15 Things Every Smart Woman Should Do Before She Turns 40

Ditch a bad marriage. Ask for a raise. Freeze those eggs, girl!

smiling woman Rido / Shutterstock

The big 4-0. It will come before you know it. So in the meantime, you need to live your thirties to the fullest.

The thirties are so fabulous because you're settled in who you are, and in many cases, settled in a career. You're not a newbie or a "youngin" anymore, but you're still vivacious enough to take risks, go out for a night of fun, and your sexy age makes you adored by young and old.

The fact is your confidence is sexier than your wrinkle-free, 20-year-old face and you know it. Your friendships are established, and while you're still interested in exploring yourself and the world, you know where you're headed or where you want to go. 


So before you clock in at 4-0, if you're a smart woman, do these 15 things.

1. Don't be afraid to ask for a raise.

You've worked hard, so why not? After being in your field or at a certain position for a while, you've paid your dues. Ask for the raise and get the salary you want now so it pays off later when you ask for another raise or move to another job with better pay.

RELATED: 7 Dating Rules That Can ALSO Help You Kill It At Work

2. Charm a younger man.

When we were 21, we didn't want the guys our age. But as you get older, they start to seem sweeter and hotter, and in general, they are. Your confidence and experience humbles and excites them. If you're single, have a brief fling with a younger man.


Men have been doing it since the caveman days. Enjoy a night yourself. Even if he's young and inexperienced, the awe and adoration on his face are enough for you to enjoy and drink it up.

3. Get yourself into the best shape possible.

Many of you are going to have kids or have had kids, so take your thirties to build the healthy and strong body you want. If you do this now, you will be fitter and healthier for life. And if you're thinking about having kids but haven't yet, getting into shape now means you'll be healthier for pregnancy later.

Trying to lose an extra 50 pounds plus baby weight won't be fun. Besides, you want to be strong for life. Take care now while you've got the energy to make a healthy body.

4. Travel abroad and explore the world.

Grab a friend or your partner (leave the kids with grandma) and go see a place outside of your country to experience something new. You have a stable income and you've got street smarts. Enjoy a new culture.


5. Get into the habit of a healthy skincare routine.

Ladies, by your twenties you should have been exfoliating and moisturizing, but many people start late in life. Get into a good routine now. You can't prevent aging (you can get Botox), but you can keep yourself from going down hard with good care.

6. Push for a mammogram, especially if you have a family history.

If you have a serious history of breast cancer, nudge every doctor that you can to get that slip for your first mammogram. After having some pain in my breasts and a family history of breast cancer, I'm glad I did rather than wait to 40 for my first mammogram.

7. Freeze your eggs if you're single and want kids.

If you're single and hitting past a certain point in your thirties, and you want kids, freeze your eggs if you can afford to.

RELATED: Want The Confidence To Find Your Dream Man? Freeze Your Eggs


8. Free yourself from toxic relationships.

Are you in a crappy marriage? Get out now. You'll have plenty of time to meet a new partner and start over. Plus, you won't kill any more of your soul than you already have. If you have kids, leave even faster. Kids don't need to live in a toxic home.

9. Do a nude photoshoot.

Set up the camera on a tripod or approach a trusted friend or professional to get some nude shots done. It may sound crazy, but I remember being so critical of my body at 25. When I look back, I think, "Why was I so hard on myself?" Get these photos so one day you can look back and say, "Damn, I was sexy!"

10. Quit all your bad habits.

Smoking? Drinking? Compulsive eating? Whatever your bad habit is, now is the time to quit it. The more time that accrues with this dirty habit, the more of your life and health is wasted. And now you're young enough to recuperate and start fresh.

Plus, if you're married, this habit could be impacting your marriage; if you're not, it could be the reason you're not involved with someone. Sometimes our habits become our lovers, and that's not always a good thing.


11. Cut out the haters from your life.

Are you not having kids? Are you never getting married? Are you ready to come out of the closet? No matter the case, tell the people who are "haters" where to go and cut them from your life. You don't need to go with the grain. The grain is boring anyway. Own who you are and love it.

12. Decide how you want to raise your future children.

If you're about to raise a kid or are raising children, make peace with your spiritual and religious viewpoints, and decide now before the kids get older how they will be raised. Don't start making kids and then backtrack on how to raise them. You and your partner should be on track with this ahead of time.

13. Stay on top of your health.

Get yearly physicals and annual blood work, and please, check your hormones and thyroid levels. Those are two issues women tend to have, so be on top of it now.


14. Quit your terrible job.

If you hate your job now, you better find a way to transition into something else before you turn 40. The longer we stay in a field, the harder it is to get out.

15. Stop wasting time with a deadbeat boyfriend.

Is your fiancé taking forever to say "I do?" Is your boyfriend meandering along with no desire to further the commitment? Don't waste your thirties and possible forties with this fool. Dump him.

RELATED: 11 Signs He's Not The One (And It's Time To Move On)

Laura Lifshitz is a former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate currently writing about divorce, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, and marriage for The New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, and more.