All right! New year, fresh start. I’ve really set up for this quite well, I think, with a prior week of reading my first two years of this blog, giving things some thought, consolidating notes (see the “Lessons Learned” link in the main menu), and more.
How to summarize? Thusly:
Stick to an established morning routine of exercise and food planning
Stick to an established evening routine of instrument practice and self-reflection
Quit bad food using the “quit drinking” model: one day at a time, and just say no rather than trying to moderate
Move to a “practice an instrument and project of the month” approach with minimal other volunteer commitments
Those are the big notes for 2019! My wife is also on board and excited for a big year. Here we go!
Last day of the year! Checking in from my office, which is kind of strange, but I dropped my wife off at work at 5:30 (I have a rental car today) and am getting some things done for return to work.
Despite feeling like a Jan. 1 change in lifestyle is a bit cheesy, I am also kind of stoked: I have a new system for evening checkouts, some reasonable goals, the whole Lessons Learned approach buoying me, and what I think is a great balance of vegetable and candy hobbies with the Project Of The Month thing.
My wife is on board with all of this — we’re actually trialling a couple of productivity apps to compare notes later — she’s doing Habit Bull, and I’m trying Productive. We both thought the other “Fantasy RPG” one, Habitica, was a bit too…well, Fantasy RPG.
Following up from yesterday (and a pre-record — I’m at my folks’ place), I’m getting books. What books? Tons of books! Here are the first three: two bought, one library. The goal is to treat this like a course — serious! — and have hours set aside to honestly work at these things. I’m looking forward to it.
I did it! I read the whole blog yesterday, and I’ve condensed the whole pile into a “Lessons Learned” page, now linked in the main menu at jerkpod.com. There’s a lot there, but the key things are:
Weekends are bad;
Sleep is actually my key recurring issue that throws me off (well, and weekends);
Work/volunteer stress drives insomnia, which throws me off;
Food is really a problem as well, driven by the top two;
I spend a lot of time talking about these problems but very little time working on them.
I don’t celebrate triumph very often.
This has actually helped me figure some things out. One is that I need to work more aggressively on sleep issues. I’ve ordered a recommended book on it, and also Kindled myself a workbook on impulse eating by a real brain doctor rather than a diet thing.
It’s hard not to get ambitious when I start going through this stuff. I want this regimented, ideal life where I wake up at the right time every day, do the right things, and then go forth to continue sticking to a plan. These tightly calibrated plans seem to work pretty well for me, too. I tell myself that they are also too difficult and go off the rails faster, but… that actually doesn’t seem to be true. My streaks last longer and seem “stickier” when they are a bit tough. The laissez-faire periods are where things go wayyyy off track.
Good food for thought. Pre-record tomorrow, then back to set up 2019 on Monday.
So “eat real food” went off the rails over the holidays. VACATIONS ARE BAD. I always intend to do well, and then… don’t. And “mutual encouragement” sounds nice on paper, but feels like nagging when somebody is asking “did you exercise today?” and you didn’t, and don’t want to, even though you know you asked them to ask.
We’re going to do the cheesy January 1 resolutions, I guess — but what I’m going to do today, is I’m going to re-read this thing. 726 entries of it. I’m going to make a list of everything that’s worked and resonates, and see what kind of master toolkit I can build between now and January 1.
What started as a sobriety project never successfully transformed into a… transformation project, I guess. But the relentless blogging/podcasting is kind of a work in itself, and as long as I’m doing this every morning, hope isn’t actually lost. Change is possible! I’d be bold enough to say “inevitable,” as long as I’m doing at least this every day to show I’m committed to it.
Today: read the blog. Review the toolkit. Figure out 2019, and this will be the year that things flip. One year for sobriety, one year for self-discovery, and now one year for change. That sounds right, right?
Here it is: I have too many things. I have vegetable hobbies… things I do but that involve effort, aren’t always enjoyable, and lead to growth:
Music (learning uke/banjo/music software)
The radio show
Running training and skills sessions for podcasters
The small web side hustle
Thinking about pursuing a Master’s degree
Woodworking and small woodworking projects
Food-making beyond sustenance
A long-neglected novel / other writing
And then there are the candy hobbies — things I enjoy, but don’t have any mental strain and frankly probably don’t make me a better person:
Crap movies (or even good movies)
Dumb internet browsing
Clearly, this is too many things. Equally clearly, I’m going to have to choose a couple of them. This is one thing the Full Focus planner was good for — making me choose a few key goals for a quarter to chase after, and letting me, er, focus.
Not really true, it just makes a good line. And I forgot and had a Brio yesterday, so there.
I feel good about the decision in general, though. I’ve been struggling to get and stay back on top for months now, so maybe a big bold play is exactly the thing to get me going in a new direction.
Yesterday went pretty well (but one day is also easy-peasy). I’m going to give myself a reasonable exception while visiting my folks because it’s easier to have a g_d cookie than to try to explain these sorts of things.
In general, though, I’m’a work on just quitting snacks/sweets. Without the “make it at home and then cookies are okay” workaround. Flat no to everything. It’s just easier that way.
Oh, wow. Yesterday was Holiday Cookie Day, and I legits feel bad today. Physically and emotionally.
So let this be a PHOENIX FROM THE COOKIE ASHES kind of moment. I could pull it together to quit drinking. I’ve done it for 719 days. I can pull it together to not eat garbage, and maybe that’s the next big thing.
I don’t eat garbage now.
I can cold-turkey this — I did it for booze — and why not start today? I have no holiday parties ahead of me, one two-day family visit (but they’re not big junk food people), and I think it’s been well established that I’m good at quitting, but not good at moderating.
Time to quit.
It’s a different scenario, and that’s going to be a factor. People drink, but they don’t, like, ply you with booze. There aren’t shots lined up in the company coffee room because somebody made a bunch of shots for their kid’s birthday party and there were shots left over.
On the other hand, the social buy-in to “I’m eating better” is much lower-key than “I’m not drinking.” Nobody says “you’re not fun anymore because you don’t eat cookies.”
Here we go, then. Simple rules:
No casual snacking. Planned food only.
No making recipes with more than, like, 1 tablespoon of sugar.
One week til Christmas! And two until New Year’s! Putting music together for the holiday radio show, which is putting me in the spirit, and quite frankly a bit stoked about resolutions. My wife and I have our finances more or less on track (tricky, with the recent vet bills), and while we haven’t had the best year for exercise/fitness, we’ve got a lot of tools in the toolbox for positive reinforcement and getting things done.
So… the countdown’s on! Expect more posts about a new year’s plan in the days to come.
My wife sent me a neat link yesterday — an article about making a resolution for the last six weeks of the year, as opposed to waiting until January 1. It’s a good idea!
Off the top of my head, and this has been on my mind since I ran through the Perfect Me thing (although I’ve been bad about implementing it), it’s that motivational idea of “make the decisions of a 175-pound man.” It’s a reasonable weight to shoot for, and it’s an easy way to do a quick head check on things. I haven’t been great about it for the last couple of weeks, but there’s been a rough start to the whole enterprise with being sick and all.
It’s served me well the last couple of days in resisting snacks and getting up and exercising. It’s not about huge change, or getting dramatic about stuff; it’s about just asking yourself what that ideal-state version of you would be doing, and then doing what that guy does. Imaginary person behaviour modeling.
So maybe that’s my jam for the next six weeks! Try to live in the skin of the better version of myself. See how that guy exists. Fake it til you make it, is I guess the angle I’m leaning toward here.
Six weeks til the end of the year — let’s give this a shot.