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I don’t normally do New Year’s resolutions. However, I did this year so here is my quarterly report.
Oh, but I didn’t exactly do a normal resolution. Instead, my plan is to have different resolution each week. Each resolution lasts Wednesday to Wednesday and should take 15-60 minutes of daily activity or thought. The goal overall is to try new things, see which better-for-me habits are easy to incorporate into my life and which ones are too difficult to maintain.
Week 1: Health: 10,000 steps and some time on the exercise. Success. Most days did more than five miles on the bike, only one day did I not want to bike at all.
Week 2: Happiness: more quality snuggling time with my husband. Mixed. It was nice but it require being in sync though it did keep us more in sync for a week or two after.
Week 3: Health: every day have one meal with a whole grain as a main component. Success. The whole grains made me feel a little better in general, more balanced sugar-wise. I found lots of whole grain things that I like, including plain old oatmeal packets, an easy meal I’d forgotten about. This resolution was a really, really good one and even 9 weeks later, most days I have something whole grain because I like how it makes me feel more full.
Week 4: Social: spend at least one hour a day talking to someone who is not my husband. Success but exhausting. Victims: house guest Nate (two days), She’s Geeky various people (three days), Ingo (birthday), and Jen + Alissa (on the embedded systems panel).
Week 5: Health: sixty minutes of at-least-slightly sweaty exercise. It’s funny, I think I usually mange 30-45 minutes of exercise (almost) everyday so I didn’t think this would be a big deal. However, I had one of Those Weeks and just failed at this one. Too much work, too much crankiness, too much “does this activity count?”. I’ll need to have more specificity in the future.
Week 6: Health: a different breakfast every day. My morning meal is exceedingly monotonous: a high protein food bar with low glycemic index and about 190 calories. What other breakfasts can keep me going until 11am without needing a snack? The goal was to keep the calorie intake around 200. This one was more interesting than I expected, changing up my morning patterns as well as my breakfast.
Week 7: Health: 10 miles on the exerbike, no reading fiction books until after getting on bike. I often bike 10 miles but I’d gotten out of the habit and I’d been lazing away hours reading junk. So, getting back in the habit of a late afternoon bike helped both of these issues.
Week 8: Health and Social: dual resolutions: to drink 8oz of water before each meal and to go out after dark each night. Having two resolutions watered it all down so I don’t think I get credit for successfully completing either one. The water one I just forgot about and getting up halfway through a meal to pound a glass of water was silly. As for going out, I just didn’t have things to do each night and didn’t have enough oomph to make stuff up.
Week 9: Health: Count calories. Not trying to reduce calories (though counting them has that effect anyway).
Week 10: Health: Count calories and exercise, making sure the total falls under the (generous) guideline given by the counting program. Still gathering a baseline.
Week 11: Health: Eat a rainbow everyday. After two weeks of counting calories, I wanted to con myself into continuing. I decided to try the school-children challenge of eating a food from each color group each day (red, orange, yellow/white, green, blue/purple). This one I stopped because it was stupid: if I want carrots and snap peas with lunch then fennel with orange wedges for dinner, eating blueberries instead (or in addition to) is dumb. Plus, I don’t really like blueberries and I couldn’t bring myself to count wine as a purple fruit. Plus, plus, I don’t need ways to eat *more* food. So I failed this resolution intentionally.
Week 12: Diet: No bread. After a few Sundays of bread-induced coma due to the amazing, spectacular, phenomenal bread from Manresa’s bread stand at Campbell’s farmer’s market, I realized I have a problem. (Still counting calories.) The resolution was really “no bread as a major component of a meal” which meant I could have a piece of bread but no bread-and-olive-oil meals, no sandwiches, and (horrors) no pizza. However, I’m mid-way through and I suspect “no bread” entirely is fine. I do miss it though.
Other resolutions I might try:
- Brush teeth after every meal/snack
- Eat fruit/vegetable 20 minutes before any snacking
- An hour of house or garden work every day
- Bike ten miles and take a walk each day
- No alcohol or no caffeine
- No tv before 9pm
- No non-fiction reading
- Blog post every day
- Cook main component of one meal each day from a cookbook (C to help choose recipes)
- Artistic endeavor for an hour a day
- 30 min/day updating all career related things with current info: linked in update, resume update, google self, speaker’s wikis, etc.
- Write a program in numPy everyday
- Get up and shower and dress everyday, as though I have a real job
- Do something nice for someone
- Write a novel proposal every day
- Spend 1 hour/day working on book promotion
- 10% decrease in calories (using newly calculated baseline from weeks 9-12).
What else? What thing to try might make a big difference in my happiness and health?
How are you? I hope things are going well. Still working on neat stuff? And the family, everybody happy and healthy?
I’m doing well. It has been a little crazy since the start of the new year but I’m starting to get a handle on everything.
We’ve been doing a lot of work on the house and getting quotes for even more work (eek, a new roof). I’m super happy with the garage remodel, it is like a real room now. I’ve been pining for a microscope for the workbench so I could solder better. I could never have dreamt of that for the old garage, it would have just been another place for the spiders to live. I’m trying to be sensible and wait until I’ve needed it three times before I buy one.
I did kind of need it yesterday with a new board I got from a client. Work has been doing ok… there is plenty of it but the grass seems a little greener over there. One work project got cancelled so I immediately shifted over to a new one. It is interesting in an academic way but not really my cup of tea. I’m hoping the first one comes back or some other shiny object captures my attention. You know, I don’t really mind having to look around for shiny objects. If you hear of someone needing an embedded software consultant, do think of me, especially if they want to use an 8 or 16 bit processor.
I’ve been involved with DesignWest, the big embedded systems conference. So far, being a track chair isn’t too onerous. And I’ve been slowly working on my proposed talks. The moderator and I spoke with a panelist on the Sensors in Health panel. Scheduling it was difficult so we ended up on the phone. I was concerned about it meshing but I think we talked for all of three minutes before I thought, “This is going to rock!” I’m looking forward to repeating the interviews with the other panelists.
Let’s see, what else? The garden is a bit of a mess. We’ve had a few too many frosts this year so I’ve got a lot of damaged plants. I’m not sure the cold times are over so I haven’t cut back to new growth. It looks messy but in a few weeks, I’ll fix it.
Dogs are good. Well, not really. But they are cute so they continue to get fed. We lost Dylan, the big cat, over the holidays. That was sad. Ani, the littler, fuzzier cat, has gotten much friendlier. She’s always been really sweet but now she’s almost a lap kitty.
Oh, and my husband is great. Very excited about his new car/toy/spaceship. He had a cold but is over it, working a lot this week since he got roped into working for one of my clients.
Well, I just wanted to drop you a note to say I’m still alive. I do hope things are going well for you.
There is a guy crawling around my ceiling right now. On the upper side. And this is literal, not my usual metaphoric guy crawling around my head.
The guy is from a Solar City, he’s looking at the roof, at what would need to be replaced. Because all or part of our roof will need to be replaced before we get solar panels. I’ve wanted solar panels for a long time. It just meets some check on the list of “living in the future”.
When we moved in to the house, they said the roof would last 3-5 years and need re-doing. That was 15 years ago and every year we wonder if THIS is the year. And every year, including this one, we call a roofer to check it out and they do a couple repairs then say it will last 3-5 years.
So why is there another guy planning to destroy the roof? We’ve been waiting to get solar until the roof went. But the tail is going to wag the dog a bit:
We want a new roof because we want solar. We want solar because if we get solar, the panel upgrade is free. We need a panel upgrade because 100A is not enough to run the oven, the microwave and the charging station. We need the charging station for the new car. We need the new car because we got the garage re-done.
No, that last part isn’t right. We got the garage re-done because of the new car. And because the garage was horrific but it is super nifty now. And the floor will match the new car.
Which we will get on Saturday. Hopefully.
I remember once in a shared office, two guys I worked with were complaining that they never had time to exercise. They had plans but never got to it. They commiserated with each other about exercise falling by the wayside due to stupid work deadlines then turned to see if I’d join in. I said, “Don’t look at me. I get on the exercise bike with a beer and do my ten miles as soon as I get home.”
They were impressed. Probably more by the beer than by the consistency in exercise.
This year, I made a small new year resolution: for one week (starting January 1st) I’ll focus a bit more exercise; I want to get 10k steps on my Fitbit and spend time on the exerbike as well. My goal is to get into a new habit. The plan is that I didn’t need to do ten miles on the bike, just get on it for a few minutes. For the most part, I have done my normal ten, except for that day we rented a Wii Dance game (Rick Astley and Carly Rae Jepsen wore me out).
I only have one more day to walk and bike. I don’t anticipate any problems completing my goal and I plan to make a new one for next week. Though I may take a day off. I hoped for a habit but I find I’m starting to drag a bit. Maybe on Wed, I’ll do one or the other instead of both. Also, I’ll change resolutions to something else.
After all, over the last week, I have gained wait (but lost body fat according to the scale). Maybe next week, I’ll ditch the exercise goal and spend a week counting calories. Or maybe I’ll ditch health goals for a a week and spend a week writing more (I have a 10 part series I want to blog but haven’t had time with all the exercise). Or possibly I’ll do something particularly nice for someone every day. That is always a fun resolution. Or maybe I’ll spend an hour every day promoting my book (I suck at self promotion but there are people I should ask for reviews or send copies to). Or I could garden for an hour every day, clean up the backyard so the spring wildflowers can some in.
I suppose my real goal is to have some self-improvement-ish thing every week to focus on. Every thing I add takes time. Some thing will turn out to be worth the time. Some things won’t. Some things will form habits and after a week of concentrating on it, I won’t need to think about it anymore.
So, starting tomorrow, I’ll keep exercising (that has been a habit for years) but with a little less focus on it so I can try something else. Wish me luck and strong resolve.
Happy new year!
- Cuddle a bit with C
- Roll out of bed
- Grab sweats and yesterday’s shirt from floor
- Weigh self bemusedly on scale that is half deconstructed (I wrote part of the software; it is a test unit)
- Wash hands
- Free dogs from their crate
- Herd dogs into backyard
- Turn on coffee maker
- Open door for dogs, find shoes and go with them
- Deep breaths and stretch until both dogs return, admire sun rising and plants blooming
- Open door, dogs come in and run to their feeding locations
- Pet whichever dog was slowest (usually Bear but not always)
- Feed dogs
- Add water to the pets’ water bowl
- Tell cat to stop eating dog food
- Wash hands
- Look at time, think about what to do with morning
- Get mug, fill partway with water, take vitamin
- Start coffee brewing into mug
- Get food bar
- Take coffee and food bar to desk
- Get started