As we get older, many of us begin to feel trapped. Trapped by mistakes of the past; trapped by expectations; trapped by life choices. By 40 is it too late to make a meaningful change in your life?
It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. At 40, you’ll need to battle through self-doubts. But, if you persist, you’ll be able to accomplish these goals. There are a few techniques you can use to reinvent yourself. First, you’ll need to improve your mindset, learning how to deal with setbacks and grief. Then, you’ll need to focus on setting goals and having new experiences.
It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So, take that first step.
It may seem awkward at first, that step, because it seems that one’s identity is rock solid and impervious to change, that ingrained habits are unbreakable, that learning new things about oneself is impossible. So, let us explore the map, set some goals, and take that first step.
Can I start over at 40?
The short answer is, of course, you can! But you want to know what the long answer is otherwise you would not be reading this article. Any time someone tries something new they begin a journey that changes them. Think about the traditional New Year’s resolutions that most people make. A resolution is an intentional attempt to keep a promise one has made to oneself. And we all know what mostly happens by the end of January, right? The running shoes are forgotten in the closet and the sweatpants and sweatshirt are converted into comfortable pajamas. So here is the long answer. Intending to change is necessary for change to occur, setting a goal is necessary for change to occur, sticking with the goal is the key to making change occur.
Most often we give up on our goals after a relatively brief period. Of the many reasons that exist for begging off our commitments a couple of the main ones are frustration and self-defeatism. Frustration and self-defeatism are allies when it comes to sabotaging any type of desired change. Frustration manifests as negative self-talk such as: “I am not advancing quickly enough in learning this language” or “I am not losing the weight fast enough.” Self-defeatism then comes to the fore and says things like: “This is too hard anyway maybe this isn’t for me” or “I’m tired, I’ll try tomorrow.” As we go through life we encounter these states of mind and, by the time we are 40 they can be pretty loud.
The good news is that you can ignore these voices and achieve your goal. How? Think back, way back to when you were little. Maybe you do not remember but learning to walk was quite a challenging goal. You would stumble and fall and get right back up again. Were you frustrated? You bet you were, but you kept going, it was slow going but you kept at it. Remember learning to tie your shoes? Same thing, you kept at it and you got it. Learning to read? Same thing. Now you do all these things without even thinking about them. Nothing has changed. You persevered then and you can now.
How do you pick up pieces after losing everything?
Adversity and loss are the most profound challenges every human being faces. These are journeys both dreaded and unasked for, but they are nevertheless true journeys that ultimately affect profound changes that can enrich your soul and your life. Take these traumas seriously, give yourself permission to grieve. Remember, no one can tell you how to grieve or how long. Platitudes like “it will get better” or “let it go” are not only not helpful but minimize what you are going through.
Even in grief, you can set a goal. Many people commit to walking for a certain amount of time per day. Still, others will find it comforting to volunteer at food banks, animal shelters, or other worthwhile agencies. The point is not to run away from grieving but to maintain a positive connection to the world which serves to open one’s heart and mind to all the wonderment life has to offer. Again, do these activities at a pace that you are comfortable with during this time.
How do I completely reinvent my life?
Like the grieving process itself, this might seem an insurmountable task. The apprehension may well appear to block the gate of this journey. There is no reason to let apprehension stop you. And though you may falter your first few steps, perseverance is your guide. Some people call it “keep on keeping on.” Perseverance means nothing can stop you. Think back to the examples of learning to walk or tie your shoes or read – those were major accomplishments. You persevered through frustration, self-doubt, and hurt to achieve them.
The simplest and most effective way to completely reinvent your life is this: one thing at a time. One goal at a time is optimal. Forget the idea of multitasking, multitasking does not exist. People can only do one thing at a time. You are probably asking, “Oh yeah, then what about people who can juggle while riding on a unicycle?” Well, OK, we will give you that one, but remember the shoe-tying example and what it means – this is done unconsciously because of many thousands of repetitions.
One goal at a time. And choose the easiest ones first as achieving them gives you confidence when you undertake the more challenging ones. And you will surely become impatient and want to give up, but impatience is another example of negative self-talk. You may “plateau” on your goal, to the plateau is to feel as though you are no longer gaining or learning or developing in pursuit of your goal. Plateau is another form of negative self-talk. A promising idea at this point is to switch up your routine to challenge yourself. Think of it like cooking – of course, you will get bored eating the same meal every day that is why you make different dishes. However, if you truly feel you have achieved what you wanted to achieve, then it is time to set another goal.
How can I enjoy my life after 40?
To really enjoy yourself after the age of 40, get to know yourself. The best way to get to know yourself is to have new experiences. Make a list of the goals that you want to achieve and the things you want to experience and then work on them. Remember to take on the easiest goals first, one at a time. With each new goal achieved or experience experienced your knowledge of yourself deepens and you begin to find out about the wonderful and unique person you are. One interesting way of going about this is to keep a log of your dreams. A dream log is like a photo album, in the years down the road when you read back through them you will see some amazing things. If you feel you do not dream keep the log near your bed anyway, you will have them before too long.
Lau Tzu, a Chinese philosopher who is thought to have lived in the 4th century BC is known for a quote that has remained relevant to this day, ” The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” And always keep in mind that it is not the destination that counts but the journey itself. On your journey, you can change directions and add new destinations any time you want. Each choice you make brings new opportunities to know yourself and new avenues of growth. It is your life – be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself, and explore.
Not the end it’s the journey