20 Things I Learned Before Turning 20

Wow, I’ve been alive for TWO DECADES! That actually blows my mind. As one of my first entries after my posting hiatus, I decided to share some of the life lessons I’ve learned in the past year! 

ONE // You are what you do. Not what you say you’ll do. 

Do you want people to respect you? Put your all into one task at a time. Do the job, and do it well. Nobody (especially a potential employer) will want someone who can complete a few tasks carelessly and quickly. Quality > quantity in almost every regard.

TWO // Wake up early, but never understimate the power of a good night’s sleep.

You’ll be so surprised as to how much you can get accomplished in a day with a few extra hours attached! Even if you have nothing significant planned for the day, waking up early to have a little you-time is always beneficial. 

THREE // Always make your bed first thing in the morning.

In his speech at the University of Texas in 2014, U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McCraven spoke about how important it is to make your bed each and every morning, as soon as you wake up. “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished your first task of the day, it will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed”. Plus, it makes your room appear cleaner, and most people perform at higher levels of efficiency in a clean environment.

FOUR // Eliminate self-hate one step at a time.

You will always be your harshest critic, and your worst enemy. Start by trying to control your negativity one thought at a time. You’ll be amazed how much of a difference that can make! 

FIVE // Stop comparing yourself to other people – OWN YOURSELF!

After discussing this in a few of my classes, I’ve ultimately come to believe that social media has killed self-esteem. Everywhere you scroll, you’ll see the bits and pieces of everyone’s life that makes them appear to be so interesting. Well, you can’t compare your normal life to everyone else’s highlight reel! It happens to me all the time. But, no matter how many likes she gets, you aren’t her. 

SIX // Eliminating the negative people from your life is hard, but ultimately so worth it.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is realize who your true friends are. You’ll never need anyone who tears you down, laughs at your expense, or makes you feel inferior. Seriously, cut them out. I know, it probably sounds a bit daunting but I promise it isn’t as hard as you’d assume.

SEVEN // Never try and change yourself for others.

Your friends, signifcant other, parents, everyone will love you so much more for being yourself. That’s the reason they stay around (well, the parents have no choice, but you know.) 

EIGHT // If you have to even consider something as being a bad idea, it probably is.

This was something my parents drilled into my head as a child. Eliminate second guessing- go with your gut instinct and you’ll make a better choice every time. 

NINE // Fall in love with yourself first, and others second. 

You’ve definitely heard the old cliché; you can’t fall in love with someone until you love yourself. In my experience, you need to have some stable sense of self before you can let someone else in. You shouldn’t always have to depend on someone besides yourself when the goings get rough. 

TEN // Exercising and eating well is important, but losing weight isn’t everything.

As a girl in today’s society, it’s really hard not to get caught up in obsessing over your weight. Wake up early, go for a run, and run for the sake of learning to love what your body can accomplish. After a while, it won’t be a chore anymore, and you might love how you start to feel. But never feel guilty for eating an extra piece of pizza. Don’t deprive yourself of happiness! 

ELEVEN // Count your blessings everyday.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the trials and tribulations of everyday life. When you start to get down on yourself, or things start to feel like they’re going downhill, write out what you appreciate about your life. Grab a PostIt, and jot down what makes you happy. Good health, family, love. Appreciate what you have; as cliché as it sounds, there are so many people out there with significantly worse than you. If you’re reading this on your laptop or your phone, you should consider yourself so lucky.

TWELVE // Stop worrying so much, go with the flow, and everything will fall into place.

Take a deep breath. The second you stop fighting for ultimate control of every aspect of your life, the happier you’ll be. Coming from a self-proclaimed control freak, this might be one of the best things that you can do for yourself! 

THIRTEEN // To do lists will always be your best friend.

As someone who has always struggled with time management, to do lists will always be the best thing you can do for yourself. Make them the night before so you know exactly what to expect with tomorrow. It’ll keep you in line, and future you will thank you after all of the items are checked off. Start with some easy little tasks that can be accomplished without much effort, and move up to the bigger ones!

FOURTEEN // You don’t always have to be the “yes man”. 

You. Don’t. Always. Have. To. Do. Everything. You’re allowed to be selfish, you’re allowed to say no. You’ll 100% overwhelm yourself if you help everyone or take up every task that comes your way!

FIFTEEN // Always make time to voice your affirmations.

If you appreciate something that someone does, tell them. You don’t know how much little comments and compliments can make someone’s day. Always stress your “I love you’s” and make sure people know that you appreciate them and what they do for you. 

SIXTEEN // Nobody needs to know everything.

I’m obsessed with social media. THANK GOD that society as a whole isn’t as obsessed with posting every little detail and thought of their lives as they used to be. But keep that in mind, you should value your independent thoughts and privacy offline as well. Keep things to yourself, nobody needs to know every part of your life! It makes some situations more special.

SEVENTEEN // Try to make someone’s day everyday.

This is so much easier than most people realize. Something as small as a genuine compliment on someone’s outfit, going out of your way to voice your affirmations, or even something little for a stranger can make someone feel that much better. My personal favorite is the idea of paying it forward for strangers. If you aren’t familiar with “paying it forward”, it’s basically returning the favor of someone’s kind gesture by going out of your way to do another nice thing for someone else.  If you have a few extra dollars, pay for the person behind you in line at the drive thru at Starbucks. And if you don’t, even smiling at a stranger can help. You’ll never know how much that person needed a kind gesture!

EIGHTEEN // Stop asking for opinions. Just do. 

I struggle with this a lot. I’m an incredibly indecisive person, and sometimes it makes my life easier when I can talk situations out when weighing my options. Just go for it. You’ll learn how to be independent and how to live through your own reasoning. 

NINETEEN // Experience is so much more important than material things.

I can’t stress this enough. Put your phone down. Experience all of the times you have with your loved ones, especially on dates, at dinner, etc. Value the time you have with the people around you. I’ve learned lately that the best thing you can have in life is the presence of the people who mean the world to you. It shouldn’t matter how much your date costs. You shouldn’t expect expensive things from other people. Meaning is so much more important than cost when it comes to any present, or experience. 

TWENTY // Try to switch out “sorry” for “thank you” as much as possible.  

Don’t apologize for who you are, or how you feel. You are who you are, and the second you stop saying “sorry” you begin to accept yourself wholeheartedly. Instead of feeling sorry for feeling a certain way, own your opinion! WORK IT.

What is the one life lesson that you’ve learned that you’re always willing to pass onto someone else? 


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