Lessons Learned

From the December ’18 review of my first 725 entries…


  • Consider short bursts like “sprint months” to start or restart good habits
  • Name things dramatically, like The Path. Magic Bag, etc.
  • Don’t take on too much!


  • It’s four things: sobriety, diet, exercise, and sleep
  • Gotta do daily tracking
  • Modest, constant improvement is better than yo-yoing. Be patient.
  • Core motivation is the missing piece: what’s it all about/for?
  • Repeating elements: motivation, bad weekends, sickness/recovery, backsliding and getting motivated to bounce back, busy brain, cyclical on/off mystery, work/volunteer stress, wondering why this isn’t working
  • Set time aside to relax with intention: goofing off is okay, but do it mindfully
  • My tracker is really great!
  • Treat self-improvement like a for-credit course or job, not a fun option
  • Check in in the morning, check out at night
    • Use a checklist!
  • Focus on small pleasures
  • Leave lots of time for ADL in daily scheduling
  • “Cheat days” don’t work for me
  • Weekends are REALLY BAD and I need to figure that out
  • Avoid turning regular things I should enjoy into YAGO
  • “One Day at a Time” is a great model for long-term change
  • I need to expect to be irritable and tired when losing weight
  • Kill the bear!
  • Don’t get too ambitious with exercise and injure myself
  • Do small tasks immediately when possible
  • Don’t make life tougher than it is
  • Manage the cats
  • Don’t take on too much. Leave space for fun and/or emergencies.
  • Short inspirational phrases
  • Caffeine’s fine. Don’t give up more that booze and crap food.
  • Drink 2L of water per day.
  • Forgive weakness on the road / on vacation. Treat breaks as breaks.
  • Lean on your partner
  • Exercise daily, even if it’s just a bit
    • …even Walk Away the Pounds, or 10 minutes of spin, or whatnot
  • Evening Me needs to be handled by Morning Me and Afternoon Me
  • Ask myself if I’m taking on more than I need to, just because “somebody should.”
  • I’m not a gardener and I’m not going to garden and I’m fine with that
  • Take digital days off (Sundays?)
  • Don’t get held hostage by booze. Do what you want to do.
  • Set a big fitness goal (half-mara again?) to train for
  • If you get up in the night, chill out.
  • Reflect regularly on good fortune
  • Nap at lunch at work when possible.
  • PROJECT OF THE MONTH for 2019, plus ongoing banjo
  • Friend time is necessary for both of us, even if we have to force it
  • Listen to / watch comedy! Laughter is great.
  • Set dedicated partner time
  • Set dedicated me time
  • 10-day challenges don’t work. “Sprint” months work sometimes.
  • Exercise w/ Marisa on Saturday mornings
  • Seek expertise with challenge areas. Read up on improvement.
  • Re-investigate fasting (circadian?)
  • “Wake up naturally” is bullcrap, use an alarm
  • Salads are great! Eat them for lunch.
  • Plan all food for the week on Sundays WITH RECIPES AND CALORIES
  • “Church” didn’t work, but some sort of weekly couples thing might
  • A terrible work environment/colleague fucked me up for about nine months
  • Pack a Magic Bag every morning

Daily Journaling:

  • Checklists (morning, evening)
  • Big Three once a week
  • Food logging (cals from LoseIt)
  • Short entry a day without fail.
  • Progress/feelings for day. One thing I feel gratitude about.


  • Social media for work use only
  • Don’t argue online
  • Take one day off electronics a week? Every two weeks?
    • Canoe days in the summer


  • Manage up – 15 minutes a day of reporting upward (EOD every day)
  • 30 minutes of best/worst of week


  • Boredom
  • Weekends
  • Vacations / staycations
  • Houseguests or visiting
  • Taking on too much
  • Insomnia
  • Cats (especially w/ mornings)


  • Circuit training was hard as hell but worth it
  • Make use of the rowing machine
  • Set goals (half-mara for rowing)
  • Running: mix runs and steps
  • Arms/core every morning! Just a little is fine.
  • Every single day, even just a little. Never none.
  • With Marisa on Saturdays


  • Stick to a budget w/ Marisa
  • Don’t be afraid of money!
  • Daily financial logging as checklist element

Morning Routine:

  • no phone no phone no phone no phone
  • get up
  • get day’s clothes ready
  • get some exercise clothes on
  • go downstairs to 2nd floor (not kitchen!)
  • drink a big glass of water
  • exercise
  • shower/weigh/track
  • jerkpod
  • feed cats
  • prep for work, leave for work

Evening routine:

  • Walk/cycle home
  • Dinner
  • Chore Button
  • Check in with “Evening Me”
  • Couple time / projects / whatnot
  • Night Checklist
  • Night Journal
  • Bed


  • Eat:
    • …when I’m hungry (REALLY hungry)
    • …real food, not sugar/fat/salt
    • …what I make (and make what I eat)
    • …without any shit in the house
  • Plan weekend food before weekend
  • Don’t drink coffee after noon
  • Drink 2L of water every damn day