Glasses Half Full asked midlife topic experts to share special advice on everything from healthy living to planning for retirement. Our experts’ uplifting stories will inspire you to approach every situation with a Glass(es) Half Full mentality, so check back each month for more in this series and like us on Facebook for additional tips!

Meet Debra Boulanger, our latest contributor in our Glass(es) Half Full series! Deb is an expert in helping women over 40 renew their lives, often after a time of crisis or change. She approaches the women she coaches with objective-based plans to help them actively work toward new goals in health and happiness. Whether it’s issues with food, relationships, or work, Deb loves helping women move closer to living a happier life on their own terms. Read her guest post below for inspiring advice for women and four steps you can take now to begin your transformation!

Deb Boulanger

Here we are – in midlife! You might find yourself asking, how did this happen so quickly?

Where’s the energy I used to have?
Why can’t sleep through the night?
Where is the passion, excitement, and fun in my life?
What happened to my brain?
And by the way, have you seen my glasses?

Don’t get me wrong. I love being my age. I’m 57 and have never been happier or healthier than I am right now. But I had to do some work to get here, and in the process, I created a formula for health and happiness that anyone can follow.

Most women I work with don’t start paying attention to themselves until something goes wrong — a scary health report, divorce or death of a spouse, an unplanned career change, or a sudden heartbreak from an empty nest. It’s then when they wake up and say, “What about me? I’ve spent so many years taking care of everyone else around me, what do I do now?”

Great question. What do you do now?

Here is my four-step guide to health and happiness in middle age. Start now! There’s no sense in waiting until something goes wrong. The amazing part about this process is that once you start changing your life in one area, you will start looking around you and creating more ways to feel happier in other areas. You’re not getting any younger, so what are you waiting for?

Step 1: Start where you are.

The first step is to make an honest assessment of what’s working and what’s missing in your life right now. I created a quick and easy quiz called The Happiness Quotient® that will help get you there. Hint: you can go ahead and take it now, here!

Step 2: Create your vision.

Where in your life are you least satisfied? Start asking yourself: “What does it look like when I feel happy and satisfied with my health, money, relationships, career, or spiritual life?” Get a journal and paint a wonderful future vision of how you would like to feel. What would you be doing? Who would you be doing it with? What does being happy look like to you in that area of your life?

Step 3: Pick a starting point.

Ask yourself, “What one thing could I do right now to move me closer to that vision?” It could be to schedule a date with a friend. Take a walk. Eat organic and healthy foods. Create a budget. Ask for a raise. Start your own business. Meditate or pray. Whatever it is for you, make a promise to yourself to take action!

Step 4: Watch out for your inner critic.

We can’t help it. Each of us has an inner mean girl. She keeps you safe, but sometimes keeping you safe also holds you back. She may say things like, “You could never afford that.” “You won’t stick to that routine, you’ve fallen off the wagon before.” “Who is going to date you at your age and in that body?” “Why should I ask for a raise, I probably won’t get it.”

It hurts to hear it out loud, but it’s true isn’t it? Now is the time to live outside your comfort zone. Staying in your comfort zone is what got you here in the first place, so tell your inner mean girl, “I’ve got this.” I love midlife because every day is a new opportunity to push myself further, try something new and bust out of these self-limiting beliefs.

Since my divorce four years ago, I have completely changed my diet and started my own business. I meditate daily and have found new love. But I didn’t do this all on my own — I had a team. I tapped top experts who could guide me on the path of where I wanted to be. I hired a health coach, a career mentor, and even a love coach. I called them Team Deb.

Think about it: Who do you want on your team?

I have an amazing vision for my future and take steps every day to ensure that my next number of years on this planet, however long that might be, will be lived to the fullest!

Thank you to Deb for taking the time to give us such valuable, motivating advice! Make sure you visit Deb’s website and check out more of her resources on living a healthy and happy midlife!