Like many people I know, I’m constantly pushing myself to be a better person. To nag my husband less, to learn hacks for productivity, to be more present with my baby, to put the phone down, etc. etc. I listen to several podcasts a week, read self-improvement books and blogs, and am constantly taking note of areas I can improve based on the advice of others.
Now, this is one of my favorite things about myself because I don’t think I’ll ever get stagnant or be OK with being an average wife, friend, boss, mom, etc – I want to be great. On the other hand, I’ve started to feel bogged down by the constant self-development content I allow into my life. Instead of really learning from one podcast, for example, I’ll listen, take note, and then shove in content from a self-improvement book later in the day – not truly grasping what I’ve learned. I also feel like I never take the time to realize how far I’ve come and how good of a job I’m doing at life in general. Yes, I could always be better, but for the most part, I’m very proud of the person that I am.
So I decided to take a week off of self-improvement. Just like you’d take a break from social media when you feel all consumed, I wondered what would happen if I spent 7 days without the noise of improvement. Here’s what I noticed:
- I felt more connected to the world. Instead of listening to a podcast, I turned on the news, I listened to more music (it reminded me how GOOD music makes me feel!), and I watched Bachelor in Paradise (loved it). Instead of heading up to my room to read ways to better myself, I vegged out more. This felt amazing as a mom to a 5-month-old who doesn’t get too much downtime.
- I learned about new entertaining podcasts. Similar to vegging, I asked some friends what their favorite enteritaing podcasts were and dove in, but only listened to a couple that week. It was fun listening to essentially talk shows and story time – it felt light.
- I felt more room to actually improve. Most of all, I felt a general sense of growth. I was able to think about self-improvement habits I’d learned about through situations because I wasn’t bogged down by constant new ones. I was able to spend more time with my husband at night instead of jumping into a book or podcast (and spending quality time is one of the best ways to connect, according to relationship experts). I was able to take a walking meditation (more on this in an article soon!) instead of listening to a podcast. And the list goes on…
After the 7 days, I decided I wanted to keep the break going. I do miss the general motivation I get when I listen to a self-development podcast to start my day, but not enough to bring it back into my life, yet. For now, I like the idea of keeping the break going, and then slowly making a list of the shows/books/resources that really made me think – and then going back to those. My goal is to focus on ONE change/lesson a week, instead of about 20.
I’d be super interested to hear how much self-improvement content you consume and if you feel like it takes over your life. Any bingers??
Podcasts are the best to me!
I need this tremendously at the moment. I sometimes do weekends of it, but then feel like it’s not enough!
chevrons & éclairs
I couldn’t agree more with this practice. I scroll through IG and the constant quotes and images for self-improvement lead me to believe people are not as happy or fulfilled as they think they should be. Bringing it back to the simple pleasures and being grateful for all the things we have as opposed to focusing on the things we want to improve has to be better for the mind, body, and soul. Perspective is an amazing thing, and when I get upset about my lack of self-improvement I tend to think of all the things I have now I didn’t have 5, 10, 15 years ago. Sure, I always want to be better but I think that will happen regardless of a podcast, book or scheduled habit. I think the mere act of living, acknowledging and learning will offer enough improvement. After all, what’s the point of life if we are not trying to enjoy as much of it as possible. No matter what that looks like.