Looking back at my 2020 goals

Since 2019, I made a firm decision to live my life on my terms and be everything I always wanted to be. I was tired of going with the flow, because it was leading me nowhere (Read more about it here- Hello 2019). It turned out to be a productive year, I managed to lose 10kgs of weight, went on several dates, made some financial investments, etc. Overall a good year for progress. And as every other human on the planet I had high hopes from 2020 (Read about it here- New year, new me), and had planned few goals. I am loss of word as to how and where do I start summarizing the year that has made history. Let me give it a try- It started with me getting ghosted yet one more time by a very promising date, which followed by my company informing that they’re laying off people (I was of course one of those people that they decided to lay off even though I had been their most valuable employee) and I lost few friends. All this happened within the first two months and I remember thinking, “Well, it can’t get worse than this”. How naive, and innocent I was 10 months back! Here are few of my goals and how they turned out to be:

  1. The first goal I had in my mind was to be more Social: I don’t know if I should laugh or cry at this, because it was first time in my life I hadn’t been outside in sun for 4 consecutive months. Being social only happened through social media this year. Somehow, the goal turned out to be okay to live with my own self, which I think everyone can agree, is much more difficult than being social.
  2. I think every living being on this planet and outside this planet had this as their resolution- Travel more: I hear the Gods laughing, and now I am laughing too. As travelling was out of question, going for walks in my locality became a thing. I have to say I have underestimated a simple activity of going on a walk alone or with loved ones.
  3. Become a better Front-End Developer: In the middle of the year I had an epiphany that I would like to be a Designer. Okay, it was not an epiphany, I always wanted to be a designer but it seemed like good time to take charge and turn the course of events when I actually can.
  4. Dating: Yeah, that’s the end of the joke.
  5. Read more books: Ha! The only goal I seemed to have completed without fail. I read about 30 books this year and it was my only escapism from the real world. It was highlight of my whole year.
  6. Stay healthy and not gain weight all over again: This was the hardest task this year. I somehow managed to lose more weight while quarantining, but my definition of staying healthy has now changed forever. Being healthy doesn’t only involve losing weight. Its physical, psychological, emotional, and includes many more factors than only exercising.

Things turned out to be okay for me. I wouldn’t say I am doing great, but neither I am doing bad, and I’ll take that any day after seeing what this year has been like. It seems I’ve lived multiple lifetimes, I’ve matured beyond my age, my perspective, priorities have been completely altered in only last few months. January me seems like a teenager me, who doesn’t know what’s waiting for her and December me is a wise adult now. And somehow resolutions and goal setting seems like a bad idea right now but, hey, even having a vague idea of what you want and who you want to be will take you to places you never have imagined. And I’m pretty sure you’ll come back as a much better person than you had anticipated.

So lets get ready for some more uncertainty. We’ve got this!

PS: This post was inspired by recent John Green’s vlog of the same name. Its quite funny.

What I learned about Perfection by posting everyday on Instagram

After watching the Netflix documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’, I felt an immense self inflicted pressure to delete all social media and start living my life as a monk, which I did for a week. I realised how problematic the documentary was(more on it later), but on the other hand, my addiction to social media didn’t budge at all. So I came up with something opposite of leaving social media- Posting every day on Instagram for 30 days, around the same time. Even though it seems very much simple, it wasn’t.

If you have been active on Instagram for some time you’ll know how much fuss everyone makes about this satanic thing called “Algorithm”. Post at this particular time, use these hashtags, tag these people, make everyone comment on your post, make them share it, pay for it to show up on explore page, sacrifice a goat, bathe with its blood, offer your prayers to the “Algorithm Gods”, etc. And if you’ve done this all right then maybe, maybe you’ll get the desired likes and comments on your post, along with the instant dopamine release and you’ll feel validated, for like 3 seconds. And then you got to do it all over again and again as this impulsive-dopamine-junkies that we all are.

All this mess had not only made me conscious of posting on Instagram but also I started to fear it. I cared a little too much about the number of likes and followers and less about why I used to post on Instagram in the first place. I used to take hours before posting a single picture, overthinking, trying to make it perfect and growing my reach and even after doing all those lists of tasks I mentioned before, I would end up disappointed (I think its because I skipped the goat part). This further resulted in comparison, jealousy, insecurity, anxiety, you name it. That’s not how I wanted to use social media. I wanted to use social media to have my small community, to find like-minded people, make new friends, share my thoughts and my artwork. I don’t know how my mindset became all about business, reach, influencers, sponsors, money, etc. I already have a fulltime job and social media is not supposed to be, or even I want it to be my additional fulltime job. That’s the reason why I always felt burned out and as if I’m not doing enough. This needed to change. So I conducted a little experiment about posting every day on Instagram for 30 days. It seemed like a bizarre option, to be honest, but I had nothing to lose. And here’s what I learned:

  • Action is greater than overthinking : The only thing keeping you from achieving 90% of your goals in overthinking. Sometimes you just have to tell your brain to shut up and start doing stuff even though you don’t know what you’re doing. You need to start somewhere. Put the perfection in a trash can where it belongs and as Nike says- Just do it!
  • Stop caring about what other people like : It’s so easy to focus on what other people like and in doing that we are already moving away from our expression. To be able to genuinely deliver something without any idea, without any expectation, without wanting to impress the other person, it takes real courage. It’s quite difficult. But at the end of the day, there’s guaranteed at least one person is happy and at peace- You.
  • Consistency is the key : You can’t wait to be motivated or to be inspired to do certain stuff. If I worked out only after coming across a fitness video on the internet, then I’d be working out like once a month. And if I workout once a month I cannot complain about losing breathe by walking for 10 mins. When you do something every day you get good at it, and people start to notice it, and that’s how you get the results. That’s also how you train your mind to think less and do more.
  • Planning will save you a lot of time : Breaking down your goal into tiny tasks, and planning them accordingly, saves a lot of time. And you don’t have to waste your time about making trivial decisions, and you won’t end up procrastinating.
  • You decide your success : I can either be disappointed by the number of likes a picture get or I can be completely happy with the fact that I took a pretty picture and wrote something on own.
  • Your inner critic is a mean jerk, who needs to learn compassion : If my friends accomplished even a tiny bit of achievement I’m always cheering up for them, praising them, supporting them, giving them a good constructive criticism about how to do it better, I’ll help them out and so on. And when it comes to me I put all these qualities into a dumpster. Anyway, I’m still learning how to be nice to myself, its a huge process but I’m getting there.

To summarize everything, Perfection = Overthinking and Overthinking = Self-destruction. The only way to get rid of Perfection is Action.

About my Instagram, lots of people unfollowed and followed me over the 30 days, so the number is almost the same. Few of my posts did well without me intentionally doing anything. But the most important part is- I am not anymore afraid of posting, neither do I care about the numbers on my page, or even being active. I no longer create content for Instagram, I create it for me. So that’s something.

So I guess it was a quite successful experiment, I learned a lot. It makes me want to do more experiments. Life’s pretty boring right now, you know, with the ongoing apocalypse and all.

How to be a bad guy

Disclaimer: This blog is specifically for people like me who are inherently nice, they need this the most.

Has anyone told you you’re a nice person? Do you care a little too much about everything? Do you put everyone else first but nobody puts you first? Do you apologize, a lot, even when its not your fault? Do you pretend to agree with everyone? Do you take extreme measures to avoid conflicts? Do you think you’re responsible for how people feel? Did you ever feel that if you were an asshole things would’ve been a lot easier for you? If you said yes multiple times then I have news for you (which I received recently ), you’re a chronic people-pleaser.

I was kind of shocked when I realized that now even being nice is a problem!? Well yeah, when you’re suffering from a painful migraine but you can’t tell your friend that you’d like to go home and take your medication rather than go to a restaurant, and force yourself to eat with the headache, when you tell your Uber driver to drop you few miles away from your home so that it won’t be inconvenient for him, but inconvenience for you is no big deal, when you’re suffering from food poisoning but you don’t say no to work from home, even though your teammates could do the same work, when someone lies to you and you just smile and change the topic because it would put that person in an awkward position, when you put on a little less makeup so that your female colleagues won’t feel they haven’t been putting in any effort, (okay I know your list may be different than me) but you know when you do such things just because you’re supposed to be nice, that’s a huge problem, not for others but for you.

I have done this all my life, I’d do these grand gestures for everyone, I’ll go out of my way for people I don’t even care that much and completely abandon my own physical/emotional/mental well being and when the time would come they’d usually put everything else before me. And I’d be devastated, I’d feel like a victim, because I was perfect, I’d been so nice, I’ve done everything by the book and yet I’ve been rejected. So like everyone else I’ll go to social media and post some emotional bullshit about how bad the world is for kind and nice people. I hope I’m not the only one here who has done this, that would be really awkward and embarrassing.

Also, I realized how many years I’ve wasted pleasing people, thinking about them, making them feel comfortable, walking on eggshells with their likes and dislikes, that I’ve completely lost my self in this process, seeking validation and approval from almost everyone to make myself feel good enough. I never once thought what if nobody cared about me what my life would like then? And it dawned on me does anyone really even care about me? I mean yes my family and handful of friends do, but they’d support me no matter what, others mostly won’t, they are too busy thinking and caring about their own selves. They might think about me for a second, make an opinion (which can be wrong) and then completely forget about me. And all I’m doing here is trying to make people think good about me for one second, trying to change one fragment of their thought? Is that even worth it, making sacrifices for no apparent reason, and innumerable times a day! And then one day you wake up and realize you’ve wasted your life away doing things you didn’t like, and now nobody really cares for all the things you’ve done for them because it was supposed to be your duty?! Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather care about myself more from now on than to wake up with a midlife crisis in few years and stuck in shitty situations.

Okay, if that wasn’t convincing enough, how about this- Have you once in your life seen a bad-ass personality on screen and wished it was you? I have, almost everyday! And it’s never with good guys. Well, we do love our heroes, on the other hand we love anti-heroes a little more. And I think you already know why, they don’t give a fuck what people think of them. They don’t do stuff because it will get them compliments in life, they do things because they want to, because they like it, and they’re really good at it. I’m not telling you turn into an anti-hero (which, by the way, would be so cool) but may be try this out- think of your alter ego, your ideal self, what he/she would do in a tricky situation? I’m most certain they will not care so much.

So next time try this- you’re at some bill counter and there’s a large queue behind you, take some more time than usual, do your thing, let people get pissed a little. I know, even thinking about this gives me crippling anxiety and that’s why it needs to be changed. The thing is as psychopaths need tiny bit of empathy to keep them grounded, we need a little apathy from people around us so we can depend on ourselves for the validation that we seek.