Accomplish Before You’re 40

By the time we’re forty, we’ve figured out a few things—who we want to be as people, what we want to do professionally and who our friends really are. On the road to getting there, here are ten things to remember to do by the time you reach your 40th birthday.

1. Travel alone

Check a destination off of your bucket list, get to know your ancestry, or wine and dine your way through a city. Traveling alone means you are on your own timeline and itinerary. Get to know the art, culture and the people at your destination, and relish the freedom. Most of all, remember that you have a unique chance to get to know yourself when you travel alone.

2. Give back

Live the saying “the gift is in the giving.” Earlier in life, many of us are saving to purchase homes, cars and to pay off debt. We can lose focus on how good it feels to give. Choose an organization whose mission is near and dear to your heart, and volunteer your time to raise awareness and even funds for their goals. The reward will be profound.

3. Establish a regular health check-up routine

It’s no secret that as we get older, our bodies alter. Metabolism slows and we are at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Advocate for yourself and team up with a health care provider who also advocates for you. Get regular check-ups, and don’t hesitate to address any health concerns early. Prevention and early detection are key in staying healthy and in treating disease.

4. Build savings

The average age of the first-time homeowner in the United States is 34, leaving six years until the big 4-0. Taking home repairs, marriage, children and other major purchases like cars and vacations into consideration, it is important to build savings for the mishaps and the splurges you expect to encounter along the way.

5. Attend a major event

Whether it’s the Super Bowl, Olympics or a concert, attend that one major event you keep planning to go to but never seem to get around to booking. “A year can elapse between now and then. Frame those ticket stubs and make an amazing memory for yourself!

6. Read a meaningful book

Whether it is a book that is short and sweet or a thousand pages long, find the piece that keeps tugging at you and giving you the urge to dive in. Whether you want to deepen your faith, get to know the world around you or educate yourself a bit more, reading is proven to deepen empathy, reduce stress, and improve the memory. It may even prevent Alzheimer’s.

7. Tackle a fear

Scared to ask that special someone out on a first date or to apply for a dream job? When you take action it will help you to overcome anxiety and provide you with resolution instead of an endless chain of “what if?” questions. If you have a psychological phobia, there is no shame in seeking therapy to help you overcome it. The road to healing will not only allow you to overcome your fear but will also offer you new ways of learning about yourself.

8. Splurge

Go for that spa weekend, buy yourself a pair of designer jeans or an investment fashion piece, and be okay with the spend. Reward yourself for hard work by taking the time to decompress and by choosing to do something for yourself.

9. Take a risk

Go skydiving, make that move out of state, go out on a date with the person who isn’t your type—do whatever you can to get outside of your comfort zone. It will make you a more open-minded person and help you become more willing to explore new possibilities.

10. Love purely

Finally, we all go through many types of relationships before we’re 40. Love someone to a depth that teaches you the meaning of unconditional love. And whether you offer that love to your child, spouse or pet, make sure you also make time to love yourself.