For many of us, health issues are not things that we like to deal with. It's easy to forget about going to the doctor or checking in with yourself from time to time to make sure that everything is healthy and in working order.
Perhaps there's something you're dealing with right now that is causing you undue stress and anxiety.
The unfortunate part is that gaining back your health is much harder once the damage has been done.
We regularly get told that we need to exercise on a regular basis, stimulate our brains in challenging ways, and eat foods that are good for us, but more often than not we choose to indulge in instant gratification, saving the real consequences for later.
Only time will tell if the decisions we're making in the moment will affect us in a positive or negative way somewhere down the line. And it's almost always in hindsight that we realize the things we should have been doing all along.
After asking over 50 people questions about the things they'd wished they'd done differently in their younger years, their answers are ones that not only make sense, but are incredibly simple.
If you're nearing 30 years of age, here are 20 things you can start doing now to make sure your life is better at age 50:
1. Avoid smoking cigarettes, or stop if you currently do
The first one on the list likely comes as no surprise. "If you could see me now, I'm down on my poor, crackling knees begging you to at least consider stopping smoking," writes Quora user Cyndi Perlman Fink.
Not only will you save a ton of money, but you'll be much healthier because of it. Say no to cancer at age 50, stop smoking now.
2. Pay attention to the foods you're eating; stop eating junk food
"You can make a lot of money in 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s,…90s to buy the whole world when you are at age 50 or beyond," writes Quora user Sireesha Chilakamarri.
"But, you cannot buy your health. Give up on fast food right now at age 30."
3. Build (or repair) healthy relationships with parents, siblings, loved ones
"…Chances are you've come across ideas and changed in ways that mean you don't see eye to eye with them on many issues. But then – that's part of what a family can help with – to learn to get along with people you don't agree with on many issues," writes Quora user Robert Walker.
"I come from a family which is very argumentative. If you didn't understand the situation you might at times think we hate each other. But it isn't like that at all. Rather, we free to speak our minds because the family ties are so strong."
4. Avoid being in the sun without sun protection
"I was stupid. I didn't listen. Do you want wrinkles and thin skin from sun damage like I have and do you want bruises from just lightly touching the side of a box and having your skin peel off?
Go ahead, enjoy lying in the sun without sunblock," writes Quora user Cyndi Perlman Fink.
5. Exercise as often as you can
"Don't gain weight. Exercise. Keep your weight at a normal level that's good for your body," continues Cyndi Perlman Fink.
"Weight does all kinds of bad things for you body. I've been fat, I've been thin, thin is healthier."
6. Put away money in savings whenever you can, even if it's just small amounts here and there
"Save money. I know this is a boring, trite, and unsexy suggestion, but it's true," writes Quora user Cliff Gilley.
"In your 30s, the average person has a lot of disposable income, some of which can almost always easily be set aside for use later in life.
Plus, building the habit of saving early means you'll continue it further down the line."
7. Practice being grateful for what you have
"…Happiness is what matters far more than worldly success," writes Quora user Robert Walker. "If you are content with what you have then you may be a bit less likely to end up a millionaire, but you will have a happier life.
And if you do become a wealthy person – is no reason why not, you'll be a more happy, fulfilled and productive wealthy person."
8. Try not to put off the goals you have for your life
"Want to buy a house? Have kids? Write a book? Get a second degree or advanced degree? Change your career? Learn to play a new musical instrument? Learn to cook gourmet meals? Try scuba diving? Run for public office? Start a business and be self-employed? Then start today," writes Quora user Bill Karwin.
"It's easy to put things off. 'I'll get to that someday.' But it's really true that time starts accelerating as you enter your 30's, and it keeps accelerating. The time that you'll get around to those dreams should be now."
9. Make sure you're getting a good night's sleep as often as possible
"Use stellar sleep hygiene," writes Quora user Nan Waldman.
"A dark room or sleep shades will block out light. No bright screens before bedtime. Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time."
10. Make sure you're taking care of your teeth and mouth
"…Go to the freaking dentist already," writes Quora user Caroline Zelonka. "Get your little cavities fixed as they come up. Unlike many body health issues, dental problems only get worse — and things like crowns and implants are uncomfortable, time-consuming and expensive (like, close to five figures per tooth for an extraction, implant and crown).
If you have a good savings and income stream, the bills won't be the painful thing — but there's no getting around the pain and the time suck."
11. Place more value on experiences than you do material objects
You don't want to wake up one day with a garage full of useless things you've accumulated over the years.
If the saying is true, and we are the sum of our experiences, then your time is best spent seeking out experiences that leave you fulfilled, enlightened, and happy.
Your memories never lose their value. That new sports car definitely will.
12. Practice giving back to others in your community
"Give to others so you feel the goodness that service brings," writes Quora user Nan Waldman. "However you give, do it with your full heart, soul, and effort. Expect nothing in return."
13. Always be curious and willing to step out of your comfort zone to chase adventure
"Get out of the house and have an honest-to-God adventure right now," writes Quora user Mary Leek. "Make it as big as you can possibly manage, take lots of pictures, throw caution to the wind, take on the risk, grab the brass ring.
If possible, include someone you're close to – make a BIG memory. It has to be more than jumping out of an airplane – it needs to be measured in days, not hours or minutes. You'll still be smiling about it when you're old and creaky, I promise. I am."
14. Read as many books as you can!
How many 50-year-olds do you think wish they'd spent more time sitting on the couch watching television or playing video games?
Your brain naturally wants to grow; allow it to do so by giving it the media that it craves.
15. Travel to the ends of the Earth
"Traveling will change you like little else can. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you," writes Jeff Goins.
"It's about experiencing true risk and adventure so you don't have to live in fear for the rest of your life. And…inspiring others to step out of that fear, too."
16. Learn how to look inward with meditation
"The list of benefits is endless, it only costs you a small amount of time a day, the change in your life and the people you love will be amazing," writes Quora user Rens De Nobel.
"And compared to ten years ago, there are long lists of scientific studies to back it up."
17. Live your life without comparing it to others
"Trust me, the day your body starts to show the signs of wear & tear, you no longer see any fun in partying or trying to impress people around you," writes Quora user Satish Kumar Grandhi.
"You need to start your path of self discovery right now to become stronger by the time you are 50."
18. Maintain a journal or diary so you can remember your favorite moments in life
"You WILL forget more of your precious memories that you'll remember," writes Quora user Mark Crawley. "Your written records will entertain and endear in your future (wish I had).
Your computer should make this archiving all the easier to implement and retain / recall. Put files on memory sticks with photos. Your kids (or surviving spouse) may someday love you for it."
19. Look into buying a home
"Buy a house, it'll be nearly paid for by the time you're 50," writes Quora user Liz Read.
20. Fill your life with friends who are good for you, and then make sure you take care of them
"Choose people who make you feel like you already are your best self, who challenge you by their example, and who you genuinely enjoy," explains Nan Waldman.
"Nurture them. Laugh with them. Be silly too. Contribute to their survival and enjoyment of life. Take the time every week to be in touch."