Ditching the New Year’s resolutions this year? Us too. That’s why we asked Sarah Knight, best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, to come up with some empowering mantras for us instead that are all about accepting who you are and being proud of yourself. Keep reading for her exclusive guide, inspired by her new book You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want…
Embrace your flaws — and turn them into strengths.
Repeat after me: There is nothing wrong with you. In fact, your “flaws” can just as easily be touted as strengths. If people call you weird, tell them you’re unique. If they call you pessimistic, tell them you’re realistic. And instead of expending all that effort trying to change yourself, just change the way you FEEL about being yourself, and the way you DEAL with other people’s perceptions. It’s a lot easier, trust me.
When you were a kid, you were probably taught that being selfish was a bad thing, and that’s not the worst lesson. But now you’re an adult and you understand nuance—you know there are times when “selfish” is just “self-care,” and it’s not hurting anyone else to pay attention to what YOU want, need, and deserve, and then go after it.
Ignore the haters and prove the doubters wrong.
Strap on your Beats by Dre headphones and tune out the noise from people who don’t understand or believe in you. You don’t need their approval to go after what you want this year. All you need is the right attitude—one that says I believe in me.
Smile if you feel like it. Don’t if you don’t.
Society puts way too much emphasis on being “nice”— that is, bestowing the gift of your good humour on people or situations that don’t deserve it. Be true to yourself this year by taking back your smile, and wielding it (or not) for maximum effect whenever you damn well please.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
“You do you” means just that: Worry about what you’re up to and not about what anyone else is doing (or what they think about what you’re doing). Your sister’s perfect hair or your best friend’s amazing job or your roommate’s massive Instagram following may define them, but your lack of such things does not define you. So don’t let it.
Perfection is like a desert oasis. You can crawl toward it, panting and exhausted, for as long as you can keep your eyes open, but it will remain forever out of reach. Even a gymnast who dedicates her entire career to the pursuit of the fabled “perfect ten” almost never gets there—and if those human pogo sticks can win OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALS without being technically “perfect,” then you should be able to get through your own life without stressing over that impossible goal.
Let your freak flag fly.
When in doubt, get freaky. Sing. Dance. Frolic in a public space. Take all that pent-up energy and channel it into a random act of weirdness that will not only reroute your neural pathways to joy for a few precious minutes, but will also undoubtedly entertain some random bystanders. Happy New Year to all!
SARAH KNIGHT is the New York Times best-selling author of three self-help books, including The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k. Her new book, You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want is on sale now.