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InStyle Staff
Sep 22, 2015 @ 1:15 pm

Lea Michele wants to teach you how to be the best version of yourself. In her first book, Brunette Ambition, the actress let readers in on how she balances her healthy lifestyle with her work schedule. In her new book, You First: Journal Your Way to Your Best Life, out today, the Scream Queens star has created a guided journal that addresses a multitude of topics that are close to her heart, such as fitness, diet, work, school, and relationships. Through a series of exercises, prompts, and lists that she created herself, You First aims to help readers achieve their goals.

Below, read an excerpt from the book, then head over to amazon.com to pick up your own copy.

Having a great group of friends—particularly when you live far away from family—is everything. These are the people who make you feel supported and loved, warts and all, who would drop everything to be there for you when you’re sad, and drop everything to be with you when you want to have some fun. It seems so simple, really, but I’m sure you’ve experienced how disappointing it can be when a friend just doesn’t come through: Some are well-meaning flakes, whereas others are just inconsistent all around. It’s so important, if you are the sort of friend who always shows up, that you surround yourself with people who hold themselves to the same expectations. When everything is going well, it’s not such a big deal when a friend blows off dinner—but if that happens all the time, and particularly in periods of time when you may be in crisis, then that might be a sign that there are better friends to invest your time in.

Because ultimately, that’s what it’s about: Relationships are infinitely more complicated than a basic math equation, it’s true, but really, what you put in is what you should get out. We all have a limited amount of resources, whether we’re talking about time, or money, or emotional energy—so don’t sell your¬self short by wasting your emotional energy and your time on people who might not deserve it! Find your core group of friends—it doesn’t have to be a ton, it could be three or four—and then pour your time into making them feel loved and supported. Hopefully, they’ll reciprocate!

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When I think about my closest friends, the one thing that rings so true is that they make me feel like the best version of myself, and they bring out my best qualities. If we’re honest, there are always parts of ourselves that we don’t love so much—these parts might be negative, or catty, or mean-spirited. And we’ve probably also all had a friend who tends to draw those sides out, so that you feel terrible after you’ve hung out—kind of like you need to take a shower. You’ve literally dined out on wine and gossip. This sort of behavior is so infectious (and it can also be fun and funny!) that I try to avoid people who get most of their conversation from making fun of other people. In those moments, it’s important to ask how that person betters your life.

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It’s so essential to have wonderful people around you. Friends like Jonathan enrich my life in so many different ways. My friend Becca will try any crazy workout or fun exercise trend with me. My friend Stephanie is always game to try a new restaurant; that’s our thing. Throughout these times together, I’m very aware of the fact that these friends all really enrich my life, that our conversations are exciting and interesting—that our relationships are even, in that we have an equal stake in each other’s happiness. The other thing that I love about all of my girlfriends is that they’re strong, confident, smart, and successful women, who celebrate and support those qualities in others. They are hardworking, ambitious girls, which means they’re great role models, too.

This is not to say that I’m a perfect friend, or that my friends are perfect— we have absolutely disappointed each other. But one thing that I really value is that we’re always able to talk about it almost immediately after it happens, and resolve it and put it aside. And these things generally don’t happen more than once. The good thing about these moments, and a big reason I would encourage you to always be open and honest with your friends, is that they give you a great opportunity to deepen your friendship: They help to push friendships below the surface so that you’re really communicating about the things that matter to you most. And that’s important, because if you have the right friends, they can support and help you so that you shine your brightest!

Reprinted from You First: Journal Your Way to Your Best Life. Copyright © 2015 by Lea Michele. Published by Crown Archetype, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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