Jan 5, 2015

New Year's Resolutions - 2015

When I was younger, I thought New Year's resolutions were unnecessary at best. After all, one can resolve to improve one's life at any point in the year, so why create a special time for it?

I've since come around on them, though. It's convenient to have a specific time to take stock and set goals because, practically speaking, if you don't schedule a time to do it you're unlikely to ever do so. It also provides a good evaluation period; one year is long enough to exhaust the initial burst of energy, and long enough to develop real habits, but short enough that you can probably remember most of it.

I made some resolutions last year that it's time to evaluate, and I've made some new ones for this coming year. First, last year's:

2014 - Exercise Every Day

My first resolution was to do some sort of exercise every day. This could be as simple as a few sit-ups, the only requirement was to do something physically exerting each and every day.

From January 1 to May 14, I only had a single unexcused skip, but the pattern fell apart after that. I skipped 6 days between May 15 and June 10, at which point my log ends. The improvement in capability over that time is pretty impressive, though. On January 1, I did 20 push-ups, which was as many as I could do at the time. On May 22, I did 3 sets of 40 push-ups each, which is harder than I would have guessed at the start.

I saw a lot of improvement over those few months, but I ended up just not having the motivation to keep going. Once I had proven that I could make myself do it, the fact that I didn't enjoy it one bit won out, so I let it go.

2014 - Run a 5k

For my second resolution, I wanted to run a 5k. Pat runs a lot, I figured I would try it out, and running is good exercise (one might be sensing a theme). I picked a distance because, in my experience, that's the only way to actually make any progress. Just saying to yourself, "I'm going to run as far as I can each day" is a recipe for not pushing yourself very hard and hitting a wall.

This was a success; I ran the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5k on November 1. In addition, I biked the 55 mile Discover Hudson Valley Ride on June 29, which wasn't part of the original plan but seems related.

I can't say this spurred me on to do much more running, though. I mostly concluded that running is pretty miserable; you move too slowly to see much scenery, you can't really have a conversation with anyone, and it's just really boring. Biking is much more my style, but it's also not as good exercise. I'm still searching for a good regular exercise method; soccer might be the best bet once the weather gets warm again.

2014 - Replace My Wardrobe

For my third resolution, I wanted to change my wardrobe. For the last decade or so, my standard outfit has been hiking boots, white socks, jeans, and a graphic t-shirt of some sort, which worked well for a long time, but I felt had gotten out of sync with my image of myself. As well, a lot of my clothing (my shirts in particular) was beginning to wear thin and needed replacing. Time for a wardrobe makeover.

This was also a success. As I type this, I'm wearing entirely clothing I didn't own at the beginning of 2015. I'm not wearing suits or cardigans regularly, but my jeans are new; my shirts are mostly solid color or patterned, higher quality, and include some long-sleeved and button-down options; and I have regular shoes instead of boots. The change of shoes isn't as convenient now that it's winter, I have to admit, but overall I think it's a change for the better.

For this year, here's the plan:

2015 - Read 30 Books

In 2014, despite reading a huge amount of shortform content, I only read a couple books. Partly this was due to getting halfway through Pride and Prejudice and not wanting to either pick it up again or admit that I wasn't going to, but all the same, I should read more books. 30 is a little more than one every two weeks, which is a reasonable pace. Pat and I are going to read books in bed at night instead of using electronic devices as part of this, which should be a nice improvement.

2015 - Blog Weekly

I have a bunch of thoughts I'd like to put down in writing, but I never make the time to do so. Writing things down and publishing them forces you both flesh them out more fully and subject them to criticisms, so it's a nice improvement from just having thoughts running around your head. This is the blog post for week number one, so 51 more to go.

These aren't huge changes so much as minor improvements. The year is shaping up to have plenty of huge life changes as it is, though, so that's probably for the best. Here's to 2015!