Here are 15 things you already know that you should really just go ahead and start practicing now, because the older version of yourself will be eternally grateful if you do. For that matter, everyone will be glad you did.
1. Move your body.
You can't underestimate the power of experiencing the strength of your physical body in healthy ways. Find healthy movement that you enjoy and try to participate in it at least 60 minutes daily. You're establishing rhythms that will support you throughout your life, so get moving!
2. Eat more plants.
Your body craves nourishment in every calorie. Why do you think you can't stop eating that junk food!? Save yourself the trouble of discovering your metabolism can no longer handle all the crap you eat, and fill your plate with greens and veggies.
3. Get your rest
You need it. Turn off the television and smartphone and light up a candle. Take a bath or some deep breaths. Starting the rhythm of peaceful quietude at the end of your day is something that will change your entire state of being. Trust me, if the older version of you with two young kids and a full time career can figure out how to make it happen, so can you. And doing it now will help her a lot.
4. Drink water
There are three main ways for toxins to leave your body: through urine, poop, and sweat. Drinking lots of water helps them on their way (and if you didn’t pick up on it yet, plants and moving daily will too). In addition having a hydrated body is a happy body, so fill up that water glass and throw away the soda.
5. Wear sunscreen
You’ll like the crow’s feet you have from all the smiles, but the scars from the “suspicious moles” removed? Not so much. Save yourself the trouble and slop on that sunscreen.
6. Brush and floss.
Your teeth (and gums) reflect your overall health, so take care of them! You probably have the brushing down, but get that flossing going too, every time! See your dentist every six months, and brush and floss after every meal! If you're feeling extra adventurous, do some oil pulling too!
7. Make connections (in person!) with nature and people.
Life is amazing and beautiful, but you have to look up from your phone to see it. Please connect with nature and people in real life rather than through your technology. And when you are with them, keep your technology away. The filling of the heart and mind you’ll experience will surprise you.
8. Accept that it's OK to be bummed, but keep it in perspective.
Life can be very hard, and suffering can be overwhelming. So give yourself a break if you're bummed by something that feels trivial compared to the suffering in our world. It doesn't take away from your knowledge of how fortunate you are. If you’re overwhelmed by the larger picture, get smaller. Focus on those in your family or community you can impact daily in positive ways through your attitude and presence. Even though you can’t see it yet, it's changing the world for the better.
9. Be you.
Make the best of your unique gifts and appreciate your opportunity on this earth. You are worthy of any good that comes your way. Embrace it, embrace yourself, and shine on. Life is not a competition, so just bring your best, most sincere self forward and experience the joy in being you.
10. Be kind.
When I say be kind, I don’t mean sugary fake sweetness. Be sincerely kind. When interacting with others, focus a whole lot more about how people feel in your presence than how they feel about you personally.
11. Remember that your beauty comes from the inside.
The most beautiful people are those who nourish and support their inner self, and care sincerely about others. Please take good care of your body; you want it to be a long-term home for you. Investing your energy in coming from a place of love and nourishment for your body will do more for you than any beauty cream or regimen!
12. Nurture your relationships.
Your friends will be there through all of your life. Pick ones who uplift your spirit, bring out the best in you, want the best for you, and ones with whom you can be vulnerable. Once you have them, make time for them! Get together at least once every month, or chat on the phone if they're far away. Do not let time, distance, the love of your life, and the little loves to follow squeeze out the important time with them. They're an important part of you, and will continue to be as you grow and change.
13. Be smart about your money!
Have a budget based on your income and expenses and stick to it. For “non-essentials” like meals out, or more things or experiences, set a budget if available and use cash for the expenditures.
14. Envision the life you want and go after it with passion.
The best way to get there? Hard work, thoughtfulness, patience and reflection. With each goal, ask yourself, "Does this decision help me get there?" If yes, go for it; if no, pass.
15. Give thanks.
Find the things you're grateful for and give thanks; daily, if possible, in every breath when needed.
Bonus: Remember it's never too late to change.
You can change. So if you're reading this in your 30s wishing could actually give this to yourself in your 20s, picture your 50-year-old self saying the same thing to you now and get started! You're worth it, you're worthy of it, and you can do it! But you already knew these things anyway, so…
Thanks and love you,
Your Older Self