Keith Staskiewicz
August 05, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

1. Check your schedule.
Are you done screaming at the mirror like Macaulay Culkin? Good. The first thing you need to do is go through your new belongings. If you’re an adult now, do you have a daybook? Are you a teen? Check your phone. Find out what you have on tap today and there won’t be any unwelcome surprises.

2. Dress appropriately.
You might be in an unfamiliar body, but you still have your own sense of dignity. Regardless of how freaky this Friday is, a professional, middle-aged woman (like Jamie Lee Curtis) should not try to rock her daughter’s jean jacket and punk hairdo just because she’s a teen girl at heart.

3. Break the news slowly.
Don’t run up to someone, screaming about bodies and switching. Try to see it from that person’s perspective: If Tom Hanks comes into your home telling you he’s your 13-year-old son (as in 1988’s Big), your first reaction probably won’t be ”Oh, it’s just carnival magic.”

4. Retrace your steps.
Have you been around any mystical antiques recently? Did anyone mutter a cryptic line about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes? Track down the responsible fortune cookie, ancient skull, or English-deficient medicine man (à la the one in the 1984 Steve Martin-Lily Tomlin comedy All of Me). If they switched you once, they can likely do it again.

5. Learn your lesson.
No offense, but this probably happened because you’re a jerk. You need to learn the importance of family, humility, hard work, inner beauty, or not randomly touching magical things. If you’re a beautiful newlywed in the body of an elderly man, as in the 1992 drama Prelude to a Kiss, odds are your husband has to start looking beyond superficial appearances. Get that over with quickly and you’re home free.

6. Remember: It could be worse.
Let’s say you’re a beautiful blond high schooler who has been transformed into Rob Schneider (like in 2002’s The Hot Chick). That’s certainly no picnic. But you could just as easily have ended up as Pauly Shore.

7. Don’t forget to have fun!
Are you suddenly 13 Going on 30 like Jennifer Garner? Think of all the awesome stuff you can do now! This is your chance to drink your little heart out, because once you go back you won’t be able to have as much as a spritzer for another eight years.

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