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I Took 3 Big Chances in My 20s, and They Changed My Life Forever

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Taking chances in your 20s — when much of your life is already unstable — can feel scary, but the risk can be well worth the reward. One of the biggest chances you should take is to trust yourself to be okay once you stop smoking.

If you’ve found yourself addicted to smoking and want to stop, finding a good support system and easing in with small steps is a great way to start. One small step that can lead to long-lasting results is to incorporate the NicoDerm CQ Patch into your journey. NicoDerm CQ can help you gradually reduce the amount of nicotine you get, easing withdrawal symptoms to help you quit.

Below, Sara Howard, 34, a certified HR consultant at Blue Raven Training in Denver, CO shares the big chances she took in her 20s to help inspire others to spark change in their own lives, from ditching cigarettes to saying “goodbye” to toxic relationships.

I lived alone and was single for over five years.

After dealing with inauthentic friendships and horrible living situations in college, I knew that I needed to remove toxic relationships in my life. Previous friends and roommates led a much more party-friendly lifestyle that really didn't support the professional life I was trying to live. Choosing to live alone was the best decision I have ever made. I am a better partner because I know who I am and can spend time alone with myself happily. I am a better employee and business owner because I understand my limits and avoid burnout and over-commitment patterns, and I’m a better friend because I know myself well enough to set boundaries and ask for what I need in relationships.

I donated my car and used public transportation for five years.

I always saw my car as a device for independence and freedom because when I was a teenager, that’s what it was. My car was fully paid off and I knew it was the only asset I had in the days when I was a broke twenty-something. Once I donated it to Goodwill (it was a 1989 Toyota Camry with 200,000 miles on it), I felt liberated. The learning that I went through to navigate the city as a pedestrian and use the public transportation system, was the best lesson in independence and freedom. Understanding the city from both of these perspectives has made me confident in myself and my abilities to navigate complex problems, and has helped me learn to plan ahead.

I quit my job.

I graduated college in 2007 right in the beginning of the Great Recession. Working in HR in the midst of an economic downturn was tough, and after being asked to be the face of company decisions I not only didn't agree with, but also felt compromised my values, I decided it was imperative for me to work in a place where I felt like I mattered. I have since started my own business, teaching organizations to use values in the foundations of their business and for decision-making. Quitting my job and sticking to my convictions has made me a confident leader and has allowed me to find fulfillment in my work.