10 Things to Start Doing if You Want to Be Ahead of Everyone in 5 Years
Stop Being Afraid
I traveled to Greece, thousands of miles away from home by myself to study abroad. I spent 3.5 weeks with strangers, seeing the sites and learning the language. Before I left I kept saying how badly I wanted to stay home, because I was afraid. Instead of letting my fear take over, I took a deep breath and leaped. After everything I can honestly say that I would do it all over again. I met unforgettable people, ate unbelievably delicious food and found bliss.
Learn to Commit
Commitment is huge in the "real world" both at home and at work. I have always struggled with this but eventually I learned to commit to the things that I love and to keep track of my commitments. Of course starting small is much easier so make sure to always say yes to the things that you love. If your family member asks for you to do something that's cringe-worthy, know that it's okay to say no. There has to be a good balance of yes and no in your life. To take this one step further, start using a planner! Keep one at your desk, a small one in your purse and even one on your phone. Keeping track of your commitments will help your stress levels but it will also stop people from calling you flaky.
Discover Who You Are
Start making lists of what you love, what you dislike, and what your pet peeves are. Eventually you will become your own best friend (which is so important) and will understand yourself and your own desires more clearly. I've done this for the past 2 years and it has changed my life completely.
I no longer do things that bore me, instead I do what I want to do and say "no thank you" to the things that I already know won't interest me. It saves so much time and allows me to try new things that relate to things that I already love. So keep a little journal, make sticky notes on your computer or keep a mental note of what you love and what inspires you.
Make Friends With People From All Backgrounds
I know this one may seem really easy but trust me it makes all the difference. Reach out to others from different religions, from different parts of the world, from different racial backgrounds. You'll become a more open minded person and without knowing it a more accepting one as well.
This one I struggle with (as we all do) but being healthy doesn't mean that we need to work out 5 days a week (no one has time for that in the working world). Stay healthy mentally by finding inner peace. If you find yourself feeling calm when you're at the beach, go at least once a week.
If you feel empowered when you run, then run. Find your spiritual health by reading a daily scripture, listening to Christian music daily or go to Bible study. Embrace your physical health by swimming, playing tennis, dancing or whatever it may be that makes your body happy! Take care of your emotional health by surrounding yourself with happy people, taking personal days when you need to and always taking time to realize what you are feeling in the moment.
Also if you need a good cry don't be embarrassed, we all need one and it's perfectly normal to let your emotions out in the form of tears. If you need a night long crying session make sure to check out my list of sad movies that I always watch when I need to cry like a baby.
This is really hard at first, especially if you're shy like I am. Joining clubs in college like the debate team, student government or program council will help with this. If you learn how to market yourself and your assets now, it will be easier when it comes time for you to get out into the working world.
Try Something New At Least 5 Times a Year
5 times, that's my personal goal. You don't have to make your lucky number 5, it can be 2 or 15 just as long as you try things that you've always wanted to. I've created a bucket list filled with so many things that I want to do. This list includes making sushi, traveling to Europe (which I've done) and adopting a puppy! I think placing X's next to each fun activity is almost as satisfying as the experiences that I have had.
I stopped dressing in baggy shirts and jeans about a year ago, and my life has changed drastically. I had a professor request that I complete a mock interview for the class because of my professionalism. When I showed up to my business class one day in a t-shirt and jeans I was asked by a student "why" because as she could see I wear very business casual clothes every day. When I dress up I feel like I can do anything, and I know that I stand out but for the best reason possible.
Stop Caring So Much About What Others Think
This one is a bit tough, especially for me. You can still care what others think about you but use it to your advantage. If people think "she's so religious" but you take pride in being close to God, then take it as a compliment. If they say "she's always late" then take it as constructive criticism and start arriving on time. What other people think doesn't always have to be looked at in a negative way. Twist it so that you can learn something from what they have to say. If that doesn't work for you, then find more positive people to spend your time with.
Stand Up For What You Believe In
This might be a little more important than any of the other 9 things listed. I have always had a difficult time voicing my opinion, or standing up for what I believe in. This all changed when I started attending university. I decided to take a video editing class to better my skills and to learn new tricks. What I took away from this class though was more than I ever thought I could.
I created this social experiment to stand up for women everywhere who have ever been told that they're not good enough, smart enough or pretty enough. Standing in the freezing cold having strangers sign my body was a life changing experience. I finally learned that when you stand up for what you believe in you feel proud of yourself, and that day I felt love from more people than I ever have in my entire life. I received so many "thank you's" and personal stories that I realized I wasn't only standing up for something that I believed in, but something that many people believe in as well.
Watch the video here