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  • Writer's pictureDominic Francis


There’s such a lot of writing about self-actualization & becoming the ‘ideal’ version of yourself. Though much of the genre is repetitive, there is certainly a lot to be said for trying to improve your life and that of those around you.

Here are my personal problems that I intend to solve through devoting effort to change my habits, and I hope that at least I hold myself accountable if these problems are not rectified… since I am not in full-time employment at the moment, I am hoping to spend the next year improving myself & becoming the ultimate version of me.

1. I used to have a BMI of 19.5 when I was 19, and now that I am 29 my BMI is 29.5!! …. I would like to fix this through exercising for one and a half hours every day and eating less. I started getting fat in late 2012 after my accident, when I was still in a wheelchair and went with my family/friends to the delightful Indian place or a pub near the hospital. It was always the happiest bit of the day for me, but I ate a lot and couldn’t exercise as my legs were badly broken. I’ve got a few hundred audiobooks on my phone, so I hope to walk/run/bike/lift for 1.5 hours and do this at the same time as hearing my favourite books being narrated. The fact that I was in a coma still seems to inform my life and the antipsychotics lead to weight-gain… but I need to make this change to get fit again… not just for me, but for those I love.

2. I also found it difficult to read with any enthusiasm following the accident and, though that’s not the case now, my damaged mind still can’t comprehend the signs that are letters & words with the fluidity that it used to pre-bridge-jump. At present, I find it hard to read longer books. Since I would like to improve my focus and understanding of a perfect sentence, I’m going to try to spend a couple of hours a day reading various modern poetry/fiction/non-fiction books.

3. I once wanted ‘good’ grades so I could get into a ‘good’ university… and I got into my second university of choice studying English & Creative Writing (subjects that I was and still am passionate about). But I became a drug addict and didn’t really care about interpreting literature in essay-form. I didn’t finish my studies at Warwick because I was a drug addict, had a nervous breakdown, and jumped off the bridge. I think that certain drugs make the world more interesting, but one can get the necessary fix of imagination by enjoying the art of other people. They’re real, too, you know! It was my use of marijuana that started my first novel, and I used amphetamine to finish it. There’s a magic to these substances, but they’re not all that different to a potent cup of coffee. I believe my mind has been bent as much as it needs to be now, so I probably won’t actively try to partake in these drugs, though I will always cherish the hallucinations they gave me. I don’t believe that there is a moral obligation to use or not to use Nature’s God-given substances, but I am going to try to go sober again for a while.

4. The reason I smoked tobacco was because it was already in my joints of weed. I decided to try it without the weed. It was okay. But I smoke tobacco still because I became addicted to it, and feels it relaxes me… though I feel nervous and uneasy when I haven’t had a cigarette for half an hour. I think cold turkey is the way to give up -- I must usually smoke 40+ a day. I want to give up smoking tobacco because it’s not good for my physical and mental health. I want to give up smoking tobacco because I myself found it pretty unattractive when someone I fancied did so before I acquired the habit myself. Since my ‘ideal self’ doesn’t smoke frequently and most sane people don’t need to, I will try to quit.

5. I want to finish my second novel. I have a plan… I have plotted it and shall spend 4 + hours on it a day.

6. I want to become better at guitar. I have a plan… I’ll learn the scales, learn the chords, learn the rhythm patterns. I will try to practice these for an hour a day and spend an hour a day learning a song. I would also like to sing better.

Tomorrow, my plan is to: - Not smoke. - Wake up at 9 am. Eat cereal. Drink coffee. Go for a walk for one hour in the woods and listen to 1Q84 by Murakami. - Return home to lift weights/do upper body exercise at 11am. - Practice a new guitar scale at 11:45am for half an hour. 12:15pm, think about the novel. - 1pm, eat lunch while working on the novel. At 3pm, More guitar and singing at 2pm. - Internet time @3pm - 3:30pm – 5:30pm, read fiction and make notes on why what I’m reading works or doesn’t. - 7pm-whenever, work on the novel.

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