regain a sense of stability and direction.
Incorporating a routine into your life doesn't have to mean rigidity; it can mean providing yourself with a framework for success and personal growth. You can set the tone for different times of day, avoid decision fatigue, and leave optimal space to do what you really want to do.
About once per quarter, I reevaluate my routines and make tweaks (or overhauls!) to fit my circumstances and goals better.
The Miracle Morning offers a blueprint for creating a morning routine that sets a positive tone for your entire day. You can use these ideas to create other routines to move you toward your best midlife!
Habit #2: Learn New Things
Book Recommendation: Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential by Carol S. Dweck
Midlife is an ideal time to embrace the habit of lifelong learning (if you didn't do it long ago). In midlife, you have a wealth of experience to draw upon and usually the discretionary time to invest in your intellect and skills.
Whether it's pursuing a new hobby, learning a new language, or delving into a subject that has always fascinated you, adopting a growth mindset can help you tackle new challenges and make an even more impactful contribution to the world.
I ran a marathon to “celebrate” turning 40—just months after having baby #6. I'm definitely not a runner (and don't even like running), but it had been on my bucket list since I was 23! What's been on your bucket list for years (or decades!) that you are really ready to tackle now?
In Mindset, author Carol Dweck explores the concept of fixed versus growth mindsets and how they impact our ability to learn and grow. Her research shows that individuals with a growth mindset believe in the power of improvement and are more willing to embrace challenges.
Habit #3: Meet New People
Book Recommendation: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss
As your children grow and your social circles evolve, midlife can be an opportune time to expand your network and meet new people who share your current interests and values. And, let's be honest, if you have been living a substantive life, you have changed a lot in the past decades!
Chris Voss's Never Split the Difference might seem like an unusual choice for this category as it's a book about negotiation. However, it offers valuable insights into the art of effective communication, which is essential when forging new connections. If you're anything like me, your thoughts and concerns have morphed a lot over the years. You might be less interested in going along to get along, because your experience has taught you that life is a high stakes endeavor.
Voss's book, derived from his experiences as an FBI hostage negotiator, teaches you how to listen actively, empathize, and build rapport. Those skills are invaluable in both personal and professional relationships. By mastering these techniques, you can confidently engage with new people, form meaningful connections, and enrich your social life during midlife.
Habit #4: Fail Faster
Book Recommendation: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Midlife is a time to embrace the idea that failures are stepping stones to success. Each failure gives us information, shows us what not to do, and helps us refine the correct path.
The book provides valuable insights into developing resilience and staying committed to your passions, even when faced with challenges. It's a powerful guide for anyone looking to thrive in midlife by embracing failure as an essential part of the success journey.
In midlife, you might encounter setbacks or obstacles that are quite different from those when you were younger. Embracing the habit of failing faster means being willing to take risks and learn from your mistakes.
Habit #5: Make Each Day Memorable
Book Recommendation: The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
In midlife, it's easy to get caught up in the mundane and the urgent. Even the most typical activities (and days, don't have to be drudgery.
If you're ever feeling down in the dumps, spend five minutes watching Jessica the TikTok Barista. She owns a beverage truck in Canada. In other words, she spends all day making soda and coffee concoctions for people who drive up. She's on her feet all day, serving others, doing nothing exotic or fancy.
But I assure you, you have never seen a more positive, kind, upbeat person in your life. She just a full-to-the-brim bundle of sunshine and happiness. You cannot watch her and stay mad. I dare you to try!
Making each day memorable is about injecting meaning and significance into your experiences—whatever they are! No matter what's happening, you can choose to make it a moment filled with goodness.
Yesterday, I heard a quote that applies perfectly:
No amount of regret changes the past. No amount of anxiety changes the future. Any amount of gratitude changes the present.Ann Voskamp
Choose gratitude and you choose joy!
The book delves into what makes moments unforgettable and offers practical advice on intentionally creating memorable experiences. Whether it's through travel, special events, or simple acts of kindness, adopting the habit of making each day memorable can infuse your midlife years with joy and fulfillment.
Cherishing the present and creating a tapestry of meaningful moments that will enrich your life (and that of everyone around you, as well).
Start Today to Tackle the Habits
Midlife can be a rewarding and transformative period when you embrace habits that promote well-being, personal growth, fulfillment, and contribution. By adopting a routine, nurturing a love for learning, expanding your social circle, embracing failure, and making each day memorable, you can make midlife better than ever. Best of all, you can leave an incredible legacy!
Alison Moore Smith is a 59-year-old entrepreneur. She has been (very happily) married to Samuel M. Smith for 38 years. They are parents of six incredible children and grandparents to two astounding grandsons.
She is the author of The 7 Success Habits of Homeschoolers.