Thirty is a milestone birthday. While you were an adult at 18 or 21 or 25, turning 30 feels like something monumental. In your 20s, there's still some uncertainty, at least sometimes. There's confusion about if you're doing things right, as you sort of get the hang of being an adult. Though some people seem to have it all figured out in their 20s, there's something about 30 that makes people feel like they have to have more answers. Getting it together by 30 can mean cultivating routines, so the habits every grown-ass woman has by age 30 really are things that you probably want to know about before actually turning 30, but even if you're already well into your 30s, it's never too late to master some healthy habits that can help shape the rest of your life.
By age 30, life's probably pretty busy for you. Between relationships, your career, your health, time with friends, family obligations, and more, it can sometimes seem as though there's far too much to focus on and things can get a little bit overwhelming. But if you're able to develop some habits earlier on that help you in all the different facets of your life, you'll likely be setting yourself up for more success — and a more well-balanced, well-rounded life.
1. Make Your Bed
You might not think that making your bed every morning is that big of a deal (or maybe you never, ever miss a day), but it's definitely a good habit to have by the time you turn 30. "The habit of making one’s bed is a ritual that says one is honoring their home space, their sanctuary," KJ Landis, the author and creator of the Superior Self series, workshop facilitator, personal trainer, and nutrition educator, tells Romper via email. It only takes a minute or two, so you should be able to pretty easily fit it in to your morning routine.
2. Be More Serious & Less Judgmental When Dating
If you're actively looking for a relationship, by the time you turn 30, you need to, you know, actually look for someone who you could be in a relationship with. "Get in the habit, before you hit 30, of being more serious and focusing less on the superficial when dating," Caitlin Bergstein, a matchmaker at Three Day Rule, tells Romper by email. "Do some deep digging to get an understanding of what qualities and characteristics matter most to you and get in the habit of recognizing those in a partner."
Yes, it's easy to play off your pickiness as "standards," but you don't want to get into a habit of dismissing great people because you're being arbitrarily picky.
3. Drink Lots Of Water
You probably already know that you should be drinking plenty of water in order to stay hydrated, energized, and healthy, but by the time you turn 30, actually doing so should be a habit. "Our goal for water intake can be reached by having at least 10 oz of water before and after each meal," Dr. Michele C. Reed, a board-certified family physician, tells Romper in an email exchange. "[Your] intake of liquids is not just limited to water but if [you] do have any alcoholic beverages, just remember that 'happy hour' is everyday but does not mean that you have to drink everyday. Limit alcohol consumption to one to two days a week and drink only one to two glasses of your favorite alcoholic beverage."
4. Sleep Well
You may have been able to stay up all night long and still feel reasonably OK the next day in your early 20s, but by 30, it's really important that you're in the habit of getting plenty of healthy, restful sleep. "Practice getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night to help the body to reset and recharge," Reed says. "Practice good sleep hygiene by only using your bedroom for sleep and sex. Eliminate the TV and complete turn off your cell phone so the light and sounds will not keep you up at night."
And listen to your body. Sometimes you'll fee like you need more than seven to eight hours of sleep. If you can make it work, go to bed early or let yourself snooze a bit more in the morning.
5. Know What Activity Gives You A Mental Break & Partake In It From Time To Time
"For some women it's yoga, for others it can be swimming, reading, cooking, hiking in nature, etc.," Deborah Duley, MSW, LGSW, the CEO and owner of Empowered Connections, LLC, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Since we add more and more to our plates as we age (families, children, careers, marriages, etc.), it's super valuable to know exactly what activities work in helping you put your brain in a meditative state or turning your brain off, as I call it. Knowing your 'go-to' technique will be a game changer for women by age 30 and doing this thing two to three days a week will help you keep yourself together, particularly when everything around is falling apart (as we know this happens occasionally)."
You don't have to — and probably shouldn't be — making lists and stressing over details absolutely all the time.
6. Practice Mindfulness
"By age 30, women should have some sort of mindfulness routine," Landis says. "Whether it is hiking in nature, being silent at home, or taking yoga for a mind-body connection, the power of silence is palpable and gives back to us tenfold." Doing things thoughtfully can help you recharge, refresh, and — hopefully — avoid burnout or overwhelming stress.
7. Practice Safe Sex
Safe sex is important, regardless of your age, but it's especially important to regularly practice safe sex by the time you turn 30. "Practice safe sex and do not relay on your sexual partner to supply the male condom or a dental dam," Reed says. "See your GYN every three to five years for PAP smear and HPV testing." If you're trying to conceive, of course, condoms won't be necessary, but in many other cases it's important for you to consider the potential ramifications of not practicing safe sex, as well as what safety means to you and what's most important to you in your own relationship.
8. Master The "Potty Squat"
"The longer I do the work I do, the more it is apparent that most of the physical issues women suffer as they age could have been prevented with a specific fitness habit before they hit age 30," Courtney Wyckoff, the founder of MommaStrong, tells Romper via email. "This habit involves ditching the emphasis on losing weight and doing crunches, and focusing instead on mastering a proper 'potty squat,' which will target her pelvic floor and her gluteus muscles. I recommend, in fact, that a woman of this age start and end her day with 25 to 50 potty squats. By doing this, she will help offset what is most likely a busy, active, and ambitious schedule and prevent long-term issues like back pain and other joint pain. And, as a bonus, it'll keep her backside lifted and her tummy flatter!"
This habit might be more important for women who've had babies, but focusing on this exercise can help strengthen your core, stabilize your pelvis, and keep your spine healthy, Wyckoff says. Just make sure you know how to do it correctly and safely.
9. Cook For Yourself
You certainly don't have to be good enough for Top Chef, but knowing some basics lets you save a little money and have control over exactly what's going in your food, not to mention the sense of accomplishment you'll feel when you get a delicious meal on the table.
"Basic nutrition skills are essential because they are the building blocks of healthy bodies," Elisa Burgos, chief communications officer at The Food Pharmacy, tells Romper in an email exchange. "We are so bombarded with stress, bad information about food choices, [and] hyper-palatable and addictive food products everywhere we turn. Learning to weed through all that and make effective, sustainable choices for ourselves is a skill set that pays off for life. We not only feel better, think more clearly, and have more energy now, but we also set ourselves on a path to wellness in the long term."
10. Go To Your Annual Appointments
By the time you turn 30, you should be in the habit of going to the annual (or more frequent) appointments that are important for your health. "Go for your routine checkups, listen to the doctors' advice, follow up on what they ask you to do," Erin Parisi, LMHC, CAP, a licensed mental health counselor and certified addictions professional, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Wear sunblock, drink lots of water, eat vegetables, work some physical activity into your routine. You know, do the things. And go to therapy! Your emotional health is just as important. Plus, the earlier you start to work on things, the less complicated it can be." Your mental health is just as important to care for as your physical health.
You should also make sure to interact with your doctor when you see them. "See your physician at least once a year for an annual check up — know if you are anemic from blood loss from menses or improper nutritional intake, cholesterol value," Reed says. "Talk to your parents and siblings to know your family history and what diseases you are at risk to inherit." Ask questions, discuss anything you're worried about, and just generally make sure that you know things about your health. It's important.
11. Eat Regularly
This might sound basic (or maybe not if you're a mom of little kiddos who primarily eats off their plates), but it's definitely an important habit to have in place by the time you turn 30. Think about how many meals you've skipped recently. Chances are there were at least a couple that were either skipped entirely or downgraded to snacks. "When it comes to food in general, it's the best thing you can do to minimize disordered eating, maintain a healthy weight, and help your body run as efficiently as possible," Suzie Leigh, certified Catalyst life coach and personal trainer, tells Romper via email. "It may sound elementary, but think about just how skewed your daily eating routine can become. Do you skip breakfast, only to find yourself cramming donuts into every spare pore when you find them in the break room? Do you eat a salad for lunch, then come home after work and inhale half a jar of cookie butter? Not only does this confuse and slow down your metabolism, but it negatively impacts your emotions as well. Eating regularly increases brain clarity, cognitive processing, and emotional stability, and decreases the likelihood of experiencing acute cravings that lead to overeating."
12. Practice Self-Reflection
Self-reflection is important because it can tell you so much about yourself, about why you do some of things that you do, about what's most important to you, and so much more. Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, the founder of online relationship community, Relationup, and a relationship therapist, tells Romper by email that "being able to dissect a situation and see what responsibility you have in it" is a significant skill for a 30-year-old woman to have.
13. Develop A Bedtime Routine
Tasha H. Kornegay, PhD, LPCS, the CEO at Our Treatment Center, tells Romper via email that by 30, you should establish a nightly routine that'll help calm you down before bed, "like reading, mediation or journaling — and make that your habit each and every night for much better sleep at night, for a refreshed morning." Regardless of what it is, a nighttime routine that helps you wind down and get ready for sleep will help make tackling the next day's to do list much easier.
14. Make A Budget & Stick To It
In your early and even, perhaps, in your mid-20s, it can be much easier to rationalize a big purchase that you don't need, but by age 30, you need to know how to make a budget — and how to stick to one. "30 is the age where a lot of people start to feel like a 'real' adult, and what's more adult than managing your own money? Plus, with young adults staying in school longer, and remaining financially dependent on their families for longer, it seems like this essential skill is put off later and later," Parisi says. "Learn how to live within your means early on, avoid getting into unnecessary debt, and keep an eye on your credit score! You'll never regret it."
15. Devote Time To What Makes You Happy
By the time you turn 30, you might spend a lot of time doing things that you are obligated to do, not all of which will necessarily make you happy. But it's important to remember that your happiness still matters. "It's time to do more of what makes you happy! I'm sure life is busy and there are times that you feel like you have no time to pursue hobbies — but there is! Determine what makes you happy and commit to doing it more often — squeeze it in for as little as 10 minutes each day," Kornegay says. Whether it's running, browsing at a bookstore, learning to knit, or something else, taking time to do things that you find fun and fulfilling is still important.
16. Ask For Help When You Need It
For a lot of people, it's difficult to ask for help. But by the time you turn 30, you should be able to do so when you need it. "Whether it's 911, AAA, a friend, a family member, doctor, therapist, etc., it's OK to ask for help," Parisi says. "None of us know how to do everything, but we have to allow it to be okay to ask people who know more than us. That's how we learn."
17. Get Rid Of The Toxic People In Your Life
If there are any toxic people in your life, by the time you turn 30, you should get into the habit of getting rid of them. You don't have time for those kinds of relationships. "No matter who they are, friends, family, partners, coworkers, whoever, people who don't treat you well shouldn't be allowed to be close to you," Parisi says. "By 30, you'll have had some great relationships and some not-so-great ones. Set those boundaries, and keep it moving!"
18. Make Sure You Have Your Skincare Regimen Down Pat
"By age 30, the signs of sun exposure from your teens and 20s is starting to show," Dr. Caroline A. Chang, MD, FAAD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Alpert Medical School of Brown University, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Those signs of aging might appear as fine lines or brown spots." Chang recommends that you "wash your face twice a day with a gentle moisturizing face wash" to avoid drying your skin too much and stripping the natural oils. "It is important to cleanse the skin so your products can penetrate better and also to prevent unwanted breakouts, for example, if you leave your makeup on over night," Chang says.
Not only that, but you should also be wearing sunscreen every day, all year long. Chang recommends SPF 30 or higher. "Use either retinol (for sensitive skin types) or tretinoin (by prescription only) nightly," Chang says. "[It's] important because it treats fine lines, evens out skin tone, [and] exfoliates. It essentially resets the skin."
Finally, using a serum or other product rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C, is "important because antioxidants help to reverse UV light damage on the skin," Chang says. "Vitamin C also reduces brown spot formation." Working with a dermatologist or other qualified skincare professional to develop the right skincare routine for you can help you take care of your skin for the rest of your life.
19. Get Comfortable With Being Alone
It can be difficult to spend time alone if you're generally alone most of the time. If you live alone and aren't in a relationship or if you work from home, you might spend quite a bit of time by yourself. By the time you turn 30, you should, hopefully, be more comfortable doing so. "It's not weird or sad to enjoy your own company," Parisi says. "It's lovely, and can help you re-center!"
20. Stop Body Checking
If you're still "body checking" by the time you turn 30, it's time to break that habit. "You know how it goes — inspecting your body in the mirror every time you go to the bathroom; catching a glimpse of yourself in the storefront window and feeling anxious about the image for the rest of the afternoon; pinching the fat on your stomach to see if it shrunk after your lunch of celery and lemon water," Leigh says. "This habit is one you don't want to carry into your 30s. Shining a spotlight on your perceived flaws multiple times a day only exacerbates your negative view of them. The more you notice these things about yourself, the more you believe others see them as well — and that decreases self-confidence."
21. Take Care Of Yourself
Taking care of yourself is important and making sure that it's habitual by the time that you turn 30 can help you be certain that it's always getting done. "Learn what you need to stay healthy and positive, whether it's working out three days a week or getting a good night's rest," Angela Copeland, a career coach, podcast host, author, and career columnist, tells Romper in an email exchange. "If you don't take care of yourself, it becomes harder and harder to grow your career."
Beyond that, it's also important to consider what kinds of things you can do to take care of yourself professionally. "It's very important to constantly work on growing your professional network. When you're looking for a new job is the wrong time to start looking for professional contacts," Copeland says. "Start now, and make a habit of it. Find a professional mentor. Make a point to meet with them regularly to give you advice and encouragement as you grow." Regularly speaking with your mentor or trying to grow your professional network can not only help you potentially find new positions, but can also encourage you to take a big step in your career, say yes to an exciting opportunity, or help you overcome an obstacle or setback.
22. Go Out To Do Something A Few Days Each Week Or Month
Whether you're single or in a relationship, spending time out in the world is important. If you're single, pick a few days to regularly go somewhere else. "These are the dates you must either go to a networking event, a sporting event, cooking classes, improv classes, or even just the local pub," Maria Avgitidis, matchmaker, dating coach, and founder of Agape Match, tells Romper via email. "We all have busy work/life schedules, but considering picking your partner may be the most important decision you ever make, you need to make room to go out and meet new people."
If you're in a relationship, it's still good to get out every once in awhile and avoid becoming too insular. "Relationships can quickly become routine," Avgitidis says. "Outting days are for exploring new cuisines, a new neighborhood, a sporting event, a comedy show, boating, vineyards tours, golf lessons...the activities are endless! This helps keep the adrenaline and energy of the relationship high which will in turn increase intimacy."
23. Establish A Meditation Practice
"Mindful meditation is an extremely important daily habit that will have profound effects on your life if practiced regularly," Laura Chackes, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist and owner and clinical director of The Center for Mindfulness & CBT, tells Romper by email. Chackes says that a daily mediation practice can help your ability to focus, help "increase your emotional intelligence, which has profound effects on your relationships, and even boost your immune system, making you physically healthier too!"
A 2016 systematic review found that the evidence suggesting a connection between mindful meditation and immune health is still preliminary, but that it could have an impact on inflammation. The authors of the review noted that further research will help clarify findings.
Establishing a mediation practice is a good idea.
24. Cultivate Close Friendships
Friendships are important at every stage in your life. "Teamwork really does make the dream work," Kornegay says. "Find supportive friends who inspire you. Studies have shown that the healthier your inner circle is, the healthier and happier you will be." Cultivate — and maintain — meaningful friendships. It might actually matter more than you think.
25. Learn To Let Go Of Expectations
"Whether walking into a first date or having a conversation with your parents, we're all human beings doing the best we know how to," Nicole Allison, a Catalyst life coach, tells Romper by email. "If you can let go of the expectations you have for other people or situations, you'll be able to see things in a whole new light." Remember that everyone is doing their best, that sometimes people, events, or places will let you down, and figure out the best, healthiest way to move past that.
26. Get Comfortable With Feelings
Some people struggle with feelings, either theirs or when confronted with others'. By the time that you turn 30, being more comfortable dealing with feelings is an important skill to have. "I encourage clients to name the feelings, notice where they come up in their bodies, and breathe through them if they're intense," Abby Thompson, a psychotherapist, tells Romper by email. "You don't need to have a logical reason or explanation for them. Being able to tolerate weird, complex feelings means you won't have to 'numb out' or go to extreme lengths to avoid discomfort. It also means you can tune in and find out what the feeling is communicating to you about your needs, goals, or relationships."
You know that exercise is important, but what about stretching? "It may seem like an inconsequential thing, but stretching can do wonders to your mind and body and help you feel more relaxed, as well as reduce the number of cramps you may feel over the course of the day and even help you lose weight," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, tells Romper via email. "If you’re really serious about losing weight or staying in shape, consider trying yoga or pilates as a daily or weekly inclusion to your exercise routine." Stretch when you get up in the morning, on your lunch break, or before you go to bed each night. It might not seem like anything earth-shattering, but it could make more of a difference than you think.
28. Work On Being More Assertive
"What do you want right now? Do you need a moment alone? Take it," Paul Levin, an author, speaker, and coach, tells Romper by email. "You just got home from work, and instantly there are demands thrown on you. Do you need to lay down for a 30 minute nap? Do it. You will be a better provider, a better care giver, a better mother; after you have taken good care of yourself." Take what you need when you can so that you can be the best version of yourself that you can be. Developing that habit by the time you turn 30 can help you function better in all parts of your life.
You can work on being more assertive in dating, too.
"While it’s common for men to take the lead in dating, there’s no rule that you can’t take the initiative if you like someone," Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor, life coach, and dating/relationship coach, tells Romper by email. "If you aren’t getting noticed by the [people] you find attractive, there’s nothing wrong with being assertive. Life’s too short to let opportunities pass you by. This also applies to work, friendship, and your life in general. If you want something, then go for it!"
It's important to ask for what you want or need. Speaking up in meetings, voicing your opinion on things, and generally being a bit more assertive can help make sure that you're not always being walked all over or that you're missing out on opportunities.
29. Think About Your Daily Successes
Each day, good things happen. It doesn't have to be a huge accomplishment, but you probably have at least a few little successes throughout your day. Make sure you take notice of them. "It enables a more positive outlook on our experiences and makes us feel more hopeful for the days ahead," Jennifer L. Silvershein, LMSW, a psychotherapist, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Women are terribly hard on themselves whether it's a presentation, making an outfit or crafting the perfect response. By setting aside time to identify our successes we begin to rewire our brain to begin identifying achievements throughout our day and it becomes routine. Quickly our self-esteem and positivity will be radiating for all to see." Whether you choose to do this as a solitary activity, perhaps journaling about your daily successes, or telling your partner, a family member, or a friend about them, it'll help you remember that even on what feel like the worst days, there's some good.
30. Learn How To Say "No"
"Unfortunately, I hear frequently from young women in my practice that they struggle with feeling that they have the right to say no at times or to set boundaries with others, or that they feel uncomfortable doing so and need more tools to comfortably set healthy boundaries in an assertive way," Sarah Gray, PsyD, a clinical psychologist, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Whether this is due to societal pressures often placed on women in particular, or stemming from a childhood environment where conflict was not resolved in healthy ways (e.g. parents with explosive or cutting tempers, or families who didn't talk about the real stuff), young women are often navigating new experiences and ways to have their voices heard. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) or DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) with a focus on assertiveness-training can be particularly useful in cultivating these skills."
Own your time. You get to dictate how you spend it. If you need or want to say no to something, whether it's a second date, a dinner with friends that you just can't squeeze into your schedule, or yet another professional development event when you feel like what you really need is a little bit of down time, you're allowed to do so.
31. Work On Being Grateful
"The practice of focusing on and expressing gratitude is one that dramatically changes our outlook on life and improves our sense of well being," Rochelle Walsh, LSCSW, tells Romper in an email exchange. "There is no shortage of journals and books you can find on the practice of gratitude. Whether it’s writing down what you are thankful for each night, or saying a little prayer of gratitude each morning, putting verbal expression to things that we have to be grateful for shifts our minds in a way that will positively influence our outlook and mood." Thinking about the things in your life that you're grateful for can help you put things in perspective, too.
32. Learn Self-Defense Skills
Knowing how to defend yourself can help keep you safe. "Martial arts training gives women more self-confidence and awareness," Peter Tay, head instructor at Gotham Jiu Jitsu, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Many of my female students have been attacked in the past. They walk away from sessions with me feeling safer and more confident. Some habits that women should take heed [of include] being aware of your surroundings, having your back towards the wall so no one can surprise you from behind, knowing where the exits are, [and] having a good view of the entrance to wherever you are so you can see who is coming through the door. Think of how you will be when you travel, being aware of your surrounds alone will give you a better chance. [Take] a self-defense program periodically to keep your self-defense skills sharp. You don’t need to be a black belt to be able to defend yourself, you just need to take an initiative in your own well being and rely on yourself [rather] than others."
33. Don't Let What You Eat Dictate Your Self-Worth
"By 30, we should know that our worth is not dependent on our food choices. As we each could attest, shame never breeds anything good," Anna Mason, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Blaming ourselves for eating 'bad foods' and wallowing in defeat when we eat a food that #fitspo says is not 'clean' does not constitute self-care. It actually can lead to destructive eating habits and poor self-image. Self-care means listening to our bodies, eating for fuel and for joy, and achieving a balance of healthy foods. By 30, you know who you are. Don't allow what you are eating to bring you up or down. Give yourself grace, set healthy eating habits, and strive for balance rather than perfection. Kick that shame out the door and move on. We are too valuable to let eating shame get in the way."
The food you eat shouldn't have any bearing on your sense of self-worth. By the time you turn 30, it's important to try to recognize that. Breaking a habit like considering certain foods good or bad can be hard, and if you feel like you can't do it alone, a qualified therapist can help.
34. Talk Yourself "Out Of The Rabbit Hole"
"This basically means that you have now learned to habitually (without thinking too much) reframe your negative thoughts so that it doesn't hurt you as much as it could," Duley says. "Getting proficient at this takes time and monotony but once you figure out how to turn around negative thoughts, you won't ever have to feel the negative feelings that come along with them again! Unless you want to, of course. An example would be the mean things you say to yourself like 'I'm such an idiot' and changing it to 'OK, I made a mistake, but I'm learning from it and I'll be better next time.' Talk to yourself like you would your best friend!"
The way you talk to yourself is really important and can have a significant effect on how you see yourself. Don't be meaner and more vicious to yourself than you are to others. Kindness — to yourself and to others — will get you far.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.