A rough patch has a way of majorly shaking things up, giving you the impetus to take stock of your life, encourage you to rethink how you do things (and with whom you do them) and make positive changes in your life.

I constantly hear the voice of self-doubt in my head – “why do you always screw things up?” “how could you be so stupid to [fill in the blank]” “you’re a failure” “why do you always get in your own way?” So much of our negative self talk and the ways in which we hold ourselves back stems from our inner critic. We need to learn to not take direction from it, and instead learn how to use the voice of self-doubt to achieve success.

Here are some things I learned over the past year after going through a tough time. I wrote this article hoping that this list might help others who are experiencing challenges themselves.

  1. Don’t be afraid of change (your job, your relationship, your home, your friends)
  2. Pay close attention to who is there for you in times of need and crisis – that’s your tribe.
  3. Conversely, pay attention to who isn’t there in times of need and reevaluate whether you want them in your life.
  4. It’s okay to not be okay
  5. Don’t apologize for being you
  6. No one is perfect
  7. Always trust your gut
  8. Don’t change yourself to please others
  9. The only constant in life is change
  10. You can only control your own actions
  11. Don’t jump to conclusions
  12. Taking that one step further, don’t assume the worst unless you really have reason to. Believing the worst case scenario will happen will only give you anxiety.
  13. Assume good intent in people unless they prove you otherwise
  14. When you are facing a tough situation, ask yourself what advice you would give a friend who was going through it
  15. Remind yourself of three things for which you are grateful each day
  16. Focus on the present versus ruminate about the past or stress about the future
  17. Don’t dwell on your mistakes
  18. Stop self-doubting and self-sabotaging behaviors
  19. Let your failures propel you to greater success
  20. Do what you love – life is short
  21. Overcome your fear of rejection
  22. Don’t stay in relationships with toxic people
  23. Don’t agree to do more than you can manage
  24. It’s okay to say no
  25. You don’t need to prove your worth to anyone
  26. Others people’s opinions of you are just that – opinions
  27. You are deserving of good things
  28. Your past and your mistakes don’t define you – even Steve Jobs and Oprah majorly failed on their way to extraordinary success
  29. You can reinvent yourself at any time and start over. Sometimes it’s your choice and sometimes it isn’t, but you can do it – you have no other choice.
  30. Weed out the people in your life who seem to be using you
  31. Spend time with the elderly in your life – time is precious
  32. Give to charity – money and your time
  33. Set goals and work towards them
  34. Forgive yourself and others
  35. When someone shows you their true colors run
  36. The same red flags you ignore in the beginning will be the reason why things end. Trust me on this one.
  37. Take responsibility for your mistakes, for the way you act, react and respond
  38. Don’t worry about people who have removed themselves from your life
  39. You are stronger than you think
  40. Nothing is permanent. Especially feelings.
  41. It’s okay to ask for help
  42. Friends become enemies. Lovers become strangers. Life is cruel sometimes.
  43. Accept yourself for who you are and recognize your flaws
  44. Identify what you learned from past mistakes
  45. Practice being more in tune with your intuition
  46. Forgive yourself and accept your imperfections
  47. Don’t be a mean girl or engage in gossip
  48. Smile more and live in the moment
  49. Everything really does happen for a reason
  50. Pets are great companions and mood boosters (borrow one if you don’t have one, or volunteer at a shelter)