1. Waking up earlier than you have to: I know, I know. You’re preaching to the choir, here. I love sleep more than anyone I know. But there is nothing like getting up early and making my own coffee that makes me feel like I have my shit together.
2. Savin’ those dollars: By this point, you should have a savings account with more than $100 in it. Saving money is hard. It’s supposed to be hard. Make an effort, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it pays off. (Oh, oh, oh, get it? GET IT?)
3. Reading the news: (And no, most of ThoughtCatalog does not constitute as news.) Throw the CNN app on your phone if you’re really that pressed for time. Read a few articles on topics you know nothing about. Expand your global view.
4. Taking responsibility for your actions: Yeah, it’s time to stop blaming everyone but yourself for those mistakes you’ve been making. At the end of the day, all you’ve got is yourself. It’s a lot easier to love yourself when you’re honest about your shortcomings in this life. Embrace them. Learn from them.
5. Not running out of toiler paper: Self explanatory? The time for searching for alternative methods of sanitation is over, kids. Always have toilet paper, toothpaste, dish soap, etc. Cover the basics. Because washing your dishes with shampoo doesn’t work. Trust me.
6. Accepting compliments: I am terrible at taking compliments. I mean, terrible. I am the Queen of deflecting a compliment and self deprecating instead. Some might even call it a talent – however, it’s time to curb that reflex. It’s time to bask in the glow of a nicely worded compliment for all it’s worth. Seriously, you’re doing a pretty good job at this human thing, own it.
7. Expanding your vocabulary, using words correctly: To, two, too, you’re, your, their, there, they’re… for the love of all things holy, educate yourself on the differences and go forth into this world a better person for it.
8. Actively investing in your health: Go to the doctor. Regularly. Choose a health care plan that includes preventative care. (Thanks, Obama.) Tell your hypochondriac mother about it, she will be ecstatic. Hit up the dentist regularly, even if it terrifies you. Ain’t no teeth like clean teeth, baby.
9. Paying off your debts: You know who you are, person who throws away bills instead of opening them. Face your fears. Call the credit card company. Make a plan for paying off your student loans. You will feel better (albeit broke) for tackling your debt head on.
10. Paying your own rent: You’ve been living off of your parents for long enough. Cut the cord on your own. Not only will you be proud of yourself (after you get over the miserable hump of learning to budget), your parents will be praising whatever god they believe in. Hallelujah Baby Jesus.
11. Getting enough sleep: Whoa, whoa, didn’t I just tell you to get up earlier than you have to? Staying up ’til 4 AM bingeing Friends on Netflix, pulling all nighters, closing down the bars, these things should all be done sparingly – because a solid sleep schedule is quite possibly the best gift you can give yourself.
12. Continuing your education: You’ve been out of school for how long now? I’m not saying you need to start taking night classes and snag that MBA, but do yourself a favor and explore new things. Take a weekend art class, attend a conference, sneak into a lecture at your local community college, sign up for an online course – we live in the age of the interwebs, people. Learning is literally at your fingertips.
13. Asking for help when you need it: Let me be real honest with you – I am terrible at asking for help. Straight up terrible. This less than admirable trait generally leads to insomnia, a to-do list full of shit I don’t actually want to do, waning interest in waking up in the morning, anxiety, exhaustion, nervous breakdowns, the glorious list goes on. All of these things could have been prevented if I would just kick myself into gear and ask for a helping hand. Because guess what? We really can’t do everything on our own. And that’s okay.
14. Washing your face every night: Every. Single. Night. No excuses. If you take one thing from this list, let it be this. WASH YOUR DAMN FACE.
15. Letting go of old baggage*: That time your ex-boyfriend cheated on you, that time your parents got divorced, that time your best friend scooped the guy you were seeing, that time your sister made more money than you, that time so and so was talking shit about you. Let it all go. Take a deep breath and let all that anger go. It’s amazing how light and freeing you feel when you leave it all behind. *Note: This may take the help of a therapist. Real talk.
16. Investing in quality over quantity: I know it’s hard to accept the fact that you could be buying nine skirts at H&M for how much you’re paying for this well constructed, classic, beautiful blazer. (Or pair of shoes, suit, necktie, leather tote, high count thread sheets, insert your quality item of choice here.) But this item will last you for years instead of months. And if you’re not ready to throw down half of your paycheck on the perfect pencil skirt, at least up your shopping trips from Forever 21 to Zara. Baby steps.
17. Spending time with yourself: It’s okay to not have a completely psychotic social schedule all of the time. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s important that you don’t. Spending time with yourself is an epic rite of passage as you grow into yourself. Take yourself out to dinner, spend an entire night doing your favorite things, take a long drive, go for a walk with no destination in mind. You’ll be amazed at how much happier you are after having spent a few hours recharging your own batteries.
18. Sending handwritten thank you notes: For interviews, gifts, invitations, dinner parties, etc. Thank yous are a small gesture that go a very, very long way. Plus, it’s a good excuse to invest in some personal stationery.
19. Doing laundry once a week: This includes your bedsheets. Like, especially your bedsheets. I know it seems excessive, but think about how much you sweat the bed. Go ahead and Google “dust mites” and get back to me. This will prevent you from buying new underwear instead of doing your own laundry. Or using t-shirts as towels.
20. Having friends of all ages: Branch out of your late twenties-early thirties bubble of friendship. Do this by taking up a hobby you’ve always wanted. Go to a new exercise class. Volunteer at your community theatre. Old people friends are some of the best friends I have, no lie. They provide great insight and advice, not to mention they are funny as hell. Seriously, have you ever tried explaining what a Kardashian is to a 76 year old woman? Worth it.
21. Mastering simple life skills: Teach yourself how to sew a button on properly, change a flat tire, fold a fitted sheet, tie a necktie, give CPR, buying condoms without turning into a tomato, negotiate a raise, make your own coffee, have a signature dish, attend an event alone, introduce yourself, talk to strangers, clean your bathroom, conquer a hangover, pour wine, make eye contact, I could go on for days, but I’ll spare you.
22. Seeking a mentor: Have someone you look up to on your speed dial. Find someone who has your dream job, and ask them to coffee to find out how they got it. Ask for their advice. Cultivate a relationship with someone who is kicking ass and taking names, and treat that relationship with the utmost respect.
23. Drinking in moderation: I don’t know about you, but I turned 25 and suddenly lost my ability to do shots. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying to do them every once in a while. (Still failing at taking a shot without paying for it the morning after. RIP, tolerance.) Know your limits. Know what you like. Don’t mix too many liquors, you will live to regret it.
24. Handling customer service representatives in a calm fashion: Because telling the guy from your cable company to go eff himself isn’t going to get you anywhere. You catch more flies, bees, free things, with honey. Nahmean?
25. Keeping a calendar: Do yourself a favor and keep an accurate calendar of events. Add everything to it. Coffee dates, meetings, concerts, weddings, parties, me-time. Schedule it in, or you will inevitably overbook yourself or forget something.
26. Creating a life you’re proud of: Whether this means having your writing published, performing your music in public, getting a raise this year, finishing your weekly to-do list, exercising four days a week, achieving a state of enlightenment, or finally taking that trip to London – take control of your own life. Do the things that make you happy. You are the only person who can create a future you’re excited about. So stop procrastinating, and make a list of things you want to do that you’d be proud to talk about at a dinner party.
27. Excommunicating toxic people from your life: You know exactly who they are and what they do, so why are you still hanging out with them? Do yourself a favor and end the relationships that bog you down.
28. Wearing appropriate attire: For weddings, baby showers, interviews, funerals, company parties, brunch, cocktails, the whole nine yards. Do the research. Wear appropriate clothing. Nobody needs to see your stripper shoes at a baby shower, girl. Nobody.
29. Giving sage advice: I hate to break it to you, but you are a thirty-something now, and you’re in a whole new age bracket. Young bucks out there will consider you a wise old sage. People are starting to look up to you. They want to know how you found your internship, how you landed your job, how you handled your break up, how you lost ten pounds, how you do your eyeliner, how you tie a bow-tie. When someone turns to you for advice, you should be ready to give them a few nuggets of wisdom.
30. Carrying Tums at all time: Seriously. You know you can’t eat Taco Bell like you used to.