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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade (just without the sugar)

A few months ago, I realized that I wasn’t satisfied with where I was in life and wanted to do something about it. The only problem was that the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be seemed daunting. That’s why I decided to start making micro-changes in my life on a regular basis*. On March 11, 2017, I decided to start making at least one change in my life each day.

*Note: if you improve yourself by 1% everyday for an entire year, you will grow by 38x (1.⁰¹³⁶⁵=37.8)

Here’s what the journey has looked like so far:

11-Mar-17: Starting taking cold showers (for the last 60 seconds)

12-Mar-17: Set goal of learning one new song per week on the guitar

13-Mar-17: Started listening to Audiobooks at 3–4x the speed

14-Mar-17: Started keeping my shoes organized

15-Mar-17: Decided to learn to juggle, practicing a few min daily

16-Mar-17: Began reading 3 book summaries (~10 min each) daily

17-Mar-17: Limit eating out to bare minimum, learn new recipe weekly

18-Mar-17: Limit alcohol to a bare minimum

19-Mar-17: No more snoozing alarm clocks, no more than 7 hrs sleep/night

20-Mar-17: Build tracker for bills as a reminder

21-Mar-17: Limit TV usage to 2 hours per day

22-Mar-17: Saying people’s names when I say hello, brushing teeth with weak hand, do one charitable thing a day, stretch for 10 minutes a day, spend 15 minutes a day on personal improvement

23-Mar-17: Picking up one piece of litter a day

24-Mar-17: Drink 3L of water a day

25-Mar-17: Start keeping track of calories with myfitnesspal

26-Mar-17: Try a day without the internet next weekend

27-Mar-17: Start attending weekly Toastmasters sessions to become a better public speaker, start meditating 5 minutes daily, take one online course at all times, learn to play the game “Go”

28-Mar-17: Sketch one thing at least once a month for the rest of 2017

29-Mar-17: Find a mentor by the end of April (to chat with on a regular basis)

30-Mar-17: Make it to work on time everyday, and start posting on Medium in the mornings

31-Mar-17: Start volunteering at least once a month (look into options and find a place by April 7th)

1-Apr-17: Start quizzing myself in Chinese for 10 min daily using a flashcard app; start shampooing hair every other day (as opposed to every day)

2-Apr-17: Explore downtown Toronto by riding bike each weekend in spring, summer, and fall of 2017; Bike the 24km to my parent’s place uptown and back at least once this summer

3-Apr-17: Start donating blood, register as an organ donor, use less energy heating and cooling home, start buying some fair-trade products, start using reusable bags when grocery shopping

4-Apr-17: Eat an orange in the shower each morning, keep kitchen clean, jot down 10 ideas every day

5-Apr-17: Read fiction for 5–10 minutes a day

6-Apr-17: Ignore eNewsletters until the end of the day, and write down lesson learned from each book I read

7-Apr-17: Strike up a 1+ minute conversation with a stranger each day, read over Medium posts for grammar

8-Apr-17: Include a header image on all Medium posts

9-Apr-17: Drink a class of kefir each morning

10-Apr-17: Run at least one mile every single day

11-Apr-17: Plank once a day for as long as possible

12-Apr-17: Substitute baby carrots for regular carrots for morning smoothies

13-Apr-17: Buy a foam roller and start using for 5 minutes daily

14-Apr-17: Take the stairs (as opposed to escalator) wherever possible

15-Apr-17: Climb the stairs in my apartment building from ground to 50+ once a week

16-Apr-17: Play Spikeball with friends on at least 10 occasions this summer

17-Apr-17: Take one picture every day

18-Apr-17: Hold the door open for others for one straight minute each day

19-Apr-17: Wearing earplugs from now on at loud events

20-Apr-17: Add a “quote of the week” to the whiteboard in my room for inspiration

21-Apr-17: No longer dispose of cardboard in the recycling chute (which we are not supposed to do)

22-Apr-17: Recording and posting a one-minute video each day

23-Apr-17: Using an RSS reader for news consumption

24-Apr-17: Set a timer for 5 minutes before bed and spend the time jotting down all the things I want to accomplish the following day

25-Apr-17: Stop cracking knuckles

26-Apr-17: Stay disconnected for the first hour after getting up each morning

27-Apr-17 to 9-May-17: Quit my job to start non-profit, drink green tea at least once a day, write down one mistake I made each day that I can learn from, do at least one run and one bike for the cure each year, call grandparents at least 3 times a week, get a compost bin and start using it, start standing while playing the guitar, start cutting my own hair, spend 25 minutes a day on self-improvement, become a vegetarian within 100 days, made rule to never accept more than $75k annually in personal income, spend 5 minutes a day learning to type properly, learn to drive stick

10-May-17: Spend a few minutes each day reviewing this growing list of changes

11-May-17: Take daily mood quiz on moodscope.com

12-May-17: Writing down 3 things a day that I am grateful for

13-May-17: Draw something every day

14-May-17: Add a slice of lemon to a glass of water daily

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