Self improvement: one year recap

Hello friends, how are you? I am rather fine, thank you.

Through this recap post, I’d like to share the progress I’ve done along the road to becoming a better, more serene and satisfied version of myself, in the hope that my experience could help you in your personal struggle. More than one year ago, I was spending my days emotionally laying on the floor, (like the woman in this short tale) and since I didn’t like it, I started reading books, watching videos and following blogs about self-improvement.

In a post from 14th March 2016, I stated that I wanted to achieve three things in a year:

  • publish a book
  • be truly fit
  • be a more seductive person

I achieved two out three of those goals and it’s ok to me since to publish a book you first have to write one, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. But let’s analyse the list from the bottom.

Be a more seductive person

I feel more confident in my own skin, that I smile more (even if I still struggle accepting my crooked and not perfectly white teeth) and that I’m not always complaining about my hair, my looks or my wardrobe as I use to do. So, maybe, I am not more seductive in a strict sense, but I am more confident, and that goes a long way in the seductiveness of a person.

I can explain better through an example. About a month ago, I was going crazy with my hair. I was utterly unsatisfied with it and I was anxious to find a new cut or colour or treatment to fix it. So I consulted more than one hairdresser. I looked for tips and hair product brands on the web. I asked the opinion of friends and co-workers and then… I waited. I didn’t want to rush a decision as the old me would have done. I wanted to see what could happen just waiting one week before taking any course of action and I saw that my hair didn’t need any of the things I was planning. During that anxious week, I washed my hair without the conditioner, again just to see what could happen, and the result was that it looked a lot better, so I just stopped using conditioner.

Currently, my hair is growing longer and whiter and I plan not to do a thing about it at least for another year. Even if I have some split ends, my hair is too short to cut those ends out without messing with an overall shape that I like. And about the white strands, at the moment they are too few for colouring or bleaching wisely. In the end, as someone wiser than me once said: it’s just hair.

Be truly fit

In the past, I tried going to the gym and lift by myself, I tried following cardio courses, I tried using the Wii Fit. I didn’t stick to any of those fitness practices and none of them changed really my body. Even though following my sister in law step lessons increased my resistance, and lifting added something to my strength, my body didn’t change in a noticeable way. Then, I started the F.I.T. program and just in a couple of weeks it turned my body and my metabolism upside down. 

The changes that surprised me the most and that I like the most are two:

  • my belly fat disappeared
  • I eat like a lorry driver

Being able to eat plenty to fuel a lean body is the thing that brings me more joy than anything else. Now I can really enjoy going out to dinner with my husband. It is true that my food choices have changed but I feel a lot better and so I don’t miss pasta.

Publish a book

As anticipated, I didn’t publish a book, the main reason being that I didn’t write one. I realised that writing with that goal in mind was painful because I measured every sentence I wrote by that criteria. Writing became an unpleasant chore to the point that I stopped writing fiction. At the same time, my new job brought me enough joy and fulfilment and took from me so much time, that I stopped writing as a whole. Currently, I am more organised and also calm enough to enjoy writing again. More importantly, I abandoned the idea to give writing an ulterior goal other that bringing me joy and ideas have started to come back. 

After stating my goals, in a post dated 23rd March 2016, I declared that one of the strategies I was going to use was following a Spartan-like morning routine.

These are the 8 things I had planned to do before 08.00 am:

  1. a 7 hours sleep
  2. prayer and meditation
  3.  hard physical activity
  4. consume 30 gr of protein
  5. take a cold shower
  6. listen to uplifting content
  7. review your life vision
  8. do at list one thing towards long-term goals.

I tried for a long time to follow this routine and, even though it gave me some good results for a while, it didn’t become a second nature to me. To stick to it I had to write it down somewhere (my calendar, my diary, a board in Trello) and when something came to interfere with one of the eight points, I fell off the waggon completely.

 Fourteen months after, this is what I do almost every morning:

  • I wake up around 05.30, after a good 7 hours sleep
  • I write down my gratitude list
  • I have my first breakfast (mainly porridge)
  • I watch or read something instructive or uplifting
  • I exercise and shower (not in cold water)
  • I have my second breakfast (mainly proteins) and prepare my bag for work
  • Then, If I have the late shift or the day off:
    • I write something
    • I bake some bread
  • I ride my bicycle to work

I don’t have to write down this list but I almost never fail following it, and when I do, I shrug my shoulders and go on doing what contingency dictates.

As you can see, I stopped meditating. I think about it as a temporary interruption and not a goodbye but I’m not able to say when I’m going to meditate again. As absurd as it can sound, discovering a song about mindfulness (Here comes a thought) in a cartoon and keep on playing it in my mind is helping me more than meditating.

So, in the morning, I take a moment to think of just flexibility, love and trust.

Along these fourteen months, what has been so far, the biggest game changer? Actually, I think the game changers were two:

  • working out in an effective way –> because it gave me a more general sense that I could really change things in my life.
  • finding a job –> because of everything else. Working outside my house, even if not doing my dream job, increased my self-esteem, my finances, my English, my organisational abilities, and the frequency I ride my bike.

All these words just to say that, emotionally, I don’t lie on the floor anymore. I have too much to do. Do I still write lists of goals? This is a more tricky question. I know it’s important to have goals and there are things that I’d like to reach, to achieve, but now I have just one general goal. I want to savour my life. I want to feel the time passing, and being satisfied with what I am doing while it’s passing. At the same time, I write and edit lists of small goals that could help me grasp the big one.

And that’s it for today and for a recap of fourteen months of self-improving. I hope the long post didn’t bore you too much and that you might find it of some inspiration. As for always, thank you for your precious time and have a nice day.

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2 thoughts on “Self improvement: one year recap

  1. hannalaasberg says:

    I’m not gonna write a novel here again, as I tend to do sometimes. I’m only gonna say that I love this post. Very much of it feels like my own thoughts. Though I don’t wake up so early (but more earlier than before) and I don’t work out yet (instead I walk in the morning and hopefully start running soon), the goal of savour your life – it’s the same. Because I think the time passes so quickly and we must enjoy every minute of it. 🙂

    Take care! 🙂

    • Nina Trema says:

      Thank you for passing by, Hanna, and for always leaving some kind words. Your comments tell me that an exchange happened, at least with one person, and that’s great! Yeah, I think the same: your life happens, try to participate, to live it in a present (both temporal and mental) state. Have a super day, Hanna 🙂

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