Most people think of ways to avoid a midlife crisis rather than ways to have a midlife reinvention. Wikipedia defines a “midlife crisis” as “a transition of identity and self-confidence that can occur in middle-aged individuals, typically 45 to 55 years old. The phenomenon is described as a psychological crisis brought about by events that highlight a person’s growing age, inevitable mortality, and possibly lack of accomplishments in life.” Well, that’s pretty depressing.
But what if you could change your mindset to look at the last half of your life as a huge opportunity to become the person you always wanted to be? Assuming you’re reasonably healthy, the time is now to free yourself from limiting thoughts and make the most of the life you have right now. Here are 5 ways to have a midlife reinvention.
1.Reinvent Your Mindset
If you aren’t living the life you want today, then ask yourself “why?” Have you never prioritized your needs or are you afraid that you won’t succeed? If it’s the former, midlife is a perfect opportunity to make yourself a priority. Your kids are likely gone, and you probably have more time to focus on you. If fear is stalling your midlife reinvention, ask yourself what’s making you fearful? What is the worst that can happen if you don’t succeed?
Two things help me maintain a positive mindset.
I know, this recommendation is not new. Oprah taught us about gratitude several years ago, and it’s become quite a thing. But I’m telling you it really works. When I wake up in the morning and think about how much I appreciate my husband, love my kids and adore my dog, I’m not thinking about how I wish I had more money and been more successful at marriage. (read I’ve Been Married Three Times and I’m Not Ashamed to Admit It for the full story) You see what I’m saying? Gratefulness helps us to avoid wasting time on negativity. Being grateful makes you happier and more ready to take on challenges.
That brings me to my second mindset reinvention technique – morning pep talks.
Morning Pep Talks
Between writing this blog and having a full-time job, I can feel overwhelmed at all the things I have to do each day. So, each morning I go for a walk to clear my head and give myself a pep talk, reminding myself of everything I’ve accomplished and telling myself that I’m strong and capable. An accomplishment can be something as simple as showing up for work or cleaning your house. It doesn’t matter because there is always something good you have accomplished. Regularly give yourself the same pep talk that you would give your best friend, and over time you will have greater confidence and a more positive outlook.
2. Keep Looking Forward
In midlife, it’s easy to get bogged down in could’ves and should’ves. There is nothing you can do about past mistakes. According to the Inc. blog, “fixating, rehashing, obsessing, or dwelling on a mistake is notoriously debilitating. Dwelling on past mistakes keeps us in a perpetual state of acknowledging and experiencing life’s negatives,” which adversely impacts our emotional and physical health. It holds us down and prevents us from reaching our goals and achieving midlife reinvention.
Ruminating on mistakes and regrets is time wasted unless you use them as a path to healing. For example, if you wish you would have been a better parent, and your child is now an adult, then do all you can now to have the best relationship possible. If you regret that you never finished college, educate yourself with the resources you have or go back to school if feasible. But don’t beat yourself up about the past! Mistakes are just another of life’s experiences that form the person you are today.
3.Dwell on Your Wisdom
In our twenties, we were beautiful and free. But we didn’t know anything except what we learned in school, gleaned from our friends and ignored from our parents. The dues we’ve since paid through our experience are now yielding dividends in the form of wisdom. This wisdom provides a sense of perspective and a greater ability to trust ourselves when we encounter obstacles.
According to the American Psychological Association, “the adult brain seems to be capable of rewiring itself well into middle age, incorporating decades of experiences and behaviors. Research suggests, for example, the middle-aged mind is calmer, less neurotic, and better able to sort through social situations.” We have never been more emotionally ready to take on new challenges than we are right now.
4. Find Your Challenge
In a post like this, the words “find your” usually precede “passion.” But I’ve always found those words to be daunting. What if you don’t have a particular passion or start something that you discover you don’t like? Does that mean midlife reinvention stops there? No it doesn’t! So, I’m taking a different approach by asking you to find your challenge.
What can you do that sounds interesting and makes you feel accomplished? Some might choose to get physically fit while others may prefer doing charitable work or learning an instrument. What have you always wanted to try, but either didn’t have the time or the confidence to do? According to Harvard Health Publishing, learning something new can improve memory and can keep your mind as mentally active as a full-time job. That’s a good reason to slip out of your comfort zone!
5. Go for It
Once you’ve found your challenge, develop a timeline and the steps you’re going to take to accomplish it. Make sure you frame your goal in terms of “want” rather than “should.” According to Psychology Today, “placing your goal into the category of powerful choice may help you eliminate that sense that it’s a stressful obligation.”
This year, I challenged myself to start this blog, gave myself a go-live date, and the rest is history. I knew absolutely nothing about starting a blog but kept telling myself that I was smart and would figure it out (morning pep talk material). Besides, once I told my friends what I planned to do, I couldn’t turn back. Whatever your challenge may be, tell others, and hold yourself accountable. Based on my experience, once you’ve hit your goal, it feels amazing!
But don’t stop there! Continue to accept new challenges! Before you know it, you will look back and say these have been the most rich and productive years of your life, and you will have achieved midlife reinvention!
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