Start doing the ‘someday’ things right now. Every time you tell yourself that someday you’ll take horseback riding lessons or someday you’ll travel to Asia or someday you’ll start volunteering, you get further and further away from ever making it happen. Stop living through the ‘idea’ of something and start actually experiencing it, today.
Feed your mind. Mindless consumption of content (television, newsfeeds, etc) is fine every once in a while; we all work hard and we all deserve to turn our brains off for a moment or two. But you also need to remember that your mind is starving for knowledge, and consistently challenging and enlightening your mind with interesting books, articles, movies, shows, documentaries, and anything else you can think of is such an important part of taking care of yourself and ensuring that you’re always on a path towards growth.
Make peace with the fact that you’ll never be perfect. The sooner you figure out how to let go, and how to truly comprehend that no one is perfect, the more you will begin to love yourself as you are.
Be constantly on the lookout for things to be thankful for. The more you search for gratitude, the more you will realize how much goodness you already have in your life. From the tiny things, like a green traffic light, to the big things, like having a job you love – living every day with a mindset of gratitude is such an easy way to spend your life being happy with right now instead of always obsessing over what you want in the future.
Stop belittling yourself to make others feel more comfortable. When you get into shape or get a promotion or experience some kind of major success in your life, it is your job to be humble, but it is not your job to criticize yourself just to make others feel adequate. Be modest, but also be unapologetically you.
When you’re with people you care about, truly be with them. Everyone on your phone will still be there in an hour or two. Let yourself disconnect and spend time with the people who truly make you feel loved and cherished for more than a millisecond or two.
Try (safe, healthy) things that make you uncomfortable. These things make you uncomfortable for a reason, and usually it has to do with being outside of your area of expertise, being in unfamiliar territory, and knowing there is a possibility of failure. But don’t let that stop you from giving that toast at your friend’s wedding or signing up to run a half-marathon. Give yourself the gift of being in a constant state of curiosity and discovery, and don’t let your apprehension and fear of failure stop you from living a full, exciting, and ever-expanding life.
Ask for help when you need it. This never, ever makes you weak. It takes an incredibly strong person to be willing to admit that they can’t do everything on their own.
Listen before you jump to conclusions. Gossip is easy, judgment feels good in the moment. But if you truly want to love yourself, and be proud of the person you are, speaking poorly about someone else will only make you dislike yourself in the long run. Remember, always, that everyone has a story that you don’t know.
Spend your money consciously. When you truly need something, buy it without guilt. When you really want something and have wanted it for a long time, earn it. And when you desperately want something in the moment, just because it’s in front of you, and having it now, now, now feels good, let your brain step in, let your desire step back, and give yourself a moment to breathe. You can always come back to it later if you’ve thought about it and truly debated it and still want it. Just give yourself the option to be present in your purchases, instead of a zombie consumer. The less you feel like a servant to money, the happier you’ll be and the more peaceful you’ll feel.
Find joy in the little things. Holiday music, lazy Saturday mornings, laughing so hard that you cry, hot coffee, leaving work early, light traffic, fresh laundry, smiling with a stranger, a beer on the house. These are the little moments that make up a life.
Find your sense of self from what you do and what you’ve done, not what you plan to do. Wanting to donate your time to a nonprofit or to rise up in the ranks at work or to finally reach out to that friend who is going through a hard time is an admirable thing to want. But thinking about what you want to do means nothing. Talk means nothing. Dreams are lovely, but actions are what truly determine who you are.
Make your home an oasis, not a source of stress and excess. Less stuff, more light, photos of those you love, warmth as opposed to flashiness, soft blankets, comfortable sheets, and a space that reflects who you are – instead of a space that reflects what you think it’s supposed to look like.
Look up. Your phone is tempting, addicting, all-consuming. We all feel this way, it’s okay. But remember that there is a world happening all around you, and sometimes, just looking up on that train or plane or sidewalk and seeing every other person scrolling through their screen is enough to gently remind you to work harder on staying in the moment and remembering to live.
Pay attention to your breath. It’s something so natural, so automatic, so easy to take for granted. But making an effort to pay attention to your breathing every once in a while is an easy way to remind you that you are truly alive.
Let people love you. You don’t have to earn it, work for it, deserve it, be good enough for it. That’s the whole point of love, at the end of the day. People love you for you, not who they want you to be.
Love them back. Your partner, your mom, your brother, your coworker, the cashier standing right in front of you. They are all human, and just as fragile as you are, and in so much need of a hug or a piece of kindness or a word of encouragement. You can love them intensely and lifelong, or you can love them just for this moment, through a smile or a gesture, never to see them again. There is no limit to what you are capable of giving. When you share love, more is created. It’s the most renewable resource in the world. Use it.