1. Reflect on what you’ve already done and experienced this year. Usually we save this until the following January, but pausing a little before the year’s halfway mark and thinking over what has happened will give you a new perspective on how you want to approach the rest of your year.
2. Pinpoint a bad habit that’s been unknowingly slowing you down. If you’re playing on your phone while trying to get through a difficult work task, or you’re trying to ‘relax’ by watching a show but are simultaneously checking your email, you’re never fully connected to either thing you’re doing. Be aware of your smaller everyday actions that you wouldn’t normally think about, and make sure to be fully present in the task at hand.
3. Reconnect with an old friend. Make it as fast or as slow as you want it to be. Ask them if you could fly out to visit them, or just text them a funny old picture of the two of you. In whatever way makes you most comfortable, just find a way to reignite the friendship that you’ve missed for a long time.
4. Accept the fact that not everyone is going to like you. Part of being in adulthood means being surrounded by all sorts of different personality types. You’re going to interact with a lot of people you wouldn’t have otherwise, because of work, grad school, and the endless friends-of-a-friend you will encounter. If you like someone and they like you back, great. If they don’t, continue to treat them with respect and then don’t waste another minute worrying about them.
5. Commit to one small healthy change for your body. Promising yourself that you’re going to run four miles a day, every day, as soon as it’s warm out is not going to work. We don’t do well with maintaining immediate and drastic alterations to our schedule or body. Instead, promise yourself that you’re just going to walk ten minutes a day, or actually eat breakfast, or cut down your caffeine intake a little bit, or have one less drink each time you go out.
6. Make peace with someone who has hurt you. This could, but doesn’t necessarily mean, that you have to confront them, have it out, and verbally express your forgiveness. Sometimes it’s just about coming to terms with your forgiveness inside yourself, so that you can make room for peace and move on with your life.
7. Give yourself a break. This doesn’t mean giving up or getting lazy, it just means cutting yourself some slack. It’s perfectly possible to continue to work hard while still being kind to ourselves – meaning we ask for help when we need help, we give ourselves the freedom to disconnect from work at a certain time each night, we give ourselves breaks in the day to rejuvenate our minds, etc.
8. Change your nightly routine. Most of us usually fall asleep scrolling through our phones until we tire our eyes out enough. Instead, try something that will let you fall asleep more peacefully, without looking at a bright LED screen. Read a book, listen to a podcast, or download an app like Audible that lets you listen to books on tape.
9. Take a staycation. Rent an Airbnb right in your city. Or get a hotel room all to yourself for the night. Or just stay at your own place and avoid making any plans whatsoever. However you want to do it, remember that it’s possible to pamper yourself for a couple days and give your mind a rest without having to fly to some fancy Caribbean resort to do it.
10. Get rid of the clutter on your computer and phone. We use our laptops and phones so much that we don’t even realize how disorganized they become. So take a moment to delete any miscellaneous documents, downloads, screenshots, pictures, and saved tabs that you no longer need on your laptop, and all the extra text messages, photos, and apps that keep slowing your phone down. Cleaning up the devices you use so frequently will feel great.
11. Figure out what you most need to work on to be a better person to others. Is it forcing yourself to be more present in your conversations? Learning how to make others feel more welcomed? Being less judgmental? Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by all the things I feel I need to work on, so instead I don’t do any of them. But zeroing in on one thing can improve your focus and make your specific goal seem more attainable.
12. Try a detox in whatever form you most need it. As long as your vice is relatively harmless and you’re capable of managing it, it’s not something you need to permanently cut out of your life. But taking a temporary break from something you’re used to always having can clear your mind in a very refreshing way.
13. Let go of the person who makes you feel small. Whoever it is – a coworker, a friend, a significant other – you don’t need anyone in your life who makes you feel insignificant, or sad, or unlovable. There’s a difference between a friend who’s just having a bad day and a friend who just wants to bring you down to their level of toxicity. Your gut can probably tell you the difference.
14. Clean out your room and leave only the essentials. Never underestimate the miracle of letting go It will vastly improve your life.
15. Forgive yourself. For that dumb thing you did in middle school that you still feel embarrassed by. For all the mistakes you made at that first job out of college. For anyone you’ve hurt in your love life. The past is done. Be here. Focus on being a better person, here.