22 Steps to a Happier Life

Relatively minor shifts in habits can lead to greater feelings of fulfillment.

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40s and 50s:

• Children-centric relationships change and often fade when the kids are grown. It's important to work at replacing these parts of your social network. 

• Take stock of your relationship with your grown children and your parents. You are, increasingly, the key decision-maker for both of these generations. What kind of a job are you doing?

• Are you stuck in one or more ruts in middle-age? Review the activities and flow of your life and, as needed, build a plan to find new activities, experiences, and friends.

• Replacing the time and emotional pull of raising children is a huge task for many people. Review how you're spending your time. This is a good time to build and expand community and volunteer activities.

• Think about whether you have a great career or just a job. Either path can lead to happiness, but only if you accept a role for your working life that meshes with your aspirations and values. Understanding yourself and how work fits in with your life is increasingly important at this age.

60s and up:

• Review how well you've matched your long-term aspirations with your financial resources. You don't need buckets of money to be happy. But you need some money. More importantly, happiness requires a balance of what you want to do and what you can do. How is your lifestyle balance faring?

• Consider expanding your volunteer activities. It's a great way to match your interests and values with new things to do and interesting people. 

• Make a spring-cleaning plan. As we get older, households tend to get cluttered with possessions we no longer need and which, if we admit it, no one in our family needs, either. Regular downsizing is a good practice. 

• Is your spiritual gas tank full or running on fumes? It is natural and healthy in later years to begin thinking about issues that transcend daily living.

• Use it or lose it! Build a fitness plan or, if you've got one, review how you're doing. Even into old age, vigorous exercise can help your physical and mental health.

The How to Live 100 ebook is now available. We hope it helps you on your own journey to live a long, happy, and fulfilling life.