From the seemingly trivial to the life-affirming, do these now, and thank yourself in the future, says Victoria Stokes
Learn healthy confrontation
Nobody likes confrontation, in fact, most of us actively avoid it, but every now and again there comes a time when you really shouldn’t keep schtum. Maybe it’s a tricky work sitch that you need to address with your boss or perhaps you need to tell a friend that she’s overstepped the mark. Either way, confronting someone, even when you know you’re well within your rights to, can be daunting. Try a mantra to calm your nerves before you go in for the kill and start small by addressing an issue with someone you feel comfortable with, rather than broaching a grievance with a person you find more intimidating. The great news? The more you flex your confrontation muscle the easier it will be in future, meaning you’ll be able to nip dramas in the bud much quicker down the line.
Save for a pension
We get it, you’re so busy squirrelling away cash for a house deposit/paying your mortgage/trying to just get by in life, that a pension seems like something you can worry about far off in the future. But if you’re to enjoy life when you’re old and grey, it’s something you need to be thinking about sooner rather than later. Experts suggest you should divide your age by two and save this percentage of your salary each year. In other words, if you’re 30, try putting away 15 percent of your yearly earnings, if you’re 40, aim for 20 percent of your salary annually and so on. Even if you don’t have that much to spare, every little helps, so put aside what you can afford.
Put fresh sheets on the bed
Is there any pleasure in life greater than slipping into a bed kitted out with fresh sheets in a freshly washed set of Pjs? No, there is not. Wash yours before you jet off on holidays or ahead of a stressful week, so you have this little pocket of bliss to look forward to.
We know, we know, doing something that scares the bejaysus out of you isn’t fun, but you know that whole spiel on Instagram about how life begins beyond your comfort zone? Well, as much as we hate to admit, it’s totally true. We need to push passed what feels comfy in order to grow, so how can you stop fear from preventing you moving forward? Self help guru Robin Sharma says the secret is not letting your mind keep you small. Our minds will do anything to keep us nice and safe in the same place if we let them, so challenge that mental chatter (“Most fears are just a bunch of lies you’ve sold yourself anyway,” Sharma writes) and reward yourself when you achieve great things. This way, future you won’t be filled with regrets.
Find the meaning in failure
Nobody likes to mess up, but that doesn’t mean failure is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, Elizabeth Day, author of How to Fail: Everything I’ve Learned From Things Going Wrong, has dedicated an entire book to why it’s often a positive. She says failure has taught her lessons she would have never otherwise understood and that she’s learned far more from things going wrong than she ever has from them going right. So when shit hits the fan and things don’t go to plan (as they often don’t) learn to take a step back and appreciate the bigger picture. Failing just means you’re out there taking risks, and once you know that you won’t be as afraid to put yourself out there in the years to come.
Make your lunch the night before
You’re in bed, three episodes deep into Line of Duty when you realise you’ve forgotten to prep tomorrow’s lunch. As tempting as it is to drift off to sleep, get ye to the kitchen. Your future self will thank you when you don’t have to grab another boring sandwich from the Spar or splurge on a delivery – again.
Practice pattern interrupt
It’s easy to let our thoughts run away with themselves and to accept them as fact, especially when that particular thought is one that’s determined to put you down. The next time you find yourself giving yourself a bashing or realise you’re getting lost in a negative spiral, stop, address your feelings and change the script. The result? Future you will be much more adept at stopping a bad mood in its tracks and not letting it ruin an entire day.
Take your make-up off before bed
Look, we know when you stumble in at 3am with a few too many G&Ts on you (or even when you’re just cosy on the couch on a Tuesday evening) often the last thing you want to do is the double cleanse at your bathroom sink but when you wake up sans panda eyes with lovely clear skin you’ll be glad you did. Bonus points if you remember your serums and night cream.
Preemptively treat yourself
Got a very stressful week ahead or have something coming up that you’re dreading? We all need a little reward at the end of the week, so jump on to your favourite online store, find something you really, really want and arrange for it to be delivered right when you really need it.
Be present. Now.
One part of your head is reliving the pure mortification of snotting yourself in front of that cute barista six months ago, the other is worrying about how you’re going to meet that deadline this month. Most of us spend our time either dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, meaning there’s very little space left to live in the now. Experts suggest even just asking yourself ‘Am I present?’ is enough to snap you back into the present moment, so any time you find your mind starting to wander, give yourself a gentle nudge and refocus. It prevents those old don’t-know-what-you-got-’til-it’s-gone regrets when you’re older. And we could all do without those, right?