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2010: Setting Them Up and Knocking Them Down

Posted Jan 01 2010 5:14pm

 With the flipping of the 10-year digit from zero to one, the thought of a new decade brings a lot of positive momentum for me. I’m in the midst of completing my first personal annual review (the idea courtesy of Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Nonconformity ), and it is definitely filled with positives and negatives. I feel like I’ve spent an awful lot of time on the negatives lately here on Almost Fit, so I’m going to keep that part of the summary short.

Equally as important, with the new decade upon us it’s time to set a few goals, and start knocking those pins down, one at a time if I have to.

The Good

On the positive side, I’ve done one thing really well: I’ve maintained steady income for a year – though the impact on my diet hasn’t been so great. For some this idea of having a consistent income is an assumed fact of life, but for many of us it is far from assured. Along the lines of work I’ve also greatly downsized the number of side projects that I was pursuing at the beginning of the year (in January of last year I had 9 personal, full-time projects/business beginnings – and was coming up short on all of them). Taking a quick mental inventory I’m down to 3 enjoyable part-time projects, including Almost Fit.

This is progress.

Another positive includes dramatically improving my cooking and prep skills (in my opinion at least); my wife and best friend is an excellent cook, and I’ve been under her culinary wing for a few years now. I feel that in the last 6 months I’ve really started to develop stronger culinary instincts – meaning I pair food together better, I cook more efficiently, I burn or overcook food much less often, and have good ideas on how to improve a dish I’m cooking by taste. I’m getting to know the flavor profiles of foods and seasonings much better, and I have a clearer understanding of herbs and spices that balance flavors.

These advances in cooking have made cooking at home that much more enjoyable. Of course, it also makes overindulgence a bit too easy at times, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Other positives (that are no less important) include keeping up with my ever-changing children – solving problems and setting them up for success (no small feat); remodeling my wife’s painting studio from bare bones to finished product (finishing this weekend); several small family vacations; and I’ve greatly improving my photography skills and knowledge – as well as starting a new project on the subject.

The Bad

On the negative side (and again, I’ll keep this brief), I have lost a lot of ground in both eating habits and general fitness. Cardiovascular training has been a rare, rare thing over the past 6 months, and resistance training of any sort, be it basic calisthenics or light weight training has been nearly non-existent. Food-wise it’s not much better – although we still eat the best quality we can afford, the expense is increasing because I’m eating too much of that food. Moderation has been lost at sea for a while now, drifting along aimlessly in a leaky life raft with regular exercise, both waiting to be rescued by a passing motivation freighter.

I’ve got an encyclopedia set full of excuses ranging from a sprained ankle in October to excessive work hours and stress, but in the end it comes down to the choices I’m making. The old “taking personal responsibility” saw was never more appropriate. (For you kids who don’t remember what an encyclopedia is – think of printing out all of Wikipedia and putting it in a set of leather-bound books. Yeah, weird – I know.)

The Determined

For 2010, I’m renewing my efforts to take charge of my health. I don’t really like “New Year’s Resolutions” – for me they are just associated with failure to keep those resolutions a month later. Rather, I like the idea of taking the opportunity to set and evaluate long range goals for the year (with a tip of the hat to J.D. at GetRichSlowly on the subject of goals vs. resolutions), or as I like to think of them, goals for a new decade.

However, I also believe that while long range goals are key, you’re only going to get there with short term, reachable objectives. At my day job we actually account for every 24 hour period (we use SCRUM methodology, for my fellow time management geeks out there). I find the daily meetings a bit tedious/unnecessary, but it does keep the ball rolling. For me, I’m going to use a bit of a hybrid approach. I am not inclined to manage my personal time by the hour; but I know that having a big goal will do me no good if I don’t map out the route to get there.

I’ll talk more about the specifics of the approach I’m adopting in a post in the near future, but for now here are a couple of my “big” health and fitness goals for the year.

Year goal: Complete at least one major running event this year. I’m still defining this goal by researching upcoming events in my area, but I will make a choice this month. I may shoot for the Portland marathon, or possibly Seattle, or who knows – Maui? And I should add it may not even be a full marathon – it may be a 1/2, or even a handful of 10k races. I want to push myself, but with a few recent injuries I don’t want enthusiasm to take me out of the running (pun intended). Stay tuned.

Sub-goal: Beat my aversion to running in the Oregon rain. Although we do have a treadmill, I really enjoy getting outside for exercise. I find it much more rewarding on multiple levels. However, when it comes to running in the rain I’m a bit of a baby. In an upcoming post I’ll outline my strategy for this, but in the meantime suggestions are welcome. I’ve already had a handful of suggestions from folks on Twitter, so keep them coming.

Milestone for January: Return to running 3 miles 3 times per week, with one 5 mile run by the end of January. Very do-able, and besides, our new 1-yr-old pup needs the exercise ;) .

Year goal: Lose 75 lbs this year – and if I lose it early, keep it off. I am risking a lot by adding this goal, but I think that this is the year to make it happen. How will I get there? You guessed it – a future post will describe the path. Hint: Real food in moderation will be an integral part of it, but I’m expanding my horizons this year to combine moderation principles with a few dietary ideas that intrigue me, from whole food-based carb reduction to moderate, intermittent fasting. More to come.

Milestone for January: Lose 10 lbs this month through portion reduction and regular exercise. The first 10 are the easiest for me, so I’m shooting for a reasonable goal.

Year goal: Start writing at least one meaningful post per week for Almost Fit. By the end of 2010 I should have at least 52 new entries, and hopefully more. I may “cheat” a little by allowing a few guest posts, but I’ve accepted that as within the boundaries of the goal. Writing regularly for Almost Fit is important for me because of one word: Accountability. That has helped me to stay on track in the past, and I expect no less this time.

Milestone for January: you guessed it – 5 Almost Fit posts. One down. Victory starts today. :)

I’m in

Those are the three core goals I’m shooting for this year. I may add one or two as I complete my personal annual review, but for now I know these are the ones that are at the top of my list. A few other goals (some more loosely defined than others) include getting outside with my kids more, continuing my daily posting of iPhone photos at (my new site and one of my part-time side projects), improving my programming skills to make me more efficient at work, starting to produce artwork again, and finishing some music that has been on the back burner for way too long.

In other words, I’ve got a lot to do this year, but all good things.

I have a feeling that 2010 is going to be a very good year.

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