Your thirties are some of the best years of your life. But for them to be as great as they can be, it’s important to pay attention to something you’ve probably already noticed: This ain’t your twenties!

When you were in your twenties, a night of drinking wasn’t exactly healthy (binge drinking is terrible for you at any age), but it at least felt consequence-free. When you were in your twenties, the fast food and late-night snacks didn’t seem quite as quick to go your waistline. When you were in your twenties, your back rarely hurt, you could run farther and faster, and you could work out without waking up in pain the next day.

But that was then, and this is now. You’re growing up, and—sorry, but this is true—you’re growing older, too. And that’s why you’ve come to the point that so many thirtysomethings before you have reached: You want to overhaul your lifestyle, clean yourself up, and get healthy. Great! Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Cut back on that drinking

Our current crop of American thirtysomethings is different from those of the past. We’re getting married, having kids, and buying homes a little later. We’re a little bit broker, sadly. We’re more urbanized and more focused on work-life balance. And we also drink way more than thirtysomethings of yore—and, frankly, way more than we should.

Drinking is not healthy—not even in moderation, most experts say. It can at least be a neutral presence in our lives, though, if we keep things under control. That means just a few drinks in a given night and no more than seven (for women) or fourteen (for men) all week.

Doesn’t sound like you? Then it’s high time you made some changes. Try to replace booze with something else, like seltzer or non-alcoholic beers and cocktails. You can even try alternating between booze-free options and the real stuff when you’re at the bar. You may be able to cut back without quitting; if you can’t, you should seek help for a possible addiction.

Snack healthier—and learn to cook

If you’re like many people your age, your twenties were full of takeout. Takeout isn’t an ideal choice, because it is typically less healthy than home-cooked alternatives and, of course, will cost you more. So, if you’re not doing so already, it’s time for you to start cooking more of your own meals.

It’s not just how you prepare your food, of course: What you eat matters! So how do you successfully make big changes? Start small. The key to eating healthier is to commit to reasonable goals and build on them. The hope is to create a sustainable healthy eating plan, not just to achieve short-term goals with a crash diet.

One of the best things that you can do right now is to start eating more whole foods, especially vegetables. Veggies are great because they’re nutritious and not particularly calorie-dense, which means they’ll fill you up without making you fat. If you’re proactive about eating the good stuff, you’ll find that the bad stuff gets crowded out of your stomach real estate over time.

Get therapy

Will the traumas of thirtysomething life necessarily “put you in therapy?” No—but that’s the wrong way to look at therapy! Many of us are conditioned to think of therapy as a solution to a problem. We tend to think we need to have some sort of trauma or mental illness in order to benefit from therapy.

That isn’t true. The reality is that popular talk therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy can make great proactive mental health care even for those who already enjoy good mental health. Find a therapist using a website like or turn to your primary care provider for a referral, and start thinking about the way you think and the way that you behave. It will change your life and make you healthier and happier in your thirties and beyond.

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