Don’t Improve, Exist.

We’ve all seen them; the magazine racks at the grocery store splashed with big, bold, bright captions: “10 steps to improve…”, “Quick fixes for…”, “The best, easy way to…”, etc.
I’ll be unloading my groceries at the till and in a moment of self-depreciation/inner turmoil, I almost reach for one of those magazines in hope that those glossy pages hold the magic cures to my lack of existence. Luckily, my morals kicks in and before I can grab the magazine, I remember: I’m fine, I do NOT need this. 

I’ll admit, I’m not perfect. (No one is) There are things in my life that definitely need improvement:

  • One of my calves is smaller than the other because of an achilles tendon repair
  • I don’t sleep enough
  • I never feel like I’m productive enough
  • I take on too many projects
  • I anger easily when I’m stressed
  • I don’t connect enough with my family and friends
  • I hate running and I’d love to do it more
  • I don’t have my nutrition honed
  • I don’t travel enough

I could probably draw this list farther, but I’ll stop there. There’s things I need to work on, and looking through that list – there’s likely a magazine out there with ‘solutions’ for each one of those concerns. But I’m tired of the constant buzz that is “90 Day Challenges”, “Top 10” solutions, and “Better, Faster, Easier” self-improvement articles; they never seem to last, and I think there are other, more effective solutions.

My tip: Don’t Improve, Exist. 

Human existence requires constant change.  We must adapt to the environment and circumstances that we are surrounded by; As I said last week, ultimately if we refuse to do so then our sense of fulfilment decreases. Sometimes we’re completely oblivious to it, but we are constantly improving our own self. When we stress and transfix ourselves with personal inadequacies, we create this bubble where we resist natural change for the better. We bounce between self-improvement lists, evolving the number of issues and dilemmas in our psyche. We drastically change things about ourself, without allowing our mind, body, and spirit to evaluate or adapt to them.

How many times have you (or someone you know) taken on a radical 90-day diet as a quick approach to healthiness? Did it last? Has it become part of life after 90 days or 6 months, or did the fad fade out?
In cases where diets and lifestyle changes last – success should be attributed to mental preparation and awareness. Regardless of the goal or desired result (running, working, learning to cook and eat healthy, etc.), the proper mindset allows you to create changes. When we are willing and open to accepting change in ourselves, we can avoid stressing over the overwhelming need to improve. The key focus is to understand and realize when opportunities are available to make changes, and be willing and ready to take action when you can.


About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.


  1. Allison Johnson says:

    I love this post! Thanks for sharing Chris. This supports why we are called human beings and not human doings. 🙂

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