Podcasts, Turmeric, and Self-Help Suggestions Annoy Me

“Mr. Money Mustache is a great blog,” my brother was telling our family in the car over Christmas break.

I was trying to look out the window and daydream. I had gotten used to the new wave of “Self Improvement Everything” that seemed to be so popular, but that didn’t mean I had to like or listen to it.

“Shannon, you should read it,” my brother suggested. And I know he meant it in the best way, but I was coming off of two straight days of family members suggesting new things I read, or listen to, or habits I pick up, and my ‘put up with it’ meter was officially filled. I irrationally took it out on him.

“Yeah, I’m not going to read that,” I said snottily. He looked hurt and I immediately felt bad.

“Why not?” he asked.

“Why do you think I need to?” I asked him back. “Have I ever complained to you about money? Do you know what my financial state is? Does it need improving?”

“No,” he said. “But it’s a great blog, I’m going to send you some of his best posts.”


I can’t fault my brother for this in particular, because while my family has this habit on a level 10, most everyone has this habit at at least a level 4.

We love to fucking suggest self-improvement to others. But we disguise saying “you need to change” by instead suggesting podcasts, diets, and other habits.

Especially in a time like now, with talk of New Years resolutions in every post blog and Instagram caption, it gets pretty unbearable.

Partly, I think this is driven by consumerism. (Ew, did I really just say the word ‘consumerism’ on this blog? Please don’t click away).

But really, think about it. “Your life is perfect and nothing needs changing” isn’t going to sell any products. But buying a new meditation app, or investing in a juicer to detox your diet, or buying a jade roller for your skin are all products that you won’t feel as guilty about buying because it’s for your self-betterment. Essentially, it’s for your health.

So that’s one part of it. That’s why companies and affiliated blog posts and influencers try to push these things. But what happens when it’s your friends and family suggesting these things to you? They don’t have any way to profit from it, do they?

I have a theory, and it’s probably not correct, and it’s not even fully fleshed out (apparently this is the standard for most of my blog posts) but I still want to share it.

I think that the people who constantly suggest self-improvement to you, are the ones who are the least happy with themselves.

People who strive to constantly self-improve all aspects of themselves, are by definition always in a state of “I’m not good enough right now”. My diet could be better. My morning routine could be better. My work performance could be better. Essentially - I could be better.

And we all could be a lot better. But we could also be a lot worse! If the self-improvement kick is for those who believe that they can be better, where’s the trend for people who are happy with where are they are right now, because it could be a lot worse?

Frankly, I think I’m tired. I’m tired of working hard in elementary school so I can take honors classes in middle school. And then improving in middle school so I can take AP classes in high school. Busting my ass in high school to get into a good college. Working hard in college to get a good job. Striving to improve in that job to get promotions and bonuses, and then an even better job. All while having a healthy and beautiful relationship that you need to put thoughtful time into, cultivate a meaningful social life, and participate in hobbies on the side so you come across as a well-rounded person.

And now I’m supposed to add turmeric smoothies, daily meditation, and stretching every day to all of that? Fuck that. I’m busy. I don’t want to. I don’t need to. How is all the 70 things I’m already doing every day not enough?

This isn’t to say that I’m against all self-improvement and I hope to one day see a world where we constantly fail backwards. I just think that if you want to improve something, keep it to yourself, and do it in just one area.

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Or, if you want to self-improve, focus on one area at a time. For a month, try a certain diet. For a month, try your bullshit meditation app or whatever.

You should have to try (insert latest and greatest fad here) for at least a month before you go off spouting to other people about how great it is, how great you are for participating in it, and how your friend could be so much greater if only they took it up as well.

I believe it’s called self-improvement for a reason. It’s to improve yourself. But oddly enough, those who care the most about self-improvement are also the biggest proponents of suggesting that every single person should also take a vow of continuous improvement.

So, as of January 9th 2019, I Shannon McNamara vow to stop striving for the next level. I vow to stop suggesting new habits or diets or lifestyle changes to others, and only give advice when it is specifically asked for. I vow to emphasize more and suggest less. And I vow to hold myself up to my own personal standards, not those of others.

And I challenge you to think in a similar way. The next time you’re down on yourself because you should be exercising more, or you should be eating better, or that the morning news show suggests taking up yoga and you know you should but you don’t want to, and you feel like shit because you don’t want to…just let it all go. You are already great, as you are. To improve is good, but it is not essential. You are already great as you are.

Fuck off turmeric!!!

S