1. Hard work really, really, really does pay off.
This time last year I wrote out my New Years’ resolutions on a grocery receipt I printed from my till. I was working in a cold, dingy grocery store, was borderline broke, and still in school, freezing to death while I stood scanning rutabagas by the exit door. Now? Well…I won’t expose where I currently work (I’m way too easy to find) but let’s just say it’s a HELLUVA lot better from where I used to be.
2. Sometimes it serves us absolutely no benefit to hold on to things or people that no longer bring us joy.
Life is way too short to be setting ourselves on fire to keep others warm.
3. Not everything is your fault.
Or mine. Or his. Or hers. Sometimes shit happens and there’s literally nothing that can be done on any individual’s part. Roll in with the tide, my friend.
4. You’re good when you’re gone.
Those who truly want to remain a part of your life will make an active, conscious effort to be there. I was scrolling through Tumblr and came across a thought-provoking, illustrative quote:
“Stop planting flowers in peoples’ yards who aren’t going to water them.” – Anonymous
5. Never take anything at face-value.
Nothing is as it seems or as its advertised. We’ve heard this cliché about a zillion times, but here’s a zillion and one: not everything that glitters is gold. Research. Dig. And think for yourself.
6. Take a leap of faith.
I had my entire life planned out up until last April. Graduate school. Get a decent job with benefits. Marry and pop out kids by 25. Try to travel before then, though. This year I lost ALL stability. My entire circle changed. So did my jobs. I met amazing new people and had completely new experiences that changed my perspectives on a plethora of things. Dare yourself to do the same.
7. Time heals all.
Make room for hurt, growing pains, and rejection. In time, the pain will subside.
8. Be open.
Neutrality in opportunities dismisses the possibility of cheapening new experiences. When we have a preconceived notion of how things will go and what to expect, we’ve already closed ourselves off from possibility. Go in empty and clear-minded.
9. Put yourself out there.
For me, this was especially difficult. No one told me this before, but apparently I never looked people in the eyes when speaking to them. You can just imagine the dread I would feel for completing the “bio” section of my social media profile (much less answering the “so tell me something about yourself” part in an interview). But somehow, somewhere, I mustered the courage to just dive in. The rewards have been immense.
10. Take care of your health.
Take care of your health. Take care of your health. I cannot stress this enough, my friend.
11. Say “no” more often.
Like, master it. No. Non. Nah. Nope. Nada. No way. Negative. Nay. And don’t feel rude about it. Sometimes you simply cannot afford to give away your power and energy to any and everyone every single time.
12. Love thyself.
The highest of clichés (isn’t it even one of the 10 Commandments?), but still pertinent today. Practicing self-love will not only benefit you, but everyone you come into contact with as well. It will give others an idea of how they are to treat you, and will set the standard for how you treat yourself. Imagine if you had a friend who spoke to you the way you do to yourself — would you two still be friends?
13. When you know your worth, you will discover another variation of self-love: deservingness.
It serves you no good to think that you do not deserve love. I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done — EVERYONE deserves love at some point in his or her life.
14. Not so much of a cliché, but there is indescribable joy in picking up old hobbies.
Sometimes an idle mind can be a good one. Reconnect. Rekindle. And reignite.
15. It’s okay to take your time.
You cannot cheat personal growth or speed up healing. Not being okay is okay. If you rid yourself of toxicity, it will take time to readjust to the lack of mental corruption in your life. Adjusting to the light after leaving a dark place takes time, young grasshopper.
16. Trust yourself.
And trust yourself enough to follow your instincts.
17. Hit rock bottom.
I’m dead serious. One of my favorite quotes from Fight Club is when Brad Pitt’s character hits the protagonist with the infamous line “it’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” The “bottom” is trying to teach you something: how much can you take? What are you willing to endure? And ultimately what are you made of?
18. Prioritize…or at least try to.
Keep the things you want at the forefront and in plain sight. Ask yourself why you want this particular thing. Your reason will determine whether or not this goal, pursuit or plan is in fact attainable, or a whimsical desire. And be prepared to receive it. Can you handle the responsibility?
19. Limit your time on social media.
It works wonders for your mental health.
20. Don’t beat yourself up for not completing last year’s resolutions.
Believe it or not, there is no special threshold of personal accolades that is opened when we cross out everything on a list. January 1st is only the first of 364 days to get the ball rolling, and by no means is it a deadline for all of your life’s achievements.