1. The friends who are always there for you. Devote your time to them, instead of aimlessly trying to spend time with people who make you worry that they won’t return your texts, or reciprocate your affection. Respond to the close friends who reach out just to check in, or go out of their way to make plans with you.
2. Your apartment. Your life needs to be organized in order for you to feel fully comfortable and settled in it. When you’re living in an apartment that feels like it’s completely not lived in, or if it feels like you’re not taking care of your space, you’ll just get restless.
3. Your family life. Of course, no one could go sort through all their family drama and baggage in one day. But taking care of your family life just means consistently putting in the effort, and when you don’t do that, it can really weigh you down and might be something you regret in the long run.
4. Your history with your exes. If you still feel like your relationship with an ex is taking up too much space in your head, it probably is. Confront. The. Issue. It won’t go anywhere otherwise.
5. Your mental health. Caring for your own mental well-being is absolutely crucial, because if you’re not secure in your own mental health, you will struggle to help others with theirs.
6. The other parts of your health, too. If you don’t have a dentist, or health insurance, or you feel like you need to see a specialist (whether that’s a dermatologist or a therapist), go. Get the ball rolling. There’s really no time like the present for you to start taking care of yourself.
7. Your maturity. Growing up. Being an adult. Being financially in control of your own life. Being emotionally in control of your own life. You can’t pursue a mature relationship if you don’t feel remotely mature.
8. And your self-love. You also can’t love someone else before you truly love yourself. It’s a hard fact to really accept, but self-love is a crucial part of the puzzle.
9. Your career. Pursuing relationships isn’t more or less important than pursuing career goals. It really depends on the person, and what they want out of their year, or decade, or life. But you can throw yourself into your career. You can hustle, take on more, and try to route yourself in the direction you feel like you want most. Feeling like you’re on comfortable career ground might help give you the confidence that you’re searching for.
10. The goals you set for yourself this year. How far along are you? Have you crossed any off your list, or are you making new ones? Giving yourself a personal check up is important, and putting your needs and goals before finding someone else will make you feel productive and confident.
11. Setting goals if you haven’t already. Because if you haven’t set goals for 2016, it isn’t too late to start.
12. Your travel wants. Planning things that you really want to do. Maybe there’s a concert, a show, or a sporting event across an ocean that you want to see. Maybe there are parts of your home state you’ve never been to. Start making your bucket list trips higher a priority.
13. Getting your finances together and making a budget. Making a spreadsheet of how much money you bring in and pay out will never be as much fun as swiping through dating profiles. But you need to be in control of your incoming and outgoing money, and making sure you are will eliminate a lot of stress in your life. And once you’re on top of everything, it will give you more time to devote to other, more fun things.
14. Saving and investing in your future. The reality is this: saving money will give you the resources to never feel bound to a shitty job or a shitty relationship. And that is not worth giving up just to spend unnecessarily.
15. Finding hobbies. Finding things you care about outside of people is more important than you think. Outside of spending time with your friends and family, what else do you really care about that brings you joy?
16. Making a few go-to friends. And investing the time to keep them around.
17. Finding something you look forward to on a weekly basis. Just like keeping hobbies, it’s morale boosting (and just fun) to have things in your life that excite you on a day-to-day basis, even if they seem small and insignificant to someone else. They really just need to matter to you.
18. Connecting with the family members that actually live close to you. And realizing how lucky you are if those people are your parents and siblings.
19. Getting out of any shitty situations in your life. Regardless of what they are, start taking productive steps to get rid of them. If you’re in a dead-end job, with an awful or even abusive boss, or if you’re in a one-sided friendship where they don’t respect you, start figuring out how you’re either going to remedy the situation or get out of it. It’s insanely challenging, and emotionally draining, but you will feel lighter and more positive by just working toward (and eventually finding) a permanent solution.