It's crazy how quickly time is going by. Another year is already ending and another one is about to begin. Every year, I make goals for myself and can never seem to accomplish them all. It's like I try to cram all of these tasks -- for instance, starting a company, winning the lottery, getting a book deal, creating a TV show, etc. -- into a year, but most are not actually all that realistic (#AmbitousPeopleProblems). Like, I'm probably not going to become famous overnight, right? However, beyond the many things I hope to accomplish some time in the near future, there are a couple of things I -- and you -- should do in the new year no matter what.
Here are 10 things every 20-something should do in 2014:
1. Be active. Whether you're going to the gym twice a day every day or you're taking walks around your neighborhood three times a week, make sure you are doing some sort of physical activity on the regular. Don't say you're too busy for it... we're all busy. You just need to make time for it (especially if you sit at a desk all week long). Whether that time is on the weekend, at 5:00 a.m. every day, or right before you go to bed, make it happen. Five minutes of crunches is better than nothing.
2. Take a vacation. We are given mandatory vacation days for a reason. Don't use them all on days for appointments and visiting home. Go somewhere warm! Go somewhere romantic! Go somewhere exotic and different. You have your own money now. And you certainly deserve it.
3. Have a crazy night(s) out. No, you don't have to get wasted every time you go out. You don't even have to drink every time you go out. In fact, you don't even need to go out that much. But make sure you have at least one wild night this year when you do go out (preferably more than one). And by wild night, I of course mean drink so much that you do stupid things you will most definitely regret the next morning while puking up pizza in the toilet. Everyone needs a good story every now and then.
4. Think. Think before you spend. Think before you eat. Think before you tweet. Think before you drink. A problem with us 20-somethings is that we rarely think -- we just DO. We have (barely any) money, so we spend it. We hate saying no, so we constantly find ourselves eating poorly and drinking way too often. We are under pressure by Instagram and feel the need to add a filter to every single picture we take and then post it on all social media sites we use. We tweet whatever is on our mind. And we post things on Facebook in the heat of the moment. This year, think before you do any of the above. Please.
5. Cook something. As a 20-something, you need to learn to cook. You should already know how to cook pasta and eggs -- and know how to use the oven. Now, spice up your pasta and eggs with new recipes... and of course learn what to do with meat, whether it's in a crock pot, the oven, the stove, or on a grill. Of course, microwavable meals are nice when you worked late or are just way too busy. But to be healthy, you must cook! I'm not saying turn into a chef... but look easy recipes up online. Cooking is really not that bad.
6. Get rid of fake friends. And stop being fake yourself! You graduated college. You're in the real world. There's no need to keep pretending you like so-and-so just because they're friends with your friends and you feel you have to. But there's also no need to be mean to people. You're too old for that. Be cordial, but don't go out of your way to make a friendship happen that's just not going to happen. Focus that energy on new friendships with people you actually like. Don't exclude people, don't be cliquey, and ignore any drama that attempts to come your way. Do YOU and don't worry about anyone else.
7. Binge watch a TV show. Or just start watching good TV (it's out there). Pay your 20-something dues and watch HBO's Girls. See what the buzz was about this year and check out Breaking Bad. Dabble in Homeland. Put on a pair of sweatpants and Netflix Orange is the New Black for an entire weekend. You might feel useless, but it's okay to be a waste of space sometimes (really, it is).
8. Buy something valuable. Whether it be a phone, a computer, a TV, a tablet, or a designer bag, treat yourself. Embrace your inner responsible adult by buying something you could never afford in college and then be responsible for that item. It will be good practice for having a child. Okay, not really, but whatever.
9. Call friends and family. No one calls people anymore. We just tweet, text, and... well that's about it since Facebook wall writing is now a thing of the past. We don't listen to people anymore, so our conversations are completely impersonal. When someone is being nice, we sometimes mistake them for being rude and of course never say anything because it's just a text. This year, take a few minutes every week (or couple of weeks) to call people. Of course face to face communication is ideal, but if you have to resort to something else and you really want to catch up with someone -- or keep up with someone -- give them a call.
10. Relax. Stop planning something for every second of every day and take a break. It's okay to sit on the couch and watch trashy TV once in a while. It's okay to go to bed early to catch up on sleep on a weekend night. It's okay to do absolutely nothing for an entire weekend once in a while. In fact, it's almost necessary at this point in our lives. Take a minute or two to sit down and not think every once in a while. You'll appreciate the lack of stress in your life a lot more than you did back in college.
This post originally appeared on Forever Twenty Somethings. If you're a Boston 20-something, come drink your #20SomethingProblems away at their Post-Holiday Hangover Party at Brahmin in January! Click here for details.