Being Good (incredibly short-term goals)

(750 words)

As you get older you definitely get to know yourself better. (Today, I will be playing the part of Captain Obvious). And why the fuck wouldn’t you? You spend a great deal of time with yourself. This is also an argument for developing a good relationship with yourself, but…

Baby Steps.

Exactly.

And that’s the point of this post, really. As I strive toward self-improvement, at least partly to counteract the almost unrelenting shitstorm that 2013 turned out to be for me, I’m quickly learning what does and does not work for me. I have a list of exciting goals:

  • Weight loss (I’m on about 28% body fat, which is not ideal)
  • Learning to read (I am a sloooooow reader. On the plus side, though, a very fast typist)
  • Not being sad all the time (This is a separate post in its own right)
  • Not hating myself (Related to the above)
  • Getting my university career back on track. Last year’s depression outbreak, whatever caused it, brought with it a complete disengagement from academic work and other things that I have generally enjoyed, which brings us to…
  • Re-discovering the things that bring me pleasure. Music, hugs, good company, and cocktails. Did I mention? I’m good at cocktails.

Some are obviously more pressing than others. In keeping with my reasoning behind doing the blog at all, I think I just wanted to get these down in writing. In fact, it’s even interesting to note the order in which these came to mind.

Anyway! The weight loss thing is currently top of my priorities. While I’m in Italy, apparently in the middle of nowhere, my dietary options are pretty limited. Currently I would be happy just to stall weight gain, but it appears I’m managing to lose a bit.

However!

This seems only to have come about as a result of my understanding what works for me. For example, I’m not good at big-picture long-term goals (and who is?). More to the point, there’s a tendency among the troubled people in my family towards absolutism. Examples include ‘no more of X’ or ‘I have to completely cut Y out of my life’, be it a person, food or television programme. Perhaps unsurprisingly to the more intelligent among you, that sort of behaviour is unrealistic and does not stick for long.

I had the temptation, for example, to cut alcohol out of my life between New Year’s Day and my birthday on February 15th. There were only two possible outcomes to this: either I’d stick to it perfectly, or I’d fall short and hate myself for it.

Now, dear reader, I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I write this while sipping on a small Peroni. A Peroni, mind you, that I consciously allowed myself, based on recent good behaviour (ask my calorie-counting app and my exercise app) and the fact that I haven’t had a drink in 8 days, which is a genuine achievement in some ways. So that’s nice.

More to the point this 330ml bottle makes an excellent and necessary change from my usual fayre of three or four 660ml bottles of an evening, and I enjoy it more knowing that it fits into my 1700 allotted daily calories. The sweet hoppy goodness of real Italian Peroni is somehow all the sweeter for not being illicit for a change.

Sounds like you like beer a bit too much.

Delicious.

Delicious.

Maybe so. But if that’s the case, that’s clearly how I am (even if it can be undone, it’s how I am at the moment). In a lot of ways I can’t believe it’s taken until I’m nearly 22 but I’ve recently twigged that if you have a certain predisposition, working against it will get you nowhere fast.

I’m gonna give you a moment to drink that in, unbelievable as it sounds.

So my new outlook, my new strategy, is to work with myself wherever possible. Again this plays into forming a better relationship with yourself (which sounds INCREDIBLY wanky, I must find a less twee way of phrasing that) but I could talk about that all day.
I don’t mean to preach, I don’t. I hate it when people do that. But I’m keen to write this shit out in a kind of “I told you so” way, but aimed back at myself. Which makes no sense.
I dunno. Point is, you’re not going to want to do stuff you really don’t want to do unless you stand to benefit from it.
So yeah! Currently I use apps to take most of the guesswork – and perhaps more importantly, the responsibility – away from me in pursuing the things I want (or think I want). No doubt that when I get lean and sexy, I’ll still find shit to be upset about. We’ll see.
More to come.
–Frank
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