As I mentioned a few months ago, I think it’s valuable to consciously mark time as a way to make gradual changes to one’s behavior. I’m trying out the idea of New Month Resolutions; the basic principle is to choose some habit or activity each month to commit to, one that is (a) big enough that it takes a focused effort to get it done, and (b) small enough that one can expect to make real progress in 15-30 mins each day over the course of a month.
Play along from home, if you want. 🙂 (If you do, I’d love to hear about your experience!)
Update from Last Month (Feb 2020)
I’ve had another busy month. Two out of four weeks I spent in Munich for a workshop on Axion Cosmology.
Future travel plans are a bit on hold due to COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) becomes an increasingly serious concern. In March I still plan to visit a few cities in Europe with my girlfriend, but my planned visit to Japan in April may be cancelled or postponed. I’m holding off on planning any other big trips until things are more under control worldwide. Here’s a good site from John’s Hopkins tracking up-to-date cases around the world.
In the digital world: for better or worse, I’ve started maintaining a presence on Twitter. I’m posting 100 things over 100 days, about whatever I happen to be thinking about, following the advice of Jacob at PutANumOnIt. Check it out if you’re into that kind of thing!
Last Month’s Resolution (Feb 2020)
How’d I do last month?
1. Main Resolutions (Exercise)
Big failure. Opposite of success.
Last month I pledged to renew my subscription to the gym, go at least once per week, and also do yoga at least once per week. I did none of those things. I knew I was going to travel for the last two weeks of the month, and the knowledge of that depleted my gumption to begin the pledge when it was still possible. Why did I pledge to do things that are almost impossible while traveling? This thought crossed my mind as I wrote last month and I should have paid attention to the warning flag in my mind. The failure was predictable.
So in failure, there are lessons to be learned. The habits I want to form here are difficult ones and I’m not convinced I can really just will myself into them. I also set the bar pretty high, planning for a solid exercise routine directly starting from zero. But even though the actions didn’t take place, I think it’s been useful in the sense that I’ve kicked around the thoughts more often. I’ve been thinking about how good it would be to have more energy, feel stronger, likely sleep better, etc. I actually want to go to the gym, which wasn’t true last month.
So for now I accept the defeat, learn what there is to be learned from it… and next month, Begin Again.
- Commitment: 0/5
- Difficulty: 5/5
- Results (+/- relative to my expectation, which corresponds to 0): -5/5
- Likelihood to do it again the following month: 5/5
2. Minor Resolutions (Mindful Eating, Non-Excessive Drinking)
I also had the idea to continue my previous month’s resolutions, which went somewhat better. I’m still using the Eat Right Now app, which promotes mindful eating through daily lessons, exercises, and tools. I advanced roughly 1 more week in the program since last month, which is better than nothing.
For drinking, I’ve continued to accumulate data and I did succeed in my goal to reduce.
Mean drinks / day is 1.97, down from 2.87 last month, with only 2 days at the 5+ SDU threshold. The Mode is still 3 (if you exclude 0), which ideally would be closer to 1 or 2. Overall though, much better!
I’ll continue to use Eat Right Now, likely very passively and I expect for only one more month.
In terms of drinking, my goal is still to reduce: stay away from the 5+ SDU/day and 14+ SDU/week thresholds. It would be nice to make 1 or 2 drinks more common than 3 or 4.
I failed my NMR to exercise last month, so here I Begin Again. I’m shifting the goalpost to make it more accessible and less gumption-draining for the times I’ll be out of town.
Starting March 1, until (at least) the end of the month, I will go to the gym (at least) once per week, or 5 times overall during the month.
Known impediment: I’ll be traveling the during the second week of March.
Results and new Resolution will be given on or around April 1, 2020.