My good friend Wheatbread recently brought up the idea of “quarterly resolutions” — as opposed to “New Year’s Resolutions.” For Wheat, the concept is that a resolution that you intend to hold to for an entire year is just too daunting, like losing 100 lbs. (more on that in a minute), but a quarterly or seasonal resolution is much more realistic and doable.
I’ve held off making any resolutions — New Year’s or otherwise — because I’m notoriously bad at keeping them. Why bother if I know I’m going to fail? But, I’ve come to a few realizations or decisions that have put me in the mind to make some resolutions. And resolutions tend to stick better if you announce them publicly.
So, with little further ado, my Q1 2006 Resolutions:
- eat better: I should do this. I’m 36. I’m overweight. I’m in terrible shape. I’d rather not die before my son graduates from high school (or kindergarten). The thing is: I’m compelled to eat total crap. I’m a stress eater, and I’m a depression eater. I have too much of both of those in my life. For example: tonight for supper I had a plate of chilli cheese fries. Sounds good, right? Nope. They weren’t. The anticipation of the chilli cheese fries was good. VERY good. But the truth of the chilli cheese fries is that I didn’t really enjoy them that much, they cost too much, and I feel guilty as hell (and a little queasy) after having eaten them. I derive more satisfaction (in all dimensions) from eating a big healthy salad. So, why do I eat the chilli cheese fries instead? I think it’s mostly about perceptions. I perceive the chilli cheese fries (or pizza or whatever) as a guilty pleasure or an indulgence, and by God, I’ve had a rough week, so I deserve a little indulging. What I need to do is work on changing my perceptions of indulgence. That’s a better formulation of my first resolution.
- exercise more: really, in order to make the eating better effective at the primary goal (lose weight, be healthier) it HAS to be coupled with exercising more. Plus, I know from past experience that exercising (even just walking regularly) makes me feel better mentally because it reduces stress and because I know I’m making myself healthier. Plus, it makes me feel better physically, too. I say my life’s too busy to do this regularly, but, hell, I spend twice that per day mindlessly surfing the web for stupid crap. I’d LOVE replace some of that with some exercise. This one’s easy. Resolved: walk for 30 minutes every day.
- read more good stuff: I was an English major in college. I actually ENJOYED reading “literature” at one time. Lately, it’s been mostly roleplaying games, flyfishing books (not the literary kind, usually), comics, and technical books. I’m committing myself to read two novels per month, one of them “literary.” Yeah, I know this one sounds like I ganked it from Wheat, but it’s all mine.
- get offline more: I’m a web developer and my day job entails sitting in front of a computer with an internet connection and using the web all day. Granted the lion’s share of that is directly work related. But, I can skim in a minute or two here and there (far less than what a lot of my co-workers spend on smoke breaks) and get all the web surfing I need done. I need to spend more time reading, interacting with my friends and family, listening to music, being outside, etc.
- sleep more: Seriously. I have a fairly stressful day job and a rambunctious almost-three-year-old to entertain when I get home from the job. When everyone else is asleep is usually my “me time.” I’m selfish, and I like as much “me time” as I can squeeze out of the day. What usually gets cut from the rest of the day? It’s not work. It’s not time with my son and wife. It’s not time spent watching TV. Usually, it’s sleeping. I get on average about six hours of sleep per night during the week. The weekends probably bump that to seven hours, rarely eight. Getting more sleep will work hand-in-hand with the eating better and exercising more to make me healthier.
- Go fishing!: in the literal and figurative senses. I used to be deep into flyfishing, but I let life and some other things pile up and conspire to keep me close to home for the last year or so. Fishing (at least the way I do it) usually results in more poking around the river banks or watching birds or dragonflies instead of fish caught (and almost always released, anyway). If I do it right, it’s restorative. If I don’t, it’s frustrating. I aim to do it right this time.
- make some music: I’ve been a musician since I was a kid, and at some times very serious about it. I’ve missed that part of my life, and I intend to get back into it in a small way, enough to satisfy that part of me. I usually have the problem of getting too intense about it and abandoning other parts of my life to devote to “The Music.” My resolution is to spend more time making music, but to do it just for my own pleasure, without any need for external validation. This may be the toughest one.
[Edit: I left out a couple of important ones.]
Hmmm. I think that’s enough for now. I mean, really, isn’t a total reboot of my mental and physical health enough to handle for one three-month period? I’ll report back at least monthly, then do a end-of-quarter recap and set new goals. See you in April!