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Grading my resolutions for 2018

December 29, 2018

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Another year is coming to a close.

Long term readers may know this time of the year as my favourite. It’s the time I get to reflect on the past 365 days; grade myself on how it went; and plan the next 365 days.

Also note that some goals have changed since the commitments were made last year. Some goals turned out to be irrelevant or things I wasn’t seeking anymore.

Let’s get started.

Health

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| Eat a big bowl of salad at lunch | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 |
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Wow, what a way to start, right?

I won’t be keeping that as a resolution for 2019 simply because it’s a given at this point. I use my salad bowl daily, and I enjoy eating it.

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| Zero alcohol at home | 9 | 8 | 6 | 6|
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The year started off strong but withered away.

I enjoy having a glass of wine with Trader Joe’s 100% dark chocolate. Some alcoholics even claim red wine is healthy for you. I may need to modify this goal.

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| Two drink limit during social gatherings | 7 | 8 | 6 | 7 |
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For those that have read my article titled “If actions reflect values, what do they say about you?”, may know where this one came from. Turns out it’s … challenging — certainly a great one to work on in 2019.

And this has been my most successful year yet. It’s just not where I want to be.

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| Intermittent fast 3 times a week | 10 | 9 | 10 | 10 |
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Intermittent fasting, like salad eating, is so ingrained in my daily routine that it isn’t worth putting down as a goal. I think I’ll skip it next year.

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| Limit to two coffees a day | 8 | 10 | 10 | - |
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I don’t think I want to pursue this any more. Here’s a study that reported 22% lower risk of mortality for each 2 additional cups of coffee per day. Maybe — I should drink more! The truth is that just like red wine, I love my coffee and I will read studies that exclusively confirm my biases.

Minimalism

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| Stay item neutral | 10 | 10 | 10 | 8 |
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I’ve done a decent job de-cluttering our place and donating things we don’t use. I feel like I’ve slipped up a bit in the second half of the year. More importantly, without paying close attention, I can always end up with item creep. Maybe, Marie Kondo’s new show will keep me motivated. **spark joy** ✊.

Reading

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| Stay on course to read 16 books in a year | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |
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I’m at 19 books for the year according to goodreads. 5 of those books came in November — December time frame. That explains the lower rating in the first half of the year. On another note, during the November — December months, I discovered I can read much faster. I think I’ll be increasing this goal to 18 for 2019.

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| Replace pointless activities with reading | 6 | 7 | 7 | 7 |
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I define pointless activities as mindlessly browsing news, tech blogs, YouTube, etc. Reducing this will free up a ton of time. This will be a major focus for me in 2019.

One challenge that I have is differentiating between pointless browsing and browsing with a purpose. I’ve installed an extension on my browser that tracks the time I spend on each website. Unfortunately, I cannot differentiate between the “Cat reaction to a cucumber” video and “Hanging a door” video on YouTube (although one of these is hilarious).

Fitness

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| Go to the gym twice a week | 6 | 7 | 7 | 8 |
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Sigh….

This resolution isn’t asking for much — just two visits to the gym a week. Yet I barely manage to meet that. This will likely become my other big focus for 2019. I have some ideas on how to to tweak this resolution. You’ll have to read my next article to find out the juicy details.

Mindfulness

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| Don’t pull out your phone without a reason | 8 | 8 | 9 | 9 |
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I’m always entertained by people in elevators. Without fail, someone will pull out their phone, switch between a few screens, click on nothing and lock it back up. A sure sign you’re a busy and important person.

I made the conscious decision to limit my phone usage as much as possible. My “Screen time” on the iPhone is a proof of that — most weeks its less than 30 minutes a day. At the same time, it is still 25 minutes too long.

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| Stay present during walks | 5 | 4 | - | - |
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The purpose was to practice meditation on my commute to work.

Meditation is certainly trendy these days. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite for me (sorry Nina). Instead, I discovered the wonderful world of podcasts. I pride myself at being ahead of the curve on many things. However, with podcasts, I’m 15 years behind — but late is better than never.

Back when I would commute by bus, I used the time to read books. Once I moved closer to work, I felt that somehow I read less — even though I had more time. With podcasts, everything changed. I get about one hour a day, round trip, of solid listening.

And I get to learn so much. I listen to all sorts of health podcasts. I now know so much about human physiology I feel good about dishing out unsolicited advice.

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| Stop doing two things at once | 7 | 8 | 8 | 10 |
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Another one of my attempts at mindfulness. Mainly, I hated browsing while eating. I don’t remember the last time I did that.

Personal

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| Stop being late | 9 | - | 8 | 7 |
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Most of my friends can now attest to this. I generally show up on time.

One downside to this. Being late is very culturally accepted. Whenever someone is hosting me, they too are usually late. That’s why, I message my hosts and make sure they are okay with me showing up as planned.

Overall, I think I’m ending the year as a decent human being. There were some ups and downs. Unlike the stock market this year, I think I ended things on the up. 2019 is going to be great.


Leon Tager

Written by Leon Tager who lives and works in Seattle writing about a better life. You should follow him on Twitter