Forty Quotes to Celebrate the Milestone of 40.

#40. “If all it took were knowledge, we would all be billionaires with six-pack abs” — Derek Sivers


Reaching the milestone of 40 is not just about a number for me but a feeling that I have arrived. You see, my entire professional career, I have always felt like I’ve had to work a little harder to prove myself as I look 10 years younger than I am.

Now I know a lot of women pay fortunes for this result but when you are starting out a career and you want to prove yourself, human nature is to judge a book by its cover. Until I opened my mouth and they heard I actually knew what I was talking about, it was a continual effort to prove my worth.

Now that I am 40, I can officially stop caring that I look younger and now enjoy the benefits.

To bring in this glorious milestone, I have selected 40 of my favourite quotes that inspire me to think a little differently and focus on what matters; I hope they do the same for you.

1. “Don’t pursue happiness; pursue a lifestyle that gives happiness!” Dandapani

You cannot expect 5 minutes of meditation to help you stay focused and calm for the whole day. What are you doing the other 23 hours and 55 minutes to produce a lifestyle of harmony?

2. “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it” — Richard Whately

The first hour of the day is where you create space for what matters most to you. If you are not triggering yourself into a peak state, everyone else will trigger you.

3. “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will” — Greg McKeown

Take charge of your calendar. Block out time for planning, reflection, self-care, a lunch break — whatever you need to press your internal reset button. Label the slot’ Meeting with EXCO’ — after all, you are the executive committee.

4. “What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? — Greg McKeown

Do not link your self-worth exclusively to achievement. Find value in all the roles you play so that when you are a parent, child, friend, or mentor, you no longer feel like it is in the way but on the way.

5. ‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. ‘– Anne Lamott

How do you unplug? If you are crashing at 3 PM, you need to start including strategic stops in your day. Stand up every 50 minutes to get some water, stretch and take a brain break. The most successful people do not have less than you to do; they are better at regularly recharging throughout the day.

6. Rather than asking: “What would I like to do today?” you could ask, “What would my future self want me to do today?” — Benjamin Hardy

Always be authentic to your future self. Today you may not feel like going for that walk, but if you give into the snooze button, where will you be six months or even a year from today? Your future self will always be grateful for the harder choice you made today.

7. “Progress not perfection is what we should be asking of ourselves” — Julia Cameron

Perfection is a fancy form of procrastination. Done is better than perfect. Progress allows you to adopt a beginner mindset and embrace mistakes as feedback.

8. “If you want to have more, do more and be more, it all begins with the voice that no one else hears” — Tim Ferriss

The most powerful conversations are the ones you have with yourself. Always channel the inner cheerleader rather than the inner critic. Your inner critic is like a toddler; if you stop paying attention to it, it eventually gives up and goes back to its corner.

9. “In a single moment, a person can choose to change everything. Change doesn’t have to take a long time; it happens the instant we decide.” ― Benjamin P. Hardy

The moment you decide to believe in yourself is the moment everything changes.

10. ‘To get the right things done, choosing what to ignore is as important as where to focus.’ — Greg McKeown

Harmony = presence — guilt. When you are working, be focused on your work. When you are with loved ones or relaxing, drop the guilt about not working or what else you could or should be doing.

11. “If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us.” Marshall Goldsmith

Control the environment of distraction by closing your Outlook, WhatsApp chats and the social media feeds that compete for your attention. You decide when and how often you are prepared to be interrupted.

12. “Design your life in such a way that you would never need a vacation from it.” Boruch Akbosh

This is all about lifestyle design. How can you become the architect of your calendar rather than the victim of it?

13. “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” Lao Tzu

If unconditional self-love is hard to swallow, how about developing an unconditional friendliness towards yourself? How can you make decisions in your own best interest? When you need a break, stop grinding through. Above all, be kind to yourself.

14. “Self-leadership is self-care. By making more space for yourself, you achieve more, not less”- Lori Milner

When you keep the promises you make to yourself, you can show up more powerfully for everyone else. You cannot give to others from an empty cup. What are you doing to make sure your cup is overflowing?

15. “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage pleasantly, smilingly, and non-apologetically — to say no to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside.” Stephen Covey

Replace FOMO (fear of missing out) for JOMO (Joy of missing out). It’s not about what opportunity you are missing out on, but what are you prepared to go big on?

16. “If you talk about it, it’s a dream; if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.” Tony Robbins

If you don’t carve out dedicated time for what matters to you, it will always remain on the someday list.

17. “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” –Sydney Harris

You will always feel like it’s too busy; remember the last time you took leave. The day it came, you couldn’t believe how bad the timing was. It will never feel like the right time. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.

18. “How we schedule our days is how we spend our lives” — Gretchen Rubin

How about replacing your to-do list with a to-feel list? If you want to feel relaxed, energised, and content — show me the related activity in your calendar. If you want to work on your personal development, when will you read or listen to a TED talk? If it gets scheduled, it gets done.

19. “12 years from now, your future self is going to thank you for something you did today, for an asset you began to build, a habit you formed, a seed you planted. Even if you’re not sure of where it will lead, today’s the day to begin” — Seth Godin

What is the first step towards your future goal? Is it one squat, one page, one mindful breath? Create your micro win and celebrate it. Micro wins truly are the antidote to inaction.

20. “The only way to make your present better is to make your future bigger” — Dan Sullivan

You can create the future you want if you are willing to speak it into existence. Take a journal and describe your life ten years from now with as much detail as possible. Think big. Dream bigger. What is the first step you can do today towards this vision?

21. “A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.” Christopher K. Germer

Self-compassion is the ultimate vaccine. With kindness towards yourself, you will always bounce back quicker and stronger no matter what challenges life presents to you.

22. “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling, than feeling yourself into action”. — Jerome Bruner

Inspiration and the muse only show up once you have decided to act. Don’t wait for it to permit yourself to begin; it likes to arrive fashionably late and take all the credit.

23. “Only you can take inner freedom away from yourself, or give it to yourself. Nobody else can.” — Michael A. Singer

When you can own your headspace and take charge of the thoughts you tell yourself, your entire internal world will shift in ways you cannot imagine.

24. “If you focus on what you have, you gain what you lack. If you focus on what lack, you lose what you have.” — Greg McKeown

Gratitude is the ultimate superpower to boost your mood and provide perspective. Focus on what you have in your life, not what is missing. You cannot be angry and grateful at the same time.

25. “My mind is a bad neighborhood that I try not to go into alone.” — Anne Lamott

Your self-talk can make or break you; it is the difference between success and failure. Rather than self-criticism, how about acknowledging you made the best decisions at the time with the resources and knowledge available to you. Develop a learning mindset rather than a self-sabotaging one.

26. “You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make a choice” — Seth Godin

Even if you’re not sure what remarkable means for you, do not let the alternative be to hide your skills, abilities, and your unique gifts from the world. Do not dim your light to make others feel better about themselves.

27. “Do not do more today than you can completely recover from tomorrow” — Greg McKeown

If you have an intense day, make sure you schedule some recovery time the following day. It is a strategic stop to refill your energy tank; your car will not get very far either if it’s running on fumes.

28. “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality” — Seneca

Let go of trying to control your external world. Beware of imaging a worst-case scenario and bringing it back to the present moment and start living it as if it’s real. Sometimes all you can control is your breath; this makes the difference between reacting with fear and responding with fact.

29. “Often, all that stands between you and what you want is a better set of questions” — Tim Ferriss

The quickest way to shift your focus is with a better question. Instead of asking yourself, ‘Why is this happening to me?’, ask yourself more empowering questions like ‘What is this here to teach me and how can I grow from this?’.

30. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” — Jim Rohn

If you are the most successful person in the room, you are in the wrong room. Surround yourself with people that inspire you and that you can learn from.

31. “Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love — is the sum of what you focus on” — Cal Newport

Energy flows where attention goes. If you are constantly checking every news feed, your focus becomes about fear and negativity. Focus on the aspects of your life that bring joy, gratitude, and inspiration.

32. “Sleep is the chief nourisher in life’s feast” — Shakespeare

Adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Treat sleep like a meeting in your diary, and do not show up late for it. You may think you can manage on less sleep, but the research proves otherwise. An extra hour of sleep can make the difference between getting through your week and truly experiencing your weeks.

33. “We don’t sit in meditation to become good meditators. We sit in meditation so that we’ll be more awake in our lives” — Pema Chodron

It’s easy to be calm and content on the meditation mat. The real challenge is remaining calm on the inside when you feel like your world is crumbling around you on the outside.

34. “If it’s a priority, you’ll find a way. If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse..” Jim Rohn

Busy is a decision. Instead of making excuses that you don’t have time for something, empower yourself by saying, this isn’t a priority for me right now. It releases any guilt attached to not doing the activity in question.

35. “Wherever you go, there you are” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

Happiness begins with your inner world. You can be in the most unique, beautiful location, but your external world can never compensate if you are not content within yourself.’

36. “If you don’t make your life about what you say yes to, it will almost certainly become what you intended to say no to” — Greg McKeown

Own your no. You don’t have to explain. If you are saying yes out of guilt or fear, it should probably be a NO.

37. It is better to follow your own path, however imperfectly, than to follow someone else’s perfectly” — The Bhagavad-Gita

That person you regard as perfect has the same self-doubts as you. Here’s to choosing to be imperfectly perfect.

38. “Creators create. Action is identity. You become what you do. You don’t need permission from anybody to call yourself a writer, entrepreneur, or musician. You just need to write, build a business, or make music. You’ve got to do the verb to be the noun”. — Chase Jarvis

True behaviour change is identity change. Writers write. If the verb is what ignites you from the inside out, schedule it unapologetically into your calendar. You do have time for it.

39. Happiness isn’t an accident. The science is clear on this: human happiness isn’t gained from achievement. It’s chosen. We decide to be happy, and then that decision helps drive the achievement that brings us fulfilment, not the other way around” — Chase Jarvis

Choose to do today in happiness. Just because. And then do it again tomorrow. No matter what is going on in your world, it is always available as a choice in any moment.

40. “If all it took were knowledge, we would all be billionaires with six-pack abs” — Derek Sivers

Knowledge is not power; it is potential power. No matter how small, taking action in the direction of your goals — now that is power.

Here’s to the next chapter,

Warm wishes


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Lori Milner

Lori Milner

Author. TEDx Speaker. Trainer. Coach. Mother of two. Passionate about personal growth and creating work/life harmony.