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10 Habits Everyone Should Start Practicing Before Turning 30

10 Habits Everyone Should Start Practicing Before Turning 30

I’ve officially entered the second half of my 30’s. In my 20’s and early 30’s, there were some life lessons I learned the hard way, and something I didn’t figure out until my 30’s that I wish I would’ve understood much sooner.

Here are some habits to master before turning 30. If you get these figured out in your 20’s, you’ll enter your 30’s with a great start.

1. Self-acceptance

Becoming a self-expert is the key to beginning to accept – and love – yourself. I recommend devoting time in your 20’s to self-discovery. I didn’t have a strong understanding of who I am until I reached my 30’s. If I would’ve really known myself in my 20’s, I believe I would’ve avoided many bad decisions. Once you truly know yourself, you can learn to accept yourself and all your unique traits. When you understand who you are including your natural strengths, quirks, and potential shortcomings, you can make decisions that better suit your personality. This will affect all areas of your life – your career, your relationships, and your lifestyle.

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2. The ability to drown out your inner critic

Start paying attention to the messages you tell yourself. If you’re inner dialogue is self-defeating and negative, it’s time to make a change. Feed your mind with positive thoughts. Compliment yourself. It’s time to treat yourself like you are your own best friend. 

3. Healthy stress relief habits

When you’re in your 30’s, you’re officially an adult, which comes with its own set of stressors. How you deal with life’s stressors will make a huge difference in your happiness. Work on getting rid of self-destructive coping mechanisms. Experiment with healthy stress management techniques, such as exercising, meditating, or socializing, and adopt the techniques that suit you best.

4. How to give without expecting anything in return

Giving to others altruistically helps them and also changes your life. When you help others – either by giving your encouragement and emotional support, lending a helping hand, or donating your time and money, great things happen. It will help many lives significantly when you get out of your head and think about others.

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5. How to forgive

Oprah Winfrey describes her favorite definition of forgiveness as “giving up the hope that the past could be any different.” Oprah writes, “Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone the behavior or, in any way, make a wrong right. It just means you give yourself permission to release from your past – and step forward with the mud of resentment cleared from your wings. Fly!”

Harboring anger toward yourself or others you feel have wronged you can significantly hold you back in life. You absolutely must learn to forgive those who have hurt you to be truly free. Amazing things can happen in your life when you let go of your anger, resentment, and bitterness.

6. How to have healthy relationships

Being able to build healthy relationships will affect almost every area of your life. One of my favorite quotes is by Jim Rohn, who said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” When you surround yourself with people who build you up, inspire you, and encourage you to be your best, you will do amazing things. The sooner you develop a strong network of friends and learn how to have healthy relationships in your love life, the better.

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7. How to tolerate your own company

You don’t have to love time alone; many people would prefer to be in the company of others than spend a day alone (myself included). However, it’s important to tolerate being alone on occasion to reflect. Try doing little things on your own without scheduling your day around others — even something as simple as a manicure for yourself teaches you that time alone is valuable.

8. Spend your life doing what actually matters to you

Millions of people spend their lives doing work that isn’t meaningful to them. I believe you can find and do work you love, and your life will be so much more fulfilling if you do work that lights you up. If you’re not sure what you’re passionate about, this free workbook is a great start.

9. How to stand your ground

Learning to say no is an essential part of living the life you deserve. Decide what behavior you refuse you tolerate from others, draw your line in the sand, and stand your ground to people who are toxic. Learn to say no to being treated with disrespect. Learn to say no to time-sucking activities you dread but feel obligated to do. This is your one life. Learn to hold true to your values and focus your life on your purpose, priorities, and passions.

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10. How to gain control of your finances

Become financially literate and work on improving your financial situation. Learn about investing. Taking time to invest at a young age can make a huge difference to your financial future.

Do you have additional suggestions for people in their 20’s? I’d love to hear them.

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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