2023 Goal Accountability Phase 7 Closeout/Phase 8 Kickoff

I’ve now completed two full Goal Accountability phases after my health reboot in springtime. I had enough confidence in my ability to maintain momentum even with more challenging requirements for each of my metrics. I definitely maintained my momentum but there were more stumbles than before as a consequence of that. Even with those stumbles my grades for the past four week phase were pretty solid.


This is a quick refresher of how this works. The “Goal Accountability” method is to give myself five focus areas each day which help contribute to longevity. Technically it can be any five things but for me these have historically always fallen into the categories of: diet, sleep, cardio movement, strength movement, and mind exercises. For each day one is given a numerical grade like in school from 0.0 (F) to 4.0 (A). By keeping track of those things we can see how we do by week and over the year. To give myself opportunities for feeling the “new years resolution” type psychological prodding more than just once a year the whole year is broken up into four week “phases”. Therefore I can see how things are going over the year and at an approximately one month interval have an opportunity to start with a clean slate and “get a good grade”.

Phase 7 Closeout

As I wrote in the Phase 6 Closeout/Phase 7 Kickoff Post , with my momentum heading out of my reboot I tweaked up a bunch of the metrics that I grade myself with. The diet (Goal #1) and Sleep (Goal #2) stayed status quo. I still don’t see that really changing in the short term. My requirements for cardiovascular activity (Goal #3) I bumped up to requiring 30 minutes a day of focused cardio activity instead of 20 and at least one hard session per week with a stretch goal of two. With respect to strength training (Goal #4) I made the floor a solid 15 minutes instead of 10 and targeting between 15 and 30 minutes. My brain health (Goal #5) I left the meditation goal the same of a minimum of 15 minutes with a stretch goal of 30 minutes a day. However I also added a requirement to only do social media browsing a total of 30 minutes a day in increments no smaller than 10 minutes at a time.

Therefore the goals for Phase 7 of 2023’s Goal Accountability is:

  • Goal 1: Eat a Blue Zones inspired plant dominant diet averaging at least 90 grams of protein a day
  • Goal 2: Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
  • Goal 3: 30 minutes of focused cardio exercise (indoor cycling, running, swimming, etc), with one hard session per week minimum and a stretch goal of two hard sessions per week
  • Goal 4: 15-30 minutes of weight training, calisthenics, or yoga
  • Goal 5: 3x10 minutes total 30 minutes on social media; 15 minutes or more of meditation, stretch goal 30 minutes per day total
2023 Daily Grade Graph through the end of Phase 7

First lets look at the aggregated daily grade. Unlike in Phase 6 I didn’t have any real dips due to washout days in certain metrics. In fact the lowest daily grade I got across the entire four weeks was a 3.30. That is a big improvement over Phase 6 where I had two days with grades that dipped below 3.0. While that was an improvement I had far fewer days with a perfect 4.0 grade as well. We will see why in a moment. On the average though I am still maintaining a good average grade plateau that started during the reboot phase. Let’s now look at the per-goal grades to see where the dings are happening.

2023 Phase Grade Graph through the end of Phase 7

Let’s start off with the really good news here. I aced both the cardio activity grade (Goal #3) and strength activity grade (Goal #4). It was totally and unequivocally a perfect score. Not only did I hit my minimum goals but I also nailed the stretch goals too. On Goal #4 I did a minimum of 20 minutes per day, not the 15 minimum. I’ve stopped counting the post-run/ride streching in that count too. That idea is optional but I bring that up to show how far my fitness has come on that. Even during my 5 day fast I hit each of these goals, albeit at very reduced activity levels due to being fasted. That means that already great scores from last phase of 3.89 (A-) for Goal #3 and 3.86 (A-) for Goal #4 are now perfect 4.0 (A) for both.

My sleep goal (Goal #2) also saw some improvement. I was already at 3.7 (A-) in the last phase but not having the disruptions due to travel and things out of my control and being a bit more careful about getting to bed early enough to get 7 or more hours bumped the score up slightly to 3.84 (A-).

Diet (Goal #1) had a better aggregate score, going from 3.29 (B) to 3.38 (B+), because I didn’t have any truly blow out days. I could have done better though. I don’t mind a score getting dinged for a worthy meal or event. In fact I didn’t ding myself on the fasting days even though I obviously wasn’t meeting the minimum requirements those days for a very deliberate long term health purpose. The dings were mostly from mindless eating of a bit of junk food at night or adding dessert unnecessarily to some generic meal. It was really avoidable. I rationalized a lot of the junk eating as “eating food that would be going bad” and the desserts at generic meals as literally “well fuck it.” It isn’t the end of the world to have indulgences. I don’t want to call it “bad food” even. In moderation and balance it should all be fine. Moderation though isn’t eating that crap every day or multiple times a day. So the dings are legitimate but the whole point is that if I have my diet dialed in most of the time then it should average up to a pretty good grade. Which it did here. I’m not beating myself up over the deliberate or special indulgences. It is the sloppy, thoughtless ones that didn’t really add anything that I want to dial in be better at avoiding.

The brain exercises (Goal #5) goal is where things stumbled a lot more. This also had the most aggressive change in requirements. I was actually able to get at least a 15 minute meditation in almost every day. Most of the time it would actually be 20 minutes or slightly more even. However there were three days where I forgot to do it. I didn’t have time to do it in the usual slot so figured I’d do it in the evening before bed. Then for various reasons I would forget and not figure it out until the next morning. That alone wouldn’t ding the grade as much as it was dinged though. The real hard part for me was hitting the social media time boxing goals. I’m just really sucky at it most days. Old habits die hard. That’s way I need to double down on trying to do that. Even on days where I went off the rails it was probably way less than before though, so that is some improvement. It just wasn’t enough improvement to hit the goals as I wanted. Therefore that grade dropped from 3.86 (A-) to 3.58 (B+).

The aggregate grade across all of the goals for Phase 7 came in at 3.76 (A-) compared to 3.72 (A-) for Phase 6. That means that even with the dings to the brain exercise goal there was actually still a bit of improvement. Overall I was very happy to see I was able to maintain my momentum even with some dings. One stumble leading to a series of stumbles leading to falling off the wagon is my biggest concern in the short term. It will probably remain so until my lifelong patterns are supplanted by these as my default modus operandi.

Phase 8 Kickoff

I’m feeling ever more momentum as I’m exiting Phase 7 and going into Phase 8. I think only once, maybe twice, in my life has the impulse to get my daily exercise into my day felt so, for lack of a better expression, necessary. Most of my life my brain is coming up with execuses why today isn’t a good day to exercise. When I first picked up running as a hobby 10-15 years ago I had some of this same behavior. However that would really only be about getting my 2-3 runs a week in. As I wrote previously, cross training was always delayed by my brain rationalizing why it couldn’t be done that day. This is the first time each day I feel like I’m missing something by not working out. My mind now is thinking ahead about how I’m going to make sure I get at least a bare minimum workout in on days where I have travel or appointments that may trip it up. I don’t get anxious if I can’t squeeze it in but usually the problem isn’t a question of can’t it’s a question of not trying hard enough. Overall each of these things being more dialed in has me feeling better, especially in the flexibility and strength department. I therefore want to keep all this going and tweak the areas that I didn’t have dialed in last time.

For the Diet (Goal #1) things are as usual going to be the status quo mostly-plant based Blue Zones/Mediterranean style diet with a minimum of 90 grams of protein. Looking at the calendar I know that there are some social events and travel that are going to cause this score to get some major dings. Sorry, I’m not skipping out on the experience of eating some family classics or getting into “eating like a bird” mode at a social function just to get a score up when there are delicious food and drink to be had. Based on my projections if I keep everything dialed in the rest of the time I should still be able to get a 3.2 for this grade over this phase. A solid B by balancing periodic indulgence days with things being really dialed in the rest of the time sounds perfectly fine and sustainable to me.

My sleep goal (Goal #2) is unchanged as usual, 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

My cardio activity goal (Goal #3) is in the sweet spot as a minimum from a longevity perspective too. I’m keeping the 30 minutes of focused cardio activity minimum again with the one hard workout per week minimum and a stretch goal of two. I’m starting to ramp up my running activity to decide if I want to try to run a half marathon early next year. That will probably drive the cardio time on one or two days well north of 30 minutes. Because those are more “slow and steady” and the extra stress on my body may require more recovery I’m leaving my “hard day” count goal at one with a stretch of two not making two the new minimum requirement.

My strength activity goal (Goal #4) is almost in the sweet spot minimum range for longevity. I want to tighten up the minimum though since I hit 20 minutes each day of Phase 6. I therefore am going to say that the goal is to do 20-30 minutes of calisthenics, yoga or strength training each day to ace this goal.

The brain health (Goal #5) goal was what was the most difficult before so obviously I’m not going to crank up the difficulty. At the same time the objectives for it aren’t especially onerous either. I am going to try to slacken it up just a tad to build up some momentum. From the meditation perspective I still want to do the 15 minute minimum per day with a 30 minute stretch goal. For the social media usage/browsing requirements I will give myself an extra ten minutes per day and will allow myself to do it in blocks as short as 5 minutes. My stretch goal is the original 30 minutes per day in blocks no shorter than 10 minutes. This should help with the popping over for a couple minutes continuously throughout the day style that I have been doing for much of my social media usage.

Therefore the goals for Phase 8 of 2023’s Goal Accountability is:

  • Goal 1: Eat a Blue Zones inspired plant dominant diet averaging at least 90 grams of protein a day
  • Goal 2: Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
  • Goal 3: 30 minutes of focused cardio exercise (indoor cycling, running, swimming, etc), with one hard session per week minimum and a stretch goal of two hard sessions per week
  • Goal 4: 20-30 minutes of weight training, calisthenics, or yoga
  • Goal 5: No more than 40 minutes of social media per day in increments no smaller than 5 minutes at a times; meditate 15 minutes or more per day with a stretch goal of 30 minutes