The word decision can often be misinterpreted. A decision is not a single entity, but rather a series of building blocks consisting of actions and considerations. Every single day we make decisions of all sizes. We decide on perceptions of others, and of life and purpose. We also decide what makes us laugh, what inspires our faintest curiosities and what encourages us to order that second margarita after a crappy day. But most importantly, we decide how we want to view ourselves. Therefore some decisions can change a lot. In fact, they can everything.

1. The decision to love yourself.

I could justify this being the first item on the list with an infinite number of reasons. The number one thing holding so many people in this world back, myself included at times, is the overwhelming challenge of self-acceptance. We are beat down every day with opinions and standards that will never be applicable at scale.

There is no attainable goal for beauty, happiness, success and personal growth. Those are all unique and personal achievements no one can judge or take away from you. Love yourself and it changes everything like an uncontrolled ripple effect. It’s a decision you have to wake up and make every single day, but it’s worth every ounce of effort.

2. The decision to let go.

Let go of negativity. Let go of hatred. Let go of the best friend that let you down. Let go of the boyfriend who betrayed you. Let go of the missed opportunities and ways life has disappointed you. Let your heart forgive because it honestly frees you entirely.

3. The decision to stand alone.

At some point in your life you need the opportunity to stand alone. That may mean being single and unattached romantically. That may mean packing up your bags and spending time living abroad without friends and family. Anything that requires you to spend some time getting to know yourself is a decision that affects how you get to know anyone else moving forward.

4. The decision to never settle professionally.

Historically, women have been instructed by society to take a back seat. And though we have grown tremendously, those underlying characteristics still live in our minds. That higher emphasis we were taught on being a kind, endearing and cooperative individual (all previous deemed very “feminine traits”) can put us at a disadvantage in positions of authority.

You should negotiate higher pay if you deserve it. You should be authoritative about an idea. You should feel just as comfortable pushing back and pushing forward as any man. The decision to adopt that mindset not only helps you profusely in any line of work, but it’s also contagious.

5. The decision to leave home.

There is something all-too-comfortable and familiar about staying in your home-base. You never get embarrassingly lost looking for the best brunch in the city. You never branch out to completely abstract groups of friends that you have an absolute blast with, because you stay with your current friends. You never walk into a place and say “Where the heck are we? OK sweet there’s the drink specials sign, we’re good.” You have to step outside your comfort zone, get a lost and learn about new faces. Your life will change in ways you never knew it could.

6. The decision to make your own freaking rules.

The minute you stop checking Instagram obsessively to see if you’re in line with the current trends is the moment you start actually being yourself. We live in a culture that likes to make up rules about how we should behave and who we should be, and then broadcast it publicly to social media. If you wake up each day and decide to talk how you want to talk, love how you want to love, look how you want to look and follow your heart in the direction it leads, that decision will electrify your life.

7. The decision to move past certain friendships.

Stop chasing the people who aren’t actively trying to be a part of your life. The tireless efforts of trying to hold on to friends who aren’t holding you back will destroy your happiness. Time and distance will separate and strain friendships; that’s ok. At some point you have to decide who wants to be in your life, and who is there when it’s convenient. It’ll help you so much more with rule one: Love Yourself. You’ll get there much faster if you aren’t constantly questioning whether or not your friends love you too.

8. The decision to quit playing games with others.

Middle school through college is a whirlwind of learning how to play the games. You figure out how to act like you don’t have feelings for someone when you do. You figure out how to convince others you’re something that you’re not. From passing notes to college hookups, you mold into the messy mind games of adolescences like everyone else, until one day you decide you have straight up had enough. You decide to be honest with yourself and others. Every relationship you have moving forward is then that much more genuine and real.

9. The decision to embrace health and positivity.

This means exercising for health and happiness rather than pressure and self blame. It means eating better, feeling better and all around deciding to be more conscious. It means actively trying to rid yourself of negativity for your body and also for your mind. Making the decision to embrace a better state of mind and body provides so many benefits that I couldn’t possibly do it justice. It’s about connecting with who you are entirely and having true appreciation and love for the vessel of life you carry.

10. The decision to stop dating idiots.

At the beginning, there is something enticing about wanting someone you can’t have, someone that doesn’t seem to want you back or someone who is just plain bad news. It’s thrilling; like the story plot of your favorite crap Netflix movie. Except the movies have happy endings where a person magically responds the exact opposite of your original judgement. That’s fiction. Don’t mess with people who will just mess with you. Don’t get mixed up in drama that only holds you back in a plethora of ways outside of even the romantic realm. The decision to start dedicating your interests to human beings that only inspire mutual happiness will transform your life.

11. The decision to accept and thrive on change.

Life is going to change. Sometimes it will drive full speed in one direction and then completely pull a 180, tossing your head into the car door window and coffee cup all over the floor. Wrenches will be thrown into your carefully put together plans. Love will smack you in the chest, people will surprise the hell out of you and opportunity will bust down your door when you least expect it. The absolute key to any of these decisions is the one that means you’re ready to adapt and thrive. You’re ready to take that love you have for yourself and transform with every new direction. The decision to accept that nothing is set in stone is the essence of the life we live.

It’s a terrifying, remarkable and invigorating chance sitting right in front you for the taking. The decision, however, is all yours.

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