Expert Advice

Sue Harmsworth: 5 Things I Wish I Knew at 18

1. You can’t over plan your life

Don’t worry about things that are or aren’t going to happen – you can’t over plan your life, life will happen in spite of itself, so focus on the now and enjoy the moment you’re in.

People often fixate on what isn’t happening for them or postpone life until “the time is right”, for example buying a home or starting a family. There won’t ever be the right time if you keep waiting, so concentrate on what you can successfully achieve and don’t let yourself become distracted.

Life will throw you many curves balls along the way – enjoy the present and the things you do have rather than the things you don’t.

2. Assume nothing!

One of the biggest lessons in life is to assume nothing. No “I thought you” or “I thought that,”- make sure you ask the right questions so you’re as informed as possible.

3. Learn to be confident and breathe

Anxiety is becoming a big and bigger thing. Learning breath work as early as possible is so incredibly important. I wish I’d learnt breath work, inner calm and meditation far far sooner.

We all need adrenaline and stress to function well, however it’s how we deal with negative stress that’s important – realising this and how to deal with other people’s negativity and anger is something I’d have liked to have known back then.

Anger is almost always someone else’s problem and not yours, so don’t take it personally. Not rising to it and breathing through it (in deeply through the nose into the stomach and out through the mouth) will deflect this and help you keep your inner calm.

Don’t worry about what others think of you… Be who you are and stay true to yourself. Sometimes people care so much they can’t move forward. Be kind to the person you are and stand by your convictions and you can’t go wrong!

4. Do the hard thing first

Do the hardest things on your to-do list first, both personally and professionally. We all get caught up doing smaller tasks or seemingly most urgent things first, and avoiding the tough, uncomfortable or hard. Don’t. Do the big thing, the challenging thing first. Don’t put it off or run away from it – don’t run away from life. Deal with it head on and overcome it.

You’ll not only feel better for it, but you’ll grow as a person too.

5. Love the body you’re in

Find a way to strike a balance between food and exercise for life. I’m from a time where yo-yo dieting and exercise fads were the norm. Find a way to eat and exercise for health and fitness, not for weight loss.

Don’t let that be your focus. Focus on having a healthy life – increasing flexibility and strength. The future you will thank you for it.

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Writer and expert