I have always loved the idea of creating a list of improvements to make and goals to attain for the next year -- aka New Year's Resolutions.
In 2015, my main goal was to rein in my shoe shopping, secondary to my primary goal of finding love.
Both were accomplished.
While getting in shape, paying rent on time, eating healthier, finding love and refraining from canceling happy hour plans are probably on every 20-something’s New Year’s Resolutions list, I implore you to dig deeper and look within yourself.
If you are in your 20s, now is the time to get serious and really think about how to manifest the life you have always dreamed of for yourself.
Here are 16 practical New Year’s resolutions every 20-something should make for 2016:
1. Get a job.
If you have just graduated, your number one goal should be to obtain a job.
Jobs aren’t easy to come by these days, so I highly recommend going through a temp agency as a good way to get your foot in the door.
2. “Spend what is left after saving.” — Warren Buffet
I got my first big girl job right out of college, and my love of Urban Decay Naked palettes, Kate Spade shoes and fancy cocktails stunted my savings growth.
I always thought I was so young and I could start saving later on in life.
Although six years later, my savings account has a greater net worth than my makeup collection, if I had started saving as much as I save now immediately after I deposited my first paycheck, I would be in an even better place financially.
Time is your friend; the time to save is now.
3. Make a life for yourself.
If you are moving somewhere new because you found a great job or if you are moving back home but your friends have moved away, get out there and make the effort to meet people.
My parents moved to California from Nevada halfway through my college education.
So when I decided to move home, I knew almost nobody.
Through online dating and social sites such as Meetup, I managed to create meaningful relationships with some of the most wonderful people I could ever dream of meeting.
It’s important to realize nobody is coming to your door to befriend you. You have to put yourself out there and make the effort if you want to have friends.
4. Get your ass to the gym.
This is the most common New Year’s resolution.
How do I know this? Well, on the first Monday of every January my beloved gym is suddenly packed with people.
Most gym rats resent this, but I think, hey, the more the merrier (unless all the elliptical machines are taken).
If you have never set foot in the gym before, start off by doing just 20 minutes of cardio twice a week and increase as time goes on.
Don’t spend tons of money on new gym outfits either.
Rather, wear whatever athletic clothes you currently own and treat yourself to new athletic items for every month you religiously make it to the gym.
The hardest part for me is not even just getting there, it’s getting out of bed.
It’s so easy to hit the snooze button on my phone.
In order to prevent myself from doing that, I moved my phone far away from bed so I actually have to get up to turn it off.
5. Have faith in love.
It's simple. Good people exist and most people just want to love and be loved.
Have faith and keep an open heart in order to find your love of your life.
6. Treat others as they treat you.
This is harsh, but it will save you some heartache.
If you are constantly disappointed in friends or people in general because you feel that you bend over backwards for them and they don’t return the favor, stop bending over backwards for them.
Yes, you should go out of your way for great friends and good people, but only if they would do the same for you.
7. Invest in a good skincare regimen.
It’s so much easier to combat aging before we age. Investing in a good skincare regimen is the best thing we can do for ourselves visually to slow down the aging process.
Ladies, I know it’s a hassle to take off your makeup before bed, but it’s crucial for your face that you do.
Find a good makeup remover, exfoliator, moisturizer and eye cream and be judicious about keeping up with your skincare.
8. Live alone if financially possible.
Living alone, especially as a female, is extremely important.
You grow up so much when you are solely responsible for all of your bills and you are your own household manager.
Now some people simply just can’t afford to live by themselves due to financial restraints, and that’s okay too.
9. Learn to combat negativity.
As a writer, I get comments all the time saying I’m stupid, my writing is horrible and pretty much every mean thing you could say to someone, I’ve heard it.
Realize you don’t know these people or what they are going through.
Happy people do not go online and start tearing down other people because they just don’t have the time or urge to do that.
Learn to ignore the harsh meaningless negativity you receive from people and focus on the positive.
10. Go after what you want.
I have always hated the saying, “good things come to those who wait,” probably because I’m an extremely impatient person, but I also believe we manifest our own destiny.
If you want something or someone go after it with everything you have.
It’s better to try your hardest and fail than to never try at all.
11. Invest in a good bed.
We spend so much of our lives in bed.
Investing in a good bed is a surefire way to save ourselves from countless bills from the chiropractor later on in life.
I’m 26 and sleeping on the same bed I slept on in high school, so this makes me a hypocrite, but it’s definitely on my personal New Year’s resolutions list.
12. Save for retirement.
Look into other retirement saving methods in addition to a 401(k).
Suze Orman, one of my personal favorite finance gurus, recommends opening up a Roth IRA before you turn 30, in order to reach your goal of financial security before retirement.
Remember, with saving money for retirement, time is your ally.
13. Revaluate your healthcare plan.
Maybe you picked the cheapest healthcare plan last year because you figured you were young and healthy and could use the extra paycheck money.
That may have worked out splendidly for you, but just think about the fact that your body is aging along with you.
You might want to rethink the importance of having the best medical care available.
My advice to you is to find a five star MD, OBGYN, ophthalmologist and dentist and pick the plan that is contracted with them.
A good doctor can potentially save you not only money, but also lots of time if you have a complicated illness to diagnose.
14. Settle down but don’t settle.
If you are lucky enough to find your person, don’t let him or her go. Focus on creating a life together.
We aren’t getting any younger, so if you have found yourself a secure relationship and the two of you can discuss finance, careers, children and long term goals, don’t go looking for excitement.
Hold on to this person.
If you are still in a relationship where the only thing you have in common is your love of raves, favorite brand of tequila and method for a hangover cure, you might want to rethink where the relationship is going.
15. Do one thing every month that scares you.
The best part of aging is growing mentally.
Nothing exceptional happens inside our comfort zone.
Although leaving our cozy comfort zone is scary, challenge yourself to do it at least once a month.
It could be something small like going to a karaoke bar or something really big like skydiving.
Whatever it is, take advice from Nike and just do it.
16. Reflect on the past but focus on the future.
We are our own worst critics. Sometimes we get caught up in all of the what ifs of life.
Stop focusing on past mistakes and focus on the brand new year ahead of you.
This is a year full of promise and opportunity. This is going to be your year.
It’s clichéd, but this is a chance for a new year and a new you or as I like to put it, a new year and a better you.