I am always aspiring to improve. Of course, sometimes I take the week off, and laze around in my own filth, but generally, I want my life to be better. I do find this easier at some points, and harder at others. I'd like to be tidier, but I find it hard at the moment because all my things are in one little room because I share a house with housemates. If I had somewhere bigger, I could keep my books in the lounge, and my printer in the spare bedroom, rather than having everything on top of me. However, I thought I would blog about some practical ways you can improve your life that have a great feel-good factor. I would recommend gradually incorporating them into your life one at a time. It's hard to do too many things at once.
I am a big fan of lists, so be prepared for yet another list-style entry....
Stay in touch with friends/ visit people you haven't seen for a while
I worked at a camp with a group of people 5 years ago. We had a good time and I felt like I made some good friends. Inevitably, we lost contact, and didn't meet up. 6 months ago, one of those friends sent me a facebook message (facebook is a great way of reconnecting with people) and said, let's meet up. Part of me thought that would be a little weird, and we should probably just move on now, but instead of listening to that, I thought 'what the heck', and invited her and another guy we worked with to stay at mine. It was strange at first, but we went back to our old ways pretty quickly. Since then I've seen her a couple of times and went to a gig with her in London. We text quite frequently too. I'm really glad we got back in touch and I'd count her as a fairly close friend now. Sometimes it's worth putting in a bit of effort, even though it's tempting just to carry on with your life as it is.
This is one I'd like to work on a bit more. When something breaks, I wish I would just fix it straight away and then it's done. I, and I'm sure a lot of other people, tend to leave things that are non-essential. This also accounts for checking air pressure in my tyres, washing the car, all those jobs that are easy to leave. I think it's liberating to sort these out quickly, or check them regularly. I try to make a mental list of things I need to do, put them in an order, and then do them. I do this for little jobs around the house, but I think I'll extend it to the bigger jobs too.
This is an area I'm pretty good at. I haven't gone a year without studying something since I left school. I'm starting an MSc in September. I think it's a worthwhile way to spend your time, gives you better career options, and makes me feel like I'm doing something positive. It's much more interesting when you've picked the subject, the last two years I've been doing my PGCE which isn't exactly exciting learning, only necessary. I think this is a good thing to spend money on, and I liked to do something productive with my evenings, rather than sitting doing nothing (hence the blog, I guess).
Change your diet
Every now and then, I go on a healthy eating kick, only buy healthy food, and make things from scratch. I used to make a lot of soups at Uni. It's easier when you have a lot of free time, but I think it's something that you should sometimes make a priority. I'm due another healthy eating kick soon, so I'm sure I'll clear out my cupboards and buy lean meat, vegetables, nuts and malt loaf. Mentally it makes you feel proud of yourself, cleaner, and probably does your body a lot of good too!
Clean, clean, clean
Everyone loves the feeling of a spring clean. This can be extended to organising your wardrobe, washing the insides of the bathroom draws (don't pretend yours aren't at least a little minging!) and rearranging your ipod library so you aren't listening to the same old stuff. Even changing around your kitchen cupboards to use space more economically can have a positive effective on your mind.
Plan the small things to help yourself
Spend a bit of time organising your life to help future-you find it easier to do things when they're running late for work. I often find myself thanking past-me for putting things in a bag ready for myself to run out the door.
Remember, it's not just the big things that are important. Sometimes making minor adjustments can have major impact. My new plans are to organise pretty little odds and ends in glass jars to make them tidy, and a pretty little ornament. I'm also going to sort out my clothes and store them more neatly. What are you going to do? Let me know how you get on.