1. Take steps to improve your mental health. This past year, mental health, and especially mental health problems, became less taboo and brought up in discussions. A lot of people suffer from a mental health issue and feel like they’re alone in the fight. Stress and anxiety are quite common – but before reaching out to a doctor for a script of prescription medication (don’t get me started), look at easy at-home ways to reduce this stress. Workout your brain by doing meditation practice, yoga and breathing practices or even games like sudoku. *This is by no means advising people to avoid a doctor – if you suffer from depression/suicidal thoughts, please seek help from a medical professional. I am promoting prevention practices to keep your mental health problems from advancing… like common anxiety.
2. Stop talking bad about your friends. This is so hard because sometimes you just need to vent! But one goal for my personal development is to stop trying to avoid confrontation and reach out to my friends if I have an issue or problem with something they did/said. I feel like you can have some difficult conversations, but overall, your friendship will strengthen because of this.
3. Don’t invest in friendships where there is no growth and development taking place. One prerequisite for dating or for friendships is that I need to be surrounded by people with goals and aspirations. If my significant other is abusing drugs/alcohol, has no goals, doesn’t support what I want to do in life, etc., it’s not going to work for me. And more recently, I’ve decided to start holding up my friends to the same standard. There is no point of working on a relationship with someone who is stuck in bad habits and not even doing the bare minimum to improve their life. I encourage everyone to do the same and help those relationships in need, and/or decipher whether or not it’s worth it in the long run.
4. Be less lazy about the foods you consume. We live in a generation where the food we eat and products we consume can be extensively researched. Find out where you’re getting your products, and decide if you want to support companies that exploit workers, animals and/or destroy the environment. Stop being lazy about it and start making conscious choices! And while you’re at it, enhance your physical health. Join a gym and actually make an effort to go. When you’re working out, releasing those endorphins and staying fit, you feel so much better and improve your overall wellbeing.
5. Believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear. The media is 100% biased. Before following one news station/website/tv program and believing what they tell you is happening in the world, do your research! There are so many underlying agendas for news companies and it’s really hard to find information that is credible. Even the president of the United States has trouble following this simple tip.
6. Try new things. The same routine every day gets tedious, fast. Catch yourself when you notice you’re doing the same thing every day, and try to plan activities that are not in your normal day-to-day life.
7. Get out of the US. If you haven’t left the US yet, you really have to do that – and no, I don’t mean an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Traveling and experiencing a culture first-hand is something that brings so much meaning to life, it’s almost hard to describe. It puts your life into perspective, it brings you a newfound idea of what’s important, and it’s, quite frankly, awesome.
8. Help your community. Volunteer your time to organizations that you believe in. Learn about what’s going on in the city you live in, and how you could help. Make your own nonprofit or fundraiser and donate your time and money to those less fortunate in your city!
9. Reduce stress – Stress causes more stress. It can lead to heart problems, anxiety, acne, depression, physical ailments and more! It’s important to try and find healthy ways to deal with your stress before turning to addictive pharmaceuticals. Working out, drinking enough water, practicing mindfulness, meditation, living in the moment, yoga, getting on a good sleep schedule, taking each day at a time…all very simple ways you can reduce stress and live a happier, healthier life.
10. Focus on sleeping and drinking water! Making sure you’re getting the most out of your sleep each night by finding the right practices that work for you. We should all aim for 8 hours of sleep per night, to feel rejuvenated and re-energized for your workday or weekend. And hydration! Aiming for 8 x 8-ounce glasses of water each day to stay hydrated and healthy during the months that can make your body really dry!
12. Slow down on social media. Likes, comments, and retweets don’t define who you are… and don’t let them. I realize that social media has some advantages, like posting blogs… But scrolling through your life and having it revolve around applications is absolutely pointless.
13. Pick up some books. I’ve never been a big reader, but I think it’s important to start reading every day and taking some time to get away from a screen and onto paper! Reading is also a great way to improve your mental health, and can be very therapeutic.
14. Stop worrying about what other people think of your life/decisions. I personally have struggled immensely with this…trying to please everyone, trying to be friends with everyone. But that is not life or reality. There are always going to be people who are jealous or don’t agree with the choices that you make, even if they’re healthy choices! People always have an opinion! Don’t let that deter you from doing something that you’ve always dreamed of doing! I will never regret the decision I made to buy a one-way ticket and live in South America – it changed my life forever.
15. Be more organized and less of a procrastinator. Nobody likes a hot mess. Get a planner/organizer and start getting it together. When you say you’re going to do something, do it!
16. Be consistent with your goals. Check back each week and make sure you’re on the right path to meeting your short and long-term goals. Adjust the goals accordingly. Don’t wait until a holiday or new year to start working on your goals. If you feel like making a change, start today!
17. Take on day at a time. Living in the moment and taking it day by day, hour by hour, is a really beneficial mentality to live with. Quitting an unhealthy habit can seem impossible, but if you take it one day at a time, you can really find the drive to meet your goals!
18. Be yourself. Most importantly, be who you are. Don’t conform to what other people think you should be interested in and care about. Make changes for you, create something for you, learn a new topic for you, exercise for your well being, and be who you want to be.