In the society we live in today, we’re influenced easily by social media, people with zero talent that we somehow idolize, and whatever latest trend we think is worth following.

But when we so easily conform to what’s in and what’s out, we’re not taking the time to take into account our big goals and work at achieving them. We live in a world that has given us such easy access to whatever we want, that we get lazy and forget what it’s like to enjoy the reward of achieving what we’ve worked so hard to get. In other words, we settle for what’s easily in front of us and what we don’t have to work hard at getting.

I hope that my generation will understand our self-worth and not settle for what we’re given as a disguise on a silver platter. I hope they learn to not disguise our smiles when we know we deserve more and deserve better.

1. Change your major.

We all know what the easy majors are. They’re obvious. The kids that hardly ever have to stay up late to cram a paper, study guide, or an exam the night before it’s due. They slide by through finals week and a “difficult assignment” is something that takes more than a day to complete. Some of the most brilliant students out there are afraid of failure and afraid of trying something new, so what do they do? They dumb themselves down and choose to get a degree in something that they mask themselves as a genius in. Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to get out there and study something that’s difficult, but interesting. You might surprise yourself in how you can grow as a person.

2. Break up with the loser you’re stuck with.

When your relationship is going absolutely nowhere but down, why on earth would you stay with them? Using the excuse that you’re in too deep is absolute BS and you shouldn’t use that. The truth? You’re afraid of being alone and afraid of the consequences that will come along breaking it off. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a marriage between two people where one was so much more invested than the other. What ends up happening is they have kids and it’s too late to leave, so the moment that kid turns 18, they’re out. You’re not only lying to yourself but you’re lying to one another. You’re supposed to be with someone who challenges you every day and brings out the best in yourself.

3. Quit your mediocre job.

Do you really want to retire somewhere that you find sub par? The cliché saying “do something you love so you never have to work a day in your life” has some truth to it. There will always be the days that you come home and question why you’re not living life like the Kardashians (a.k.a. getting paid for existing), but 8/10 times you will come home happy at the accomplishments you’ve made and what you completed at work. So stop complaining about your job when you’re qualified to work at hundreds of other places that will give you financial stability and happiness from what you’re doing. Because believe it or not, you will be working for decades, and it’s only fair that you enjoy the environment you’re working in.

4. Don’t just stare at your list of goals.

It’s natural to have big aspirations, and with the right mindset, you will learn that nothing is too far fetched. So make your dreams a reality and get off that high horse and start truly living. For some people, traveling the world is a goal and completing a project in your own backyard is another. So why haven’t you done so yet? The world is waiting for you to discover it so why not go out and see it for yourself? That mountain you’ve been staring at is waiting for you to climb it, and the fear of falling can be overcome when you decide to skydive at whatever age you’re at. Put on your brave face and go out there!

5. Don’t live somewhere you hate.

We’ve seen so many TV shows and movies that talk about people who are stuck in their hometown. For goodness sake, I know people in real life who are stuck. It’s the classic high school jock who after high school realized he was no longer king of his world. Now he’s working a minimum wage job while trying to balance a family and a social life and is struggling to do so. Don’t be that person. If you hate where you live, why are you still there? You could move 10 miles into the next town over, or 10,000 miles into the next country over. The world is vast and you have so many choices of where to live.

So in whatever life gives us, always work harder at achieving the best level of that category. Don’t settle for what’s easily given to us and don’t expect to be handed things from other people. It’s important to work hard for what you want and to make sure what you want is really your final say. Because trust me, it’s worth it in the end.