11 Lessons I Wish I’d Learnt in My Twenties


Sage advice from author Belinda Norton.

Belinda Norton

Single mother, health and fitness educator and author of memoir-novel Because I Was A Bad Wife Belinda Norton reflects on her life so far and the discoveries she wishes had come a little sooner.

1. Be in charge of your own money – all of it

Including after you get married – remain in full charge of your money. Do not suddenly switch off about this, even if you marry an accountant. Understand where your money comes from and is going, and adjust your budget each month and every year. Learn all about your nuances. Have knowledge of where every cent is going. I can hear some of you saying, “But I am not good with money, he does that, after all – he should do something since I do everything else”. I used these exact excuses. I also never thought that I would be in a situation where I had to care. Please trust me and learn these skills. Your money, your budget. Take the time to understand and always have a savings account in your name.

2. Learn how to do your tax

Hire an accountant by all means, but make sure you understand every choice they make. 
Whilst also understanding your tax, make notes on how to best use your money. Understand how to invest in property from an early age. It will, I promise, set up your future.

3. Make sure you know how to do all the “men’s” jobs in and around the home

I mean things like mowing, vacuuming and backwashing the pool, painting, putting flat-pack furniture together, changing lightbulbs, fixing a fuse. You don’t always have to do them, but you must know how to do them.

4. Health is defined internally not externally

Your body will not function or look good if your health is out of whack. You will externally show your internal disfunction. If you want to look beautiful, look after your health. 
This is as simple as walking every day for 30 minutes upon rising, and adding weight circuits and yoga to your lifestyle. Movement is key to great posture and confidence.

5. Don’t over-identify with any one role, it’s restrictive

Be the leading lady of your life: this means being good at things but not the superwoman – over-exhausted and the best at everything. Lead your own life as it is the key to being a successful you.

6. Abdominals do not equal health

The size of your biceps does not prove you’re fit. Think holistically. Look after all your muscles and they will look after you.

7. Give yourself more time than needed to complete any task

Less tasks on your list means a higher completion rate. Giving yourself more time to get from A to B also means less stress and panic in your day, creating a better head space.

8. Cut yourself some slack

You’re probably doing lots better than you give yourself credit for. 
Honour your small wins and achievements daily. Breathe in each tiny success – it may be as simple as that pile of washing being folded away.

9. Beware negative self-talk

Repeating, “I am so useless”, “My life sucks” or “It’s so unfair” is a total waste of energy that would be better spent getting other things done. Try, “I’m doing great”, “I’m getting better every day”, “I’m on a roll today!” and just get on with it!

10. Encourage yourself to have a healthier state of mind

Only worry about what you are doing, and not what anyone else might be up to. Remember, most people aren’t worrying about what you’re doing either.

11. Don’t make a big deal out of things

Try your hardest to walk through life just flowing with the hits and misses. Worry is pointless, and fear is just worry with the volume turned up! Literally turn that fear and worry off. If you do hit an over-zealous worry moment, repeat over and over, “This too shall pass”. If an unfortunate situation occurs after a meltdown or mini brain explosion – apologise.

This is an extract from Belinda Norton’s book, Because I Was A Bad Wife. Hard copy and e-books available now.

We would love to hear your thoughts