Change is difficult. It can be hard to live in the in-betweens of this life. Change can mean anything. Moving to college. Changing your habits. Ending old habits, beginning new ones. New jobs. New places. New faces. Rebuilding is never easy, it isn’t just a “rip off the bandaid” kind of thing. Transition is hard, and it can be easy to give up.
1. Put yourself out there. Most people see this as figurative. “Get out of your comfort zone.” Nope, I mean literally put yourself out there. Go to a new place. Go by yourself, or ask a random person that you met in class or ran into at work to go with you. New coffee shop in town? Check it out. Free concert? Why not? Literally, what do you have to lose? A few hours on a Friday night? Netflix will still be there tomorrow.
2. Live in the messiness. I have a secret for you: we all have no clue what we are doing! Some people are better at faking it than others, so good to the point that they are kidding themselves. Your mom was lying when she said you always have to make your bed. Your life is going to be a figurative and literal mess, honey, get used to it. The goal isn’t to clean it up, but to find a way to truly embrace the complete chaos that is going to be you over and over again. We are human. You aren’t alone.
3. Keep the negativity off Facebook, Instagram, or wherever you rant. Stop it. Stop it right now. Stop it yesterday. Nobody wants to read your posts about how this person totally screwed you over or how you deserve a better life. Keep that negativity off social media. That is your image, that is your brand. Now, I’m not saying you should go around pretending your life is flowers and rainbows (it’s not, see #2), but don’t broadcast your misfortunes. Tell your circle, the people you can trust to truly listen and give you quality advice. Go over life’s speedbumps quietly, and when you arrive your accomplishments will shout for themselves.
4. Hakuna Matata isn’t just your mantra, it’s your name. Live and let live. Let go. Stop letting other people influence you so much. Friends and family will be the worst in supporting your goals and aspirations. That is truly the saddest thing I have ever had to acknowledge. They will want you to change your goal. “Go to college for this,” “Spend your free time doing this,” “Hang out with these people.” You will never hear more criticism or apprehension about your progress from anyone else besides the people closest to you. Take it with a grain of salt. Nod your head, and let their words go in one ear and out the other. You have your own path, and don’t let anyone get in the way of it. Arguing is pointless, it’s not their path and they won’t acknowledge that. It’s okay, you’re doing an amazing job even if they don’t see it yet.
5. Comparison is the chief thief of joy. Comparison can do two things for us: it can inspire us to push harder, keep going, and reach higher, but more often than not it discourages us and makes us feel less about ourselves and our progress. One of my goals used to be to compare myself to others less, but as much as you try, it is impossible. With the interconnectedness of today’s world, it is unreasonable to not. But remember this, those people are not at the same place as you. You are on different paths, and they might have started a day before you, or 100 days before you. They have a different story, different resources, and a different goal. And just because they seem “ahead of you” doesn’t make your efforts any less. If you are working your butt off for a goal, revel in that and celebrate it. No one can take that away from you, and if they do, it is because you let them. You give other people the power to be your standard, when the only standard you have is the person you see in the mirror. Elsa and Anna aren’t amazing princesses in spite of each other, but because of one another. Build each other up.
6. You can’t only put in work the days you feel like it. Some days you will have all the motivation in the world, and some days you will have none, but on all todays how you react and whether you give in or push through will determine your tomorrow.
7. Random acts of kindness. These will make someone’s day, and in turn, may make your own day. If you like that girl’s sweater, tell her. Maybe she’ll invite you to sit with her and that’s how you’ll meet your best friend. Ask to pet the stranger’s dog. Pay for the person behind you in the drive-through if you have extra cash to spare. Hold the door. Give genuine smiles. Kindness is free, and rare these days. Be a trendsetter and bring it back to life.
8. Acknowledge you will have bad days/weeks/hours/minutes. “I want you to remember who you are, despite the bad things that are happening to you. Because those bad things aren’t you. They are just things that happen to you. You need to accept that who you are and the things that happen to you, are not one and the same.” —Colleen Hoover. Keep your chin up, don’t let your crown slip.
9. Scream yes. To coffee. To the study group. To the extra hours at work. To the invitation. To meeting new people. To reconnecting with old friends. To spontaneous trips. To 2 AM ice cream runs. To new things. To old things.
10. Don’t what if it, just risk it. Don’t think. If your heart says go, then go. Risk rejection. Risk failure. Risk getting your heart broken. Risk totally falling on your face and having everyone see. Whether it’s literal, like ice skating in central park for the first time and having no idea what you’re doing, or figurative, like moving across the country to take your dream job and having no idea what you’re doing. Go with your gut. It will pay off in the end, because you’ll either soar to new heights or flop and learn something. Hey, if it doesn’t end the way you want, at least you’ll be in the club of millions of other people who have flopped as well.