1. push yourself to get up before the rest of the world - start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.
2. push yourself to fall asleep earlier - start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable.
3. erase processed food from your diet. start with no lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal, then bread. use the rule that if a child couldn’t identify what was in it, you don’t eat it.
4. get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else.
5. stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything.
6. buy a 1L water bottle. start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.
7. buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.
8. strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. make your bed in full.
9. organise your room. fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. light a beautiful candle.
10. have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.
11. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.
12. message old friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. push yourself to follow through.
14. think long and hard about what interests you. crime? sex? boarding school? long-forgotten romance etiquette? find a book about it and read it. there is a book about literally everything.
15. become the person you would ideally fall in love with. let cars merge into your lane when driving. pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. stick your tongue out at babies. compliment people on their cute clothes. challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week. walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story. talk to acquaintances so they become friends.
16. lie in the sunshine. daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t a thing. open your eyes. take small steps to make it happen for you.
When you’re sad:
1. Write letters to the people you love. Don’t seal them; don’t send them. Instead, stick them between the pages of library books.
2. Eat raspberries off your fingertips.
3. Venture outside and observe natural life. Watch a honey bee suck the nectar from lavender plants. Watch a snail slowly make its way towards the shade of a tree. Watch a hummingbird innocently fly above your head. Realize how insignificant you are.
4. Smile at strangers; say hello. It will improve their day and your own.
5. Write lists. They can be about anything.
6. Read several pages of the dictionary. Learn new words. Write down the ones you wish to remember.
7. Never feel compelled to apologize when you don’t feel sorry. It’s okay that you’re honest. It’s okay that you have a different opinion from someone else.
8. Read books and watch movies from your childhood. A healthy dose of nostalgia is okay. Immerse yourself in your past innocence.
9. Walk to a park and get on a swing. Go as high as you can; feel limitless. The world is yours.
10. Eat if you’re hungry. Food is not the enemy. You are a human and need food to survive. You deserve to eat. Put those raspberries on your fingers and sprinkle sugar on your tongue. Taste the summer breeze and sweet aroma of jasmine flowers.
11. Don’t marinate in your sadness. You are not a steak. You are a person; you’re irreplaceable. Open yourself up to contentment. Bathe in the rivers of Glee. Go for hikes with Satisfaction. Sleep in a warm cocoon of blankets with Bliss. Let endless happiness overcome your hopeless sadness. You deserve to be happy. If life is a game and you are the referee, be biased for once and let happiness win.
Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.
Look at you. You’re young. And you’re scared. Why are you so scared? Stop being paralyzed. Stop swallowing your words. Stop caring what other people think. Wear what you want. Say what you want. Listen to the music you want to listen to. Play it loud as fuck and dance to it. Go out for a drive at midnight and forget that you have school the next day. Stop waiting for Friday. Live now. Do it now. Take risks. Tell secrets. This life is yours. When are you going to realize that you can do whatever you want?