Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Self Improvement Is The New Black Lesson 1: Fix The Cause of the Problem, Not the Symptom

by Sarah

A Stylish & Wise Affirmation: I will work hard to invest in my own future, because when I do so, I invest in my own life. 

For the first blog entry of the "Self Improvement is the New Black" series, I wanted to first go over what exactly I mean by self improvement. Unless you study this concept regularly, you might think of self improvement as simply improving your looks (like getting a nose job or losing twenty pounds.) 

While looking good does inspire you to feel good, looking good is not, by any means, the focus of improving yourself.  The goal of self improvement is to feel great by embracing your imperfections and using them to move forward.  It is about making the best decisions you can, taking advantage of every opportunity you have, and getting your body to the best place it can be by focusing on it's health, not how "perfect" it can look.  

Now that we've gone into what self improvement is a little bit, let's get started.  

First things first, you need to jump right in. Easy, right? Nope. It won't be easy because I want you to tackle the root of the problem, not any of your symptoms. This is the most essential and ultimately beneficial part of self improvement: you will be tackling those things that lurk in the back of your mind that you put off. Up until this point, you may have been putting off some huge self improvement project because it looks too big and too hard.  Maybe it is getting back into your gym regime or maybe it is taking that first move in paying back a giant student loan that stresses you out.  (After all, student loans are the anthem of this generation.) It is time to kick the excuses and replace them with something else.

Homework: start a journal. Write in it what you want to fix. Confession: my journal actually contains the goal of being able to save money and finally pay off a student loan AND getting to yoga at least twice per week. I will admit that my gym regime has hit a plateau and I desperately need to switch it up/take it up a notch but it's very hard to break my usual cardio routine. And because I want you to be honest with yourself, I will also confess that I want to become a better morning person. I usually stay up late writing almost every night because that's the only time my mind ever comes alive, and then I wake up and need several cups of coffee in the morning. In an effort to become not so addicted to coffee, I am going to try to go to sleep a little earlier every night. 

Make an approachable goal that you can do every single day. Write that down.  Every day, write whether or not you've lived up to your goal.  Remember to ease your way into this. It will be less painful if you start easy and slowly work your way into this area of improvement. We are trying to make a life change and change habits, not fix a surface problem.  This approachable goal (even as small as "I am going to save $5 a day for my future instead of blowing it on a ridiculously priced cup of coffee) is the first step in putting yourself first. Be selfish and be on your own side.  If you don't start today, you are not telling the Universe that you are on your own side. Be a little more aggressive and get on your own side. No more excuses. Excuses only suggest that you are unsure about who you want to be in this life.  

This week, I want you to experiment with journaling and see how it goes.  When you actually see things on paper, it can help a lot.  Take a look at how it feels to read an honest reflection of where you lived up to your goals and where you slacked.  Also, do a little math. Seriously sit down and try to figure out how much you money you can save or when you can actually squeeze in a workout.  How can you eat a little better? Where can you save to set aside money for your future? Where can you say, "I don't need that soda, I should instead get water in my body?"

Personally, this past week, I have not eaten out once or bought anything from Starbucks.  Cooking in my own kitchen has not only saved me money, but made me realize how much I love cooking.  

You won't become a yogi master who drinks only green juice and lives in a world of happiness overnight (or maybe ever because those people are fake, in my opinion), so go easy! Do a little something every day.

Hoping this blog finds you well,

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