You know the quote: “Don't look back, you aren't going that way”? I despise it. Looking back is how we learn. It's how we are able to grow. Reflecting back is a big part of my life. Maybe too much. I tend to be overly nostalgic and often ask: if you could go back and relive one year in your life, which would you choose? I love reminiscing, even back when I was a little girl. I love to savor the moments. It's part of my mantras I live by.

Since it's my birthday, it's always a time I start to reflect. This year I've had quite a few realizations. So instead of writing my lessons I'm going to write out the mantras that I live by.

12 Mantras to Live By

1. Do something out of your comfort zone. I mean really out of your comfort zone. Whatever that means for you. Take a dance class. Move abroad. See, these can be small or huge. They will undoubtedly scare you but it will help you realize what you want out of life in a major way and push you to realize more about yourself.

2. Read a really good book that challenges you or changes your mind. Reading in general is stimulating and teaches us so much. To me, a book that helps you adjust your thinking or opinion is like a really cheap life coach. Some of my favorites? 4 Hour Work Week, The Alchemist, Outliers, and 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. See more of my favorites here.

3. Keep yourself in check. I am an ornery person. I tend to get annoyed easily and let little things bother me (such as breathing and chewing.) I have to constantly remind myself to let. it. go. I started small by taking a breath before speaking. Now I look down at my garnet ring that I always wear to remind me that I'm in “the red zone” and need to calm down. Whatever little trick you want to use on yourself, use it.

4. Experiences will last a lifetime, physical items will not. For whatever reason I have never cared much about name brands. I like Target. In fact, I would say 98% of my current wardrobe right now is sale items from Forever 21 and H&M. I know some find joy in a designer bag or nice shoes (and I agree that you don't want uncomfortable shoes on your feet), but when I think about the times that I'm happiest, I never ever think it's because I was wearing something. It's things like hiking one of the most treacherous tails in the Grand Canyon with my best friends, dancing until 2am at a dive bar, or watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle in the night's sky for the first time.

5. Set a goal for yourself. Big, little, it doesn't matter. Have both, in my opinion. When you set goals for yourself you're more likely to actually achieve them. Your dreams aren't just going to happen. You have to go after them.

6. Find someone that accepts you 100% the way you are. Yes, some people make you a better person. Yes, it's important that you can laugh and cry together. But more than anything they need to accept who you are. This can be a spouse, parent, friend, or teacher. Anyone. But find them and hold on to them for life.

7. Comparison is a good thing. Many say it's the thief of joy and I can't argue that. But it's good and sometimes necessary to look at others and see where you need to improve. Maybe not so that it destroys you inside. If it does STOP LOOKING AT THAT PERSON. I followed a girl for forever on Instagram and every time I saw her pictures it would frustrate me. Taking my mental health in mind: unfollow. I also follow people who are my sorority sisters who made Forbes list of “30 Under 30” this year. Am I a bit jealous? You bet. Am I also proud and inspired? YES.

8. Work really hard to achieve your dream. I don't care what that dream is, do everything in your power to get there. See #5. I wanted to move abroad. That meant I needed to save money and work online. That also meant some margaritas that were skipped and some very late nights. Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? YES.

9. Hold yourself accountable. I feel like we are in the blaming society. We are constantly pointing fingers at someone else as the culprit. Just recently I was having a conversation with a friend who was complaining about having debt. It was her parent's fault because they didn't teach her to save. It was society's fault because she couldn't land a job. Your actions reflect how you live. We all do what we want to do and make time for what we want to make time for.

10. Do not quit your job to ____ {fill in the blank}. I see so many posts popping up recently with titles such as: “How I Quit My Job to Travel the World.” I always cross my fingers they are click bait. I totally agree that experiences (see #4) will outlast any physical purchases but please don't be reckless. Amassing $1,000s in debt so you can travel isn't a smart plan. Save money. It's not that bad. Sometimes it's actually kind of fun. Here's how I saved $45,000 in 6 months.

11. Your quality of life is equal to the amount of time you spend doing things that make you happy and the people you surround yourself with. That's it. Not much else to say there.

12. Relish the freaking moments. Take 1,000s of stupid pictures. But also, put your god damn phone down. (Side bar – I blog for a living. That means I have to be on my phone sometimes. But at this point it's getting out of hand. Please learn to put it down. Seriously.) Take stock of what you're doing and who you're with and all the little details around you. Life has it's ups and downs but now is good. Don't squander it.

Okay, that's it for my life mantras. I know this post wasn't my norm but I tend to get sentimental, a little deep, and off my rocker when it comes time for my birthday. Thanks for sticking around.

Now, tell me a life mantra you have below.