How to motivate yourself to a happier midlife

Many a time, people wake up one day and suddenly become aware they are different. They look at a middle-aged person in the mirror and the emotions, anxieties and challenges this awareness brings can be profound. Yet without realising how that happened they must make sense of who they are and carry on regardless! 


Without conscious awareness, and usually, between the ages of 40 and 65 years old, we all start to receive ‘signals from the Universe’ that we are experiencing ‘personal change’ happening. It may have been that these signals started some time ago, yet we didn’t notice or refused to believe our own experience. And I am no different I have to say. I’m also in midlife and consciously aware the universe is signalling me! And it is also why I coach ‘midlifers’.

The fact is that midlife doesn’t just happen overnight! It is a naturally occurring process of biology in our lifecycle and a process of lived experience we all go through. It therefore shouldn’t come as a big surprise to us that midlife is real. And it need not be a shock to the system that it happens. 

If you can become more aware of your ‘midlife landscape’ and learn how to acknowledge and appreciate what it has to offer, you can also learn how to navigate it. With the right resources, choices and an ability to take control of your own life, you can make your life far less stressful and more a playground of possibility and opportunity to live a happier life, rather than it become a midlife ‘crisis’.

Midlife is a multifaceted complex period with numerous challenges.

Midlife has the potential to feel like your whole world is in disarray. It is true that some aspects of your life are not necessarily within your direct control. However, generally and with greater awareness, you can develop more personal control over how you react and respond to the world around you.  

We do have quite specific challenges in midlife that are clear. And these can create stress, anxiety and in some cases generate fear and feeling stuck or helpless. These can be triggered by personal changes that impact personally and directly. They may be physical, mental, emotional, or psychological changes that ageing naturally brings about, and can frankly unsettle and frighten us. 

Other challenges in life might include aspects such as: 

  • Relationships at home and work.
  • Deciding to change jobs, careers, creating or relinquishing businesses.
  • Future-proofing your family by developing money strategies for pension, investments, and funding for later life.
  • We can often also feel profound emotional aspects such as… empty nest syndrome…coming to terms with children growing and branching out… grandparenting… the expectations of supporting your own parents as caregivers as they age… as well as an extended family commitment to support your children with their childcare needs.  
  • Financial struggles to provide enough for yourself to live comfortably into older age, creating pensions, providing legacy, and perhaps financially enabling your family to start to build their new lives away from home. 

There are so many things to think about, plan for and be involved with. It is no wonder we feel stress, anxiety and stuck at times. There is change around every corner, and it can feel like you haven’t experienced such upheaval within your life before.

So, what can you do to navigate midlife?

The changes we experience through our lives, especially in midlife, need not feel like a turbulent crisis. Instead, it is the time to step back, take stock and reflect. An opportunity to re-evaluate and create space for revitalising your identity and deciding who you want to be for the next phase of your life.

This can come through creating a journey of self-discovery for yourself in order to help you write your most meaningful next chapter.

Sometimes it can be useful to think about yourself as having an internal SATNAV system. You put in a course in early adulthood with lots of waypoints along the route and you set off.  It has guided you and brought you to the present. But now you need to re-programme the SATNAV for the next leg of your life journey. 

This ‘next leg’ is your chance to make conscious shifts and choices using thoughtful reflection on your past experiences. These are the things that brought you to this point in your life, both good and bad, that inform and allow you to forge a meaningful future path with renewed purpose and focus. This is about offering yourself the chance to explore and enjoy a refreshed perspective to plan forward.

If you are in your midlife, and these days that can be anywhere between 40 and 65 years old, then it’s the right time to make a start. A time to notice you are in ‘midlife’, acknowledge it and accept it as a positive not a negative. And then begin to create an amazing journey for yourself to find your truest happiest self.

You can’t just do that with the SATNAV settings of old. You need to reset your compass to make sure it’s still aiming ‘true,’ and pointing in the direction you want to go next. And if it isn’t, reset it to meet your future desires.

There’s a well-known joke about a tourist in Ireland who asks one of the locals for directions to Dublin. The Irishman replies: ‘Well sir, if I were you, I wouldn’t start from here’.

Now, I can share this because this is my lived experience… I was also on holiday in Ireland many years ago now, and the same thing happened to me on a road towards Dublin! The point I’m making here is that you need to consider where you are now, and where you are going to go from here and set a new course with some new waypoints to guide you.

When you start to consider who you are at this point in life, what you want from your life, and how you want to spend your time, you will find it easier to identify the destination and possible routes to get you there. Or at least know the interesting points along the way you’d like to explore.

How do I start my journey?

Actually, it all starts with you. With self-awareness, self-evaluation, and reflection. Ask the questions you need to ask yourself to align with the person you want to be. There are core aspects of you that are important to review occasionally, especially at this point in your life. 

Use questions that help determine and build a picture of who you are. Having a clear sense of self-purpose provides meaning and yields healthier and happier future experiences. When it comes to the journey of self-discovery it is all about finding your authentic self.

For me, there are six key elements I use to help shine light on your inner self, to see and unlock the wisdom you already hold. These are built around:

  • understanding your values
  • having a purpose
  • realising the power of identity
  • finding your strengths
  • understanding your beliefs  
  • developing self-care and self-love

Start by asking yourself some initial thought-provoking questions. 

  • What are my five most important values?
  • What do I imagine it will feel like to live my life according to my true purpose?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What am I good at?
  • What beliefs do I hold about myself and society?
  • How do I treat myself?

I hope this mini-article offers some food for thought and I wish you every success going forwards.  

 If this has got you thinking and you feel you would like to know more about how to take the midlife journey or want to chat about what I can do to help you create your future path, contact me and I’ll get right back to you.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Hereford, Herefordshire, HR1
Written by Caroline Knight, Personal Development & Midlife Coach BSc (Hons.), MAC MANLP
Hereford, Herefordshire, HR1

Caroline is a Personal Development & Wellbeing Coach, and NLP Master practitioner. Caroline blends coaching approaches to support clients in their personal and professional lives to reduce anxieties, build confidence, resolve issues and remove blockages that hinder their wellbeing, for a happier, healthier more successful life.

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