When a woman finds herself single at an age when most people are coupling off, she is often scolded for being too picky. If someone passes on an uninspiring job offer, holding out for a better opportunity, people may accuse them of being ungrateful. Should you choose to eat purposefully, avoiding processed foods, GMOs or factory farmed meat, other people will likely roll their eyes at your selectiveness.

But I’m here to applaud your pickiness.

Picky is most often a negative adjective. It implies someone is excessively fastidious, overly choosy, fussy and hard to please. But shouldn’t we all be intentional with our choices? Shouldn’t we demand greatness over mediocrity? Let’s reclaim pickiness and peel away the stigma of being consciously selective.

I’m not saying you should have a full-blown meltdown if someone messes up your lunch order. But implementing a little pickiness in the right places can instantly increase your quality of life. Here are some ways in which I suggest you apply some new-found pickiness:

Be picky with your time.

Your time and energy are precious, non-renewable resources. When we’re young we tend to be fairly non-discriminate with our time. But as the years start flying by, you realize how precious every Saturday is. So log off Facebook. Quit the job you hate. Stop saying yes to plans you’re not excited about. Eliminate obligatory friendships. Be picky about the people you keep in your life. Identify what and who are most important to you and invest your time wisely.

Be picky about the fuel you put into your body.

If you drove a Porsche would you fill it with regular unleaded? Not a chance. You’d invest in the highest octane fuel for your premium machine. So why don’t more people treat their bodies with the same respect? Human bodies are incredible pieces of engineering, capable of unthinkable things. So don’t clog your engine with refined sugars and chemicals. Figure out what food best nourishes your body and fill your tank full of clean energy.

Be picky about your entertainment.

Does binge-watching a Real Housewives marathon all Sunday add value to your life? Or does it leave with you with that distinctly icky, unfulfilled feeling like you just ate a meal completely devoid of any nutritional value? There’s a reason for the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” So put down the remote, and reclaim your spare time. Go for a bike ride, plan a picnic with friends, or go to a museum. And when you do spend time in front of the TV, pick a show that’s actually well written and well acted. There are tons of them and they’re easier to access than ever these days.

Be picky with your thoughts.

At first glance, our thoughts seem to bounce wildly in and out of our heads as they please. But with a little attention and focus, you can influence and guide your thought patterns. Become aware of how you mentally react to things. Choose to be optimistic. Let go of thoughts that limit you. Banish words like “can’t” and “shouldn’t” from your mind. Don’t waste your time with worry. Get excited and think big.

Be picky about who you love.

In order to find someone who’s everything that you’re looking for, you’re going to have to say no to the people who aren’t. Know what qualities you look for in a significant other. Identify your deal breakers. Be honest with yourself about who actually meets your standards. Pay attention to who makes you laugh. Find someone who’s fun to play with. Trust your instincts. Be picky.

Remember, being picky is simply acknowledging that you have standards and saying “no” to the things that don’t meet them.

Kejal Macdonald lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two cats and several cases of wine. She spends her waking hours channeling her inner Tami Taylor. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.

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