1. Stop caring what your jean or dress size is. My precious lovely human, please stop caring what your clothing size is because it truly does not matter. In any given store, I can wear between a 2 and a 12, and none of it makes sense. When I finally stopped caring if the number had single digits or double digits and just focused on if it made me look awesome or not, I enjoyed clothes a lot more. If you need to, cut the tags out. It also feels very punk rock.
2. Stop comparing your body to other women's. I had a totally miserable conversation with a woman around the age of 18 during a backstage costume fitting for a play we were both in and she couldn't stop talking about how my thighs were smaller than hers, which instantly made me say, "Yeah, but your waist is smaller than mine!" and then we both felt like trash cans and the whole thing was pointless. Your body has amazing things that only your body has. Someone being smaller or larger than you has nothing to do with how great you are. Please hear me on this because I am right and also that leads me to...
3. Give yourself a compliment every time you pass a mirror. It's so easy to get in the habit of immediately pointing out your flaws when you get in front of a mirror, so go radically in the other direction and compliment yourself every time you look into one, even if it's just on the awesome outfit you put together. It can be simple or it can be a whole Oscar-nominated speech about your own strength and beauty. Mine is usually just, "Yes! Killin' it!" whispered to my reflection.
4. Stop dating guys who say they don't go down on women. Ideally, you reply to a guy who says this by laughing in his face while walking backward out the door because are you freaking kidding me?! We're all told by movies and music and TV that we need to give blow jobs or else we're horrible human beings, and we're still letting guys get away with this nonsense when it comes to going down on us? Nope. Nope forever.
5. Stop dating guys who make you feel bad about yourself. I truly believe, with every single part of me, that your partner should make you feel like the hottest, smartest, coolest woman on the planet. Seriously. Number one. It's you. Forever. If he does anything less than this, I promise you, you will never regret letting him "get away."
6. Let yourself eat dessert when you want to and good god, don't ever call it "being bad today." There are few things I hate hearing more than a woman justifying why it's OK to eat dessert. Let me tell you, I eat chocolate almost every single day (not a lot of it, but I do) and no one has ever not dated me because I eat dessert with regularity. Why? Because dessert is great and everybody knows it.
7. Invest your money. Let it grow, let it grow.
8. Start asking for raises. You might not always get them but getting into the habit of asking for them will help you so much in the long run, and will also give you valuable experience in the right and wrong ways of asking so you can finally get the job and salary of your dreams.
9. Totally save for a rainy day but also make sure you're saving to take a great vacation. Yes, of course, you want to be prepared so if you suddenly break your leg and can't work for three weeks, you don't have to take out three different loans, but you also want to be able to, you know, actually enjoy the reason you're working all the time. And that reason of course is "beaches exist." That said...
10. Stop buying clothes made out of garbage just because they're cheap. Look, I get it. Sometimes it's nice just to buy things and we've all seen something that was kind of OK, so we bought it. But passing up all those opportunities and using that money for a really fantastic sweater or a really gorgeous piece of jewelry you'll wear every day that won't turn your finger green is so much better in all the ways.
11. Stop being ashamed to tell guys you have your period. I hate to break it to you but the jig is up. They know. They've been told about periods. I don't know who told them, but someone did. Maybe it was an ex-girlfriend or a sister, but someone leaked this info and they know we menstruate. So stop feeling weird about telling him you don't want to go out tonight because you "don't feel well" or "feel weird." You have your period, (again, a thing he knows exists) and it's OK to talk about it. Any guy who can't hear that is intensely weird.
12. Develop a skin care routine that makes you feel pretty and not like a project. I don't care if it's smiling at yourself in the mirror while applying sunscreen to protect your cute face (no joke, the sunscreen thing is a must), you need to start taking care of yourself in a way that feels like pampering and not like fixing. Slathering on creams and serums because you feel like you're not good enough without them is very different from slathering on creams and serums because they make you feel like a cute, soft, fancy lady.
13. Trust that what your body is telling you is right. We're often taught by parents or TV or our weird friends to only eat at meal times or to stop eating once we've had a certain number of calories, but it's really true that if you eat when you're hungry, truly hungry, and don't when you're not, everything usually balances out. Some days, you might be ravenous all day and other days, you might only eat a little bit. Some days you can run 5 miles, other days you don't want to get off the couch. I mean, if anything is really wrong or persistent, see a doctor, but if not, trust that you just go through phases and it's fine.
14. Find a form of exercise you actually like. Hearing "Exercise!" is horrible because no one wants a chore, but if you can find some kind of exercise that you like doing, even if it's walking or biking instead of driving, do it and do it now because after 30, you can lose as much as 3 to 5 percent of your muscle mass per decade if you don't. Keep your muscles, girl!
15. Actually tell your partner what your sexual fantasies are. It feels awkward as hell, but you'll never get to do them if you don't start talking about them. Plus, if you think about it, aren't you dying to know his? There's no way he's not dying to know yours.
16. Tell the people who matter that you love them. Like all the time. Like as much as humanly possible. Because people should hear those words every single day from at least one person. Why not have that person be you?
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.