Making Myself Happier With Myself

It’s time for some of that fabled “other stuff” mentioned in the headline of this site.

A bit about myself

I’m generally a very calm, laid-back, happy person. I don’t get frustrated too easily and I, by default, don’t let most things bother me.

It’s not for a lack of emotions that causes my general state, it’s an implicit knowledge that getting all flustered and upset and throwing a fit is a generally useless way to deal with a problem. Ignoring a problem won’t make it go away, but if that problem is a bad day at work or a horrible commute home, then you know what? It’s over at the end of the day. There, problem solved, you can forget about it.

The problems

There are, however, things that have bothered me about myself for several years. These are problems which no amount of ignoring will cause to go away. These are the kind of problems which require action.

Here are my two biggest problems:

  1. I am overweight
  2. I procrastinate

(Hey, those rhyme!)

The second problem has most likely caused the first problem to last much longer than it should have (and it was the original source of the problem as well, “Oh sure, I’ll start exercising this summer when I have more free time…”), but soon it will be a problem no more.

The solutions

I’ll cover they ways I’m going about solving my two problems in reverse order, since the second is the root of the first.

Stopping procrastination

There is really a single solution to both of these problems: STOP PROCRASTINATING

How does one do such a thing? Well, do a Google search for stop procrastinating, start reading about the various techniques for avoiding procrastination, spend some time considering which approach would work the best for you. Now, pause for a moment and think about what you are doing: You are procrastinating some more. Realization of a problem, as they say, is the first step toward solving that problem.

My solution to procrastination is fairly simple and seems to be effective for me. The hardest part of any task for me is simply starting it. Once I’ve started something, I want to keep going until I stop. I think this is part of the reason why I avoid starting things for so long. I’ve started to get myself in the habit of action. I still spend too much time thinking about things, looking things up, discussing things with others. But once I realize that I’m procrastinating, I realize that I need to just start doing whatever it is that I want or need to do.

In short, my solution to procrastination:

  1. Learn to recognize when you are procrastinating
  2. When you notice that you are, stop

Once you get in the habit of realization and cessation of your procrastination (I’ve got to stop with this rhyming business), procrastination shouldn’t be as much of a problem. I think in my case, doing anything which I had previously put off gets me into the mood for doing things, and I’ll have a burst of procrastination-free activity.

Losing weight

Okay, so the single solution is to stop stalling and act, but what exactly is the action to take for weight loss? Well, there’s a simple solution to weight loss:

Eat fewer calories than your body is burning.

That’s it. No need to go on a fancy diet, not need for pills or muscle-killing exercise plans. Though exercise is also essential for good health, it is not essential for keeping your ideal weight. They are two separate problems and should be treated as such.

My particular solution was taken from a wonderfully helpful free book, The Hacker’s Diet, by John Walker, the founder of Autodesk. If the fact that he’s a Millionaire/Programmer/Businessman (three things I hope to be someday), isn’t enough to be convincing, how about the fact that he went from 215 pounds to 145 pounds in six months?

I’m not looking to lose weight quite as fast as he did, but I have been losing slightly less than a pound per week since I started actively trying to lose weight. I’ve been overweight for the last four or five years, and all it took was getting started.

One of the really helpful things about the hacker’s diet is the way you track your weight. If you just measure your weight, it will vary wildly depending on how much water (or another soon-to-be-released substance) is in your system. This results in a depressingly squiggly line. If you use a sliding average, the line is much smoother, and reassuringly downward-trended (unless you really are gaining weight, of course).

For an example of this, check out my public weight-loss profile at or just look at this chart of my weight as of today:

my weight graph


The more I do things which I’ve been planning to do, the more I move away from my habit of procrastination. This blog itself is the result of me finally doing something that I’ve been putting off for quite a while. Soon enough I should be posting about other projects which I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but have been putting off.

It’s definitely worth it to stop procrastinating about stopping procrastinating.

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