Last Updated on January 2, 2023 by Angela Vaz

I turned 30 last year.

It was horrific at the time.

For some reason, being 29 felt young.

I may be overreacting but that is how I felt turning 30.

Everything seemed very real – aging felt real.

I started to look back at my life and I could see that every year blended into another (especially my late 20s) and they were so indistinguishable, I could barely separate 2021 from 2022.

Every year, I’d promise myself I’d get healthier.

I promised myself I’d start eating better.

And I’d do it for 1 day tops before deciding it’s too hard to adapt.

But this time, something changed.

In this post, I’m going to talk about healthy habits you should develop in your 30s and I’ll also help you stick with them.

Because creating habits isn’t hard.

It’s keeping them that’s the challenge.

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1. Cook your own food

cook more at home

I cook well because I follow recipes to the bone.

But I didn’t enjoy doing it because it was time-consuming.

I genuinely didn’t like cooking at home because I prefer working or doing other activities instead.

But I knew that take-out was so bad for me.

I was eating KFC, Mcdonald’s, or Pasta every day.

If it wasn’t fast food, it was homemade food cooked in restaurants.

It was slightly better but still oily and weird.

It did nothing but make my acne worse and make me feel bloated and horrible.

I tried meal subscriptions of various kinds but never found anything that didn’t have a lot of oil or butter.

And despite cutting down on desserts, I kept putting on weight.

Take-outs will make you put on loads of weight.

It doesn’t matter what your calorie count is. Processed foods and takeout foods just make you put on weight.

They have oils that cause inflammation and reduce fat burning. They also slow down your metabolism.

That’s why you feel sleepy and lethargic afterward.

I decided that something had to change.

I started cooking at home more.

But this time, I started small.

I’d make super easy recipes that took only 15-20 minutes to prepare. And it was doable.

I made cooking a whole lot easier by:

  • Planning my meals in advance
  • Meal prepping on the weekends
  • Buying groceries online so I didn’t have to waste time shopping
  • Cooking quick recipes I’d find online
  • Reducing portions and increasing nutrition

Study nutrition.

Really.

For me, it started out as a hobby, but now it’s incredibly fun.

I started taking a serious interest in food.

Include a whole lot of vegetables with your lunch and dinner.

Watch Instagram videos and reels for recipe ideas. Almost everything has a quick and healthier alternative.

You don’t have to cut out anything you like, you just have to watch what you eat.

For instance, I ate a whole bag of chocolate chip cookies every single day.

I reduced it to 1 cookie a day.

Eventually, I started finding it too sweet so I switched to oat clusters which are more healthy (it’s a cereal).

I also reduced portion sizes. This helped me eat just enough to keep me satiated but not so much that I’d feel bloated and full.

2. Move more

move more

In the last year, I noticed that I had begun to start feeling lethargic.

I took a blood test and found out that I don’t have any vitamin deficiency and my bloodwork is normal.

But I would feel tired and low by the afternoons.

So, I looked up how to feel more energetic and almost every tip came down to exercise.

Exercise is something I have hated doing always.

But I really wanted to improve my health and this time I was serious about changing my lifestyle – so I started moving more.

I take my dogs for morning walks.

I walk on the treadmill every morning as soon as I wake up.

If you are the type of person that just doesn’t have time during the day for exercise – do it in the morning.

Get up when no one is up and move.

You will hate it in the beginning but with time, your body won’t be able to get enough of it.

You’ll enjoy the dopamine hit after working out.

I always thought it was a myth but after doing it for 2 weeks I can see how alive I feel after working out.

I feel so pumped and energetic and my body craves the movement.

Moving increases your metabolism and also helps you burn fat.

If you can’t imagine working out, please start small.

Start taking walks.

Start with 5ooo steps and slowly go to 7 and then 10.

I started with 10K because I’ve always loved walking and I try to do 15-20K a day. It’s reasonable for me since I work from home and need the movement to keep active.

Start doing something so small that all you need to do for 1 month is just show up.

Do something you genuinely like.

Maybe it’s dancing, maybe it’s yoga, maybe it’s badminton or swimming.

Just show up.

Even if it is for 5 minutes. In the beginning, don’t focus on trying to change your life or lose weight.

Focus on just building the habit.

Slowly increase the duration week after week.

I liked watching Grow With Jo videos on Youtube. I would do her 10-minute easy beginner videos and slowly upgraded to her dance videos.

Most of her exercises are easy to do and you will find yourself becoming more flexible and fitter with time.

3. Drink more water

drink water

It’s so easy to drink soda or caffeine but it’s the plain old water that does so much good for your system.

It’s such a simple habit that is ignored by so many people.

I was a hydrophobe all my life.

I hated water.

But I started drinking it and I am loving it. I genuinely feel thirsty when I work out.

I knew that my acne is never going to go away unless I bite the bullet and start drinking loads of water.

So, I did that.

I now drink a glass of water every time I sit down or get up. I drink a glass before a meal.

I just made water my best friend.

Here are all the benefits of drinking water.

4. Take care of your mind

take care of your mind

Your mind is just as important as your body.

And everybody’s mind works differently.

Find ways to fuel your mind.

I love consuming information – I love it in any form – books, Medium, Quora, podcasts, documentaries, Youtube videos, you name it.

I am a sucker for knowledge.

And you can ask yourself what habits you can incorporate to make your mind feel better.

If you feel that you have a lot of anxiety, try journaling, meditating, or seeing a therapist.

It’s time to start putting your wants and needs first.

If you feel you don’t know where to start or you just feel stuck and can’t get out of your own thoughts, see a therapist.

Or better yet, read these warm and comforting books that will help you feel unstuck.

5. Quit alcohol and smoking

quit alcohol and smoking

Smoking and drinking are really relaxing, and entertaining and can make you so much calmer – but they also kill you, slowly.

Studies have been shown to link smoking and drinking to cancer.

Since cancer runs in my family and my mom died from it, I have been wary of continuing drinking.

I used to drink every 2-3 days.

I reduced it to once a week and noticed how good I felt, internally and externally.

My lethargy dropped and I began to feel more active during the day.

I noticed my skin clearing because for me alcohol triggers acne.

I reduced it to 2 times a week and started dropping weight.

Alcohol makes you eat a lot more food and even increases bloating and reduces fat burning.

Eventually, I plan to give it up completely or drink only 1-2 times a year.

If you’re a social drinker or a social smoker, it might be harder to quit but it is possible.

When you decide to put your health at the forefront, you can do absolutely anything you want.

You don’t have to give it up if you don’t want to – for me, it was a personal choice.

But you get to decide how much you want to give it up.

6. Go for a checkup every single year

get checkups and health exams done

As a daughter of someone who failed to get these, I speak from experience when I say that a checkup could save your life.

My mom went in for a checkup because my older dog was sniffing at her chest constantly and looking at her with sad eyes.

She was terrified and went for a checkup. The test revealed she had breast cancer and she was in the 4th stage. I talk about how I watched my mom die here.

My point is, don’t wait.

Get checks every single year, and do a full body checkup to be on the safe side.

Make sure you are taking vitamin supplements and everything is okay in your body and mind.

These tests save lives.

7. Start small

start small

Genuinely listen to your body and take it one day at a time.

It’s so easy to want to change everything right now.

But don’t do too much all at once.

Motivation runs out.

So, you need to focus on building the habit first.

Figure out what is your true motivation.

Figure out your “why.”

This isn’t a goal, goals change. This is a lifestyle change. You need to want to do this for yourself.

For me, when I saw a few old people in my neighborhood struggling to walk because they were sick, unfit, and obese, something clicked in my brain.

I didn’t want that to be me.

The lifestyle I was leading was going to take me there.

I never exercised, I ate junk food every day, and I ordered takeout all the time. I drank every alternate day and used alcohol to relax.

I knew I needed to change something.

I started doing little things – like taking walks and switching out my morning croissants for homemade omelets, sandwiches, and oats.

My motivating factor has changed this time.

Before, whenever I wanted to lose weight it would be for some external reason like looking good in clothes or going to a big party.

Now, it’s no longer that.

It’s to stay healthy – forever.

I want to be able to run in my 60s and be flexible and fit. I want to be able to do things that I can do now. The body is going to be just 1 pro out of many.

So, don’t do everything all at once.

Take it 1 step at a time.

Take it 1 day at a time.

Did you fail today?

That’s okay.

Try again tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a clean slate.

Conclusion

When you become healthy, you become happy.

These are healthy habits I developed when I touched 30 and I’ve found that my life has increased dramatically in quality after doing this.

Your mind and body become in sync and you feel 1 with yourself.

It’s difficult to explain because I never understood how people liked to exercise and eat healthily. I always thought it was cringy.

But when I started feeling this good, this active, this alive, I knew that the benefits are only going to get deeper and better.

I hope these help you just as much as they helped me.

If you feel there is more that can be added to this list, leave a comment below!

Here are a few more posts you may enjoy:

Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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