Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014: The year of Health and Discovery

This might be overkill, but I'm declaring some pretty big goals this year.  Actually, the goals are more like the results of what I am hoping to establish as systems or routines for being a happier person.  I don't want to say that my goal is to become a better person because that implies that I am not a good one.  As a society, we are starting to drift further and further away from the things that make us happy humans, so my goals, or systems, are focused on getting back to what matters.

Why systems and not just the goals?  Because my friend Courtney recently shared an article that made some sense to me which essentially says we might be more successful if we establish systems rather than goals - you can find the article here.

Data.  So, I'm a data geek, and I love numbers and spreadsheets.  I also want a nifty way to show people how I'm doing in achieving my goals (really systems but I have to make them into goals for everyone else to understand and track, and I'm not too intimidated by big goals after having done Ironman twice).  So, at the risk of exposing myself as too much of a data nerd, here is a Google spreadsheet that the whole world can view, and maybe even off-world beings if they have access to our interwebs, where you can track my progress on the big goals.  I even opened it up for commenting, so have at it!

And now, what you've been waiting for... here are my big goals (really systems):

HEALTH

  • Complete 1,000 miles of fitness.  This can include running, walking, swimming, and maybe some biking though I will avoid using biking/cycling too much because then the goal would be too easy to game.  My friend Rob just completed his 1,000 miles of running goal for 2013.  I liked that idea, but I wanted to be inclusive of other sports.  Again, my goal is more to establish a regular system of fitness where I am eager to achieve a daily/weekly goal of miles.  This will be new to me because usually I use a specific race as an end goal for fitness.  Now, I want to try to achieve fitness just for fitness' sake.
  • Don't eat processed junk food.  So, I'm not really going to track this one, but I generally want to get into the habit of not reaching for sweet or salty junk food that is processed.  I really don't even like it that much, so why do I continue reaching for it?  Because the food industry has made it addictive.  If you read closely, you know there is a big loophole here, but I think it's a good one - I can still eat homemade junk food.  This is great because I love baking, so I can still try my creations and be polite by eating other people's creations, and not deprive myself so much that I end up binging anytime the will power slips for a second (aka, I have a glass of wine).
  • Limit virtual connection time to make more time for real conversation and partaking of actual life.  I've become more and more concerned about the impact of us being ultra-connected.  It looks like a few other folks are starting to recognize this and put it into better words.  This is an excellent video about how we are more connected yet more alone - yes, it's almost 20 minutes long, but I was pretty much glued to the screen after about 6 minutes (a bit of a slow lead up, but well worth it).  So, how am I going to work toward this?  I already downgraded my phone to an old-fashioned flip phone with no data.  Strange, but true.  I actually feel more free when I'm out of the house with no internet access.  I still have my wireless iPad mini as a crutch, but I usually don't carry it.  What else?  Only check social media 3 times per day.  When possible (depending on work issues), only check email 3 times per day.  Start my day listing what I need to achieve before coming anywhere close to the interwebs and email.  I had a bit of debate with myself about whether to put this goal in HEALTH or DISCOVERY.  I ended up with HEALTH because I think it will help so much with mental and social happiness that the DISCOVERY benefits will just feel like gravy.

DISCOVERY

  • Write for 1 solid hour per week.  You are witnessing the result of most of the first hour of this goal.  How does it feel to be a part of the madness?  Anyway, I've always wanted to experiment more with writing, and I've read several articles/blogs that mention a key part of being a writer is just getting the words out - and, a simple, achievable way to do that is to simply require yourself to write every day.  I'm not trying to quit my day job, so I'm going to start out with just one solid hour per week, and see how that makes me feel through the year.  The writing does not have to be toward any particular purpose (like blogging), but can be anything - stream of conscious, stories, work-related, etc.  As long as I am close to constant-writing during that block of time.
  • Release at least 1 crochet pattern per month on Ravelry and Etsy.  For a couple of years now, I've been selling patterns though not very seriously.  As I released a few more and opened my Etsy shop, I realized that this hobby could actually contribute more to my income which is great because I actually love all the aspects of this small business (like social media marketing, etc.).  The primary limit of this area of potential is simply the number of patterns that I have available.  So, by releasing at least one pattern per month, I can gradually grow this business while keeping it enjoyable.  Oh, and writing patterns does not count as writing time - it's much more mathematical and spacial conception applied to paper, not creative writing.
So there you have it.  My big, fat Greek-American goals for the year 2014.  Let me know what you think.  Cheers and Happy New year!
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