2016 is here and it’s here to stay (for another eleven and a bit months, at least). The raucous celebrations invested in waving goodbye to 2015 are over, you are settled back to the old routine of another term at university and you have most probably broken all of your new years resolutions already. But it’s time to get serious and talk about the one change that you really can make this year…
But first, I have a confession. I am not a student. This may leave you wondering why I am gracing the pages of STDNT Life… so perhaps I should explain. I might have left university almost ten years ago (don’t gasp too much, 30 doesn’t feel that old when you actually get there) and although it still feels like yesterday that I was enjoying the student life, I have also learnt a thing or two that I wish I’d known during university.
I wish I had known to say yes a little bit more. Scrap that, a lot more. I wish I had known to say yes to making more time for the people and things I love, to trying new things, grasping every single opportunity I can with both hands, pushing my limits and absolutely making every attempt to live life to the full.
It sounds cliché. You’ve probably already made these promises to yourself when you started university, but it is much harder to actually live them. You need to make a conscious effort to say yes every day.
And if you are going to be a yes person, your student days are certainly the time to start. That is exactly the time to choose the yes decisions that are right for you.
On which note, I should preface this by saying that there are obvious legal boundaries to saying yes. I would have been as sure of that when I was a student myself, as I am now in my 30’s. There are certain things that are a waste of a yes, and can cut the rest of your yeses short and anything illegal or harmful to your health falls into the that bracket.
There are also things that are outside of our control. I have learnt the hard way that we are far from immortal. We all have our time, some longer than others. Losing a friend when she was still in the prime of her life in her late twenties taught me exactly why we need to say yes more. We don’t know when our time will come, so do your level best to make the most of what you have. All of the time.
So, here’s how you can make 2016 the year that you start saying yes more; the beginning of living a life full of glorious yeses…
Push yourself to do something new, or something that you are unsure about every month. Ideally more frequently. But baby steps are good to start. Write them down so that you can see the fantastic things you have tried and experienced as a result of saying yes.
Make sure you know what your priorities are – and focus your yeses around that. They are the yeses that will bring you the most pleasure.
No is acceptable if you are saying no to make way for a yes to the things you love the most. Just make sure you are really clear about why you are saying no. If it is just that you are scared or unsure, push yourself a little more to say yes.
Be smart with your money; don’t spend what you don’t have. But make sure you save so that you don’t have to miss out on the things you really want to do. Even if it is just putting £10 aside each month.
University is the perfect time to network both socially and professionally. Take every opportunity to meet and talk to new people, whether it’s at a party, a careers talk or business focused event.
Take every opportunity you can to explore – that means your university town and your hometown, as much as the world.
Get outside more, walk, and absorb things. Take time to smell the flowers (or the rain, it’s therapeutic too).
We all love a bit of trashy TV. Particularly at university on the nights that aren’t a ‘going out night’. But try and make a conscious effort to switch the television off at least once a week and do something that isn’t watching TV and isn’t partying.
Be curious. Ask questions, embrace learning.
You never know what life may have in store for you if you just say yes more.
You can consider me the yes monitor, I will be popping in every month to inspire you with more things that you can say yes to – from yes career advice, and awe-inspiring (but affordable) trips, to encouraging you to be a little more adventurous in the kitchen and everything in between.
Join the yes revolution, it certainly worked for Richard Branson: “Life really is more fun when you say yes.”
Featured image from Mohamed Malik