It’s that time of the year when people make public promises to themselves that last almost as long as the hangover most of them are going to earn tonight, otherwise known as New Year’s Resolutions.
Not a fan.
I am, however a fan of planning out some concrete goals and doing my best to meet them. I do this through a series of 30 day projects. I set a goal that can be reached in 30 days, and push for it. I tend to make my goals fairly aggressive, and I tend to meet them.
Here were my goals and results for 2010:
- January: Wake up at 5am AND read to my kids every night before bed. These were easy goals to meet. A year later, I am still getting up much earlier than I ever have, even if it’s not 5AM. I write better late at night than I do early in the morning, anyway. I’m not still reading to my kids every night, but we are making progress on teaching my four-year-old to read.
- February: Do 100 push-ups at one time by the end of the month. I accomplished this in 22 days. I also had a secret project that involved doing something sweet for my wife every day. By the end of the month, she was convinced I had done something horrible that I was trying to make up for.
- March: Do 100 sit-ups at one time by the end of the month. It took me a week, but I found out how bad sit-ups are for your back. Pure failure.
- April: Spring Cleaning. I will declutter every room in my house this month. We missed one room and one closet, but made a lot of charities happy.
- May: Have a sit-down dinner with my family, at the dining room table at least 3 times per week. We managed this one and enjoyed it, but we haven’t managed to keep it up. I’ll have to try this again.
- June: No computer use, while anyone else in the family is awake, except for household necessities, such as bills. This one worked well and improved the quality of our interaction. I’m not quite this strict about it, but my computer use has gone down dramatically while my family is awake.
- July: Write fiction every day. I don’t think I wrote more than a few pages of fiction, but I did write every day.
- August: Buy nothing new this month. We came very close to doing this one perfectly. It wasn’t easy.
- September: Attempt to learn a new language. Total bomb. I never even got started.
- October: No yelling at the kids. Have you ever thought about trying this with a a two-year-old and a four-year-old? We never got started.
- November: No complaining. Not at home, not at work. I didn’t make this an actual month, but I’ve been trying to complain much less. I think it’s been working.
- December: I will have done 14 projects this year. December is a month off. As planned, I took December off.
So I missed 4 months of projects. This year, I’m going to modify my overall plan and only do 6 projects, every other month. That will give me a month off to either relax or incorporate the goal into my ongoing habits without any stress.
Here are my goals:
- January: I’m going to do Tim Ferriss’s Slow-Carb diet. Yes, it’s a fad diet, but it beats the constant stream of garbage I eat now. The basic plan is to avoid anything white; no bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, or sugar. That’s accompanied by a targeted supplement regimen and a timed exercise plan to manipulate my metabolism. I’m not adding any aerobic exercise to my day, because I want this to be as controlled an experiment as possible. If it’s working at the end of the month, I will keep it going. It’s time to not be fat anymore.
- March: In February, I managed to get myself able to do 100 pushups in a single set. In March, I hurt my back trying to do the same with sit-ups and that killed my workout habit. This March, I’m going to do the 100 pushups challenge again, but this time, I’m going for perfect pushups. Last year, they got sloppy after about 80. This year, that won’t be good enough.
- May: I’m going to do at least 30 days of the Couch to 5k running program. It’s a 9 week program. As a 30 day project, it’s designed to establish the habit. When I tried picking up running last year, my knees were causing problems. Hopefully, my January project will mitigate that this year.
- July: I’m going to pick up a new language. This is the failed plan from September 2010. I’ve narrowed it down to either Spanish, Swedish, or Italian. One is useful, one is a part of my heritage, and one is for fun. At the moment, I’m undecided.
- September: Undecided. I am leaning towards a “nice” month. 30 days of doing something nice, for someone, somewhere. If I go this route, I’ve got 9 months to plan, because that’s a lot of things to do.
- November: Absolutely undecided. Any suggestions?
That’s my plan for the new year. Six specific goals, each lasting 30 days. I could definitely use some help for September and November. Please give me some suggestions in the comments.