Every 4th of July, Americans celebrate the independence of our country. This independence was hard fought for, and something we must continue to support and promote constantly in order to maintain it. But how many of us can say that we are personally independent? Learning to take care of yourself fully, allows for more confidence, creativity, and freedom. Here are a few ways you can start to claim your own independence.
Spend Time Alone
Find a day this month to spend completely alone, doing things you love. You could go out to dinner, go to the movies, read a book, paint, go window shopping, or take a relaxing walk. The possibilities are endless, and should reflect your interests. Don’t wait for a friend to be available when you want to do something – just do it! Get to know yourself again, without the support or distraction of others.
You might start by setting aside just $20 every paycheck and then slowly increasing the amount. Your first goal should be to accumulate enough savings for an adequate emergency fund (this is usually between $1000-$2500 for most singles or couples), and then to cover 30 days’ worth of living expenses. Once you’ve reached these goals, work your way up to 3 months, then 6 months. To achieve this, trim down your biggest expenses: transportation, housing, and food. Pick the category that’s least scary to you and start there. Skipping your daily gourmet coffee, moving to a cheaper apartment, downsizing cars, or cooking meals at home are all ways to save each month.
Break habits of procrastination by planning ahead. Make a list of the things you want to do, the things you need to do, and the things you should have already done. Then, put them into your daily task list and prioritize. Don’t do things to impress others, do it because you want to see yourself succeed. Compare your progress and success against the person you were last month or last year – not against the perceived success of others.
Live Your Best Life
We’re not always aware that we’re taking other people’s expectations so personally, but when we do, we wind up feeling anxious, resentful, and unfulfilled. It’s normal to want to have validation from those we love, but our self-esteem and self-worth should never depend on how we think other people are feeling toward us. Ultimately we each live our lives with the consequences and rewards of our own actions and attitudes. Make your life amazing, and you’ll be proud of it.