20 before 26 // finding inner peace
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I’m 12 days away from turning 25. The last 12 days of my first quarter century. The next time I hit such a landmark, I’ll be turning 50. Gahh!

Last year I posted my 25 before 25 goals, and I only completed 10 of them (I guess I still have 12 days to go…but something’s telling me it’s not going to happen haha). Although that’s slightly disappointing, I think that more important than checking off items from my bucket-list-esque 25 before 25 goals, I’ve grown a lot as a person in the past year; in retrospect, this has been one of the most transformative years I’ve ever had. I’m going to do a whole post on this later, but I find myself being so much more self-aware and inwardly calm than I was at this time last year. So that’s good!

This year, I want my list to be a bit more focused on personal development and not as dependent on outside forces. For example, two of my goals last year involved travel despite the fact that there was no guarantee “adding a stamp to my passport” would be financially possible. This isn’t a bucket list as much as it is a path towards who I want to be when I’m 26 next year. Also I decided that I don’t need to force myself to think of 26 things to work on, even though I know it’s “supposed” to be a number coordinating with how old you’ll be turning. I find when I’m trying super hard to think of a specific number of things to do, I end up listing things I don’t actually care about. So I’m not doing that this time.

I titled this post “finding inner peace” because that’s the overarching goal I want to achieve in my 25th year of life. As I will discuss further in my future post, I’ve spent a lot of time (read: most of my time) over the past 6-8 years in some form or another of inner turmoil. This ranged from small crises like regretting not saying something when I should have spoken up, to bigger ones like obsessive self-esteem issues. This past year has seen some immense personal changes for me and I’m only recently realizing how un-peaceful my interior has been. This is the year I REALLY start putting my inner turmoil to rest and becoming a more sound person.

In no particular order, here is my 20 before 26 list:

01. Practice yoga regularly, but focus on the mental calmness and physical strength aspects of it and not the weight loss/body transformation aspects. I want yoga to be something I do for my spiritual self and bodily health, not as a means to achieve a certain appearance.
02. Practice meditation regularly. I want to be able to meditate for 45 minutes within one year (I can do it for 12 right now!).
03. Stop being so passive aggressive. I’m the kind of person that says “it’s fine” when it’s not fine at all. I need to either address the problem or say “it’s fine” and mean it.
04. Stand up for myself. I shy from confrontation and don’t speak my mind easily, opting to be walked all over instead.
05. Stand by my convictions. I am an intelligent woman and I believe what I believe for a reason, so I need to be more courageous in vocalizing said beliefs.
06. Stop holding grudges against anyone and let go of things that have already passed. Every single day is a new beginning, and I should treat every day as such.
07. Practice letting go of little things that don’t matter. I am VERY easily frustrated when something doesn’t go as planned and often let it affect the entire day.
08. Spend money mindfully. Although I’ve improved on my sending habits a LOT since last year, it could still use some serious work. I’m somewhat of an instant gratification shopper, and I want to stop that. I’m a big girl now and it’s time to spend my hard-earned money only on things that are important.
09. Eat mindfully. As I said above, I’m a big girl and need to stop telling myself that chips/candy/soda are treats. I want to focus my mind on eating to fuel my body, not to be instantly gratified by a yummy taste. This isn’t to say that I’ll never eat chocolate again, I just want to work on being conscious of what I’m eating. If it’s something unhealthy, I want to acknowledge that I’m putting something bad into my system and stop justifying it (“I ate super healthy yesterday, so I can eat a bag of Doritos today!”). Food doesn’t own me; I will mindfully choose what enters my body.
10. Turn off electronics before bed. I’ve been trying to do this for a long time but never really prioritized it. I want to make a habit of disconnecting at least 30 minutes before going to sleep, as there’s realistically NO need to be connected up to the last second you’re awake.
11. Be tidier. I am the least tidy person on earth, not kidding. I never put anything away and I live in constant clutter. This has absolutely never bothered me, but it’s time to change this about myself. I want to be organized and clean, putting everything in its place on a daily basis.
12. Be more honest about my feelings. I am the opposite of an open book, which is a weird thing to say considering I’m publishing this on a blog about my own life lol. But honestly, I’m terrible at putting my thoughts and feelings, good or bad, into words. Even those who are the closest to me have a hard time prying things out of me. I don’t mind being a private person, but I do want to be able to disclose things more easily.
13. Take better care of my skin. I sleep with makeup on. I cleanse my face once every two days, if that. I use a facial scrub max once every two weeks. Ugh Marla, come on. I find that when I’m taking good care of my skin, I feel more glowing vs. sleeping in makeup leads to a general crappy, lazy feeling.
14. Journal. I was dedicated to keeping diaries in high school, and I want to get back into that. It’s one of the best ways to track personal progress and clear your mind, and anyway I want to be able to remember little details about my 25-year-old life when I’m older haha.
15. Learn a new language. This was on my list last year and I didn’t complete it, although language learning is something for which I strongly advocate. When you learn a new language, you teach your brain an entirely new way to perceive the world and you gain access to thousands (or millions!) of other humans. Translation never truly captures the beauty of what was said in a maternal language, so why not open yourself to those words?
16. Find a creative outlet. I don’t mean blogging. I mean something that is for me only. Over the course of my life, I’ve experimented with several forms of creative expression but never really continued with anything. This year, I want to find my creative “thing.”
17. Plan. I’m a horrible planner and do most things without long term direction. I want to start doing things consciously with a goal in mind.
18. Be more present. I can a really distracted person, from checking my phone too often to simply having my thoughts wander from what’s in front of me. I hope meditating more will help me here, as I want to be better and being conscious of where I am NOW.
19. Go to the gym to be healthy, not to lose weight. In the past, I’ve always worked out in order to lose weight and/or change the way my body looks. Although that’s still a perfectly fine reason to go to the gym, I don’t want it to be mine anymore. I want to be appreciative of what I look like right now and work out in order to be strong and healthy, not because I don’t like myself.
20. Donate. As I’m spending my money more mindfully, I want to take some of my savings and donate an amount to a different charity once a month.

  • Hima

    So I read number 9 and I was like wow I really want an Earl Grey milkshake rn 😉 I think that sometimes it's important to feed your soul too, but you're right- we always feel better when we fuel our bodies with things that are good for us. What language to you want to learn?

  • Girl soul-feeding is part of my resolution! Earl Grey milkshakes 10000000000000% percent hahah. I just want to be able to look at junky food as a conscious choice, not as a reward for good behavior as if I'm a dog you know? And I want to learn Turkish (Ilhan's first language)!