How to add years to your life

Another year on and another year older. How does that make you feel? Your answer to the question could, in itself, hold the key to how you age and even increase your lifespan!

In the Western world, attitudes to age leave a lot to be desired. Whole industries are built on selling the elixir of youth – the implication therefore being, that ageing is undesirable and to be avoided at all costs. Age is the butt of endless jokes and outdated stereotypes remain. The message is clear: it’s all downhill after 30. Growing older is synonymous with decline.

Sadly this is not only inaccurate, it risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is plenty of scientific evidence to show that while, of course, there is a natural decline in some areas as we get older, it’s not all bad news. In her book Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long and Well You live, Becca Levy presents an alternative narrative. Her research shows that there are many areas, both physical and mental, that actually improve with age. This is especially true when we continue to fully use all our faculties.

It’s in our hands

What’s more, in many respects, we hold the key to our own future. A study by The Global Wellness Institute states:

In the next decade, 90 will become the new 40….Longevity science shows that we are the coder of our own genes and the right wellness habits mean an unprecedented future of long, healthy lives.

However, I am a firm believer that the ‘right wellness habits’ will not only include the now well-documented prescription of sufficient exercise and a good diet. Just as important, if not more so in my opinion, is managing our own expectations and pre-conceptions.  In other words, controlling the brain has got a critical role to play.

In the book The Expectation Effect, David Robson dedicates a whole chapter to age. As with many other things, what the brain thinks might happen is usually what does. Those who have more negative beliefs around ageing and its limiting effects, tend to show greater decline. In contrast, by embracing it in a more positive (and science-backed) way, it can protect against the very things we are most worried about.

In the years since I have been running Me Spot, I have seen a huge diversity in approach to ageing. There are those who refuse to allow it to define them and (as a result?) have none of the ‘symptoms’ that others would consider inevitable.

Watch out!

Awareness is the first step towards doing things differently. I have noticed five common age-related ways of thinking to watch out for :

1. Allowing age to define behaviour – ‘I am too old for that’.

Who says?

2.  Enabling the past to influence the future ‘This is just who I am, I can’t change now’.

Our past identity does not need to be our future one. We can change course at any time. It’s all in our hands.

3. Pre-empting ‘what might be’ and so limiting what ‘could’ be.

This is usually driven by the fear of the unknown as well as an imagination that always errs on the side of catastrophe! Best not to imagine but rather get on and do and see what happens. It’s never usually anything like you thought.

4. Attributing issues to age – especially where the physical is concerned. ‘I am 60 now so it’s to be expected’.

Of course bodies will change but the more they are asked to do, the more they retain their ability to function optimally.

5. Playing safe

It’s easy to live life in a comfortable routine. Watch out though – the world can become small there.

My pledges

On the basis of everything I have observed, I put together a code for how I want to live out the rest of my days. Here’s the pledges I have made to myself:

  • I will take more risks – armed with experience and wisdom, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  • I feel fitter and stronger than I ever did in my 20’s and 30’s. I will keep moving my body and managing my mind and I know it will stand me in good stead.
  • I will focus less on the destination and more on enjoying the ride.
  • There is no correlation between age and what is possible. I feel like I have so much more to achieve and I don’t intend to let a number get in the way of that.

Actions speak louder than words

It is time that ageism is seen as discrimination and called out in the same way many other prejudices are. But in addition, I believe that all of us in the second half of life have a role to play. We need to prove (to ourselves as well as to others) that it can be just as exciting as the first. To do that, we will not only need to block out society’s dialogue but, more importantly, monitor our own. Limiting thoughts and beliefs should be questioned and challenged. By refusing to play it safe, we can redefine what is possible….and what is possible is limitless.









  1. Jo Santa-Olalla

    Great blog!

    A wonderful philosophy for 2024!

  2. Shagufta Butt

    I love ❤️ this too Lindsay. Very motivational. Some of the points remind me of my Sunday class.

    Thank you

  3. Charmaine FURSMAN

    I love this Lindsay and I am going to write down the pledges you have made to yourself as I think I would like to adopt them too!
    I do feel that generally speaking our beliefs concerning ageing are changing which is fantastic. To steal a much used phrase, we have to be the change we want.
    Many thanks for your cheerful festive blog

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