Monthly Reviews? Why?

I’ve always been interested in personal development as much as the next person. I’ve read articles and books, I’ve known stuff but never really applied it.

As a result, I became seriously overweight a couple of years after I started my first job, and I wasn’t sure if I was anywhere near achieving my goals because I didn’t really have any besides “make a lot of money”, “have my own business someday” and “be happy”.

I knew something had to change.

I started with attempts to lose weight. I visited one doctor and nutritionist, then another. I did what I was recommended without much thought about whether I really liked what I was doing, or why I was doing it apart from the vague “lose weight”.

By now, you’ve probably guessed what the result was. I did lose a few kilograms (I started at 120 and went down to 95) with a diet which required me to eat five times a day, cut out carbs almost completely and had me in a permanent state of brain fog. I endured it for a year and a half, then I got fed up and started eating whatever I wanted, combined with whatever random “exercise” I could get. The result was: I went back to 115 kg and I my knees and waist started hurting me so much I could barely walk or stand for more than 20 minutes. Of course, I also had numerous health issues and I wasn’t feeling very happy — at all, not just with my health and weight.

In the meantime, I was doing whatever work I could find, I wasn’t making enough money to comfortably pay my bills, and wasn’t sure what to do about it. It seemed I was doing all the right things but nothing was working.

By November 2015 I was so fed up with everything that I just sat and wrote it all down. I described the current state of each part of my life (finance, career, health, etc.) and the state I’d like to achieve. The difference between the two was quite big.

Then I figured out I was obviously doing something wrong and I even had no idea what that was.

So, I started writing everything down. Every little thing I ate, every cent I spent, every minute of every day, what I did during it and how I felt, the time I went to bed each night, the time I got up every morning…

After doing that for about a month, I started noticing many patterns. I saw the foods I ate that I never realized I was eating so much of, activities that didn’t make me happy but I was spending time and money on them… so many little things. That made it much easier to know what to focus on and to set specific small goals in order to achieve the big ones and get from where I was to where I wanted to be.

From then onwards, progress tracking became crucial. To this day, I have a system of tracking what I eat, what exercise I do and how much of it, how much I earn and what brings money in, how much I enjoy it, etc. Numeric values go into spreadsheets, and I also have a review of each month at the end of it. I sit down in a quiet place for half an hour and write down what I did that month in order to progress and how I feel about it. Until today, I used to keep these reviews in a file on my computer.

Enter Belle B. Cooper. I’ve been a fan of her writing for quite a while, I’ve gone through her Productive Habits course as a means to reduce sugar eating and getting up earlier in the morning (it worked) and I’ve been following her own monthly reviews. So, when she announced the Monthly Review project, I decided the time had come for my own monthly reviews to become public.

I have a personal blog where I post in Bulgarian, and I decided that Medium would be a good place to try writing in English. I hope these reviews will be useful to you too if you’re struggling with weight loss, starting and managing an online business or just setting and achieving goals. Welcome and thanks for reading!

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