1. Quit comparing yourself to others.
I know how it goes. You scroll past photos of your friend Jane Doe during her latest yoga retreat in Costa Rica and her legs are flawless and tanned like a sparkling hot dog roasting under a heat lamp. She’s also just started up her own company that specializes in making yogurt from cows that meditated all day. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what Jane Doe is doing but if you’re thumbing through Instagram grilling her pictures because they make you feel inadequate you are being a thief of joy, my friend. If you want your life to be like someone else’s then you will only be met with disappointment. Learn to cultivate the capacity to celebrate the successes of others without taking it to a personal level. When you separate yourself from the trance of unworthiness, you’ll be able to accept where you are in life and maybe even create your own version of hot dog Costa Rica.
2. Stop hanging around with unmotivated people.
If your friend group consists of people who sit around all day playing video games and smoking weed then chances are, that’s probably all you’re going to end up doing. When you surround yourself with successful people who have a good head on their shoulders you too, will start thriving. My grandpa always used to say “If you hang around with someone who has a limp, you’re going to start walking with one”. It’s a harsh reality but it’s true. I”m a firm believer in “your vibe attracts your tribe”. Go find some people who are motivated as hell and watch yourself grow.
3. Quit spending your hard earned money on things that you don’t need.
Let’s face it, I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to this. I will walk into the mall and pass up a $20 shirt yet go spend $45 at the thrift store and hauling home 6 flannels, a set of retro mugs, and a framed picture of somebody’s cat (which I renamed Barbara and hung above my stove) ALL OF WHICH I DON’T NEED. Do yourself this one big favor. By tucking away a little cash into your savings each paycheck it will prove to be a heck of a lot better than turning 30 and having to pay a fee because you’ve overdrawn from your account again.
4. Stop acting like your health isn’t important.
We are not here on Earth forever…I know, shocking! But seriously, we only get this one body to navigate life in and it’s our job to take care of it the best that we can. I know that we’re all very busy trying to chase our dreams and pay the bills. I also know how much easier it is to run through the drive-thru and grab a crunch wrap supreme and call it a day. But I’ve realized that it’s much easier (and healthier in the long run) to prep meals ahead of time and take them on the go. Boil up a lot of rice, roast a chicken and a few days worth of vegetables and you’re basically going to live forever because you’re so healthy. Lastly, please stop pretending that fast food is real food because you and I both know it’s not.
5. Quit using your cell phone while you’re out to dinner.
For the love of all things good and true, nobody looks more like an idiot than the person who’s sending a snap chat while they’re out at a restaurant having dinner. You may not even realize it, but you’re completely disconnected with the folks you’re supposed to be sharing your time with. I can understand the need to capture the moments of life because I enjoy taking photographs quite a bit. About a month ago my boyfriend and I went on vacation to North Carolina. We spent time with family, ate at awesome restaurants and even hiked to the peak of a mountain top. By the end of the trip we both realized that we had hardly taken any pictures. Between the both of our phones we probably had like 20 altogether. It’s not that we didn’t want to share our time together with our friends and family on social media, but we were more engrossed in the moment and less concerned with maintaining an online presence. If you go on a vacation and are constantly posting updates to your Instagram…where you truly present? Probably not. Anyway, I took this as a sign of maturity but then again you’re talking to the person who’s wearing a shirt that says “blow me” on it with a picture of a nintendo game and just ate a bag of skittles. Life is full of paradoxes.
6. Give up living in the past and start living in the now.
Do you know someone who talks about something that happened to them years ago yet they keep on re-living it like it just happened yesterday? Or that one friend who has been in a new relationship for a year now yet won’t stop comparing them to their ex? Do you know people who speak of high school as “the best time of their lives”? Yeah. I know these people too. There isn’t anything wrong with feeling nostalgia towards certain parts of your life and you can still love high school. The problem arises when you get attached to parts of life that are no longer there. So right now, I’d like to formally invite you to the party that’s called YOUR LIFE and your past is NOT invited. Time to get acquainted with the present and make the most of it.
7. Quit being “too busy” for your family.
I understand that everybody has a different family dynamic. Family for some people doesn’t necessarily mean biological. Family includes the people close to our hearts who played a part in helping us become the person we are today. They looked after us, fed both our bellies and our spirits, and probably gave us both really good and really horrible advice. We’ve fought and cried and laughed and shared so many irreplaceable moments together. Now that we’re all grown we have our own busy schedule to accommodate. We have places to be and people to see. Yep, people to see. Like your mom who keeps trying to set up a time to see you. Or your grandparents who you only really get to catch up with on the holidays. Family is important. Right now, you might be lucky enough to still make memories with these special people so don’t wait until it’s too late. Life is too short, call your grandma and ask her about her day. She loves you.
8. Stop hating on your job.
If you are lucky enough to be employed, interrupt your pity party with gratitude. Some people do not have the privilege of making a living for themselves because they’re disabled or sick. You are alive, well, and generating money for yourself. Yes, the reality is a lot of us are not doing the work that we actually enjoy doing…yet. My therapist gave me some really great advice a couple of years ago when I was working a job that I absolutely felt was tormenting me but needed because, well, money. She suggested that I start viewing my then job as a tor “mentor” instead of a “tormentor”. What she meant was to simply take my experience at the job and use it to teach me so I am prepared for similar situations that might occur in my future. Just because you are currently bagging groceries doesn’t mean that you will never become a pianist, a chef, or a cryptozoologist. So practice bringing your entire self to your job every day, don’t just go through the motions and hope the time flies by. Success isn’t limited to the people with impeccable luck. It’s for people who work hard, stay humble, kind and keep their goals in sight.
9. Quit beating yourself up for being human.
Your anxiety is okay. Feeling vulnerable is okay. Feeling not okay is okay. Being scared is fine. Being alone is fine, too. Failing is okay because you can try again. Your weird habits are probably pretty normal (unless you hoola-hoop naked in your living room then we should probably talk). You’re kind. You’re genuine. You’re intelligent. You’re more than likely overthinking this. Breathe in. Breathe out. Give yourself a high five.
10. Give up the belief that you need to have it “all together”.
Nobody has it “all together”. Let that sink in. No matter how a person may appear from the outside we are all just basically winging it at life and trying to figure it out along the way. It was a strange feeling at first when I realized this because for awhile I had a tendency to idolize people whom I deemed more “put together” than I was. That got me into a lot of trouble because without realizing it, I actually begin to devalue myself a lot. Being smack dab in the middle at 25 years old, this is what I have learned. Life is meant to lived. Embrace the pile of laundry that’s been sitting in the corner for 3 days now. Embrace your messy hair. So what if you haven’t been to Thailand or think green smoothies are gross. Nobody said that you have to get married, have children and a house by the time you’re greeted by your 20’s. All of that has just been implied by social norms, which is a category that not everyone fits into. And that’s okay. Now, get out there and go participate in your life while you’re still young and beautiful.