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Make your life worse to make it better

| Tuesday, January 11, 2022

My parents just sold our childhood home and leased an apartment in Boston, so I have spent the last ten days moving stuff out of my old house. What’s stood out most to me about this process is that it has been elongated by avoiding responsibilities in the present. Far too many items were shoved in a closet to worry about later because that was the easy decision at the time. Well, unfortunately, the issue with “later” is that it comes eventually. And guess who will have to deal with the consequences of cleaning out the cluttered closet? The idiot you see in the mirror every morning. You wanna know which idiot faces this harsh reality most of all? This guy.

Throughout my life, I’ve been known to overindulge in wasteful activities. TV shows are my biggest weakness. I once watched How I Met Your Mother (nine seasons, twenty-four episodes per season) in thirteen days during the summer. What’s most pathetic about it is not just the six-hour per day average. It’s that I think the show is pretty average, and I still watched it that quickly. I have also watched Friday Night Lights, The Office and Parks and Rec at least four times apiece. My struggles extended beyond TV shows as well. In the spring of my junior year, I was determined to train for my senior basketball season. However, I stumbled upon my now old friend: Fortnite. Days I was supposed to spend lifting and practicing my ball handling and shooting were traded for all-day affairs landing in Tilted Towers while control-alt-deleting a pint of ice cream and a family-sized bag of chips. I was out of shape by summer and the time I lost in the spring cost me months later during the season.

If you’re still reading up to this point, you may be asking yourself: why would I listen to this bozo about using my time wisely when he seemingly has the self-control of a dog at a Golden Corral. Well, that’s a fair question. However, I have a response that may suffice. After years of wasting precious time, I know better than anyone the consequences of said waste. I eventually came to the realization that my future self was being placed in much worse situations time and time again. In order to achieve my goals and put myself in less crappy places, I decided I had to start prioritizing the activities that make my life better down the road instead of doing what made me feel best in the moment. 

This transition was not easy for me, but I feel I’ve made improvements by following some simple steps. First, ask yourself what tasks you are absolutely dreading at the moment. After picking out those tasks, do them immediately. Second, ask yourself what future goals you have. Regardless of what they may be, identify the goals and then think of steps to reach those goals. If it’s better physical fitness, maybe go to the gym three or four times a week. If it’s a better GPA, start studying for your exams earlier. Third, ask yourself which activities are drawing you away from your goals, then start to limit those activities. With these three simple questions and subsequent actions, you can start to create a more successful and less frustrating future for yourself. As simple as it all sounds, it is a great way to give intent to your actions and form a better person day-by-day. I can say with confidence I’ve found success using this strategy. I’m by no means perfect, but progress is progress. I have started completing assignments I hate and following steps to get into my desired field of work while prioritizing my friendships and physical health. While I still binge a show here and there, I no longer spend entire days glued to a screen. I traded TV for listening to music because it is a safer habit for me. Television absorbs your full attention, but I can focus on homework and workout while listening to background music. While I now put myself through brutal assignments and hard workouts instead of enjoying TV marathons and ice cream pints, I am actually more fulfilled than before because I am on my desired future trajectory. As the title reads, make your life worse to make it better. While I am happy to share more of the changes I have made with you, I will stop here because you don’t care about my changes, nor should you. With that said, I firmly believe that following my three-step process will help you out if you give it a shot, so please do.

Mikey Colgan is a sophomore from Boston, Massachusetts, studying finance and ACMS. He is an avid college basketball fan and resides in Morrissey Hall. He can be reached at @[email protected] or @Mikeycolgs15 on twitter.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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