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Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 |

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

finishline 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.

Dodo to Dynamite in a Year Progress Report

  • Weight: Lose 40lbs. I’m back on the diet and doing well – even with a weight gain at the beginning of the month, I’ve shed another 1lb. Total weight loss 13lbs.
  • Smoking: Quit. Nearly. I’m now down to 8 cigarettes a day. To help me cut back on smoking, I had a bowl of sweets available for when I wanted a ciggie – but I deliberately chose the smallest, most boring, un-sugary, hard-to-chew ones – Midget Gems. Now I’m back on my diet, I’ve cut those out as well, and I don’t smoke whole cigarettes, only one-third at a time. Money saved so far: £854.04
  • Self-Control: Beat addictions to sugar and caffeine. I’ve beaten my sugar addiction, and I’m not really missing sugar at all, although I still love sweet foods. I don’t eat anything sweet until bedtime, then I reward myself at the end of the day with a little chocolate treat. Caffeine is much harder to give up, as I’ve nothing nice to replace it with, and I cough incessantly when I don’t have a sip of liquid every few minutes. I’m sticking to my first glass of the day being orange juice instead of Diet Coke, but if I swig that all day long I’ll gain weight: a litre of orange juice is 470 calories, the equivalent of eating an extra meal. Next month I’ll start cutting out glasses of cola and replacing them with (yuck!) water. Not looking forward to that!
  • Hoarding: Clear whole house. The  main part of the house is done, as much as it can be until we move home, and we’re starting on our massive attic full of junk, er, I mean valuable collector’s items. No, I had the right word the first time, as we’ve sold anything worth selling already. You wouldn’t believe how much is left up there, most of it completely useless: rolls of ‘spare’ carpet that don’t match any of the ones we’ve got now, ugly broken furniture we’ll never repair, boxes full of empty boxes…
  • Relationships: Rebuild relationships with partner and family. Not a good month, and it ended with an argument with one of my most beloved relatives. I think we’re OK now, but some hurtful things were said and it was distressing for both of us. However, my grandson’s coming to stay next month, and I’ll try to make more contacts with my other relations next month.
  • Success: Build Ebay business/increase income. Having finally completed last year’s tax return, I’m horrified! I earned about £1.20 (US $1.70) an hour last year. I can see from my figures that there’s a definite improvement this year so far, but it’s still far less than I’d have received claiming state benefits. Why don’t I just let the government support me? Because it’s a trap: once I live on benefits instead of my own earnings, my income is fixed by other people – I can’t do anything to make it better. But I consider myself very lucky to live in a country where I have that as a fall-back option. On the plus side, as long as I stop smoking and my partner cuts his smoking by half, I would save that much on cigarettes – which means all I need to do is give up smoking completely, and I’ll only need to do one-third of the work I’ve been doing to be just as well-off. Now that’s what I call an incentive…
  • Writing: Refocus blog and add a new blog post every week. My creative spark is back, and I’ve been writing like a mad thing this, refocusing one of my other blogs and working on other writing projects – I’ve written over 5000 words this month. My Emily the Dodo blog has suffered again, though – sorry. I’ll be back to regular posting next month.
  • Friends: Make 3 new friends. Target cancelled. And what a relief that is!

Just one month to go! Just a few more days to the moment of truth. Will I – can I achieve my targets?

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