1. Drinking even more water than usual. (I bought a SodaStream, best purchase of my life.)
2. Understanding that separating purchases into “stuff” and “experiences” is not enough, and that I need to break down those categories further into what is REALLY worth the money. Paying to travel and spend a few weeks with some of our best friends we barely see? Worth it. Paying to go to a concert for a band I don’t care about because a bunch of people are going? Not worth it, even though they’re both “experiences.”
3. Accepting that my job doesn’t seem “real” to a lot of people, even family members. And that it doesn’t matter.
4. Making more time in the day to Gchat people like my best friend, because when you’re separated by geographical distance, the only thing that’s going to keep you two together is a sustained effort on both parts. And the more you know about their lives, the more you want to know. The more you talk, the more you plan your next visit.
5. Muting people on social media who don’t bring me enjoyment, but who wouldn’t be worth the #drama of unfriending. No big deal — out of sight, out of mind.
6. Getting ingredients to make actual cocktails I’m excited about, instead of throwing together whatever I have at home (so I still feel like I need to go out and spend for that “cocktail” experience).
7. Accepting that 9 AM is my get-up time, and any time earlier makes me feel groggy and angry. And that doesn’t mean I’m inherently lazier or less productive than a morning person.
8. Writing at night, when I feel most inspired.
9. Laughing at old photos, bad outfits, and ex boyfriends.
10. Being honest with people about how I feel, instead of letting bad feelings seep out in passive-aggression. Nipping arguments in the bud, because it’s not worth it.
11. Keeping a physical calendar by my desk with all my deadlines written out, so that I can see the mountain ahead of me, and know how I’m going to climb it every day.
12. Accepting that I don’t have as much free time as I’d like.
13. Using the free time I do have for the people who make me laugh, and make me think.
14. Feeling free to disagree. Not forming every opinion based on what you think is going to cause the least trouble, or get you the most likes. Being a full person, instead of a party line.
15. Taking breaks, whether for a long walk, a bit of cleaning, or a Real Housewives episode. All are equally important.
16. Giving myself permission to identify and purchase the things that I need to spend money on, so that I can do it in an intelligent and thoughtful way, instead of in fits and spurts when I’m in front of an item in a store and go into “panic-impulse-spending” mode. Not letting my credit card be another way for me to subvert what else I might be feeling at the time.
17. Saying “no” to certain jobs. Not feeling like I need to earn every possible dollar available to me, or something bad will happen.
18. Cuddling with my boyfriend and my dog as therapy.
19. Giving myself permission to have “bad skin days” or “bloated days,” and still think of myself as pretty.
20. Looking at myself from my “bad” angle in the mirror, and realizing it’s not so bad.
21. Talking about my family issues with friends and loved ones, because hiding the imperfect parts of our lives only makes them feel more glaring to us.
22. Making really, really good food at home, and tasting everything as I go. And not torturing myself by trying to count all the bites I took while cooking on Weight Watchers.
23. Throwing out clothes that simply don’t look good on me.
24. Giving people advice when they ask, but refusing to tell someone what they want to hear when they’re just coming to you looking to be affirmed in a bad decision.
25. Loving the people who refuse to affirm me in a bad decision.
26. Calling my mom.
27. Working like a woman, proudly, instead of trying to emulate a man. Not giving into the idea that, in order to be a successful entrepreneur, I must idealize the traditionally masculine qualities that are rewarded in business. Embracing instead qualities like slow growth, human relationships, listening, group decision making, and sacrificing a dollar for higher quality of life. Leaning out. And feeling good about it.