Day 344: Not From My Phone

It’s interesting to note that Jerk in Progress has been… slipping my mind recently. Last week I came through a sobriety challenge with flying colours, but completely fell down on food and exercise due to stress. Maybe Year One has just been about sobriety. Year Two will be about food. Who knows?

How to revamp this thing is still very much on my mind; I have a concept but I don’t know if it’ll work. The idea is basically a kind of tip-of-the-day thing, but fuelled by call-ins rather than by just me coming up with stuff. So I post the number and people call in; I parse the recordings and turn them into minisodes. Once a week I produce a “megasode” that collects it all.

That’s the current idea. I’m kind of fond of it. It’s definitely a lot more work than what I’m doing now, though, and the idea of this, originally, is not to try to gain an audience as much as to just give myself some public accountability and structure. If I make it into Work (or YAGO, to use a much earlier term), the risk:reward ratio gets weird. I’m not sure I want the reward, so why take the risk?

The eternal balance of “am I stretching myself, or overextending myself?” certainly plays itself out here. I want to stretch. I don’t want to snap.

Day 100: 100 days!

So this is what 100 days feels like. A good time to take stock of what’s gone on so far, and take a beat to think about what’s working well, and what’s not working well.

100 days of sobriety:

Working well This was what I thought would be hardest, and 100 days in, turns out to be easiest. Maybe because it was the thing I was mentally girding myself for.

Key lessons:

  • Don’t drink. That’s a probable truism. But that simple decision, made daily in an affirmation, was pretty damn useful.
  • Don’t freak yourself out. Overthinking it, burning your brain out on never again? isn’t helpful. “One day at a time” really is a powerful tool.
  • Tell people. Don’t get preachy about it, don’t declare things. If you need to be socially diplomatic, “I’m trying a thing where I don’t drink for a while” is a good out that doesn’t unnerve people and makes them feel okay about their choices.

Future:

Keep on keepin’ on.

100 days of exercise:

I’m doing something every day, sometimes just stretching, sometimes not working as hard as I could. I think there’s a factor here, a fourth pillar, that I need to get into starting on day 101.

Key lessons:

  • The metaphor of running 10k by running 5k in one direction is a good one. Set myself up for exercise in ways that are hard to get out of. Make appointments with friends to run.
  • Try to figure out my fine line between “take it easy and don’t hurt yourself,” and “go hard and work for it.” I don’t know how to navigate that yet.
  • As much as I hate it, I need to have stretching and strength as part of the routines, not just running/rowing.

Future:

Give myself a few more ease-into-rowing sessions, then set myself up with RowPro or a rowing app so I  have rowing appointments that will be hard to break.

100 days of eating sensibly:

Ugh. This is the boondoggle. The beast. I thought this  one would be easiest, and it’s hardest — maybe the most insidious of the areas. I’m still not great about diet, snacking, etc.

Key lessons:

  • I can’t keep snacks in the house. Period. It sounds childish, but having my wife hide the jellybeans and mete them out every evening was the best move I’ve made, foodwise, in 100 days.
  • I clearly have undeniable stress eating issues.
  • Keeping bad food out of the house is key, and avoiding food when out of the house is also key.

Future:

Food logging is going to be key. I have to tackle why I’m not doing it head-on, and aggressively attack any thing that’s preventing it from happening. This will be a major endeavour — it’s going to involve meal planning, more time in the morning, and a solid partnership with my wife.

100 days of sleeping poorly:

I don’t think of this as taking on more, I think I’ve been trying to build a stool when I should have been building a table. The fourth leg is sleep. I’ve always thought of sleep as a value-add: it’s great to have, but I can do without. I’m starting to realize I’ve been wrong, wrong, wrong about sleep. Sleep’s a foundation.

Key points:

  • I need to be less churlish about sleep aids, especially ones that are supposed to prevent middle-of-the-night wakefulness. Not get hooked on ’em or anything, but be open to them as a tool.
  • My bedtime wrap-up needs to be something I take more seriously, rather than just being on devices up to the minute I hit the hay. Less electronics, more books and writing.

Future:

Better sleep.

100 days in summary:

The above is kind of necessarily self-critical, but I feel good. Right now, but also in general. I feel better than I have in a while. An older version of me would be despondent at not having reached all my goals by now; current me is learning, slowly, to look at the trend lines. The trend lines are good.

I’ve got a table instead of a stool now, and some solid objectives in every area.

Bonus challenge:

No Netflix except for stuff I watch with my wife until the next milestone. I’m burning too much time on shit TV.

250 days is the next milestone.

Let’s do this thing.

Day Sixty-Seven: Home Gym & Big Buys

I’ve never really wanted a full home gym, but I do prefer exercising at home over out of the house. It’s partially because I am acutely uncomfortable exercising around other people. Also because really just getting up and doing it is the best formula for me.

Before the Ontario move, I had a pretty good set-up: weights, a good bench, punching bag and Concept 2 rowing machine. That all went when we moved here to a much smaller place. Now that we’re in a house again, I’m kind of missing it all.

Home gym versus the one big thing

Of all of it, the thing I miss the most is definitely the rower. I miss my Concept2. I’ve tried using the ergs at two gyms in town, but they’re always kind of janky, or there’s a wait.

Rowing was also the only machine-based exercise I’ve ever bona fide enjoyed. I really liked it! Hard, intense, full-body workouts. I’d get on with headphones and get off 30 minutes later feeling blasted. I still enjoy and will keep up with running, but the rower was the one home gym thing that I loved.

The problem, as it often is, is cost. My wife and I have been crunching numbers, though, and if she gives the rower a good shake, it means her pausing her spin classes for a while. So if this replaces a gym membership, and her spin membership, it “pays for itself” in a year. That’s not bad, given that these machines are nigh-indestructible.

That’s kind of a false savings, though. We could also be just like the approximately 7.1 billion people on earth that don’t have a rowing machine and are doing just fine.

So it comes down to goals. Am I failing right now in a way that a rowing machine would change? Would spending the money substantially improve things? Can I commit to something like rowing on a three- or four-times-a-week basis? All the questions to answer before we decide.

Day Thirty-Two: Future Plans

I started this podcast with no future plans.

It was a vague idea somewhere around December 28 to keep me motivated starting in January, and I think I built the site on January 1, starting this on January 2. No intention beyond just personal audio-logging and a kind of blog journal thing.

Over a month in now, I think it’s sticking. I’m glad it’s sticking.

It’s time to start actually thinking a bit more about the future, though.

Mainly because I don’t want this to get boring, or me to get bored.

Make no mistake: I can access statistics for this. This podcast has two listeners. Me, and my wife. Hello, darling!

And she doesn’t even read this blog. She has no idea this sentence exists.

But I don’t want to get bored with myself doing this. And who knows? Maybe somebody, someday, will start listening to this thing.

Future plans: mixing things up

So starting next week, I’m going to start messing with the formula a bit — doing series of things; maybe look at week-long explorations of a topic related to sobriety or motivation or accountability.

A week of great quotes. A week on nutrition. A week on different ways of looking at alcohol. I’m not sure. But some future plans to keep this fresh and interesting for myself, if not anybody else.

The number one enemy of change, for me, is boredom. It’s hard to maintain good habits when I’m not interested in them. I’ve definitely been slipping a bit recently in food logging, and diet, and I need to buckle that shit back down.

Not being bored is a bit part of that.

So: future plans. I’m making ’em. You can expect ’em.

Good luck to all of us.