I’ve read an article recently about how Millennials (such as myself) are addicted to self-improvement. The article mentioned how self-improvement in itself is a good idea but there is a dark side to it as well –but only if it’s done incorrectly. Buying a self-help book doesn’t immediately mean you’re growing yet it feels like we’re being productive. We flip the pages and have the truth thrown at our faces then we have to take responsibility and take action. A lot of us forget the last step.
I myself is addicted to self-improvement and personal growth. The minute I turned 20 I scoured the internet for articles and videos about self-improvement. It felt like I was finally doing something about my life then three weeks later I’m back on my bed binging Netflix. I’ve read all of those sources because I wanted an immediate result and a sense of accomplishment without actually doing anything. So I finally told myself to take action and then I got addicted to it.
Spreading Myself Too Thin With Impossible Goals
New Year 2016 I’ve set up this goal for myself which was to write a novel. Then came late December of that year when I realized I had nothing but three unfinished drafts. I realized writing a novel was too much work I wasn’t ready to put into yet. Then 2017 rolled around and I wrote a list of things that I want to do for that year. I focused instead on increasing my productivity. My goals were simple and realistic but I only accomplished some if not all of it.
I wanted to write more and I did. I became a freelancer and actually have published work all in the span of one year. I was so proud of myself that I craved more. I wanted to do more to the point I was burnt out. I said yes to projects only because I wanted to feel accomplished and proof I was being productive. But I was tired and busy all of the time! I was even a college student so I was losing twice the amount of sleep. But my mind was saying at least I was doing something with my life. At what cost though?
I wasn’t eating right, I had three panic attacks, and I was getting thinner by the minute. I was addicted to being a better version of myself I lost myself in the process. That’s why I dedicate 2018 as my road to self-care not just self-improvement. If I don’t learn how to properly take care myself then I’ll always feel burnt out.
Self-Care and Personal Growth
In college, I’d regularly skip lunch and have two to three hours of sleep every other night. Now, I’m writing part-time and freelancing which gives me a lot of time to myself which is a new thing for me.I asked myself what do I do now? I had no more papers to submit, no last minute projects and no more exams, So I decided to list down what I want out of this year.
- I want to improve my writing and update my blog as frequently as I can
- I want to tackle different topics more than what I usually write about
- Land a steady job on a ladder I want to climb
That’s pretty much it but when I read it again I realized something was missing –taking care of myself. I always miss that out when listing my goals for the year. So I threw that list away! Instead, I wrote down things I needed to do to take care of myself; learning new recipes, exercise more, eat healthier foods, proper skin care and being nicer. Personal growth is more than just accomplishments but also being a healthier version of yourself. It’s stepping out of your comfort zone and learning new things.
A Healthier Version of Myself
I want to be more than just a good writer this year. I wanted to be more compassionate, healthier, and connect more. I spend at least a few minutes of my day for self-reflection. After watching this amazing Ted Talk about spending 10 minutes of mindfulness, it’s like hitting refresh every now and then. Since then, I asked myself what do I want to come out of this day or week? Some days were reserved for just writing my heart out, cleaning the house, and trying to cook.
There was this day I told myself I want to make more time for my friends. So I asked my friends out and had two weeks worth of bonding time. Whenever I’m out of town and know someone in the area, I’d ask a friend out for dinner or lunch. It felt amazing connecting and catching up on each other’s lives. Because part of taking care of yourself is surrounding yourself with a steady support system. It could be your friends, family or even both. This also improves your connection and compassion for others.
There are practical ways of becoming a better version of you. You can take time and read a book every day or learn a new skill. Even just waking up early and being compassionate to others is a good start. You don’t need to have proof of your accomplishments to say you are improving.