Happier & Healthier is a column dedicated to providing real-life reflections, post-grad life advice to make you feel less alone, and tips to help you live the best life you possibly can.
1. Your own place.
You don’t need to own or rent your own studio apartment in order to be happier or more fulfilled. It absolutely does not matter if you are living with your parents at 25, or if you are sharing a house with four other strangers at 35. What you will accomplish this year shouldn’t be based on your living situation — just make sure it’s a healthy one.
2. A significant other.
It’s time to let go of the fear of being single. Truthfully, being single is not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about ever. Success has nothing to do with your relationship status! All you need is yourself— yes, just yourself, to gather up the courage and strength to go after your goals. Whether your goals are to start a cupcake business or become a professional dancer, your single status doesn’t have to hinder or slow down that process.
3. A 9-to-5 job.
In order to be happy in the New Year, you don’t need to have the stereotypical 9-to-5 job. A 9-to-5 job can be ideal for some people, and it can be what they want in life, but it doesn’t have to be your path to success. You don’t have to be sitting in an office day in and day out just so you can seem like you have your stuff together. Live outside of the box, and start to put your true aspirations and goals in first place.
4. A large group of friends.
Numbers honestly don’t mean anything if those you surround yourself aren’t the real deal. You need true friends, friends who will be honest with you and who will have your back regardless of your mistakes and failures. Remember, it’s not about your quantity of friends; it’s about quality.
5. A gym membership.
It’s incredibly important to be healthy, and we all know exercise will help your body AND mind continue to thrive and blossom. But do you need an expensive gym membership to achieve this? No. There are hundreds of exercise tutorials you can find for free on YouTube that you can follow in the comfort of your home. Be kind to your bank account this year, and get fit without breaking the bank.
6. To be busy all the time.
I know it’s so easy to look at other people who always have more people to see and places to go and think that they have a better life than you do. But it’s not a given. In fact, spending time alone can be incredibly helpful for your body and soul. You can’t always be on the go, because you’ll burn out far too quickly. Spend time alone, and learn how to enjoy yourself, by yourself.
7. A ton of money.
I know this sounds cliché, but you really don’t have to be rich in order to succeed this year, or in any year. Do you need to have a decent job that allows you to take care of and feed yourself? Yes. But do you need to keep suffering through a high-paying job that sucks all of the joy out of you? No. Try to have a healthy balance between work and your personal life. It’s important to have money in order to be happy and healthy, but it’s incredibly more important to have a life that you love.
8. An extravagant getaway in the works.
I know it seems glamorous and adventurous, especially on the outside looking in at your peers planning these extravagant vacations. But do you truly need that? Is it essential to go on a summer trip to Mexico or Italy? Absolutely not. I’m not saying traveling won’t expand your mind (or palette), but vacation wisely. It’s not going to get you anywhere closer to your goals and dreams. Save your money for working on endeavors you want to pursue in the years to come. I promise, you’ll be so happy you did it.
9. More Instagram followers.
Sure, it feels good when you get more than 100 likes on your newest Instagram pictures, and it feels even better to gain followers who truly appreciate what you put out there. However, Instagram is not real life. It can quickly turn into an unhealthy obsession, wherein you base your self-worth on likes and follows. So, enjoy it and have fun with it, but don’t base your whole life and worthiness on your numbers. Likes will never ever equal true happiness and self love.
10. A five-year plan.
Having a five-year plan could possibly hinder you instead of ultimately helping you in the long run. A five-year plan constricts you of other opportunities that may come your way in the future. It prevents you from growing personally and professionally and won’t open any new doors for you. You don’t know who you will be or where you will be in one year, not to mention five years. So try to treat each new day as a new opportunity instead of shutting yourself away from growing and learning and living.
Lauren Jarvis-Gibson is a writer and poet based in the Washington metropolitan area. Since 2015, her work has been published on Thought Catalog, Huff Post, Allure and YourTango. When she’s not writing, Lauren enjoys defending Taylor Swift whenever she can and serving wine in her hometown of Takoma Park. Her poetry book, Paper Hearts, is available on Amazon here.
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