Pre-Midyear Review

It is important to revisit and reassess one’s goals, assess progress, and make any necessary adjustments (either to the goals, our environment, or ourselves).  Otherwise, unintended drift may obscure or derail us. Let’s look at the goals I outlined in Januaryhere.

I wrote on New Year’s Day about my primary goal (or “mega-habit”) to live more purposefully. Now I’d like to outline the monthly habits that will contribute to that goal. So here’s the twelve habits I’ll be implementing:

1) Writing every day. I’ve actually committed to wordpress.com’s postaday initiative for this blog. There will undoubtedly be other writing, but I think that by committing to writing here on my self-exploratory blog, I’ll better be able to maintain my focus. Gerald Weinberg wrote an excellent book on his fieldstone method that I am very fond of. I’ll be working on that as well.

2) To bed by 11 and up by 5:30. This is not really a-typical for me, but I have suffered from some bouts of insomnia on both sides of the sleeping hours (initial dropoff not happening until 1:30 and night waking at like 3:30 and losing the last two hours….thankfully, usually not both). I travel for work and typically wake every two hours when sleeping in a hotel. I think this is due, in part, to jet lag, sleeping in a strange place, airplane dehydration, later/larger/less-healthy eating, etc. It definitely throws a monkey wrench into any plans for optimal wellness…..or effectiveness.

3) Breakfast as soon as I’m able to eat. I have trouble eating first thing in the morning and typically count it a win if I’ve eaten a yogurt or a piece of fruit by 9 AM. There are a lot of reasons to eat breakfast (and earlier), so I’m going to try to get mine closer to that 5:30 waking time. This one ties into the next two.

4) No eating/drinking 2-3 hours before bedtime (other than water/herbal tea/etc.). Essentially, no more calories right before bed. If I absolutely must eat *something*, I’ll have a piece of fruit.

5) Limit my consumption of alcohol. I like to have a drink or two, but I also enjoy six….That is not a good thing. Drinking more than a couple of drinks really has a lot of negative effects. I’ll write more about these another time, as this is an important habit to master.

6) Unplug one day every month – No Facebook, No Email, No Netflix, No TV…No eMedia whatsoever. It is good to free oneself from Electronica once in a while. This also entails some planning so as to submit posts early for #1.

7) Strength and Cardio Training. Come up with plans for each (actually one plan that incorporates both) and stick to it.

8) Meditate daily. I do a little of this now, but would really like to explore it further…perhaps at 5:30 AM?

9) Read – Meaningful reading (Not Facebook or Twitter), but books…I used to really like reading books. Now I read so much for work and online; it is hard to maintain the enthusiasm. Well, I have some good ones in the queue and I want to read them….I’ve been reading Atlas Shrugged for like a decade now; It is time to finish it.

10) Feng Shui – Essentially, there is just too much *stuff* in both my physical and electronic space. Spend some time each day to get rid of it and optimize things for elegance, simplicity, effectiveness, and efficiency. Declutter the space. And then, pick the beautiful way to exist in that space. I read the unclutterer blog, which I recommend and may comment on my progress in relation to it.

11) Make more efficient decisions on what to do with incoming stuff…I’m a fan of David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) and Mark Forster’s Do it Tomorrow/Get Everything Done. I will be blocking time to adapt aspects of their systems to my own situation. My biggest hangup is processing the deluge of stuff coming in (hence my need for #10). This one is about building tools and systems to handle that incoming stuff.

12) Eliminate activities/projects/things that I don’t care about and focus on things that I do care about. The other night, I played one more game of go-fish with my 6-year-old and taught her to play solitaire rather than mindlessly facebooking or channel surfing with a beer to “unwind”. I want to make decisions like *that* more often.

Now, these sound suspiciously like “Resolutions”. Well, we can call them what you like, but I’m tackling them a bit differently than many go at their Resolutions. Many people set a bunch of Resolutions and try to do them all, all at once, in perfect form, without slip-ups. They miss one day at the gym or whatever and they’re beating themselves up for “Breaking their Resolution”….there’s the trap. It seems pretty self-defeating.

That is not how I’ll be approaching these. Although, I may work a little on each throughout the year; I’m committing to focusing on just one of them per month, starting with #1 in January. Each month, I’ll pick a different one. That will be my focus for that month….before anything else.

Hmmmm. I have indeed drifted somewhat from these goals as explicitly stated, but have made progress toward my ultimate goals of overall self improvement and and simplification. More on that to come.

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