Smart Habits For Better Career Opportunities In Your 30s

Don’t fret if you didn’t use your 20s to build up your 30s, because, even now, there are still many steps you can take to advance or even begin your career.

If you take up these simple but smart habits, you’ll notice doors opening for you, not only in your career but in every aspect of your life.

Dress For The Job You Want

suit
Photo Credit: Ruthson Zimmerman / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Ruthson Zimmerman / Unsplash

It’s cliché, but people who dress well tend to come off as more professional and trustworthy. You don’t need to put on a suit every day, but showing that you can put in the effort in simple ways (like how you present yourself and interact with others) positively reflects on how you approach your work and your employers.

Take Up A New Class

dance
Photo Credit: Vadim Fomenok / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Vadim Fomenok / Unsplash

Taking up a new skill or hobby teaches your brain to embrace change and adapt quickly. You might not necessarily need to learn new dance moves for a new job, but taking a dance class, for example, will give you confidence, get you to meet new people, and take you outside of your comfort zone. These are all skills that are useful in the job world.

Start Your Day An Hour Early

clock
Photo Credit: Rodolfo Barreto / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Rodolfo Barreto / Unsplash

Richard Whately once said, “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.” That extra hour in the morning doesn’t need to be all about productivity, but just an hour to breathe, meditate, and get your day started on the right foot.

It’s better than feeling rushed and carrying on in an agitated restless state for the rest of your day.

Make A List To Plan Ahead

own today
Photo Credit: Emma Matthews / Unsplasj
Photo Credit: Emma Matthews / Unsplasj

Physically writing down your goals has many benefits. For starters, the process of writing them is like meditation, during which you can actually confront yourself about what it is you actually want to achieve.

Also, it’s a way of keeping yourself accountable and motivated as you slowly check them off.

Be Careful Who You Surround Yourself With

Friends
Photo Credit: Helena Lopes / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Helena Lopes / Unsplash

People come in and out of our lives for a reason, but not everyone is meant to stay. Some only serve to teach us a lesson or level us up. Make sure you keep people around who inspire and support you and who mirror your ambition and habits.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we tend to take on the energy of those around us.

Always Go To New Places

travel
Photo Credit: Element 5 Digital / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Element 5 Digital / Unsplash

That doesn’t mean you need to constantly be traveling, but even just picking a new item on a menu trains you on making decisions. Rather than getting stuck in a comfortable routine, expand your horizons.

If you can travel, learning how to communicate through a language barrier can help your brain develop creative ways to express needs and emotions.

Make Time For Beauty Sleep

sleeping
Photo Credit: Damir Spanic / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Damir Spanic / Unsplash

You might not think you have time for sleep, so you try to get away with 6 hours, but the truth is the older you get, and even by the time you hit your 30s, the more it’s vital.

It’s because, by your 30s, sleep does a lot more than simply rest your body and mind. An average of 8 hours also activates fresh skin and rewires the brain with enough rest that you’ll wake with a more positive attitude.

Embrace Criticism

criticism
Photo Credit: Isaiah Rustad / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Isaiah Rustad / Unsplash

They call it “constructive criticism” for a reason. Use it to build yourself up. Be careful who you choose to listen to, however. A boss will likely criticize your performance to help you succeed. Friends can give their opinions, too, but it’s up to you to do what you think is best for you.

Write Down All Your Ideas

writing
Photo Credit: Fotografierende / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Fotografierende / Unsplash

Chances are, if you don’t stop to write it down, you’ll forget it in time. Creative ideas tend to come to mind at the most random of times, maybe in the shower or right as you’re about to fall asleep.

Having a quick note on your phone to record them will give you the platform to create a work habit, go back to them, and elaborate on them.

Talk To Yourself More

talking
Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

Maybe not in public…but set time aside to be alone with your thoughts. It’s important to develop self-awareness to tune in with where you are and where you want to be.

Tell yourself what you’re happy about and what you’d like to change. Just remember to be kind to yourself.

Find An Accountability Partner

laptop
Photo Credit: Neonbrand / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Neonbrand / Unsplash

Find someone who shares the same goals as you and someone who generally wants to see you succeed as much as they want to do it for themselves. Check in with one another to motivate each other to stay on track in taking the steps you need, celebrating your wins, and even supporting you through your temporary failures and mistakes along the way.

Instead Of Complaining, Solve

thinking
Photo Credit: Kevin Turcios / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Kevin Turcios / Unsplash

A complaint is only an opportunity for problem-solving. Using it simply to complain without getting any further is a waste of time. Instead, get whatever feelings off your chest then turn negativity into positive action.

Surely it’s bothering you, but what are you going to do about it? That’s what separates being professional from being whiny.

Listen To Your Heart More Than Your Head

heart
Photo Credit: Giulia Bertelli / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Giulia Bertelli / Unsplash

We hear over and over again that we should rely on logic rather than our emotions. Yet when it comes to your career in your 30s, you’ve probably acquired enough experience that you should be able to rely on that “inner voice.”

The more decisions you make with it, the more accurate your intuition will become, and the more your choices will be aligned with what you actually want rather than just what you thought you should do.

Limit The Time You Spend On Distractions

computer
Photo Credit: Austin Distel / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Austin Distel / Unsplash

The term “distraction” is used on purpose here. Feel free to go on social media to check in and feel up to date, but don’t spend so much time on there that you get so caught up in other people’s lives that it takes away from the time you could be working on yours.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

people
Photo Credit: Matthew Lejune / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Matthew Lejune / Unsplash

We’re all running on our own timelines, and we each have our own path that looks different. There’s no point in comparing yourself to other people, because not only will that set you back by demotivating you and hitting your self-esteem, but there’s also literally no point.

Go Easy On The Gossip

gossip
Photo Credit: Ben White / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Ben White / Unsplash

Gossiping more often than not leads to talking badly about someone, even if it’s not the intention. Only talk about people to their face. You wouldn’t want to find out that you were being talked about, so don’t do it to others. This will let you avoid awkward situations where you inadvertently make enemies in the workplace.

Write Down What You’re Grateful For

gratitude
Photo Credit: Gabrielle Henderson / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Gabrielle Henderson / Unsplash

A very easy habit that can completely alter your perspective is taking a few minutes at the end of each day to write down just three things you’re grateful for.

Eventually, your brain will start to pay more attention to what you have rather than what you lack and make you feel happier and more empowered all around.

Create A Vision Board

vision board
Photo Credit: Mikechie Esparagoza / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Mikechie Esparagoza / Unsplash

The best way to think about your career goals is to visualize them. Take a night to yourself and get creative making a collage of the life you would love to have.

Not only will you subconsciously be manifesting your goals, but hanging it up will be a constant visual reminder to motivate you.

Ask For Advice

advice
Photo Credit: Frame Harirak / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Frame Harirak / Unsplash

Asking for advice is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. It shows that you’re willing to admit you don’t know everything but that you’re looking to learn and grow.

A Harvard Business School study called “Smart People Ask For (My) Advice: Seeking Advice Boosts Perceptions of Competence” showed that when a person asks for advice, it comes off as a positive impression. Plus it’s a good way of networking.

Reward Yourself

reward
Photo Credit: Ramille Soares / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Ramille Soares / Unsplash

There’s a reason reward systems work so well with kids. It’s a way to find motivation and train the brain to know that once you accomplish what you set out for, there will be a prize at the end.

Rewards often come naturally (like getting promoted), but they should also be celebrations of each little step you take. For example, treat yourself to a fancy latte before a big meeting or to a drink after a presentation.