Self-Improvement Is Killing Me

I want to be better — but I won’t pay for it with my happiness.

Marta Brzosko
Mind Cafe
Published in
6 min readAug 17, 2020


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

For a while now, I’ve been trying to dilute my message. I wanted my writing to be mild. I feared that if I sound too radical, this will repel people.

But what I have to say today can’t be diluted.

My truth has to come out. It may trigger some self-improvement junkies. But whether you like it or not, this is my experience:

I’m sick of self-improvement to the point that I need to vomit.

This post is me throwing up the leftovers of hacks and tricks that my system couldn’t digest.

For the past three years, I’ve been testing various techniques, hoping to optimize my life. I ran self-experiments and tracked the results. Without realizing, I started seeing myself as a machine which, when well-maintained, would perform in a way that leads to “success.”

I bought into the idea that to be successful, I needed to have certain things in place. Morning routines. Accountability systems. Habit trackers. Journaling practice, exercise plan, intermittent fasting… All aspects of my life structured and optimized.

Today, it feels exhilarating to say: Fuck that.

I want to enjoy my life in the first place. Everything else comes later.

Self-Improvement Has Made Me Unhappy

This subhead is a paraphrase of Niklas Göke’s headline Self-Improvement Has Made Me Worse. I keep coming back to that piece because it reminds me how the pursuit of “better” can cloud our vision to all the great things we already have.

For someone like me, it can also harm mental health. The idea that I must fix myself and try harder has perpetuated the issue I’ve been wrestling with all my life anyway: the overpowering belief that I can never be good enough.

Through reading about and practising self-improvement, I strengthened that belief. My efforts to improve myself became a form of self-aggression. Of course, it didn’t happen consciously. I thought I accepted myself — but saw it as a moral duty to become better each day.



Marta Brzosko
Mind Cafe

Writer, facilitator, community weaver. Building, nurturing The Salisbury Centre, learning about restorative justice. Work with me: