Another year has come and gone, and while it might be tempting to set some New Year’s resolutions, there’s no reason you need to think so small. Instead of focusing on short-term improvements, aim to do these things for life and you can’t go wrong.
See and experience as much of the world as you possibly can. Sure, a lot of people rank traveling high on their list of life goals, but it’s not all about snapping Insta-worthy pics of yourself on Miami Beach or eating pasta in Rome. Go out and see the world, but really immerse yourself in other cultures and countries to understand how people live. It will broaden your horizons and your empathy for and understanding of your fellow human beings, which can only be a good thing.
Take no crap from anyone. It doesn’t matter if it’s your mom, your cousin, your BFF, your partner, your colleague—if someone throws BS your way and refuses to acknowledge or change their toxic behavior after you point it out, they should be gone from your life immediately. End of. You deserve better—demand it.
Work as hard as you play. It’d be great if you were independently wealthy and could live life as a perpetual holiday but for most of us, that’s just not realistic. While being a workaholic isn’t good for you, neither is lazing around, waiting for the world to bend to your whims and bring you everything you ever dream of. Put in the work to reach your goals (and if you don’t have goals, get some immediately). There’s nothing like the pride you’ll feel when you accomplish them.
Be kind to people—it costs you nothing. It’s tempting to throw up a middle finger to the world on a daily basis, especially when you’re confronted with a-holes regularly. Plus, sometimes you’re tired, in a bad mood, stressed, whatever, and you don’t have the patience to put up with anyone else. That’s no excuse not to be kind to the people you interact with on a daily basis. It’s free, it could brighten someone else’s day, and it makes you less of a grinch.
Treat your body well because you want it to last you a long time. You may have had your days of getting blackout drunk every weekend, experimenting with drugs, or even parking yourself on the couch most nights of the week with a different takeout order. Eventually (preferably now), that needs to stop. You have one body and if you mess that one up, you don’t get a second chance. Get off the couch, cook yourself healthy meals, move as much as possible, and cut it with the excess alcohol, sugar, drugs, etc. Your health will thank you, especially as you get older.
Read as much as you can. Whether or not you think reading is “boring,” it’s worth getting off your phone and opening the pages of a book semi-often. Maybe you’re into biographies or true crime is more your vibe. There are some stellar fiction novels out there, and even YA books have cool plotlines. The more you read, the more you expand your mind. Plus, it can offer a great escape from the stress of everyday life, so give it a go.
Give yourself a break more often. We’re all our own worst critics but it shouldn’t be that way. There’s a difference between pushing yourself to do better next time and completely beating yourself down every time you make a mistake. The world is going to be hard enough on you as it is. Don’t be hard on yourself too.
Create your own happiness rather than depending on anyone/anything else to provide it. Finding a romantic partner isn’t suddenly going to make you happy. Neither will making loads more money (though it can certainly help if your unhappiness is finance-related) or anything else. It’s up to you to take control of your life and create the happiness you seek. The catch? You have to go out there and get it—it won’t just come to you.
Live in the moment. It’s tempting to worry about the future and the fear of the unknown can totally paralyze us. However, the truth is that none of us can predict what’s just around the corner, so why are we wasting time stressing over things that may not even come to pass? It’s time to take a deep breath, center ourselves, and start living in the moment.
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