1. Not really understanding when you only have one chance to do something; therefore, you wind up doing things that don’t really matter. For example, you have to choose between taking a yearlong internship in a different part of the country or staying home because you feel safe. Or, you choose to get your nails done and hang with your friends instead of preparing for finals without realizing that those grades can affect whether you can get into the college of your choice, which is a big deal.
2. Not taking care of your body, particularly if you already have body challenges, i.e., weight, taking the time to figure out how to manage your skin (acne, eczema, etc) and not making exercise/being active a part of how you live.
3. Abusing your body, i.e, alcohol and marijuana. Although both are legal, depending on where you live, too much of either can lead to addiction and making you look old before your time.
4. Developing an “it’s okay to quit” philosophy. I read somewhere that once you quit on one thing, it becomes easier to quit on the next thing. While I can’t remember where I read that, I think it is true. Do you want to be that person who said she was going to lose weight, that she was going to school, that she was going to start a business, that she was going to learn to swim….AND NEVER ACCOMPLISH ANY OF IT?
5. Not learning how to use a budget regardless of how little or how much money you earn.
6. Not owning at least one nice and conservative dress and conservative heels to match: yes, a boring outfit that will make your outfit appropriate for every job interview, professional event, and yes, funeral. If you can get your hair done twice and buy a pair of sneakers, you can afford it!
7. Thinking you don’t have to dream and set and meet goals that will take real time and work to achieve. Yes, life gets tough and we all have stuff to do every day; however, nothing is as satisfying as setting a goal that takes work. It does something for your confidence.
8. Failing to expect consequences. No matter what you do, whether good or bad, there’s a consequence.
9. Constantly being around people in a way that robs of you of the comfort of being alone, being okay with quiet, and being able to think back over your choices, actions and attitude. Your friends are great; however, you shouldn’t feel like something is missing when you chill by yourself.
10. Doing what everybody else does instead of looking for hobbies and activities that you enjoy. What is life without a little fun, fun according to your own definition?
11. Not loving and accepting yourself to the point whereby you are okay being “odd woman out”. You need to feel comfortable doing you regardless of what the people around you are doing. Other people’s agenda should not be yours. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain.
12. Not making it your business to travel outside of the country! Figure out a way to do it. You can volunteer as part of a service project. If you are a college student, there is likely a foreign exchange program available to you. Or how about this one: get a job and save up enough money to pay your own way. However you get there, go!
13. Knee-jerk reactions in terms of your behavior, particularly if your reactions to people and circumstances tends to be mean, aggressive, or defensive. Be honest with yourself.
14. Your body count. Yes, your body count: the number of people you’ve had sex with, particularly if you shared your body without thinking about it. No judgment. I’m not being your parent; however, you will think about it. You’ll also think about whether you did it because your friends were doing it or if you did it for your own reasons.
15. Not identifying a board of directors who are people in your life who know more than you and who you feel comfortable talking to. These are people you know, that you trust, and you feel comfortable around them. You can be honest about your short-comings and your hopes and you know that they are on your team and genuinely want the best for you.