1. Gain financial clarity. Make a spreadsheet of your debts, and expenses. List them from least to greatest, and start paying them off in a snowball. Open a new savings account, contribute to it regularly. The goal should be 3-6 months of living expenses covered.
2. Purge your wardrobe. Any clothes that suit the person you used to be are not going to work any longer. Sell them, donate them, invest in a few staples that make you feel like the person you want to become. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t accomplish this in just one shopping trip. You’re going to have to really search, and really take your time with sizes, fabrics, and styles.
3. Learn to cook one to three meals from scratch. It has to be dishes you genuinely like, otherwise, you won’t feel motivated to do it. Memorize the steps, and the ingredients needed. It’s not only healthier for you, it’s better for your wallet, and connecting with friends and family over a dinner you made as opposed to one you eat out together has a special kind of magic that’s hard to replicate.
4. Secure the URL to your personal website, and at the bare minimum, create a landing page with your photo and a brief bio. Get a professional headshot, and write a personal mission statement. You should have a paragraph that sums up your work experience that you can communicate to others, and one that sums up your goals and long-term ambitions, so you have clarity yourself.
5. Get serious about making big moves. If you are unhappy in the city you’re in, in the apartment you have, and so on, now is the time to begin strategizing how you’re going to change it. Research the place you want to live, where you could go, what you could do for work. Start devising a plan. If you don’t do it now, it will only get more challenging to uproot as the years go on.
6. Clear out your social media accounts. This applies to both who you follow and what you’ve posted. If your feed does not make you feel inspired and positive, you are following the wrong people. If you wouldn’t want your future children seeing what you’ve posted, it shouldn’t be up there.
7. Figure out what you love to do when you’re on your own. Maybe it’s shopping for vintage clothes, maybe it’s taking day trips to a beach or hike, maybe it’s just sitting in, getting cozy, and watching movies. Whatever it is, embrace it. Befriend yourself. Learn to spend time on your own.
8. Work on clear communication, even if it is uncomfortable. You are never going to have the relationships you want, or the boundaries you need, if you aren’t able to very explicitly tell people what you need and do not need, what you will and will not do. Of course, being a good communicator means expressing these things without being crass, rude, or offensive. It takes practice.
9. Pick out your signature scent, nail polish color, makeup routine, and “uniform” outfit. The more consistent you are in the things that make you feel the most you, the more comfortable you’re going to be in your own skin.
10. Let go of trying to be someone else’s best self. Your best friend who bought those awesome jeans you love? You don’t also need those exact jeans. You need clothes that make you look and feel amazing. Your acquaintance who started a creative business you admire? You don’t need to do that exact work, you need to figure out what business you could start that would help you capitalize on what you are good at.
11. Work on shifting your conversations with people to be wholly positive, if not neutral. If you spend all of your time with others being hateful toward others, their choices, their ideas, and so on, you are going to end up in toxic, draining relationships.
12. Develop a basic skincare routine. Absolutely everyone needs to cleanse, exfoliate, and apply SPF. There are no exceptions to this.
13. Learn how to make your home a more relaxing, inviting place to be. If you’re able, invest in a small air conditioner, or diffuse essential oils, make a commitment to keeping surfaces clean, or fresh linens on the bed. Whatever it is that is going to make your space consistently a nicer place to be is something you should be doing.
14. Read, but don’t worry about reading two dozen books for the sake of it. Instead, choose one, or maybe two, that deeply resonate with you, and that you are really gaining a lot of insight from. Work through them for as long as you need, an entire year perhaps, and completely absorb and think about everything you’re reading. Then read it again. It is more worthwhile to read one book thoroughly than 24 of them halfheartedly.
15. Follow and subscribe to digital work that makes you think and feel better. This could be online magazines, social media accounts, or whatever else. You should curate your feeds to be fueling the best possible version of yourself.
16. Begin a breath work routine. If a full-on meditation is too much for you right now, download an app like Pulse, which helps you move through breath work for just a few seconds. This will help you begin to work with yourself, in a way that’s really approachable and easy. Over time, you can graduate to longer sessions, or other forms of meditation, if you like.
17. Forget trying to love yourself, and instead adopt an attitude of body and self neutrality. Accept that you may not always like yourself, and that is OK. Instead of berating yourself for not being overtly positive about your self-image, come to a place of neutrality where you can pass by a mirror and not have to evaluate every part of yourself for better and for worse. In this, you can commit to respecting yourself completely. You do not have to like yourself to treat yourself well.
18. Get a journal and start blueprinting the life you want. Draw it out, write it out. The relationships, money, work you want. So what if it’s a pipe dream? You need to be at least willing to get yourself into the mindset of what you’d like to achieve, otherwise it’s completely impossible.
19. Make more time for the people that matter. The quality of your relationships is the quality of your life.