Day 150: Goals, failures at the 150-day mark

150 days in, and time to take stock briefly. Goals, failures. There are some wins, and some not-wins.

  • Sobriety: definite win. I am crushing this. There’s occasional urges, and infrequent social pressure. But nothing too serious. People still ask me when I’m going to start drinking again, which is a fair question, because I’ve been positioning myself as “not drinking for now.” But I don’t feel any real need to drink any more. This would have seemed like an impossibly long road on January 1. One day at a time really does work.
  • Exercise: moderate win. I’m doing pretty well at getting out there; I’ve had a few injuries that I’ve gotten through. But I’m phoning it in more than I’d like; motivation is a factor a lot of time time.
  • Food: not great. Not TERRIBLE, but food is still my go-to vice, above and beyond anything. Food is still something I sneak and don’t tell people about. Food planning takes time and I’m not good about it. That’s kind of the key to the whole disaster — I don’t plan.
  • Sleep: pretty good? I’ve been spotty on the checklist lately.

It’s interesting hitting this milestone in the middle of Staycation Week, because that’s kind of throwing things off a little too.  The new podcast, too, is taking time — more time than I thought it would — and that, as well, is messing things up a little.

On the whole, I feel good. But it might be time to start actually doing some goal-setting… like “target weight” type goal setting. I’ve been resisting it so far. Scientifically, though, I now have proof that just staying sober and regular exercise isn’t enough to help the weight without some regimented goals and food monitoring.

Goals, failures, and food monitoring…

It comes back to food problems a lot, doesn’t it? I guess that’s the goal for the next 150 days. And those days start today. Okay, food, it’s on. Let’s do this thing. Or, y’know, not do this thing, if the thing is eating too much.



Day 149: Awkward Favours

I spent Sunday helping a friend move a shed. As I said at the end of the day, “as long as nobody wound up injured, it’s fun.” And it was. We disassembled a shed and moved the components to his back yard. Shed re-assembly is going to be a summer project for him. But now I’m in the realm of awkward favours.

Because the deal was we spend a couple of hours moving the shed. We move it in a trailer he’s borrowed from his folks. Then we do a lumber run for stuff I need for projects for this week.

The shed move took eight hours, not a couple. It was a complicated shed. And now I’m in awkward favours territory. Because it’s kind of a pain to get this trailer. And the whole “get lumber” thing was phrased as “why don’t we move the shed, and then make another run up to the lumber place,” not, like, a contract. And the day did involve a trip to a hardware store where I picked up a few things as well as the stuff needed for the shed move. Just not the stuff I need.

So I don’t know if I should press for the favour now. Awkward, right?

Awkward favours are awkward because I make them awkward.

I know this. This isn’t a mystery. I’m the problem here. Just nutting up and asking for the favour would be way easier than agonizing over it. But that’s me. Being awkward.

At the end of the day, there’s an inconvenience factor of taking the bus, plus $25 to rent a van. It’s not a big deal. I’m just making it a big deal because that’s HOW I ROLL.

So the conclusions here are: 1. nut up and ask for the favour; and 2. not make it a big deal either way. Let’s go, Team Awkward.

Day 148: Staycation 1

Monday morning, and I’m not going to work! I’m taking a vacation week, but for financial and other reasons, just sticking to town. As mentioned earlier, I’ve got a list of projects for the week. I’ve roughly planned things out with my wife. I’m getting set.

Yesterday got a bit sidelined, though — emergency request to help a friend, which turned into a noon til almost 9 p.m. thing. So I’ve got a few things to tackle today that are held over from yesterday, which is fine. But it was a super late night, so I think I’m going to officially start my staycation with some extra sleep. Then exercise, then getting things on track.

Again, I have twin goals: 1. don’t take on too much, and 2. don’t take on too little.

And I need to keep up the exercise and the food logging. I had a break for a few days very recently, so while I’m not working at the office this week, staycation doesn’t mean hedonism.

So food logging is up right now, then about an hour of sleep, then… back on the horse. Staycation!


Day 147: Nerd Commitments

It’s a beautiful day outside. And I feel like I’m stuck in the L’il Rascals trope of being in the classroom. Because I have nerd commitments. My new show is underway, I have a great interview to edit, but it needs editing. Which means I need to edit it. Here. At the computer. Indoors.

It’s going to take a couple hours, and when I’m done, I’ll have a tight 22-25 minutes of interview. Share that with the subject, get tracks, drop the tracks in, and Bob’s your uncle. It’s a good system.

But I want to be outsiiiiiiiiiiiide. Nerd commitments. I also need to work on the songs I promised people back in March.

The songs aren’t on a deadline, but the show certainly is. So I gotta do it. And I enjoy doing it.

But I don’t wanna.

I want to be outside gardening (which I normally don’t like), or at least puttering — not inside computer-stuffing. But nerd commitments have been made and have to be honoured.

Nerd commitments first, canoeing later.

I promised myself (and my wife) to get out on the water this afternoon, so I need to get this done. Make breakfast, buckle down, and nerd until noon. Then lunch, and then an afternoon of canoeing (and also, y’know, outdoor work and stuff. Tonight: Logan!

There’s lots to look forward to, I just need to knuckle into getting my chores out of the way, so to speak. And I enjoy working on the show! I just need to work on the show so I can get a clear conscience to get out on the water.

So: record this, make breakfast, and then hit the editing hard for a couple hours. Then an afternoon of fun.

I’m in my forties, and still having a “dessert first” problem with time scheduling. Shouldn’t I be an adult by now? Good lord.


Day 146: Staycation and Staycation Dangers

All right. So aside from a few small things that need squaring away during the week, I’m on vacation next week. Well, staycation. I’m not leaving town, and planning on just doing stuff around the house.

Or not planning, really. It’s been hectic enough that I haven’t really thought through what I’ll be doing through the week. I know it’s a staycation, but I don’t have any goals or, well, vacation ideas.

Staycations tend not to work well for me.

I have a natural tendency to putter, and enjoyment of goofing around with games and stuff. So there’s a temptation to overcompensate and try to turn this into a “different work” week, where I’m booking my time full of house projects and things.

Essentially I’m trying to avoid two outcomes.

The first is I finish the week and it’s just kind of been a loooooong weekend. I end up anxious and depressed because I’ve “wasted” all this time.

The second is I finish the week and I’ve taken on a lot of stuff and feel like I’m not relaxed or recharged at all. Possibly stressed because there’s a lot left undone.

Both of these things can happen. Both have happened. They are my Staycation Dangers. They’re what I’m trying to avoid.

So today, the first day of Staycation Actual, I’m going to try to figure out something new. To actually not wing it this time. Sit down, plan, include flex for outdoor stuff/rainy days. Take some time to do it.

Because I’ve only got a few of these to burn, and a lot of stuff I could be doing…

  • Promote this podcast, sincerely and for real
  • Work on my new show/podcast
  • Learn to use my soldering kit to fix headphones
  • Build our kitchen island
  • Finish the cat wagon
  • Build a daybed
  • Organize my digital life — go through flles, archives, etc.
  • Canoe
  • Write songs that I owe people for like three months now
  • Play games
  • Goof off
  • Go to the movies
  • Play board games with my wife
  • Work on this website project I’ve been talking about for months

…so there’s lots there. Too much for one week. And I don’t want to do too much, and I don’t want to do too little.

Staycation! It’s great. It’s a pain in the neck.


Day 145: Habit-forming people (and others)

So I’ve forgotten — plain forgotten, not rebelling — to weigh myself the last couple of days. Which is annoying, because according to the habit-forming theory, it should be a habit by now.

I’ve been reading up on habits and habit-forming behaviour, and most of it is, well, goofy made-up bullcrap. Or really bad science. Or a bit of both. The old “21 days” thing, for instance, is not true. The article I just linked promptly descends into made-up bullcrap, of course.

I’m beginning to wonder if some people are just “habit people” and some people aren’t. Maybe I need to course correct periodically, and that’s just how I am.

Habit-forming for some, tiny correction flags for others!

Things like yesterday; not picking up my phone or otherwise going online before exercise in the morning _should_ be a no-brainer. It should be a habit. But I still need, despite knowing the benefits and doing it (well, not doing it) regularly, occasional “resets” when I drift back into the behaviour.

And maybe that’s just how I’m wired. Maybe I’ll be great about weighing myself for weeks, get distracted or stop for some reason, and it will take overt effort to get me back on it.

Now, there’s “habits” and there’s issues. I’m not saying I can “drift back into drinking for a while and then get back out of it.” That’s a commitment. Diet is kind of similar, and I think my course corrections aren’t staying on top of the drift sometimes. But habit-forming doesn’t seem to be in my readily accessible DNA.

So I’m going to keep doing the good things I do, but I’m not going to beat myself up over them not becoming “habits.” They’re actions. And aren’t actions better than habits, anyway? Intention, rather than reflex, as an indicator of commitment and success.


Day 144: Puttering

I get up pretty early — 5 a.m., most days. The theory is this lets me get a lot done before I have to head to work. The truth is that I’ve been sinking into “puttering mode” in the morning.

I’ll get up, sure, but spend about half an hour just kind of dithering around. I mean, here’s the list of things that need to happen for me to go running:

  • Put on shoes
  • Get house key
  • Set up music on phone
  • Go

And rowing is pretty much the same, minus the house key.

So there’s not much reason it’s taking me til 5:30-5:40 to get out of the house. It’s just… puttering.

There actually is a “putter factor,” which pertains to running, which is whether or not my phone is charged. I use it for music, and for run tracking, and a few iOS updates ago, battery life became negligible. The phone can’t run for more than 45 minutes if the battery is less than 60%.

So the one big note is I do need to make sure the phone is charging on pre-running nights. That’s a huge factor in terms of puttering.

Other than that, the key — and we’ve covered this before, but I’ve gotten bad about it again — is to NOT DO ELECTRONICS.

Don’t touch a puttering device until after I’ve exercised.

I mean, other than “turn on music, start run tracker,” obviously.

But I really, really need to stay away from the phone/iPad/computer until my day is well and truly started. Because it is the Black Attention Hole. From its depths it is almost impossible to emerge.

Email. Facebook. Twitter. Work email. The entire Internet in general. It is all a giant distraction machine.

Now, puttering is infinite, and I can find any number of OTHER puttering opportunities (how long has it been since I re-organized the silverware drawer?). But the Internet is 100% the puttering enemy. It must be stopped.

Because I’m not getting up at 5 a.m. to read about American political outrages or think about work. I’m getting up at 5 a.m. to get my day started.

Day 143: Pulling Things

Softball last night was a marked improvement on last Tuesday. But also a lot more injurious. If that’s the word. Lots of people pulling things.

I’m definitely at the age where things… pull. And I’m not alone. We had, er, three people (not counting myself) hurt last night, out of nine; all muscle pulls. All different ones, too. And everyone knew their muscle names! I was like “I think I pulled that big front-of-leg one and that other inseam one” while my colleagues were all “I have overextended my latissulumaurlar dorslectimi!”

So last night was stretching, foam rolling, and liberal amounts of heating cream applied by my wonderful spouse. This morning I got a stiff 10k in, and while I’m feeling it, I think running it out (and stretching after) will hopefully do me some good.

But I’ve learned some valuable lessons. The first is “let the ball fall into the glove.” The others mainly have to do with warming up; the pulls (for me) were all from sprinting off home plate. If there were a version of softball where you hit the ball and then run a measured 5k, I think I’d be fine. But my muscles clearly aren’t used to moving real fast, real quick.

I’m pulling things, but not pulling drinks.

That was a forced pun, sorry. But it’s true — and I don’t think there’s really much of a drinking vibe among the group in general, which is a relief. A couple people might have gone out for a beer afterwards, but there’s no feeling of exclusion as a non-drinker. Which I wasn’t, like, super worried about but it’s still there, you know? Nobody likes being the odd person out.

Definitely feeling my age today, though. And my lack of softball competence, but I’ve come to an understanding with it. Tally ho!

Day 142: Post Cheat Weekend

It’s funny how food has replaced booze in my sobriety. And by “funny” I mean interesting, not hilarious.

I’m coming off a kind of planned Cheat Weekend. Nothing too scandalous, but I sort of deliberately slacked off on the food-tracking and checklist for the Victoria Day weekend in order to give my self a bit of a staycation for a few days and get back on track today.

Back on track! I’m taking this opportunity to reorder my nightly checklist. Nothing major, but mixing things up into a slightly more logical order so I’m not running up and downstairs multiple times.

Check-Out Checklist V 2
The updated check-out checklist. Some re-ordering.

So a good rower workout this morning, back on the hunt for some fresh workout music, and looking forward to a solid 10k tomorrow.

But it is weird coming out of the Victoria Day weekend feeling like I’ve been non-booze binging. And I haven’t even been that bad. I had two veggie burgers instead of one for dinner last night. Ate a lot of chips. But I still feel like I’m coming off a bad weekend rather than, y’know, a pretty normal weekend.

So I guess I’m normalizing good habits to the point that it feels like an old-school bender to go off them? Does that make sense?

It’s probably good. It’s a bit aggravating. I feel like I should be just happier that I’m off booze, but I’m now kind of stuck on The Next Thing: beating food, losing weight. And again, I recognize that this kind of drive is good, but the kind of preying perpetual guilt that surrounds it is a bit crap.

At any rate: it’s good to be feeling uninjured and rested after a pretty good goofing-off weekend, but now it’s time to log that food and that weight and get this train a’rolling.


Day 141: Goofin’ Off on Victoria Day

It’s Victoria Day! That’s a Commonwealth thing. And as I like to say to those who aren’t in the Commonwealth, “if you’re not spending Victoria Day goofing off, then she died on that beach in Normandy for nothing.” Goofin’ off rules on statutory holidays.

I’m kidding, of course. Queen Victoria died on that beach in Normandy for our freedoms. 

So I’m late with the podcast today, and am hiving the day off for maybe an hour of useful work, and most of the day for goofin’ off; this includes:

  • Finishing Bioshock Infinite;
  • Watching some Mr. Robot, which I’m just getting into now;
  • Working outside on the dig up and mulch project (part of the hour of ‘real work’)
  • Finishing our Cat Wagon (part of the hour of ‘real work’)
  • Playing board games with my wife;
  • Varied food projects;
  • Working on my other podcast, which is up and running but needs a promotional plan.

Some of that sounds more like goofin’ off than other things, but it’s all things I enjoy doing, which is the important bit.

Goofin’ off is what days off are for.

Point being, it’s almost 11 a.m. and I’m just getting around to this because this should be a day for slacking. My weekends get pretty eaten up by “stuff I gotta get done,” so I don’t want my bona fide holiday to be “stuff I gotta get done” as well.

So here I go! Slacking off (mostly) for a day. Huzzah!