My Self-Improvement Hack Is Sabotage: Here’s How I Do It

For years I tried to improve myself: I got up early, I drank green juice, I quit doing meth, I gratitude-journaled, I joined Crossfit, I achieved ketosis, etc. etc.

But then I thought, “Hey, wait a minute. ‘Improvement’ is a concept based entirely upon relativity, on being ‘better than X.’ I don’t need to improve myself, I just need to make other people worse!”

Here are some of my tactics:

  • My co-worker April is on a diet, and I suspect she’s going to succeed because she’s pretty disciplined. Therefore, I have started sneaking into the break room refrigerator and replacing her Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt with full-fat melted ice-cream, which I then whip with lard to get the right consistency. April thinks it’s amazing, and she’s getting fatter by the day.
  • My boyfriend thinks he’s “healing his gut” by cutting out gluten and taking probiotic capsules. I’m pretty sure this is all bullshit, but just in case, I don’t want him having a healthier gut than I do. I’ve begun adding vital wheat gluten powder to his half of dinner every night. He can’t figure out why his mashed potatoes are so chewy.
  • And because I don’t really like being meth-free, I decided as long as I’m adding vital wheat gluten to my boyfriend’s dinner, I might as well add crystal meth, too. Now my boyfriend is WAY more addicted to meth than I am, and the really hilarious part is that he thinks his energy rushes are due to rooting gluten out of his diet! Lol. He’s so hopped up on meth and dull-brained from gluten that he hasn’t even noticed his teeth are rotting or his face is covered in sores. If anyone looks at me next to my boyfriend right now, they’re going to think I am SUPER improved.
  • My sister recently invited me to attend a meditation retreat with her. She’s very spiritual and centered, and she thinks I’m a wreck. Normally when she invites me to these things I laugh maniacally at her while doing something insane — last time I took a bite out of a candle — but this time I appeared thoughtful and agreed that, yes, perhaps I could use a little metaphysical tweak. I then found an old voice mail of our dead grandma saying “I love you” and made a new recording of it playing over and over in a continuous loop. During the first meditation session, I hid my phone in a potted ficus tree in the corner of the retreat’s yoga studio and hit “play.” I then appeared to meditate flawlessly for a full hour and completely denied hearing anything as my sister moved through a fascinating evolution of believing she’d contacted our grandma through transcendence, to mental confusion, to mild paranoia, to mortal fear, to screaming rage. Now my sister is batshit crazy, and I’m the stable sibling. Nearly instant “self improvement”!!
  • My friend Brittany, who is a total self-improvement junkie, suggested we take up a new hobby together. She’s already gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, Christian, and a marathon runner, so it’s getting difficult for her to come up with additional ways to improve herself. Figuring that her obsession with self-improvement is probably indicative of addictive tendencies in general, I suggested a wine-tasting trip to northern California, reasoning that we could become wine experts. Brittany is still gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, Christian, and super-fit, but she’s now also a raging alcoholic. I can’t really stick with much of anything, so by comparison to Brittany I seem sort of balanced and healthy.

You have to be creative in applying my self-improvement methodology so that it fits your life and exploits your particular family and friend group, but you get the picture. Happy “improving,” friends! ❤



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Jennie Young

Jennie Young

Professor and humor writer in Green Bay. McSweeney’s, HuffPost, Ms. Mag, Education Week, Inside Higher Ed, Slackjaw, Weekly Humorist, The Satirist, others.