Monday, January 12, 2015

10 Decisions You Won't Regret in Your Twenties

I'm half way through my twenties with a birthday on the horizon in May... time is one of those things you cannot control...there's no speeding up or slowing down (even as much as we THINK it is).

And I'll be honest, at times growing up can feel like an out of body experience... between creating a life, designing a future, experiencing milestones, HAVING FUN, and finding what feels REAL and authentic. 

It's truly bittersweet, some things we are happy to see end while some things we wish we could hold onto forever. 

I guess I'm a tad sentimental this morning as I plan my week for work and look at some life long goals. Its intimidating, exhilarating and promising. 

It's natural to have regrets... life is dance of trial and error, you find out what you like, what you don't like, what you want more of, what you won't tolerate... and its up to YOU (and me) to create a tailor made life. Let's face it, no one is going to do it for us. Not even your mom or dad... not your sister and certainly NOT your future husband (for all of you waiting on that special someone). 

So I wanted to create a LIST of decisions that you WON'T regret in your twenties. We have plenty of lists of things to not do and avoid, but what about a little clarity on what's GOOD for us and our future?! 

(What I'm really saying is: Be your true self -- if you love Harry Potter like me, don't hide it!) 

I know this seems a bit vague because you can go about improving yourself in so many ways, 'be yourself' 'be YOU' -- but I believe thats the point. It's open ended and a fill in the blank. Think of mad libs for your life. What adjectives can you use to describe yourself? What adjectives do you WANT to describe yourself? Use bright, descriptive words that will empower you. What you believe comes after "I am..." will be your reality. Even if you haven't acquired certain characteristics that you DO want to harness, start taking actions and steps to being more _____ (confident, secure, organized). 

Don't condemn yourself to following the crowd, whats cool on Instagram or what all your friends are doing. The coolest thing you can do is improving your character because your future self depends on it.

Tip: For me personally, I love "I CAN"TATIONS -- affirmations, whatever you want to call them. I'm a HUGE fan of Tony Robbins. I believe he's a living legend and I pretty much eat up what he says. Next to my desk for work I have a list of "I am" that I read everyday. Write them down, put them by your bed/by the mirror/on your phone/by your desk. There's power in your thoughts, words and actions. Make a list of your own "I am" affirmations or ICAN-tations. And remember that repetition is the mother of skill, so read it everyday with emotion! If you think this is too "foo foo' for you -- have an open mind. 

(What I'm really saying is: Toss the excuses, you're not 12 anymore. Handle your shit) 

Own yourself. There are so many directions I could take this, but I will simplify this the best way I know how. When you take FULL responsibility for your thoughts, decisions, actions, and overall LIFE, you literally set yourself free. "How?" you may ask, well, when you are in charge of YOU, you either create a cage or you grow your wings. 

No one can touch your sense of peace, excitement, and passion for life if you are responsible for how you feel, how you interpret good AND bad experiences (especially what you LEARN from them), and your actions. 

Don't let others own you... don't let situations or circumstances own you. You and I are so much more powerful than that. 

Everything in your life has been attracted YOU by YOU. If you don't like it, you have the power to CHANGE it.

Tip: Check yourself through out the day and ask this question; "Am I attracting what I want to happen during my day?" If yes, keep doing it! If not, re-evaluate and take ownership that you can change it.

(What I'm really saying is: Expand your circle, say hi to a stranger, meet for coffee) 

Remember how easy it was in high school to make friends? Remember how college (if you went, I only tried 6 different community colleges before starting my own business) made it easy to converse with others? You were surrounded by your peers, it was EASIER to make friends. 

Now that we're growing up, meeting new people has to be a conscious effort! For me personally, the best way I can meet new people and make new friends is by putting myself out there. If you're an introvert, this can be out of your comfort zone, but has anything GREAT been accomplished there?

Compliment people when you're out, most people have a long list of things they can't stand about themselves, but that all seems to fizzle away when a stranger says, "Hey! I LOVE your hair!" 

I find a genuine compliment surprises people and instantly puts a smile on their face. And it makes YOU feel equally as good because you just positively effected the course of someones day. You could be the DEFINING difference between a good and bad day. 

You don't have to be-friend every person you come into contact with, but a small conversation starter when you're at a cafe, waiting in line at the grocery store, or out shopping could strike up a life long friendship or new business contact. 

The butterfly effect is powerful, you're not a mistake... you have the power to make a difference.

Tip: Genuinely compliment one person a day! 

(What I'm really saying is: Your personal success is directly correlated to your personal growth. If you want to be your own personal bad ass, you have to work for it. We need more passionate driven twenty somethings). 

Going back to the high school and college reference, it was easy to read because it was a requirement. Your biggest growth happens when you are INTENTIONAL about it. So it's no surprise that when people are done with their schooling, they think that the learning process is over. Knowledge is NOT power unless APPLIED. 

In fact, now more than ever is when you should commit yourself to be the sharpest tool in the shed - nothing boosts our confidence more than purposely choosing to be better. 
What habits and standards you set for yourself in growth now will carry over to your 30s, 40s and quite possibly the REST of your life.

If you're not a reader, just commit to 10 pages a day of a good book. Anyone can do 10 pages... even if its excruciatingly boring for the first few days, tell yourself this: "I am learning to enjoy reading because I know it will open my mind to new opportunities and possibilities" << Because it will. Remember whatever you tell yourself, you will believe.

And the reason I encourage reading is because we need ALL different learning types, and this one is MOST avoided after formal education or trainings. But check out Youtube for audiobooks, podcasts, and recorded trainings/seminars.

Progress = happiness. So if you're continuously progressing and learning, you will always find reasons and things to be happy about! AND you'll be creating more opportunities for your future! *TRUST ME! 

(What I'm really saying is: When you're hanging with your friends, family, whoever, be present, embrace the moment. Staring at your phones in a group isn't hanging out, it's doing what you do at home but in a different place). 

If you're working hard in your twenties to create a better future, don't forget to explore on the weekends. I find that disconnecting from social media and getting out of my usual element/surrounding rejuvenates me, increases creativity and reminds me of the BIG PICTURE.

We're often examining, evaluating, comparing, and consuming whats around us all week long. Your power button isn't meant to be ON 24/7. Even as productive as I LOVE to be, sometimes taking a weekend off or a quick getaway recharges me. AND I'm more excited to get back to work because I've had enough time to take care of myself, and other important categories of my life.

Tip: take a weekend getaway, plan a hike with your friends you haven't seen in a while, do something you've been wanting to try for a while, call your mom back.

*If you're not hustling and you've been sucked into social media world. Here's a pattern I see a lot: people who spend too much on social media end up having a skewed perception of realities... of their own and how other people live. It often leads to comparison, feeling of inadequacy, and judgement. Try to use it for GOOD. ;-) 

6. MAKE CORE RELATIONSHIPS A PRIORITY (*and kick the ones that are toxic)
(What I'm really saying is: Find out who matters to you and make that relationship a priority). 

Family, we can't pick em. If you're blessed with a well functioning family, this task may be easy. However, most of us put the FUN in DYSFUNCTIONAL. Literally! My family is amazing and very unique in their own ways. I don't have a zillion things in common with my family members, but I still take time to make them a priority. I am growing closer to my parents as I get older and understand better of what they've been telling me this whole time! ;-) If you're on the flip end of this and your family treats you bad, don't think you have to sit around for the abuse. You can pick friends who become your family.

Friends -- as you get older, your core circle of friends will change. Some people are blessed to keep friendships alive from a young age, but don't feel obligated to stay in any friendship that isn't encouraging or doesn't serve you positively. Sometimes we hold onto friends that are toxic because we feel guilty if we grow apart. We're ALL growing, whether thats together or apart.

Regardless if its a relationship with your mom, boyfriend, girl friend -- whoever, they ALL take work and they have to be intentional if you want them to progress and be present. Some friends you don't need to keep in touch with all the time, and once you talk again you pick up where you left off. Those are unique and rare in my opinion.

Also, as EASY as it can be to spend ALL your time with your lover/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend, don't forget the other important relationships you have in your life. Balance is a REALLY important skill to have and you'll be proud of yourself for maintaining other important relationships and not cutting people off. Imagine being in your thirties and forties and throwing away friendships in twenties... yikes. 

(What I'm really saying is: Don't wait to be miserable to make a change. If you think you'll be more motivated later in life, you won't. Don't wait for 'someday' to come. It's not coming)

I've heard time and time again that once you're in your thirties its much harder to create lasting change. I can't speak for that personally, but from what I've seen, it seems to hold true. Personally, any habit you want to create/implement is usually pretty hard... they say it takes 21 days to build a habit, I say give yourself 30 days for follow through... even more so.

If you think eating right and working out is hard now, what about your future promises that it will be easier? You don't learn how to cook because your 30th birthday is coming up. You don't love to workout out of no where just because you want to reach your goal body by the time your 28.

You really can't wait any longer to start creating healthy habits and kicking the old ones. And I'm not just referring to eating right and working out... this could be anything from meditating for mental clarity to learning to have more patience. What is something you want to work on that will positively impact your life? Get on it. Why wait?! Your life has already started, the gates are wide open. GO.

(What I'm really saying is: Don't max out every credit card *or any, avoid opening credit cards for clothing, wear what you have, recycle, get thrifty and think long term financial wealth. You can live at your moms forever and have a LV purse or you can live on your own and have a life. You pick) 

Oh, my... how this one can be hard. When you're in your twenties its hard to not get caught up in what we think we should be doing, saying, dressing, experiencing... You have to remember that everyone lives a different life, you don't see what goes on behind closed doors. But you can't focus on that, you need to focus on your life and how you want to design it. Do you want to be well off by the time your in your thirties or are you still going to be splurging on wild weekends with nothing in the bank to show for it?

I'm all about experiencing life, creating memories and not letting money be the reason to hold me back from really living. HOWEVER... do any of us want to wake up in our later adult years and be worried about retirement? I know I don't! It's ok to sit some things out so you can do things later. Don't let anyone make you feel bad for saying NO to right now so you can say YES later.

Having a retirement plan, 401k, IRA... whatever it is will start setting you up for a better future. You may have to miss a few events, festivals, vacations here and there, but your future self will thank you.

& I didn't even mention buyers remorse... nothing makes me feel ickier than spending what I don't have. Adopt this mantra: I have money, I know how to acquire it and I'm learning how to be better with it. Where there's opportunity, theres wealth.

(What I'm really saying is: It's ok to explore, find what speaks to your soul, question things, and break away from what you think is expected of you. This is a personal area we all must embark on)

I grew up in church... and I won't go TOO deep into that aspect, but for many years I felt like I had to be a certain way in order to be accepted among other believers. I often felt judged, left out, and a little confused. I think thats natural no matter WHERE you are.. whether you're at church or at school. (It's really not in your best interest to care about what others think of you).

Once I wasn't being forced to go to church every Sunday I wanted to start exploring spirituality for myself. As I got older I got into yoga, meditation, different devotionals, readings, etc. Don't be afraid to break away from what your peers, parents, coworkers, whoever are doing... I believe spirituality needs time for self exploration and what you feel connected with.

I wanted my relationship with my creator and spiritual walk to be authentic... not something I HAD to do or felt obligated to because I was raised in a Christian home. I'm a believer, but I'm not a bible thumper. I'm sorry if that offends you, or that phrase is offensive, but lighten up. And if you're a bible thumper, be proud of it if that works for you.

Tip: Don't push spirituality or religion on ANYONE... if you want to positively effect someone with your way of life and beliefs, do it through example, not through force. 

(Stop stalking & hating on that one girl or guys IG... their life is not your concern and your time is TOO precious to judge others. What you see in others can often explain what you see in yourself -- good or bad) 

 I know that as we get older, we experience more and start to make references of how 'the world works' but life is constantly changing. That's about the only thing you can really bank on.

I think a lot of people get STUCK somewhere along the way and become so comfortable that they forget what it's like to adapt, be flexible and judge less. There's a difference in finding what works for YOU and being stubborn to staying stuck in things, situations, habits, etc that aren't adding to the richness of your life.

& I'm not saying you have to change with the times if it doesn't serve you or it's not apart of your life plan, but don't judge others for living their life on their terms. Experience what you like, what you don't like, and reflect on it. There's no rule book here, but the world would be a lot better off if we left the judgement to our creator and loved a little more!

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