Category: Personal Development

My Cringe-worthy Blogging Past

My Cringe-worthy Blogging Past

Today it has been exactly one month since I decided to get back into blogging. Naturally, I have been rereading many of the 136 posts I have published over the course of the last 5 or more years that the blog has existed. Boy oh boy, did I find a lot of cringe-worthy content!

I suppose it’s only natural for most people to cringe a bit when they look at things they produced years ago, but it really stirs all sorts of horrific feelings in me. I won’t delete anything – not a single comma – even if I really, really, really want to. In the end, doing so would be counter to what I want to achieve from here on, which is to display an increased level of openness and authenticity as a writer and human being.

So if I can’t sweep those posts under the carpet and pretend they never existed in the first place I figured I might as well address why it is I feel so embarrassed about the majority of the content on this blog. So without further ado, here’s is the 4 types of posts on The Measured Life I cringe the most about.

1. The overly personal “personal  development” posts

Throughout the years I have written A LOT of ” personal development” type content because, well, I was doing a lot of personal development those days. I was utterly hopeless with women, I was near hopeless when it came to my work life, in general I was pretty much as hopeless as one can be.

Obviously that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point. Things were not going well for me. I believed that my “discoveries” gave me a lot of insights, and certainly they where huge insights to me, but how I thought anyone would take advice on personal development from someone with a very long way to go in terms of his own personal development is beyond my current understanding.

I guess I still like to write personal stories (sigh), so maybe I haven’t learned much at all, but at least I know how to be at least somewhat self-ironic about it these days. Not all people would agree about that last bit, though…

2. The “unsubstaniated science” posts

Well, to start off with giving myself a small pat on the back here, I guess I was miles ahead of Donald Trump when it comes to source criticism, but that doesn’t say much does it? It’s not that anything I have written was ever wrong as such, I did (like I still do) look up scientific articles on sites like google scholar, but somehow those posts always ended up very incoherent and messy anyway. (Probably because of my incoherent and messy mind).

I think that when I realized this I just stopped writing this kind of content altogether. Which made the blog go south in general. And that’s a huge shame. When I look up cultural anthropology (my original field of education), or even behavioral science online theses fields doesn’t seem to get nearly enough attention they deserve. I’m no journalist, but I think that every bit of attention people give important topics like this counts. The world needs ethnography, god damn it!

For example, a topic I have wanted to take up on the blog for years is Facebook and other social media’s (often negative) influence on people’s self esteem. There is a lot of great research done on this trend, but much of it doesn’t get a lot of attention from the media. I  don’t know why that is, actually. Maybe people don’t care to read about it. Maybe it’s bad for business for the social media companies who rule the net.

Either way you should never make statements about something you don’t know enough about. Well, it’s sort of comforting, sort of sad that people much higher in society than me seems to also need to take that class again. Trump, let’s take it together!

3. The “spiritual enlightenment” posts

Boy, have I thought and written a lot about Taoism. It’s not that I’m NOT into Taoism. I still remember when I first read The Tao Te Ching and fell in love with this simple yet very wise ancient Chinese philosophy. But I’m certainly a novice at best when it comes to really understanding it. You have to spend hundreds if not thousands of hours of rigorous study if you want to look at yourself as someone who could teach others about a philosophical tradition such as Taoism. I guess my point is the same of that above: don’t preach about something you clearly haven’t researched well enough.

The Tao Te Ching is less than a hundred pages long, but its verses aren’t very straight forward for someone like myself to understand. It is something you have to give a lot of deep thought if you want to get the subtleties of the text, and I certainly didn’t at the time.

4. The “ins and outs of personality typology” posts

Many of my posts on MBTI were actually quite popular and those are typically the ones still drawing traffic to the blog to this day. Like all of the above they were well meant, and based off of sound theories (if you believe in personality typing anyway) but simply not well composed or anywhere near researched enough.The MBTI has many layers, the cognitive functions are especially hard to understand for a novice.

I have a plan to right this wrong, though, and write the series of posts I originally set out to write. I think understanding the whole frameworks behind the MBTI and the Enneagram can help you greatly in life, and since the main purpose of this blog is to be (even a very minor) positive force in this world I’ll be looking very much forward to getting started with that.

The conclusion

So whats the takeaway of this post? Isn’t it just another cringe-worthy / head stuck up your arse type post?

Well, for one, if anyone ever decides to comment on the quality of my “back-catalogue” I’ll send them here.

Will I stop writing personal stories, though? Or insights into the latest in behavioral science? Or bits on personality typology? Or (if god forbids) even the occasional “spiritual” post?

Those are all topics I still love, so they will naturally be an integral part of the fabric of The Measured Life. Also in the future. But you hereby have my promise that I will think about this post every single time I have a “great” idea for a post about any of the above.

…and then I’ll probably write it anyway.

Life Come Full Circle?

Life Come Full Circle?

Beginnings

That’s me, there on the left. Back in 2009 I was interning with a danish NGO in the Peruvian Andean mountains.  This photo was taken on Taquile Island in lake Titicaca with the kids of our host family as well as with Tara Miller of Paonia Pottery.

At the time this blog was in its heyday, but I never really got to tell the wonderful story of the Taquileans, or that of Tara and her husband Sam who I met on the island. While my frail memory does not serve justice to the many wonderful things that happened during my year in Peru, I luckily still have many of the notes and photos I took.

Back then I was a practicing ethnographer, that is I was studying to become one and my time in Peru was part of my planning to do my master thesis, which eventually became a defense of tourism’s impact on the island community of Taquile. There are many sides to this story, and of course, like most stories, this is not a black and white one. Its something I will get back to over and again on this blog.

I finally graduated from Aarhus University in the summer of 2011, knowing much about how to study the world, but very little on how to be an active participant in it. I  was frightened about having to enter the job market, to say the least. My plan was always to get a PhD and probably end up as a professor somewhere, but I now know that I wanted to pursue this road only because it would be the easiest one to take for me, seeing that it would allow me to stay in my bubble.

Around the time of my graduation, however a lot of things happened in my life, that would eventually lead me down another road. All though, as I will get to later, a road that I think is about to come full circle, at least in part.

So lets turn the time back to the summer of 2011. I had just graduated, but the financial crisis of 2008 was still making it hard for recent graduates, especially those in the humanities, to find proper employment. Because of that and because of other things, among them my then girlfriend breaking up with me (doesn’t love always get the fault for these things though?) I decided to move back to my home town of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.

Back in Copenhagen, I had been lucky to find an apartment I could sublet for two years, but I needed someone to share the expenses with. This was still in the fairly early days of Facebook (well, I think I first got on in 2007), but I did eventually put a post up about needing a roommate there. And doing just  that turned out to be one of the best things I had ever done, and it has since been a testament to me how much positive power social media can have on your life!

Among others, I got a reply from Kristina, a girl who I incidentally (hmmm…I think not!) had interned with in Peru.

On the plow

So in December of 2011 we moved in together in this tiny 50 square meter (well, tiny for a guy and a girl who aren’t in a  relationship) apartment in the Østerbro neighbourhood of Copenhagen. In many ways Kristina has since then been my guardian angel and I hope that I’ll some day be able to repay her for everything that she has done for me.

I can thank Kristina forthe fact that I work in project management today (she got me the interview). I can also thank her for understanding women better (I used to have no clue whatsoever!) although alll you fine women out  there are still quite an enigma to me! That’s what makes it interesting in suppose.

I couldn’t begin to count the hours she must have been listening to me yapping on about my failed attempts at love without asking of much in return. And I don’t know how much I ever really gave her in return, to be honest.

A huge part of my problems in life has indeed started with how self-centered of a person I have been. I guess even my ethnographic endeavours have been, for a large part, due to this self-centeredness. Even as I write this, it gets to me that what do you really care. There is no context for you to put this information in.

This is somehow where we really get back to square one of this story. I had a pretty difficult start in the job market, and so was very thankful to even have a job, and this month I can celebrate three years anniversary at a great job with great colleagues, one of them being aforementioned Kristina.

But over those years out of university I also slowly settled into an inertia of sorts. Like I think many of us do. A full time job takes a lot of your mental energy and the more responsibility you have at your job the harder it can become to pursue hobbies like writing this blog in your free time, when all you have energy to do after an 8 hour workday is to be a couch potato and watch reruns of Star Trek: The Original Series.

That’s what I told myself anyway!

In fact, I no longer believe in this whole thing about work-life balance. Your work doesn’t end when you clock out and your life does’t magically begin at that same time.

I now aim for my work to inspire what I do in my free time and what I do in my free time to inspire what I do for work. Ultimately, I think you have a great thing going when you both look forward to getting back to work when you are off, and look forward to getting home to your family or whatever it is at the end of the work day. The feeling has to go both ways. What I think most people do is solely looking forward to getting off of work while not thinking about how they can make their work meaningful.

I will not deceive anyone into believing that the job I have is my dream job. Its not. I am lucky to have a boss, though who understands this. He even said at one point that he totally understood if I was to pursue something else.

At the time I didn’t get the true significance of that, but now I see that I am one hell of a lucky guy to have a boss who sees things in  such a way. When a colleague of mine parted ways with our department it was very amicable, and I am happy to know that when the day comes when I too will do so, it will be in the same manner.

Coming full circle

My boss’ attitude is the kind I think you should be looking for in an employer. Its also the attitude I think you should be implementing in your job as the CEO of your own life. That is, you should pursue more of what thrills you in life, and spend less time on things that don’t.

I truly understood this when I recently began taking up photography as a serious hobby. I love the process of selecting the right equipment, composing a good photo, and post-processing for a stunning, authentic final result.

I love the fact that the images I have taken so far has brought genuine smiles on many peoples faces. It has facilitated conversations, both online and offline, that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Generally, it is making me a happier, more confident person day by day.

What I don’t like, for example, is the way people behave on apps like Instagram, in general how social media today encourage you to ‘market’ yourself as I describe in length in my previous post. I think this way of socializing does not bring many good things with it, and its something I will talk more about on this blog in the future. Do tings because you simply HAVE to, not because it is something  society tells you to do.

Living authentically, and to be truly happy, in today’s world is becoming increasingly difficult even though it should be the opposite, and its therefore something that needs to be debated more from an ethnographic viewpoint than I see it being done. The above was the original intention with this blog and it is where I see it going forward from here on.

It is a funny thing how you on one hand think that you have come a long way over the years, yet when you sit down and think about it, you seem to be right back where you started.

Yours truly,

Jacob

 

Finding Yourself is a Dialogue

Finding Yourself is a Dialogue

Join me on G+

I am at wit’s end about the future of this blog. On one hand, its been far more of a success so far than I could ever imagine; on the other, the lack of effort I put into it is growing more and more unacceptable by the day.

There has never been a coherent pattern to my posts. A a friend recently pointed out, I am “all over the place”.

In the back of my head I am always thinking, that because people sign up for the blog after reading one specific kind of post, they expect my overall output to resemble that type of post. That would be the “sensible” way of looking at it.

This thought pattern scares me. It keeps me from publishing my innermost thoughts because I gather that doing so will turn someone off. Of course, everything you do will always turn someone off. It is silly to try to please everyone, because you can’t.

Anyway, I realized that I am having all of these troubles because I am still in the process of finding out who I really am as a person – what my core values are, and what I believe in.

You don’t find that out through only having a monologue with yourself. You need to engage other people in dialogue in order to really understand your place in the world.

This blog here, this is “only” a monologue, more or less. Indeed, people do comment, and that adds a whole deal to my self-reflections, as a human being, and as a writer. But it is still not as much of a two-way street as I would like it to be.

I have therefore taken to making an effort to be more active in the Google plus community, with the goal of getting to know a lot more like-minded people than I do now.

My efforts over there are not about gaining exposure of myself, they are about getting to know other people more intimately. I want to know their story. I want to share mine with them. I want to see how this world wide web connects people firsthand by being an active participant on social media myself.

So if you ever feel like getting to know me as much as I want to get to know you, then add me on Google Plus.  I’ll add you back and get the conversation started. Looking forward to that.

See you there!

Jakob

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Join me for Dan Ariely’s Online Course ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior’

Join me for Dan Ariely’s Online Course ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior’

Dan Ariely, author of three bestselling books I’ve all enjoyed reading (Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty) is teaching an online class (for free) over at Coursera.org. I am going to take this class myself, and I therefore want to recommend it here on the blog.

The Coursera Team are also great fans of Dan’s work, as you can see in this blog post of theirs – it’s an introduction to Dan and to behavioral economics for anyone not yet familiar with him and this field of study.

I am specifically taking Dan’s class because it is particularly useful for marketers, but I can promise you that taking it will be interesting and a great experience for anyone already interested in knowing more about everyday human behavior.

There is an expected workload of about 10-12 hours a week, though, so it isn’t exactly just a picnic. The class opened for signup this Monday and week 1 will begin on the 11th of March 2014. (Sorry for putting out the wrong info before).

Sign up for the class here, or read more about Dan and his research by following the links below. I hope you’ll find Dan’s work as eye-opening as I do.

Learn more about Dan:

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What You Give is What You Get

What You Give is What You Get

I have been struggling with this blog for a while now. I had a vision for what I wanted it to be – a science blog – that I could never live up to. I wanted to be taken seriously, so I decided that I was writing articles, not posts,  and I came up with a bunch of fancy categories that I would never use. All I did was writing badly structured, overly self-indulgent posts about how amazing a person I thought I was. Lame, I know.

Of course, once in a blue moon I would come up with what I think of as an original and interesting post, like the one about Benjamin Franklin, or the one about eating honey before bedtime. Those posts were somewhat useful to anyone reading, and I am convinced that I gained new readers, excited to see what else I would come up with, when I published those kinds of posts. But the good posts would be few and far between, and every mediocre post I did lost me another hard-gained reader.

I am lucky to have lots of people who check in every now and then, none of whom owe me anything. To have anyone following at all in a sea of amazing blogs is a wonder in itself, and to sit down and think about that is a wonderfully humbling experience. I don’t know about you, but I really need to sit down and think about that more often, as a motivation to keep on blogging, on top of everything else I do.

I try to focus a lot of my time and effort on living mindfully because my default starting point is the exact opposite of that. I keep reverting back to thinking that the world owes me success whenever I stray too far away from a mindset of humility. I also have this built-in mentality of thinking that I am better than other people. So I try to put a lot of effort into being a humble person – because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to stand my own company for longer periods of time.

I could launch into a discussion here on whether some people really are morally above others, but I won’t, because I am not at all far enough in my spiritual journey to have gained any substantial insight into such matters. In the past I would. But now I know better. I hope.

I will say, though, without much doubt, that some people seem to be a lot more self-aware than others. I don’t know if I would count myself among the particularly self-aware people just yet, but I know that nothing good comes from focusing on what other people think or do.

Only you can shape your future, and that future is shaped by every single thing you do today, whether you are on autopilot or actively making tough decisions about how to spend your time.

Inaction, however, is a lot more harmful than any action. Whenever I let weeks pass by without publishing anything here, I am removing myself a little bit from my dream of being able to live off of my own writing. Whenever I publish a badly written post, one that I didn’t put enough effort and time into, I am doing the same. This might be one of those badly written posts, I have to accept that. But worrying about quality is a luxury that you can only afford once you have proven that you respect yourself enough, that you trust yourself enough to be willing to do whatever it takes. I haven’t, still.

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs.

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You Can’t be Everyone’s Friend

You Can’t be Everyone’s Friend

I didn’t use to have a very busy social schedule. Now I do. The transition is causing me plenty of problems, especially in relation to how to figure out which plans to stick with and which to abandon.

Yesterday I had a meeting over coffee at 3 PM and dinner plans with someone else at around 5-6 PM. Over coffee I was enjoying myself so much that I told him that we could maybe meet up again later that evening, at around midnight.

But the thing is this: I found myself looking at my watch all the time, thinking about how I had to leave for my dinner plans soon. I wasn’t being fully present in what I was actually doing at the time. Then at dinner I was thinking about whether or not I would have time to meet up with the other guy again later, again not being fully present in what I was actually doing. Maybe you can relate to this….

Going in for coffee I should have told him that I would have to get going again by 5 PM. Not really for his sake alone, but because it would have saved me from having to worry whether my plans would conflict or not. I would then be able to be more present at my coffee meeting, benefiting both of us.

I should also not have brought up the possibility of meeting up again later, because that made it difficult for me to be fully present for the rest of the evening, effectively making it a somewhat worse experience for both me and the people I was with.

So even after having spent plenty of time meditating and reading Eckhart Tolle, it’s very difficult for me to make a decision or a game plan and then stick with it to the end. This post is specifically about when it comes to meeting up with people, but the point goes for everything: make deliberate choices and stick with them.

Often we fail in our endeavors in life because we want to do everything – at the same time. You can’t. Its an impossibility.

In this post I am not offering any solution to that. I haven’t got one, as you can see. But I know one thing, and that is that you have to make tough choices in order to get anywhere worth going.

You have to choose between people; who to be friends with, who to date, etc. There aren’t room for everyone in your life. Choose a few and give them all that you got. Of course, I am not advocating not to go out and meet new people as often as you want. I still do. And I want to continue to do so.

But as I am out there, socializing, networking, etc., I now also know that I can’t be best friends with everyone. Most people I meet I will only meet that one time. A lot of people will only be acquaintances, and that is okay. And a select few…those are the people you’ve really got to stick up for and be there for.

I truly believe that life is about, among other things, making deep and spiritual connections with other people. Networking is fine, even necessary, but make sure that you don’t loose the real, true and one hundred percent honest and straightforward connections you have over superficial social status hunting. Because doing so will bite your ass in the end. I promise.

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Time Management Part I: On Tracking Yourself

Time Management Part I: On Tracking Yourself

Lately, I have found myself in a productivity rut. I am being very social since that is a big goal of mine, currently, and when I am not with other people I am working out of places like libraries, cafes, and bars. But I am not getting at all as much done as I would like to.

New years completely destroyed my regular schedule because all the traveling, food, and partying made it almost impossible for me to do some of the things that I cherish doing on a daily basis, like getting up early, running, eating well, and meditating. I find that if those base habits aren’t a part of my day, I won’t accomplish nearly as much work-wise as I’d like to. It is a continuous downwards spiral, and I am digging the hole deeper and deeper as we speak.

Then this morning, I looked at my watch and saw the date: the 21st of January! We are almost one 12th through 2014 already…Yikes! Time to step up my game a bit…

I love talking about my values, and at the core of those values is accomplishing something big with my life. I want to improve and get better at all of my sticking points, such as my fear of initiating conversation with strangers, and my laziness which is holding me back from working out and working as much as I’d like.

I’ve found that the best way of working towards goals like these is to keep track of your progress and to implement stakes to reinforce healthy habits and keep the bad ones at bay.

So yesterday I installed the Rescue Time client on my laptop. This app is old news, but somehow I got away from using it a long time ago. Basically, it lets you track every minute of time you spend on the internet. My goal with this: to make myself REALLY embarrassed at how unproductive I am!

Once the app has tracked your activities for a while, you can begin to slot sites into five different categories, ranging from very productive to very unproductive. I, for example, rate Facebook as being very unproductive, email as being productive, and working on my blog as being very productive.

Rating sites like this, however, has a downside to it. At the moment I consider going through my mail a productive activity, but that is in comparison to the score of unproductive things I waste my time on. Once I have gotten my overall productivity up, I would rate spending time on mail differently, because, like many other things, checking your mail can be a compulsive way of getting away from spending your time on something more productive.

Furthermore, there are sites which I am not sure how to rate. YouTube is an example of this, because on YouTube I both spend time looking at cat videos and self-development seminars. Of course, there is a time for everything, and digesting the latest self-development or psychology video is not at all as productive as writing a blog post or working on a consultancy task. However, if I’ve already done the latter for a number of hours on a particular day, I would deem it fine that I spend some time on ‘entertainment’ like self-development videos.

All in all, a huge downside to Rescue Time is this: how should you at all manage to rate different activities as productive and unproductive in a coherent way? If you can help me with this issue, please feel free to share below.

Staying with the theme of tracking your activities, I wore a Fitbit One for the most of 2013. Then I suddenly stopped using it. Again, I love the Fitbit products so much because they help me acknowledging exactly how lazy I am being. At the moment I am not tracking my fitness activities, and sure thing, I am slacking off A LOT more than I used to.

Like most people, I’d like to look at myself as a resourceful, intelligent, and – above all – productive person. In fact, being so has become very important to me. Life is short and we therefore better not waste it away. The best way to progress in your journey to mastery is to be honest about where you are today. And the best way to be honest about where you are today is to have it written down in black and white…to keep yourself from making up excuses. So besides scheduling, tracking your daily activities is the best way to do that…In my humble opinion.

Anyway, just a couple of thoughts on how to manage your time better. I have titled this post Time Management Part I because I intend to make it into a series on how I am getting back to the productivity level I used to be at and beyond. If you’ve got good results using other products I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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I Suck at Painting…but Thats a Good Thing!

I Suck at Painting…but Thats a Good Thing!

I paint miniatures…that is, very infrequently I paint miniatures. And I suck at it. Pretty hard. Lately, though I’ve started taking the hobby more seriously, meaning that I’ll soon have a bunch of poorly painted miniatures to show off to my geeky comrades who I play Warmachine with about once a month. This freakin’ rocks so much you can’t believe how psyched I am about it! But why am I so unjustifiably happy about sitting around painting miniatures?

Because I am going far out of my comfort zone doing so (not so far anymore, though). The other day I had this Epiphany: Whether you are good or not at doing whatever you set out to do doesn’t matter;  enjoying the process does. People care about how you feel about the things you do (because how you feel will rub off on them), not really so much about the things themselves.

Dumb jocks are successful with women not because of being dumb jocks but because they are proud of being (confident in) who they are. This mindset has changed a whole lot in my life lately without me really realizing it before now.

I think I’ve talked about painting those miniatures for about a year or something like that, the same way I talked about kicking life’s ass in general several years prior to actually doing anything about that. But talking about doing something rather than actually doing it diminishes your confidence tremendously!

I was afraid that my skills wouldn’t measure up to what the other guys could do with a paintbrush, so subconsciously I chose to avoid painting in order to spare my fragile ego.

But the thing is this: people VERY RARELY judge you if you are bad (or good) at something, as long as you are having a blast doing it and able to make fun of yourself at the same time. I will be just as humorous about painting miniatures if I ever get good at it as I am now.

People love comedians so much because they are good at being confident (knowing and standing by their own values) while able to laugh at themselves at the same time.

So I am fucking proud of my miniatures! Because I put an effort into them. I am creating something. I am working at something that takes skill, at least if you want to be good at it, although that is not my ultimate goal with painting; having fun doing so is.

The above may not sound like a big thing, but I meet a whole lot of people who don’t have this mentality at all. They want to have fun, but only doing things that aren’t too much of a challenge to them. They don’t want to step outside of their comfort zone, so all they do is talk about their dreams but continue living the same consumer-minded mediocre existence they’ve always lived.

For some people this means they will never pick up a book because they feel like getting through it, or understanding its contents is too difficult to do. For other people it may mean that they don’t do much but reading books – they’d never ask a girl out, for example.

I am afraid of doing loads of things because I judge myself for being bad at them. But less and less. Venturing into the unknown is mostly just exciting if you look at it the right way, not as something to be afraid of.

Indeed, the only way to overcome fears you may have of doing something is to be okay with, even make fun of being pretty ridiculously bad at it at first. I fuckin’ OWN being a bad miniature painter! If a girl tries to shit test me on having such a nerdy hobby I’ll turn it around and ask her what SHE has done to be creative lately. Often, it turns out, they don’t really have anything worthwhile to show for themselves.

Of course, my point with this isn’t to bring other people down, just that true confidence is to be gained from putting an effort into the things you spend your time doing, no matter what those things are. If you do that success will eventually follow.

Shifts in your mindset like these is what’ll make or break your success with self development and with becoming a better you. Anyway, that was just a couple of loose thoughts I had this weekend. I hope they are useful to you.

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The photo is of a couple of miniatures and paint on my desk at home.

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No Time for Resolutions: Highlights of 2013 / Goals for 2014

No Time for Resolutions: Highlights of 2013 / Goals for 2014

I don’ know about you guys, but Christmas and New Years took a heavy toll on me. Between the 23rd of December and the 1st of January I attended 1 Christmas dinner, 4 Christmas lunches, new years eve, and a night out in town on January 1st – most while on the road.

For some people this may be similar to their regular schedule, but I find it extremely difficult to both party a lot and stay productive and healthy at the same time. I therefore tend to prefer limiting my partying to once or twice a week at most. So while I had a great holiday season this last year, I am happy that It is now over, and that I can return to my regular schedule.

A couple of highlights from 2013

So I was thinking that every blogger with respect for him or herself should write a “New Years post” of looking back on the year gone by and forward towards the new year. Usually, people will review their goals for the last year, and set new goals for the coming.

I’ve tried doing this myself in the past, but not with much success. Time constraints should be guidelines more than rules, I think. Anyway, 2013 was a great year of many victories (and plenty failures) for me. Below a short list of some of the most important ones.

1. I improved my physical health drastically. I originally started this blog to document my progress from being a chronic Primary sclerosing cholangitis patient with a looming “death sentence” hanging over my head, into a perfectly normal, albeit physically exhausted person.  My road to recovery has taken a little more than 3 years, and from an all-time low of 55 Kilos of body mass, to about 70 kilos today (my height is 183 cm).

In 2014 I’ll of course be continuing the work I’ve been doing on my physical health. Back in 2009 I was also diagnosed with chronic Ulcerative Colitis, a diagnosis which I am currently scheduled to have removed by about march of this year (2014). Both of the above conditions are supposed to be life-long, but I strongly believe that you can counter them through a) a healthy diet, b) physical exercise, c) mental exercise. I have done this myself with more success than I could ever have hoped for. I of course also stayed on medication through the crucial first couple of years, but am now completely medicine free.

Now that I am practically disease free, I am focusing more on improving my fitness level. In mid December I started training for a marathon. If everything goes as according to schedule, I’ll do a quarter marathon in January, a half marathon in march or April, and a full marathon by July or august. I decided to take on running because I have certain genetic advantages (I have a long, lean body and legs) for that sport. I think most people will reap great success by choosing a sport that suits their genetic make up down to the last minute detail.

2. I wrote more than ever in my life. To be exact, I published 105 posts on this blog (that is almost one ever three days), and I also wrote a bunch of drafts of lesser quality. I am far from happy with the quality of my writings, though, and will do several things to become a better writer in 2014.

There are only so many things you can do here: write more, continue adding words to your vocabulary, mimic great writers, and most important of all, spend a lot of time perfecting your posts.

I am not very good at the last one, and most of my posts on this blog goes out to the public without much editing. I think this unwillingness to put in the time to do really good posts is keeping me from becoming more than an okay writer, especially considering the fact that I am not a native English speaker.

With time, though, I’ve made being a writer a central part of my identity. I enjoy writing, I obviously enjoy when I get feedback, and I enjoy using my own life as a source of inspiration. I am both becoming a better writer and enjoying myself more because of it.

In 2013 I started using being a writer as an excuse to be more outgoing and to seek out adventure more often. In 2014 I will try to take this to am extreme extend by writing more candid essays on this blog while continuing to push my personal limits in terms of seeking new experiences.

There are also certain limits to the lifestyle I am pursing. I won’t be starting a family any time soon (if ever) for example, and am no longer looking to enter into a committed relationship before 2016, at the earliest. Having a girlfriend is simply too much of a time drain as well as a very limiting factor to some of the things I want to achieve. I was always the kind of guy who stayed in committed relationships, so it is going to be interesting to see how doing the opposite will be like.

3. I became a content person while removing depression from my life. In 2013 I started meditating on a regular basis, and this has been one of the most life changing habits that I have ever implemented into my way of living. I am not necessarily “happy” all of the time, but I can safely say that I am content most of it.

Through practicing meditation I am continuously improving my ability to focus and I am not as reactive towards my feelings as I used to be. I experience hate, anger, loneliness, jealousy and fear as much as everyone else, but through meditation I have learned how to accept and let go of those feelings when they arise in me.

Because of this I may be sad for maybe half an hour at a time over one thing or another, but almost never more than that. I used to sulk for days, even weeks at a time, so I view this as a huge improvement in the quality of my life.

In 2014 I aim to become a better mediator and share my experiences on the subject more with other people, both here on the blog, and out there in the real world. At the moment most of my sessions are no longer than 20 minutes. In 2014 I want to be able to do at least one one-hour sitting a week.

If you want to take up meditation yourself, by the way, I can really recommend the Headspace app for Android and Iphone. It changed my life and I still use it from time to time.

Some goals for 2014

  • Complete at least one marathon
  • Improve meditation skills
  • Optimize diet further
  • Optimize sleep regimen  further
  • Work harder on various projects
  • Work on conversational skills
  • Become an extrovert.
  • Begin dating again (after a 2-year hiatus)
  • Become a better lover
  • Continue being awesome! (the most important of all. You’ve got to love yourself, folks!)

These are just some of my most important goals for the year of 2014. I haven’t really kept tabs on much of this, but am planning to do excel sheets on everything from my love life to my diet to my workout regimen. The title of this site – The Measured Life – is going to take on a whole new literate meaning in 2014, something I am completely psyched about.

My experiences as a lifehacker thus far has taught me that it is best to have a lot of short-term and long-term milestones, preferably written down to keep yourself accountable for your progress. Having stakes is another important factor which I will write about in future posts.

I hope all of you had a great 2013 full of progress, and that your 2014 will be even more amazing and full of lots of new exciting challenges. Thank you for your attention, I appreciate it greatly!

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Photo is an old one of me somewhere in a Bolivian The Atacama desert. I was quite sick then (without knowing it) but have great memories from those years (2009-2010) nonetheless.

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