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 than 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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