13 steps to the best year ever


Ready to make this year one to remember? We have 13 ways to do just that—in 50 words or less. Print them out, tape them to your mirror, hang them in your locker…whatever you do, just take this advice. You’ll be bringing home As and breaking out on the social scene without even breaking a sweat. We’ve got the secrets only the smartest, coolest, most successful ladies know about. And now you’re one of them. 

1. Find your passion—and focus

“You don’t have to play every single sport and join every single club. Find a niche you really like and dive in. That’s how you’re going to succeed. If you try to be everything, you’ll just get burned out.” —Heather Tasker, high school English and cinema teacher in Sussex County, N.J.

2. Remember, change is good

“Don’t be scared of it. Swallow your fears and go for that class election or debate team spot, and don’t worry about what people will think. If a friend doesn’t want you to grow, she’s not your real friend.” —Haley Kilpatrick, founder of the Girl Talk mentoring program

3. Be your own best friend

“You need to have your own back. That’s true self-acceptance. Think of what your best friend would say to you, and say that to yourself. She would tell you, ‘Your hair looks great today!’ or ‘Don’t worry about that test. You tried your best.’” —Leslie Grubb, happiness coach who runs self-esteem workshops for teens

4. Map out homework

“Make a schedule of everything you need to do, and order it by how hard it is and how long each thing will take. Do the hard stuff in the beginning, and work your way down to the easiest assignment. That’s how I got through sophomore year!” —Maria Glassmeyer-Pabon, 17, senior in Denver

5. Build solid social karma

“Avoid drama by showing you’re empathetic. Say ‘You must have felt so bad when you heard that rumor,’ but don’t take sides, as in ‘She did that to you?! I won’t talk to her at lunch!’ Focus on sympathy, and you’ll stay free of social pay- back.” —Michelle Icard, teen leadership coach and founder of Michelle in the Middle

6. Find your true friends

“Some friends are givers, some are takers. Takers drain you and eventually you’ll be empty. If you are hanging out with someone and you feel lower about yourself after you leave, they’re probably not your real friend. Friends should uplift you.” —Jaclyn Vocell, life coach on MTV’s Made

7. Be a joiner

“When you join some kind of group or club, you’ll meet all kinds of people you wouldn’t have known otherwise. They might be from another grade or school, but you’ll have a connection right away because you have a shared passion.” —Erin Kelleher, 17, a senior in Wilmington, Del.

8. Perfect your posture

“People with good posture look happy, confident and open. It’s like wearing your favorite outfit—when you hold your body tall, it changes the way people see you. Not to mention, it’s good for your health.” —Deborah King, founder of Final Touch Finishing School

9. Give your life the movie test

“Whatever your situation is, imagine you’re watching it in a movie. Think what you would tell the character to do. If you remove yourself from the situation, you can be a lot smarter about your emotions than when you’re in the middle of it.” —Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0

10. Don’t feel bad for finding new buds

“People grow, people change. Don’t feel guilty if a new crew gets you in a way your old crew no longer does. There’s no law that says you can’t have more than one group of friends.” —Sarah Mlynowski, author of Whatever After and Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have)

11. Fight test stress

“During a test, panic can take over and actually block your memory. Your brain is like, ‘Run! Fire!’ So practice in a safe environment. Have a friend quiz you with flashcards or take a practice test online. By test day, you’ll be like, ‘I’ve got this.’” —Chris Tobias, educational director at

12. Beat the October slump

“If you start feeling overwhelmed or uninterested in class, mix it up. Change your seat, reorganize your notebooks, find a new study buddy. A small change can help you get back into the groove.” —Deena Maerowitz, college admissions coach and owner of Undergrad Admit

13. Stay true to you

“If you need a burst of confidence, remember that with very few exceptions, people want to like you. So just be friendly and try your best.” —Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and Underworld

What's your best advice for the best year EVER? Let us know below!

by Laura Greenback | 2/1/2016