April goals

A new month, a new chance to think about what I want to accomplish. I’m pretty happy with my fitness goals and will be running them back with a few small modifications:

  • 8,000 steps per day
  • Average a 1,000 calorie per day deficit and maintain a calorie deficit every day
  • Work out three times a week (currently 3x sets of squats, push-ups, and rows)
  • Track weight and calorie intake every day
  • Track other body measurements (waist, chest, etc) weekly and take semi-monthly progress pictures

I’m upping the difficulty on my step goal slightly, and I think this may actually be challenging to complete. I have plenty of 10K+ days, but I also have had a fair number of days where I’m getting my last 1K steps in right under the wire. I’m really happy with my gym routine and diet, and while I’m continuing to make small adjustments to specifics, the overall goals are still very good.

I’m not quite as sanguine about my lifestyle goals as I was at the beginning of March – there were enough hiccups that I’m no longer super confident in how I’ve organized my tasks and scheduling – but I still feel like I’m where I want to be and just need to keep on with maintenance mode.

  • Call my parents every weekend
  • Improve the cleanliness/clutter level of my apartment every week
  • Once a week have an explicit cleaning task
  • Continue to organize my life along a task oriented methodology
  • Don’t have shut-in, depressive days

I’m switching the focus on my activity goals to be much more poker centric as that’s where my interests and time has shifted in the last month. As such I’m eliminating some Magic goals and tweaking some things.

  • Get 120 hours of poker in
  • Set aside specific times to study poker each week
  • Accumulate 30+ drawing tickets during the first week of the month
  • Write at least one blog post a week here
  • Do thorough preparation work for SCG Seattle tournaments I am doing commentary at
  • Write a specification for my MtGO Agent project and do initial research
Advertisements

Review of March Goals

Now that we’re winding down the month it’s time to review the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the month. These goals can be roughly broken down into health goals, life improvement goals, and activities goals.

For the health goals, which were the most important set of goals for me, I achieved all the goals I wanted to meet. Early in the month I decided that it was impractical to track my sleep cycle and water intake – I thought I had fine systems for doing this, but my methods were untested and ended up being infeasible. Empirically I’ve been sleeping less than I used to before starting this whole fitness routine and anecdotally I feel like I’ve been sleeping better and have more energy. I don’t actually have anything actionable I can do with sleep data at this point, so I’m happy to cut an extraneous measurement process. I might try to re-up the water measurement process at some point, but I need to rethink how I’m going to track that data before I try it again.

I met all of my step, workout, and calorie deficit goals and completed all of my other tracking goals , which I am really happy with. Next month I’m planning on running back all of these goals, with a slight difficulty increase for steps.

I also met all of my general life improvement goals for the month. There were a few hiccups with my task management system, mostly technical, which I may discuss at some point, but I was able to keep on track with everything.

My activity related goals took a bit of a hit this month, and I think will require some re-evaluation for next month. Poker went really well this month – both in terms of achieving goals and in terms of results – and I feel like the effort I’ve put into playing more and setting aside time specifically to study and improve is paying off. I was also pretty successful at keeping involved with this blog – I wanted to write a blog entry a week and I ended up writing seven total entries for the month. I was a bit more haphazard in my scheduling than I would like, and I’d like to work on getting into a regular writing schedule next month.

I fell down a bit on my Magic goals, however. I played in one real life PTQ, in Spokane at the beginning of the month, but I had zero play on Magic Online. I find it hard to engage in Magic Online – I like having physical cards and being able to see my opponent, and the visceral feel of playing in a tournament, and for some reason the convenience of MtGO has simply never clicked for me. I was also a bit crunched for time this month, as I unexpectedly started dating again, which I hadn’t really planned on doing until at least a few months down the line. This took away from time that I had planned on using to play Magic and work on MtGO Agent in, which is fine, but needs to be something I consider going forward.

Overall I’m happy with how the month turned out – I didn’t achieve everything I wanted to, but I feel like I did a good job prioritizing where I wanted to spend my time, and I’m very happy with the results I’ve achieved so far.

What I want

It’s important to keep the final vision in mind. It’s easy to get caught up in minutiae and make decisions based on local reasons instead of global goals. To that point, I want to state what I want to get out of self-improvement project:

  • I want to go skiing in the winter and finally take advantage of the geographic diversity of the Pacific Northwest
  • I want to go kayaking in the summers and learn to go out on the open water instead of just dinking around on Lake Union (which is still awesome)
  • I want to not feel guilty when I get stuck in the middle seat of a plane
  • I want to stop feeling a sense of dread when I’m about to go up a few flights of stairs or an inclined walk in the company of others
  • I want to be able to run a mile
  • I want to have more energy, to wake up each morning wanting to get out of bed and start my day
  • I want to feel comfortable inviting people over to my house and I want to feel connected to people around me
  • I want to feel like I’m a good brother and a good son
  • I want to feel like future girlfriends aren’t compromising their physical attraction standards to go out with me
  • I want to have my shit together – making excuses sucks and is bad all around
  • I want to pursue positive relationships in all aspects of life, to make things better than when I found them, and to make myself happier through the things I do
  • I want to be able to concentrate and not be a slave to my emotions when I need to, but to also have an outlet for my feelings and people I trust to share them with

I like who I am. But I want to be a better person.

March goals

Let’s talk goals for the next month. I’ve been really happy with my progress so far on health related goals, and I think I can step up the difficulty on most of them. I’m already meeting or exceeding most of these goals, but I’d like to be tracking against them explicitly going forward.

  • 7,000 steps per day
  • Average a 1,000 calorie per day deficit and maintain a calorie deficit every day
  • Work out three times a week (currently 3x sets of squats, push-ups, and rows)
  • Drink 128 oz of water each day
  • Track weight, sleep, and calorie intake every day
  • Track other body measurements (waist, chest, etc) weekly and take semi-monthly progress pictures

In the general life improvement set of goals I’m mostly in maintenance mode with a little tightening of restrictions. I completed a bunch of small but annoying tasks this month, like getting my Good to Go pass set up and canceling the TV service I never use, that removed a bunch of friction from my life, which has been a big relief.

  • Call my parents every weekend
  • Improve the cleanliness/clutter level of my apartment every week
  • Once a week have an explicit cleaning task
  • Continue to organize my life along a task oriented methodology
  • Don’t have shut-in, depressive days

In the hobbies/income/creative categories of goals I’m running back most of my goals, adding a couple of things, and tweaking my blogging goal to make it psychologically a bit easier to achieve.

  • Get 120 hours of poker in
  • Set aside specific times to study poker each week
  • Write at least one blog post a week here
  • Go to one of the IRL PTQs (there are five PTQs on three weekends this month, but they are all 5+ hour drives from Seattle, so attending more than one is ambitious)
  • Play in at least one MtGO PTQ
  • Play more MtGO (30+ tickets worth of tournaments)
  • Do thorough preparation work for the SCG tournaments I am doing commentary at
  • Write a specification for my MtGO Agent project and do initial research

One of the problems I encountered with the blogging goal I set up for last month was that it was too easy to procrastinate, and then once I had procrastinated it felt too daunting for me to try to catch back up. I think by making this a weekly goal instead of a monthly goal I’ll be more motivated to keep up to date with it.

So, that’s my plan for this month. Let’s see how I do.

February goal tracking

February is almost over, which means it is time to measure my progress against my goals for this month. To recap, my goals were:

  • Take a 15 minute walk every day
  • Call my parents every weekend
  • Improve the cleanliness/clutter level of my apartment every week
  • Weigh myself every day
  • Don’t have shut-in, depressive days
  • Average 6,000 steps per day
  • Track my food intake
  • Track my sleep cycles
  • Get 120 hours of poker in
  • Continue to organize my life along a task oriented methodology
  • Write at least four posts here
  • Don’t skip any IRL Magic PTQs
  • Play in at least one MtGO PTQ
  • Play more MtGO (30+ tickets worth of tournaments)

So, how did I do?

  • I achieved all of my health and fitness goals for the month, and mostly exceeded them. I’ve lost 15 pounds since the start of the new year, I’m feeling a lot more energetic, and I am enjoying having a daily exercise routine. Since I started keeping track of calories I’ve been motivated to keep a daily calorie deficit and that has accelerated my weight loss.
  • I also met my “be a better person/don’t be an asshole” goals. Specifically, I’ve been talking to my parents regularly, I’m making an effort to keep in touch with friends and not be a recluse, I’m keeping my apartment clean (and making it cleaner each week), I’m continuing to organize my life, and I’ve gone out on a few dates with some nice women.
  • I completed half of my Magic related goals. I’m playing some MtGO (which I am terrible at right now because I keep on letting myself get distracted) and I went to a couple of IRL Magic PTQs. I skipped one IRL PTQ to go on a date, which I did consciously and don’t feel invalidates the goal. I did miss my MtGO PTQ goal – it turns out there was only one MtGO PTQ this month, and I missed it due to poor planning/obliviousness. Finally, I definitely punted my goal of making four blog posts here this month – this is actually the first one I’ve made.
  • I am currently at 90.5 hours of poker played for the month and I’m not likely to get an additional 30 hours in over the next three days. I’m probably going to get up to about 100 to 110 hours in (I am playing 4-5 hours tonight and 6-12 hours tomorrow but Thursday I am taking off to do errands, get lunch with friends, and go dancing). I think I am fine with this – I had a really bad start to the month, results wise, which led to me taking a bunch of days off to de-steam, and my weekends have been pretty Magic filled. I think 120 hours a month is an achievable goal, but probably a difficult one. I am likely to run it back for next month.

Overall I am pretty pleased with how the month went. The health and be a better person goals were the things I wanted to work on the most, so I’m really happy that I met all of those goals. I also had a lot of other good things happen this month, including convincing Star City Games to let me do coverage for SCG Seattle in April, training two new judges, and playing some pretty good Magic.

I have good ideas about what I want to do in the next month and overall I am pleased with how this whole project is going.

January recap and setting goals for February

I didn’t feel to great about myself at the end of last year. I was in the worst shape of my life (and I’ve never been a particularly healthy or active person), I wasn’t miserable but I wasn’t happy, and I ended a lot of days feeling like I just hadn’t accomplished anything. So in December I made a decision to try to make my life a little bit better every day. I’m pleased with my progress so far, but I still have a lot I want to accomplish.

I know enough about myself to realize that while I’m very good at stopping doing something all at once (e.g. when I quit smoking), I struggle when I try to start something big or make changes to existing behaviors. So my strategy has been to introduce gradual changes to my life, set goals for my self, gather data frequently, and evaluate how well I am implementing these changes and whether the changes are actually effective at heading towards my goals. It’s a semi-Scrum type of project management, in that I’m breaking things down into small tasks, tacking a lot of problems simultaneously, and constantly measuring and re-evaluating against my goal burn down.

I’ve decided that I want to set new goals and evaluate progress on at least a monthly basis for all the things I’m trying to accomplish, and I want to have something permanent that I can point to and say “you made a commitment,” so I’ve decided that I’m going to publish my goals and my progress evaluation here on this blog. I may decide that I want to track things at a finer-grained level in the future, but again, part of my process is initiating small change that is easy to commit to and attempting to ingrain it as habit before introducing new change.

So where am I at? Well for January I wanted to do the following:

  • Take a 15 minute walk every day
  • Call my parents every weekend
  • Improve the cleanliness/clutter level of my apartment every week
  • Weigh myself every day
  • Don’t have shut-in, depressive days

I’ve accomplished all of these goals and they are all feeling pretty natural. Additionally, I’ve taken steps to really organize my online and offline life, post here more frequently, and try to be more social, all things that I wanted to work on but hadn’t set as goals for January. So yay so far!

For February I want to:

  • Maintain all of my January goals
  • Average 6,000 steps per day
  • Track my food intake
  • Track my sleep cycles
  • Get 120 hours of poker in
  • Continue to organize my life along a task oriented methodology
  • Write at least four posts here
  • Don’t skip any IRL Magic PTQs
  • Play in at least one MtGO PTQ
  • Play more MtGO (30+ tickets worth of tournaments)

So that’s what I’m doing for the next month.