No resolutions, just keep trying to dial it (again)...

Yesterday I had a tongue in cheek conversation with a friend about our resolutions.  He asked me what my resolutions were for this year.  I stated: “To not exercise, eat continuously, and try to add thirty pounds of fat…I’m trying the reverse psychology thing.”  Knowing my penchant for trying new things it isn’t totally ridiculous that he took me literally, but I quickly corrected that notion before I got a call from one of my family members asking what the hell I was thinking about.  I used to do resolutions, but I don’t, that doesn’t mean that the roll over of the calendar isn’t a good occasion for me to double down on trying to dial it in.

For all people having a fixed date for something to happen allows them to focus on a goal temporarily.  Maybe it’s an upcoming class reunion, or a race they want to do a couch to 5K for.  While I had success using races to create this sort of focus I’ve really never had that success with using the start of the New Year for that.  I think the only resolution that has actually taken hold of as a permanent change is the one I made going into 2011 to log all my food religiously.  I keep that one to this day and with going on six years of consistency the days I think about giving it up for just one day I pull myself back and say I don’t want to break my record.  That’s about it for my success with that.

At the same time the beginning of the year is a very convenient break for me to reset any of my tracking systems.  Last year I started trying to reproduce my goal accountability by creating a report card.  That report card reset at the beginning of the year, breaks the year into thirteen phases of four weeks each, and allows me to track up to five goals daily to see how I make progress.  In terms of my calorie balance and nutrition tracking, the beginning of the new year is the beginning of a new quarter.  For every quarter I set goals weight/fat loss/gain, and then track that against my other logs.  All my other tracking systems, for example mood tracking, are done as one continuous table of data.

While I’m not making any resolutions I am using the beginning of the new calendar year which corresponds to the beginning of a new phase in my tracking sheets to try to once again double down on getting my fitness goals dialed in.  I think I wrote that exact expression about a half dozen times over 2016.  I mean it every time but life of course gets in the way. While I’ve been good about tracking every thing, it’d be nice for me to use it for accountability as well.  So what are those goals for this first twelve weeks of 2017:

  • Goal 1: Dial in the diet to be ~80/20 rule plant based whole foods diet.  Think “Eat-to-Live” mainstream diet method.
  • Goal 2: Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
  • Goal 3: Physical activity levels such that either get 10K or more steps in a day or burn more than 2800 calories. This translates into either moving more or working out or both.
  • Goal 4: Daily calisthenics or yoga in order to increase agility, muscle balance, and strength.
  • Goal 5: Meditation or yoga in order to increase mental acuity and relaxation

These obviously look familiar since these are the goals I laid out in October but rarely actually met.  I’m going to just give it another try and grade myself each week.  If I falter early that doesn’t mean I have to wait until the next quarter or 2018 to try again, I’ll just pick up where I left off.  I’ve tweaked them a little bit too.  Yoga can be either a calisthenics type experience or a meditative type experience.  I can’t kill two birds with one stone though so if there is a day where I decide to have yoga stand in for both Goal 4 and Goal 5 that would be two separate yoga sessions both directed towards their respective purpose.

I’m hoping that the net effect of these goals over the next twelve weeks will lead to the following results:

  • Lose ten pounds of fat in the first quarter using a combination of dialed in diet, increased exercise, and fasting 1-3 days a week
  • Increase strength, endurance and flexibility to the point where I can start trying to do run/walking and/or swimming
  • Increased time and focus to pursue hobbies

Some unwritten things that I’m trying to do alongside these things:

  • Writing every day either here, in my journal, or on another blog
  • Perform mental exercises on a system like Lumosity or DuoLingo in order to continue to sharpen my mind
  • Continue to explore research in my other hobby areas: bread making, historical cooking, regular cooking, software engineering, etc.

These all sound like New Year’s resolutions, don’t they?  I suppose if I only did this on the first of every year there may be a point.  This just happens to be yet another phase of me setting shorter term goals to try to hit that happen to begin on 1/1/2017.  I wonder if this twelve week period will see some greater success…