The start of a new year is always a time of reflection. But the start of a whole new decade makes people think back over the last 10 years and everything they went through during that period. Any 10-year span is enough time to turn a person's whole life around, and for me, that was especially true as I entered my 30s. Here are a few things that the 2010s taught me about life...
Establishing a routine is essential for success.
Late nights out can lead to sleeping until the afternoon and then laying on the couch until you’ve missed daylight altogether. There were a lot of those days in my 20s. Things have shifted in the last few years and it has made all the difference. A self-imposed curfew of 10(ish)pm during the week has made it so much easier to wake up and have productive mornings. Whether it’s hitting the gym or beating the crowd at the grocery store, having the extra time in the day opens up a lot of possibilities. Taking it one step further by creating a schedule for yourself can also improve mental health by adding some order and a stability to your life.
Sometimes you’re the one standing in your own way.
Everybody has something in their life that they’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t found the time. When that list becomes a mile long and it’s been years since you’ve crossed anything off of it, you need to figure out why. If you take a step back, most of the time you’ll find there are small changes you can make to free up time in your day to focus on your goals. Unfortunately, that might mean cutting down on screen time or other unnecessary distractions.
People rarely get what they want by keeping quiet. The same thing goes for sitting around and waiting for opportunities to come to you. If you have a clear vision of what you want, make it known. This can be applied to your personal and professional life. Being vocal helps you stay focused and might encourage the people around you to do their part in helping you reach your goals.
Friendship is about quality, not quantity.
They never really tell you when you’re young how hard it is to maintain friendships once you’re an adult. Everyday life often gets in the way, and finding the time to get together becomes increasingly difficult. It’s important to take stock in who you keep up with and which relationships need some nurturing. Some relationships will inevitably fade out, and that’s natural, but put in the effort to maintain the ones worth saving.
Social media is no substitute for face-to-face interaction.
Commenting on or liking someone’s social media post doesn’t count towards maintaining the relationship. Direct messaging is just as informal. Catching up on Facetime or some other video call is okay, but there’s really nothing like being in the same room as your friend or family member. Use those alternative forms of communication to make plans to meet up in real life.
Dating is actually fun when you take the pressure off of yourself.
Maybe it’s all the rom-coms Hollywood has thrown at us, but the search for “the one” is nothing like what we see in the movies. Dating can get exhausting when you approach it with marriage and family on the mind. It’s easy to get carried away by picturing your life with someone after one good night out, but it can also set you up for disappointment. When you start meeting people with no expectations rather than vetting them to eventually meet your parents, it can actually be fun getting to know strangers.
It’s okay to be alone, too.
Spending time on your own is essential to figuring out who you are and what you want in life. Make sure to schedule some space in your calendar to have some “me” time to enjoy a hobby you rarely get to do. Take it one step further by booking a solo trip somewhere. You’ll learn a lot about yourself when you step outside of your element.
Travel wherever you can, whenever you can.
On the subject of travel, do it as often as you can. Seeing the world and experiencing different cultures is not only fun, it makes a person well-rounded. Stepping outside of the bubble of your community can instill empathy and give you a new perspective. You don’t have to fly across the world. Even just a road trip across state lines can make a difference.
Confidence doesn’t come from appearance.
Societal pressure forces a lot of us to base our self worth on our weight and muscle mass. I’ve always struggled with body image issues being overweight and believed people wouldn’t find me attractive unless I slimmed down and toned up. While it may be better for health reasons to drop some of my excess body weight, the number on my scale doesn’t have as much power over me as it once did. I've found happiness in life and confidence in my appearance without having washboard abs.
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