Livin’ on a Prayer

It’s well known at this point that I have a bunch of New Year’s resolutions and that, when I run out of things to talk about otherwise, I go back to writing about them.  Well, since I have nothing else to write about, and since, to quote the “great” Jon F. Bongiovi, Jr., “we’re halfway there” with respect to 2014, I figured it was time for another update.

Weekly Resolutions

There are roughly 52 weeks / year, which means we should be about 26 weeks into the year up through July 1.  Here’s how I’ve done in weekly resolutions up to now.

  • Work out 5 times / week:  24/26.  Technically this is A- to A range, but at least one of those weeks I worked out 6 times.  Moreover, I managed to work out 5 times a week on my 3 week vacation, and I’ve recently turned up the dial a bit (see BF%, below).  I give myself a solid A; short of an A+, but still pretty good.
  • Sleep 56h / week: 2/26, F.  Maybe even F-.  I think I have to face the music on this one; it’s completely incompatible with the next resolution, since I have trouble falling asleep, and even on weekends when I don’t have to get out of bed it’s difficult for me to get 8 hours of sleep.  I’ll keep tracking it, but I doubt it’ll make the list for next year.
  • Wake up earlier: 7/26 on getting into the office before 8:00 5 days a week.  This, quite frankly, is pitiful — I give myself an F.  I think if I relaxed the constraint to 8:15 or so, I’d probably be sitting at about 18 or 20 instead, and if I relaxed it to 4 days per week before 8:15 I’d be sitting at about 22.  Recent efforts have been unhinged by success in…
  • 1 Date / week: 19, but if you just count overall dates I’m probably sitting somewhere in the 40s.  Admittedly, recent dating efforts have been concentrated on one person, but that was the entire point of the resolution anyway.  I give myself an A here.
  • Contact 1 long-distance friend / day: 22/26, largely due to missing a single day here and there, and vacation, when it was exceedingly difficult to contact anyone.  I give myself an A here also, since I think I’ve only really missed two days.
  • Write 1x / week: 25 / 26.  I managed to keep this up during my vacation, but I’ve fallen off a bit since.  Don’t worry, I actually have a ton of boring nonsense to write about — I’ve just had trouble making time to do so, since I’ve been traveling on weekends a lot recently.  I’m in town for a good stretch for the rest of the summer, so I shouldn’t have any trouble here.  I give myself a cautious A, with the caveat that what I’ve written recently is uninspired and vapid, and I really need to step up my game.
  • Music 2 hours / week: 14 / 26.  I missed a few weeks due to vacation, and I missed a few weeks because I was like 20 minutes short.  That said, I’ve worked my way through almost the entirety of the Justin Guitar beginner’s course (which, if I haven’t shilled for it yet, I will now: it’s pretty fantastic.  He knows exactly what to practice and how to practice it, separating the skill areas and giving techniques with measurable results; he teaches chords first, then notes, so you can play songs from the beginning; he emphasizes ear training so you can pick up songs and think critically about your own playing), and at this point I can play a pretty wide variety of songs and styles and think of at least one way to play pretty much any chord, or something near enough that it sounds OK.  I’ve even more-or-less reached the point where I can see a new chord and sort of instinctively figure it out and switch to it, and I know just enough about music theory and finger shapes and the notes on the guitar to create any major / minor / V or VII chord I don’t know.  Despite batting just over .500 on this one, I give myself a B, tinging toward B+.  A by EOY if I can play through the beginner’s songbook and have mastered switching barre chords.

Yearly Resolutions

These are the resolutions I made for the entire year.  This category is pretty embarrassing, for exactly the reason I pointed out in my original post — if you have a full year to accomplish them, you’re going to put them off over and over and over until suddenly the year is over and you can’t do them anymore.

  • Body fat percentage: This hasn’t gone down.  Like, at all.  When I gave up drinking for Lent, I expected it to go down, and it didn’t.  When I went on a cruise and ate 3 meals every day for dinner alone, I expected it to go up, and it didn’t.  At one point I started eating spinach salads every day for lunch, and I immediately lost about 10 lb and 2-3% body fat.  Then it came back.  It hasn’t gone away since.  I’m forced to believe that either my scale is broken (unlikely…) or I’m at what is really a healthy weight for me.  I’ve also re-emphasized cardio in my workouts, where if I have time once my workout is done I’ll try to get in some additional treadmill time (frequently sprint intervals), and I’ve at least started to look like I have lower body fat, although my scale doesn’t seem to believe that that’s the case.  Either way, I’m not going to get down to 10% this year, and probably ever again.  I give myself an F, but with the caveat that I’ll put that up to a passing grade if at the end of the year I at least almost look like I have a 6-pack.  Next year I will make this a more realistic goal.
  • Olympic Triathlon: This one just isn’t happening.  I haven’t biked to work.  I think biking is scary and dangerous (although admittedly not so bad on bike trails as on roads).  F-.
  • Dance lessons: Also has not happened; not on the cruise, not anywhere.  In fact, I went to a wedding recently, and my inability to dance was pretty embarrassing, frankly.  I should see if the girl mentioned in “1 Date / week” above is interested in taking lessons with me; my impression is she is similarly in possession of two left feet.  F.
  • Join / form a band: F.  Just F.  I literally don’t think I know anyone anymore who plays anything.
  • Coursera: I couldn’t finish a course I was taking earlier on Python because I “had to” go to Europe for three weeks, but it was a really easy course, and I will likely take it again if it comes back up.  Right now I’m taking a machine learning course that looks pretty promising; it was also apparently one of the first courses Coursera offered.  I give myself a C right now, with a real chance to rescue that to an A by EOY.
  • Survive: Hangin’ on by a thread!  C at best.


Overall grade: C.  For the most part, I’ve gone a bit downhill since the last time I checked in, which is frustrating.  On the other hand, I’ve seen a lot of progress in the things I really wanted to get done this year — I feel pretty good about my overall fitness level, I’ve been pretty successful dating, I’ve stayed in contact with a number of friends I haven’t seen in awhile (although I need to do better on that front, since it’s mostly the same group of 7-10 friends every week), I’ve gained some facility on the guitar.  The real thing I think I’ve done is identify certain things I just don’t care that much about (e.g., getting to work early) and certain things that are likely infeasible (56 hours of sleep, 10% body fat), and the key takeaway is that next year I’ll need to amend them in some fashion.  There’s still a lot of things I want to get out of this year that I haven’t done, and I’ll also need to start being proactive on that front, lest the year slip by and I haven’t managed to become even passable on a dance floor.  I’m sure I’ll check in with a final report card in six months, if not before.


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