Resolutions Update: February Edition

Follow up to New Years Resolutions.

On 2 Jan, I outlined my New Years Resolutions for this year. I also made sure to publicly commit to these resolutions, since public commitment is a powerful tool to build habits. But it wouldn’t work if I announced it once and then never talked about it again. Additionally, as time goes on, I learn more about how things are going and decide to update my resolutions. Therefore, I’m aiming to provide monthly updates on my progress.

Blogging Goal Update

My first resolution dealt with blogging quantity – specifically, I wanted to have published 200 essays from 1 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2013. For those keeping score at home, with this essay, it is 4 Feb, and I have published 22 essays. That means I have accomplished 11% of my goal within 35 days, which is 9.5% of my allotted time. At this rate of 4.4 essays per week, I will meet my goal on 15 Nov. Though I do anticipate slowing down sometime in the near future, as you saw, I already had to take a one-week break.

My second goal was to add four more games to the arcade. I have plans for what all four games would entail. None of them, however, are near completion, though I’d say that three of them are half-made and the last one is started. I’m also re-discovering that I enjoy computer programming and my games arcade is a little bare. I therefore resolve to add 4 more games to the arcade. I hope this will bring a bit more variety to the site.

Diet Updates

My second commitment was to better my diet by committing myself to the No S Diet. That’s the one where “[t]here are just three rules and one exception: No Snacks, No Sweets, No Seconds, Except (sometimes) on days that start with ‘S’. That’s it.”

I’ve never failed at it, though I have come close, and I have done one “wait for Friday to end and eat candy right at midnight” kind of deal. I’ve also made exceptions on quite a few non-weekend days in order to sample my girlfriend’s lovely baking abilities and took another special exception to energize myself for Moot Court Nationals.

Overall, I think it’s going pretty well. My only regrets are that (1) non-sugar cereal tastes very bland, especially when repeated morning after morning, even if I do add banana slices and (2) I can still occasionally get pretty hungry without a snack sometimes.

Exercise Updates

My third commitment was to exercise, which you can see on my special exercise log. I’ve been doing fairly well at keeping up with it, though I’ve been changing the nature of the exercise a fair bit.

I started out wanting to do The Couch To 5K running plan, the One Hundred Pushups Plan, and the Two Hundred Sit-Ups Plan. I ended up quitting all of these after about four weeks.

Instead, I do something different. For running, I haven’t deviated that much. My goal is still to be able to soon run a 5K, like the Couch to 5K plan goes. The difference is that I’ve just plotted a 5k route and made goals to complete it in ever decreasing amounts of time. Currently, I can run about the first mile of it, then walk/run the rest, completing it now in about 38 minutes. I hope to bring this time down pretty soon. I’d be pretty excited if I can just run all of it without stopping, especially if I got a sub-30 minute completion time.

As for the non-cardio component of the exercise routine, I’ve just been doing a personalized “circuit” of exercises designed to give a full body work-out, following Mount Holyoke’s Athletic Training “No Excuses Workout” [YouTube] that my girlfriend, a Mount Holyoke student, referred me to. You can see my customization and progress on the circuit here.

The cardio happens Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The circuit happens Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, unless it’s snowing or raining bad outside and then I’ll switch cardio for the circuit. Sunday is my rest day. I’m going to keep this up for another four weeks or so, and then re-evaluate the program.

Driving Updates

Practicing driving went pretty well over Winter Break. I got in more than twenty hours behind the wheel. Now that I’m at college, it’s a bit harder to practice, but I intend to schedule a driving test soon. It’s my goal to have my license by the time of the next update.

Finances Updates

Another rocky road is meeting my finances goal. My goals here were two-fold: (1) spend only $2000 this year without sacrificing happiness or forsaking friends and (2) earn $6200 without sacrificing any long-term future plans. Since I can’t forecast the future from 1 Jan, it was clear this goal would have a lot of uncertainty. Spending seems to be going fine, though I don’t know what expenses I’ll encounter this summer.

The $6200 income goal is going to be quite a stretch though, since so far I’ve earned only $51 and have no real stable source of income yet. I’ve been searching for a regular campus job with little success. My initial plan for a summer income didn’t work out with my other obligations. This goal might easily fail for reasons outside of my control, though I’ll try to handle what I can control and do my best.

Hygiene Updates

Not everything has been perfect, though. Consider remembering to brush my teeth and floss twice a day. There are two exemptions from the times I ran out of toothpaste and floss respectively. There are 27 successes. However, there are also eight failures. I think the reason this one is rough is it hits me right when I’m sleepiest – waking up and going to bed. I’m still doing much better than I’ve ever done before and think I’m currently going strong, but I might have to get more creative on this one. In fact…

A Bet

What would be an update without a little bit of taking things to the next level? Specifically to get a little creative, I have made a friendly wager with my friend, Eric “Harry” Brisson. For the period of 9 Feb - 9 Mar, if I have any less than 95% success (aka any more than 1 failure) in any of my three HabitCal categories (exercise, diet, and hygiene), I owe him $20.

On the flipside, if he fails to update his blog, Listen to Brisson, at least once per week during that interval, he will give me one half of one day’s wage for him.

…I’ve never had a strong financial incentive to ruin someone’s blogging career before.

Followed up in Resolutions Update: March Edition.