How to get better

I’ve recently started a journey of self-improvement. Don’t ask why, because it’s Sunday afternoon and I don’t feel comfortable talking about it sober, but let’s just say something kicked me into action and now I’m doing shit about it.

Self-improvement is largely a scam. It’s a way people sell books or get clicks on their crappy online content (thanks for visiting, please exit via the gift shop). When other people tell you how to live your life better, it’s safe to say they’re talking bullshit and you’d be better off ignoring them.

However, when you tell yourself to live your life better you should sit up and pay attention. I had that very conversation with myself recently and now, because I’m sure you’re very interested, I’m going to tell about how it’s all going.

Ash, you should really be tidier

The first thing I tasked myself with was sorting out my tip of a flat. I live in a fairly small one-bedroomed place in Sheffield, and when things get a bit messy it can often look like a bomb has moved in, made itself at home and then exploded just when you thought you could be friends.

Looking around I noticed clothes were piling up on the floor, shoes were blocking the door and dust was just moving from one place to another without ever disappearing. This had to stop.

A motivational poster once said ‘A tidy home is a tidy mind’. I bought into this idea and cleaned every surface I could reach, hoovering, dusting, scrubbing and even replacing a lightbulb that had been gone for months. The poster lied – my mind is still a shithole – but at least I can now walk around without falling over something.


Ash, you should eat better

A while ago I really tried to improve my health. I’d been very unwell and spent a lot of time in hospital, and while living better couldn’t cure my diabetes it could at least prepare me to deal with any future complications. I joined the gym, reevaluated my diet and started cycling to work. I wanted to gain weight, beef up and look better in t-shirts, basically.

Somewhere along the line a few of those things went astray. My diet plan never really stuck and my bike got stolen by some low life dickhead whose balls I hope rot and fall off in the shower. The gym, however, kept on going, and I’ve gained about 2 stone in muscle over the past year.

Now I’m there I want to see what else is possible, meaning the food needs to get better and I need to spend less of my wages on whiskey and diet coke. Another motivational poster once said, well, I don’t know, but I’m sure it was something about being fit making you feel better. Someone should design it.


Ash, you should dress nicer

When I was younger I went through what I like to call my state of intense unhappiness. Because I felt no urge to do anything, see anyone or try anymore, I stopped caring what I looked like. My hair got long, I stopped shaving and I wore whatever clothes came first to hand. I felt like a mess so I might as well look like one.

Now things need to be different. I’ve spent the last few days sitting in my living room wearing sweatpants and the same t-shirt, and there’s a chance they’re now wearing me instead. This did not make me feel good about myself, so today I ironed a shirt and got everything ready for a kick-ass Monday.

Dress for the way you want to feel, not the way you currently do.


Ash, you should write more

The final box I had to tick off was one that constantly annoys me. I spend all day writing so it really should be easy to get home from work and carry it on, but sadly that hasn’t been the case for a while. I’ve let personal projects fall apart, left this blog to gather cyber dust and more or less given up on pursuing any new writing possibilities – all things that I really enjoy doing.

Sometimes it can be really hard to find the motivation to do something just for you, and even though you know it will make you happy the idea of actually starting it just seems like too much to bare.

Today I tried to fix that. I set my laptop up nearer to where I spend most of my time in my flat, meaning I no longer have to think about fetching it and plugging it in. Now it’s just there, ready to go whenever I am. After doing that I wrote a few thousand words of a book I’m working on and, well, did this. This might be utter bollocks for all I know and at best it’ll only get a few reads, but I don’t really care. It’s not for you, it’s for me and my dusty little head.


Self-improvement might sound like a buzzword, and there’s very little I hate more. But if you want to do it, you’re the only one that can.