1. Tell people what you want. And not just the people who can give it to you — like your boss or your significant other — but also your friends, your family, your colleagues. Knowing you have people rooting for you (or even better, people to prove wrong) can be hugely motivating.
2. Don’t confuse your work with your life. The most important part of your life is the relationships you build with others. Even if you end up in a position where you have to work 80 hours a week, never lose sight of that.
3. Save money. When you turn 30, you won’t want to worry about how you’ll ever afford a child, take a real vacation, or buy a home. Plan for the future and you’ll not only be able to afford niceties here and there, you’ll also have a safety net should the unexpected strike.
4. Ask for what you want. If you want a bigger paycheck, ask for a raise or negotiate a higher salary. If you want your boyfriend to commit to having dinner with you one night a week, tell him rather than hoping he reads your mind. You might be surprised by the results when you just come out and ask for things.
5. Cut out the people who hold you back. If you have a friend who often makes you feel bad about yourself or always pushes you to drink more than you’re comfortable with, even when you have a big presentation to give the next morning, hang out with her less or don’t hang out with her at all. Spend more time with the people who support you and help you lead the healthy, focused lifestyle that will help you achieve your goals.
6. Don’t stick around for jobs or relationships that make you deeply unhappy. Not every relationship is full of fights and not every workplace is full of bosses who yell at their employees. Anything you spend a majority of your time doing should enhance your life, not bring you down.
7. Move cities. Sometimes the only way to find the opportunity you really want is to move. Be fearless in the face of your own ambition, and don’t let your location hold you back.
8. Be decisive. Indecision can be torturous not only to you, but also to the people who rely on you. Learn to trust your gut instincts and grow from experience, and don’t be afraid to stick to what you believe is best.
9. Forgive people. Forgiveness isn’t for the other person — it’s for you. Even if you never tell someone to their face that you forgive them, knowing that you have will help you move on. Holding a grudge doesn’t lead to happy, positive feelings.