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Welp! Hitting the big 4-0?

Four tips for making your next milestone the best yet

Wow, this is the year I turned the big 4-0! It’s one of those milestones that provide an opportunity to reflect on the past decade and look forward with excitement. When we reflect on our past, we tend to have that 20/20 vision. It’s in looking to the future that our vision blurs because we may not know what’s ahead.

With all the excitement of marking four decades of life, I want to share some insight and offer some guidance for making your next milestone one to remember. Maybe you are turning 18, 21, 30, 50, 60, or even 90 this year. Wherever you find yourself; it’s time to celebrate!

Here are four ways to make your next milestone the best one yet:

1: Let go of what others think about you.

This one took me a few decades to realize. But if you let other’s opinions matter to you, you’re living their life, not yours. The sooner you start getting clarity on where you want to go in life, outside noise shouldn’t shift your course. A mentor of mine always said, “If it doesn’t build your belief, your bank account or your business, then it’s a bye-bye.” If you’re following someone who has been where you want to go, that’s a person to ask for advice.

2: Food is fuel.

I grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the era of ultra-processed foods and junk. I lived on SpaghettiOs, hot dogs, Lunchables, Dunkaroos and Gushers — and chicken noodle soup with Sprite when I was sick. You don’t know what you don’t know. So much of our food today is ultra-processed and filled with refined sugars. I have learned that if you can’t recreate it with the ingredients you have in your pantry, it’s got to go. You can’t recreate Doritos and Dunkaroos, so ditch the junk and eat whole foods.

You become what you eat, and the best thing you can do for your brain, heart and body is put nourishing foods in your gut. No secret pill, injection, fad diet or shortcut will get you to your best. It’s due to eating whole foods, and limiting processed foods, sugar and alcohol, that I feel better at age 40 then I did at age 30. No matter where you are today, it’s something you can benefit from starting now.

3. Move it or lose it.

Any kind of movement, whether it’s a walk outside, strengthening classes, Pilates, yoga, cycle, HIIT, weightlifting or running, counts. Being stationary is the worst thing you can do for yourself. Walking outside is free, and so are many videos that can help you move your body.

Just 30 minutes a day of movement has many benefits, especially as we age. I credit my profession in the fitness industry for keeping me looking as young as I feel. And the cool thing is, you can make your day one at any age. If you’re 60 and reading this, it’s not too late to start.

Consistency is key, not the gym membership. Motivation is a feeling, and feelings flee. Fitness is one of those things I’ve made non-negotiable.

4. Gratitude.

Last, but certainly not least, finding things to be grateful for each day is a game-changer. We get into the hustle and bustle and may forget to be thankful. Life is short and goes by fast, especially when you look back. Focusing on what you must be grateful for helps set the tone for the moments that get a bit hectic.

Taking a moment to slow down and think about, or write down, three things you’re grateful for each day keeps this precious life in perspective. I challenge you to try this practice for 30 days. From the beautiful coast we see daily to the ability to walk, talk or read, there is always something to be grateful for.

Written by Maria S. Barr

Maria S. Barr is a fitness instructor, educator and entrepreneur who serves as brand manager and a master trainer with Barre Intensity. Reach her at

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