science of us

11 Women on the Best Advice They Got All Year

Photo: Dina Alfasi/Getty Images

The best thing about the New Year is neither the sequins nor the booze; it’s not Ryan Seacrest or Ryan the random you took home. It might be the #MeToo movement. But it’s definitely: self-reflection. The end of the year is the most natural time to take inventory of it all. Did we grow? Did we stumble? What have we learned? One interesting question to ask yourself is: What’s the best advice I got all year? We asked 11 women just that, and here’s what we got.

“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer and started treatment this spring, I got this note from a friend: Watch lots of funny movies, eat and drink only things you love, and plan a great trip for when this episode is over. It will be, and you’ll be better than ever. I took this to heart and watched a LOT of comedy. I was on a pretty clean diet but also took her advice and allowed myself treats here and there, remembering that a slice of apple pie or a chocolate chip cookie may not be nutritionist-approved, but just may be the key to my sanity. And, of course, I’ve been mentally planning international travel in my head all year, especially while grounded these last nine months. Hopefully I’ll be in Kyoto for cherry blossom season this spring.”

“I went to arguably the nicest spa in the country and my wellness coach (because you get your own wellness coach with every treatment) said, ‘If I can give only one piece of advice it’s to take an Epsom salt bath once a week for six months; it will change your entire well-being.’”

“I was complaining about how my daughter is so clingy it drives me nuts, and that she is so obsessed with me and not independent — it’s annoying. And someone said, ‘If your kid loving you too much is your biggest problem, then you’ve got a really amazing life.’ It’s not particularly profound, but it stuck with me and helped me accept her for who she is, and enjoy her before she becomes a teenager and wants nothing to do with me.”

“This is something my grandfather always said, but I recently remembered it and recite it to myself often: ‘If you think you oughta, than you should.’”

“In all matters of love and life, underthink it.”

“‘Big picture. Where is the puck going and how are you going to get it there?’ It’s been amazingly helpful this shit year.”

“I’m only 6, but this is what I’d say: ‘Be nice to your siblings, because if you’re not, you might get in trouble. And also, don’t forget, deep down they are your best friends in the world.’”

“The best advice I had all year was to learn the principles of the Ayurveda Way and take away as much or as little of it as you can. It will change everything in your life for the better. Basically, it means working with the Earth’s natural rhythm: sleeping when it’s dark, waking when it’s light. Eat with the seasons. This lifestyle leads to balance, better sleep, better digestion, everything. Give it a shot.”

“I’ve been feeling like a failure at work. I’m just not making the money or getting the deals I wanted to at 40. Recently, part of me wanted to quit it all, start over — just give up on my dreams and goals all together. Resign to a mediocre life. I went on a hike with a friend and spilled my guts about all of this. He said something so simple, but it really hit home. He said, ‘You can’t win if you don’t play.’ It stuck. I’ve been motivated ever since.”

“I came across this quote from Proust and I have it written all over my desk and computer now: ‘Work while you still have the light.’”

“Wear bed socks.”

11 Women on the Best Advice They Got All Year