1. Learn. Every day. In whatever way you can. Read a book, spend five minutes catching up on the news, master a tiny task. Go to bed every night knowing you are (even in the smallest way) smarter than you were the day before.
2. Look up from that small device in your hand. There’s a beautiful world happening right around you.
3. Be honest, always. Learn to get in the habit of speaking truthfully, rather than dancing around a subject or feeling the need to tell people what they want to hear.
4. Go to bed early when you know you need a good night’s sleep, no matter how hard it is to force yourself to do it.
5. And sleep in when you know you deserve it.
6. Listen to the music that brings you joy, whether it’s from the most obscure band in the world or the most overplayed Top 40 song ever.
7. Abstain from judging others and taking part in gossip, no matter how satisfying it may feel in the moment.
8. And when you fail at this from time to time (because we all will, because we’re human) – look internally and figure out what caused this behavior in the first place. Was it something in yourself that you were insecure or frustrated or unhappy with? If so, concentrate on addressing those issues rather than projecting your uneasiness and insecurity elsewhere. It will make you so much happier long-term.
9. Make eye contact with the people you’re interacting with. Remind yourself of how hard it can sometimes be, but how quickly it makes your connection that much stronger.
10. Eat slowly. Put down your phone every few bites and just pay attention to the food and how good it really does taste.
11. Be kind to the person who annoys you the most. It’s a fast way to remember not only how human you are, but how human they are, too.
12. Work every day to remember that just because someone’s opinion is different than yours does not automatically mean it is wrong. Do everything you can to understand the lenses through which other people look at the world. It doesn’t mean you have to change your own views – it will just help you to be more understanding of theirs, even if you don’t agree.
13. Tell other people why they’re awesome. It doesn’t take away your own happiness or confidence, it just grows everything even more.
14. Spend your money in a wakeful, conscious manner.
15. Understand that it is possible to forgive people without having to necessarily keep them in your life. Forgive those that have wronged you but don’t feel guilty for continuing your life without them.
16. Find things to do every couple of hours to take your eyes off of a screen. Go for a walk, grab a coffee, chat with your coworker, or even just close your eyes and breathe. You deserve a little rest (and so do your eyes).
17. Say “thank you,” even for the littlest things. The more you do it, the more you will realize (even unconsciously) how many tiny, little things you have to be grateful for.
18. Surround yourself with people who make your world brighter and your mind more excited and your heart bigger.
19. Listen when you have conversations, instead of just hearing them and thinking of what you’re going to say next. We all do it, and we’re all a work in progress. But just keep in mind that the more you work on this, the more natural it will become. And the more you do it, the more you’ll realize how much you miss out on when you hear instead of listen.
20. Ask questions. Ask a lot of questions. Never suppress your curiosity. It’s the only way you really grow.
21. Remember that you always deserve love. From your family, from your friends, from your significant other. And from yourself.