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Posted by on Aug 31, 2016 in Dodo Diary |

Dodo Diary August 2016: Self-Improvement Challenge update

Dodo Diary August 2016: Self-Improvement Challenge update

Six months ago, I quit trying to improve my life.

I’d tried so hard for a year, setting myself targets, working on all my problems together and aiming to go From Dodo to Dynamite in a Year.

And, to be honest, I’d done OK, but I certainly hadn’t achieved everything I’d hoped.

Which was kind of depressing.

At that point I read some interesting advice from James Clear: forget about setting goals and focus on systems – concentrate on the day-to-day processes you use to work towards the things you want to achieve, and you’ll find you make progress towards your goals.

I’d just set myself a whole load more goals for the next year, but you know what I did?

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Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Dodo Diary |

Dodo Diary February 2016: Self-Improvement Challenge, Month #12

Dodo Diary February 2016: Self-Improvement Challenge, Month #12

One year ago, I took the first step in changing my life.

I was overworked, desperate for money, hugely stressed and in despair. My personal relationships were falling apart, I had no opportunities for self-expression, my health was suffering and I had nothing to look forward to.

I felt as if everything I tried was doomed to failure.

So I decided to give myself a self-improvement challenge: I would attack my problems all together, over the course of a year, and aim to go From Dodo to Dynamite in a Year.

That year is up, and now it’s time to take stock.

So – how did I get on?

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Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Dodo Diary |

Dodo Diary January 2016: Self-improvement Challenge, Month #11

Dodo Diary January 2016: Self-improvement Challenge, Month #11

Just one month to go!

The finishing line is in sight at last. Here I come, puffing and panting up the final stretch.

I don’t think I’ll reach all my targets by the end of my Dodo to Dynamite in a Year self-improvement challenge, but I won’t give up yet. I’m going to run as fast as I can until the last second.

There’s one target I know I won’t reach – Make 3 new friends.

I’ve had time to think about this target, and although I haven’t made any new friends, I don’t feel I’m failing; I just have the wrong target. To be honest, I didn’t particularly want more friends, but I convinced myself I should want them.

Everyone needs friends, don’t they?

But I truly don’t feel lonely and want friends around me all the time. I’m a quiet, introverted person, and having uproarious nights out with my buddies three times a week is not something I crave. I have plenty of laughs with my family, and that’s enough.

I’d certainly enjoy the mental stimulation of mixing with a wider group of people, but I don’t believe it’s possible to find true friendship by treating relationships as if they are trophies to be won, so I’m going to cancel this target and let it happen naturally.

If I concentrate on being a happier, more interesting person and enriching my life with new experiences, friends will come. Or not. It doesn’t matter.

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Posted by on Dec 31, 2015 in Dodo Diary |

Dodo Diary December 2015: Self-Improvement Challenge, Month #10

Dodo Diary December 2015: Self-Improvement Challenge, Month #10

It’s been a good Christmas – and it’s not often I say that!

Over the years I’ve grown accustomed to Christmas being a bit of a disappointment. To be honest, I blame the Americans.

Well, OK, not all of them. Just the ones in Hollywood.

Expectations are so high.

We want it all in our traditional English Christmas – the carol-singers with lanterns and knitted scarves, the sparkling fairy lights on the tree, the glowing log fire, the gentle snowfall on Christmas Eve, the angelic rosy-cheeked children opening gifts with cries of delight.

And most of all, the big family gathering with the roast turkey dinner.

After all, we deserve it, don’t we? It’s been a long, hard year.

And for many years, once our kids grew up and left home, my partner and I haven’t had a proper Christmas dinner . Still, at least we had each other, and if we were lucky, one of our six sons would come round at some point on Christmas Day, but the others were all too far away and had their own lives and families. And they couldn’t leave the dog. And anyway we were old and gloomy and boring and they didn’t really want to spend Christmas in our chilly, cluttered house instead of their own warm, cosy homes with all their own stuff around them and Ultimate Power over the TV remote control.

Does that sound bitter? Actually, I’m not.

Most of all, I wanted our children to have happy lives. And they do.

And if their idea of a happy life doesn’t include us (even with the bribe of a big pile of presents), then perhaps we are the ones who need to change.

But this year my super sisters saved the day – we were invited to two family gatherings, one on Christmas Eve and one for the big family lunch on Christmas Day. So a good time was had by all.

And next year we’ll be spending a wonderful family Christmas Day with one of my sons and his family.

I haven’t told him yet.

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Posted by on Nov 27, 2015 in Dodo Diary |

Dodo Diary October & November 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #8 & 9

Dodo Diary October & November 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #8 & 9

Do I look sad enough to get your sympathy? Good. I need it.

No, it’s not due to my credit card bill for Christmas presents. (Well, not entirely!)

I always feel depressed at this time of year. Unfortunately, I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, due to the lack of winter sunlight here in sunny England.

Events in my life over the last two months weren’t especially bad, but sometimes I just can’t shake off the gloom and it’s a struggle just to get through the day without biting people. Which is the reason I didn’t start my Dodo to Dynamite year in January.

Our house is an icebox, and I’ve been eating everything that isn’t nailed down, because I’m so cold – who feels like virtuously chomping fresh fruit when it’s apple-crumble-and-custard weather?

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Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Dodo Diary |

Dodo Diary September 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #7

Dodo Diary September 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #7

I had a bit of a shock this month.

I was at my sister’s party, and afterwards the photos were all over Facebook.

I saw one of myself, sitting in a chair, with my flab bulging over my waistline, holding a cigarette in one hand and a glass of Diet Coke in the other. Although it’s a party, I’m not mingling and chatting, but sitting with my partner.

“What a perfect ‘Before’ picture,” I thought. “It shows all the things I wanted to change.”

And then it hit me.

This isn’t ‘Before’. This is over HALFWAY THROUGH my Dodo to Dynamite in a Year self-improvement challenge.

Which is why I’m blushing!

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Posted by on Sep 19, 2015 in Dodo Diary | 2 comments

Dodo Diary August 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #6

Dodo Diary August 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #6

Wow! I’m already halfway through my Dodo to Dynamite in a Year self-improvement challenge.

If you’re wondering why I’m dressed like Scarlett O’Hara this month, it’s because the months have Gone With the Wind and I can’t believe how quickly it all happened.

The trouble with saying, “Oh, well! Tomorrow is another day!” is that you can say the same tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…

And nothing ever gets better.

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Posted by on Jul 31, 2015 in Dodo Diary | 4 comments

Dodo Diary July 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #5

Dodo Diary July 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #5

The fifth month of my Dodo to Dynamite in a Year self-improvement challenge… and I’m failing.

The last few months have been disappointing in terms of progress, and I feel as if I’m juggling too many balls at once. And I must admit, I’ve dropped quite a few!

So I’ve had a good chat with my closest family members, talked about the targets I’m trying to achieve and asked them to support me with a mixture of moral support and tough love. Talking it through has helped me come up with a few new strategies to make me stick to my plans.

And, as you’ve probably spotted, I’ve added a great motivational tool on Emily the Dodo this month – a countdown clock to show how long I’ve got left of my year.

If that doesn’t get me going again, nothing will. And it’s all too clear that time is running out. Eek! Time to redouble my efforts!

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