5 Lessons from A Crappy January


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This January has been pretty rubbish for me. I like to get the new year off to a rousing start, but instead, this month was pretty much stuck in chores, issues, and to top it off a week of flu to end it with (I’m still in bed, recovering, while writing this). As annoying as it is – and I whined plenty – it is life. Life throws unexpected curve balls. Things come up. Tax returns have to be submitted. Flu virus gets you. Plans are derailed. And what was supposed to be a fabulous new start, is not at all fabulous. But there is silver lining. Always. That’s kind of the point of Kaizen Journaling. Once my whining is done – because you need to get it out of the system – I focus on the positives, on the lessons learned, on the things that I could do. No point dwelling or worrying. The point is to take action, keep going.

So here I would like to share lessons I’ve learned/re-learned/remembered this month while having a pretty shitty month. These are personal but I am sure you will identify with at least some of them:

  1. Appreciate and look after the body

    I have always been more cerebral. As a child I wasn’t into much sports either. That changed recently. I actually began to enjoy going to my gym, being fitter and stronger, and working on my physical body became about more than just weight loss / weight control. While I’ve been ill, I haven’t been able to go to the gym. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is in the sense that my body is currently unable to do what I want it do.This made me realize how lucky I am to have generally good health. It made me appreciate my body, and that I need to look after it too, and value it as much as I would look after and value my mind. It’s easy to go to extremes of current societies – either going with the side that says, “It doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s the inner beauty that counts” or the other side, “You need six packs.” I’m not going with either.The truth is, to a certain extent it very much matters what your body looks like, because it represents your overall health. That’s not going to be the same for all of us, depending on age, genetics, body types and a whole range of factors. But it does matter. Not because of how the society may judge you, not because of what clothes you can wear, but because of what your body can and can’t do, and how its health affects your overall life. Your body is where you live. So you need to look after it.

  2. Sometimes, you just have to swim with the current even if you don’t want to

    I’m a planner. I have a colour-coded calendar, and I know when I am doing stuff, and when I want to do stuff. But I also know that the world, or even my life, doesn’t always respect that planning. January was one such reminder. It’s really irritating, but there are times, when you just bow to the inevitable, and go with the flow. Fighting against it is waste of energy, and probably more stressful. So you just go with the current, and remember that you will get through it.That’s most important part when you are stuck in situations you don’t want to be in: IT IS NOT PERMANENT.

  3. Keep taking action. However small

    Alongside some unforeseen issues, I also had to deal with the known issues this January, such as doing my tax return. A tedious job that needs to be done, but it’s exactly the kind of thing you don’t want to do when you have other boring stuff going on in your life. Yet it’s not optional. So as much as I hate to do it, I kept taking action. In baby steps, doing whatever I could at the time. Same with all the other unavoidable stuff. You can procrastinate a little (I say that, having just procrastinated writing this article by browsing every available social media channel), but never procrastinate long enough for it to cause you additional problems.

  4. Keep yourself inspired. Look forward to something

    Sounds simple right, but this is a very important step. This is your light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes, you don’t see the light, so you have to make it. Think about things you are looking forward to, things you will be doing whenever you have control of your schedule again. While I’m ill and unable to exercise, I keep looking at pinterest for fitness motivation. This serves two purposes: (1) it keeps me in the fitness mindset, as opposed to getting used to the week off, which may turn into a month off (2) it keeps me inspired that I will soon be getting off my behind, and moving, and feeling fit again – which is a powerful desire, particularly when you are ill and feeling weak.

  5. Keep writing in your journal

    You knew this was coming right? Things going off the rails? You feel cranky? Pissed off? Frustrated? Plans not working out? Keep scribbling. You don’t need to write long essays. I haven’t written more than two pages in last week, but a paragraph here and there that captures essentials is enough. Don’t neglect it. It’s good both for your present and for your future. 


So there you have it. Life lessons from a crappy month. If nothing else, just remember that there are always lessons to be learned, always positives to look at, and always light to chase :-) 



In your journal, write at least one lesson that you’ve learned from your first month of 2016.