A Month of Self-Improvement

I’m always coming across self-help concepts, and I think, “This is the thing. If I just do this, my life will be 10x better.” There was Curious  by Todd Kashdan about being curious in everyday life; there was The Startup of You about building your personal career like a business. But I never end up following through and putting these things into practice, day after day.

So I decided to embark on one month of self-improvement. Every day, I would do something (however small) to improve myself. I made a list of possible actions, and they all centered on a few values: being productive, learning, connecting with family and friends, and destressing.

It was an instructive month. I came across a few conundrums, like: how long should each activity be? (It ended up being around 15 minutes.) Do things I would normally be doing “count”? (I decided yes. In fact, it reminded me that I was already heading in the right direction.)

And yet, a month later, I don’t plan to continue this obsessive quest. It became a little gimmicky; some days, I would remember I hadn’t self-improved around 10 pm, and root around for something quick to do (hence all the meditation). But I do think it will be easier in the future to do self-improving activities. After all, I’ve experienced a whole month of good feelings associated with personal growth. In fact, it made sitting down to write this post a little bit easier.

If you’re curious, here’s what I did each day:

Week 1

  • Oct 29: SkillShare course: A 60-Minute MBA
  • Oct 30: Attended a talk by Jake Bronstein of Flint + Tinder
  • Oct 31: Blogged about seriousness, inspired by that talk
  • Nov 1: 10-minute meditation
  • Nov 2: Networking at First Friday. I met Bowei Gai, the creator of “The China Startup Report,” who’s about to embark on a round-the-world trip to learn about startup ecosystems.
  • Nov 3: Wrote a postcard to a friend, Faiza J.
  • Nov 4: Didn’t worry

Week 2

  • Nov 5: SkillShare course: Vulnerability
  • Nov 6: Read non-fiction (and had my tooth attacked by a dentist – trust me, this “counts”)
  • Nov 7: Prepped for a meeting with a potential mentor
  • Nov 8: Hosted a crowdfunding panel at DCWEEK
  • Nov 9: Hung out with a friend, Amanda C.
  • Nov 10: Opted out of the x-ray machine at the airport, and was treated to a pat-down. (This falls into the category of being more assertive.)
  • Nov 11: Played tennis with my brother, Sean

Week 3

  • Nov 12: Participated in a Jeopardy/Wheel of Fortune competition with my dad and Sean (and won)
  • Nov 13: 10-min meditation
  • Nov 14: Called a friend, Donovan A.
  • Nov 15: Stopped to smell the roses (or rather, to watch the sun set – see photo below)
  • Nov 16: 10-min meditation
  • Nov 17: Researched colleges for Sean
  • Nov 18: Got a massage

Week 4

  • Nov 19: Had sushi with Sean
  • Nov 20: Picked up Fred from the airport
  • Nov 21: Tried not to worry (and failed)
  • Nov 22: Blogged about community
  • Nov 23: Made a hard decision
  • Nov 24: Made and ordered Fred’s Christmas presents
  • Nov 25: 10-min meditation

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