January 27, 2020

Update 2 on my new year’s resolutions

You can only improve what you track and measure. Therefore, I journal my progress for my 2020 resolutions.

January running targetJanuary running target

- 25 books I finished my first book on the plane back to China just a few days ago. I have another book about 70% percent finished and a few more days to go this month. If I keep the pace and can even improve on it during the rest of the year my target of 25 books can be achieved.

- run 2 marathons, one sub 4h, one sub 3h I was very happy with my training up until yesterday. Even though I traveled a lot in January and had many good reasons to skip an early morning run, I kept my routine. Less alcohol, going to bed early, and getting the runs in early in the mornings definitely helped me to crawl towards my 250 km target for January. Yesterday however, I became sore and tired from the two previous runs which I did on Shengsi Island. The weather here is bad with rain all day long and strong winds making the run more difficult. Additionally the island is very hilly with the running slope crawling up and down the coastline. While I climbed an elevation of no more than 50m on my previous runs in the last few months, a typical run here challenges my muscles with an elevation of 400m. I am taking two days off from running, and need to run another 25k in the next 3 days to reach my monthly target. I am confident I can make it. training program.

- visit Germany once

I returned to China on 23rd and was very homesick” for the first 2 -3 days. I love China and find live to be very convenient here, nonetheless Germany offers me a sense of well-being that is different from China. Going to Germany just reminded how comfortable live in Germany can be too. The environment is more quiet, the food more to my taste and, the daily schedule more organized. Germany is a great place, and that’s why I need to go on a holiday there at least once a year, to let Jade and especially Eli experience it.

- go on a bare-bones camping holiday with Jade & Eli

it’s winter still and this is definitely something for summer, maybe before Eli goes to kindergarten.

- sleep 7 to 8 hours per night, aim to be in bed by 9:30pm

I am getting my 7 - 8 hours of sleep everyday, but a little later than I wish. Since were on a holiday right a lot of our evenings are consumed with bringing Eli to bed.

- use a scale to check my weight every day

No scale around while traveling. It will become become a priority to turn into a habit once back to home and at work in February.

- do not use my phone within 90 minutes of waking up or going to bed

It’s hard to keep myself accountable on this one, and no kidding, I will probably need to utilize an app to monitor my waking time and first use of cellphone.

- earn a promotion

I am on holidays right now so not making any progress on this one right now. Then again, it’s a holiday right now, so who keeps counting…

- write weekly progress of 2020 goals every Monday 5am for 30 minutes + 30 minutes diary

I did not write a report last week, and only manage to write on today on a Tuesday at 10pm.


I am behind on a lot of these goals thanks in large to the holiday season in China. The daily schedule is messed up and so is working on the goals. Once back home and back to work I shall be able to get better organized again and keep working on myself. It also goes to show how important work can be to regulate ones life.

To that effect, turn your goals into habits and progress will be noticeable and much more attainable.

goals now running family focus writing resolutions update resolutions2020
January 18, 2020

Life lessons on time, discipline and sleep

from https://www.instagram.com/semi_rad/from https://www.instagram.com/semi_rad/

I recently sent birthday wishes to a boy in my family who turned 18. 18 is a pretty big deal in Germany with lots of legal and social consequences following this birthday. My congratulatory email contained some of the most important lessons I have learned over the course of my 33 years.

  1. You never stop learning.

I probably heard these words a thousand times before I finally realized the unapologetic truth in these words. Why unapologetic you might ask? After all learning means you get smarter every day, right?!

Yes, but it also means you were much dumber 5 years ago than you are now. You’d probably even admit that to anyone stranger, and tell them the stupid things you did in your youth’, way back then. However, If I asked you now if you were doing lots of dumb and stupids things, a natural reaction would be to deny this outright and show off the progress and smart things you’re recently doing. But try this, and imagine yourself 5 years later and be aware of the fact that once you’ve collected 1,825 more days of experience you will in all certainty look back at yourself being ignorant, naive and clueless right now.

While we might think of ourselves as our best self” right now, our judgment will already have changed in just 1 or 2 years. There is much more to come: much better decisions, much worse decisions, some smarter and some way more stupid things we do.

This might sound depressing to some, because in conclusion of this principle, we would never arrive at our best possible selves. We’d always be learning, developing and leave our lesser-selves behind. God forbid, we might feel bad about our current self because we are so self-aware of our better self that is just around the corner and yet to come. Don’t fret though, instead enjoy the ride and the vista at your better self. Use your experience to iron out mistakes from the past, and develop your lesser self into the person you aim to be. The future holds many opportunities for all of us and we should not put too much meaning in the present or be content with the status quo.

We have the tendency to underestimate how much we are going to change. It’s called the end of history illusion” and you should not fall for it. Instead embrace the experiences you are about to collect, indulge in the knowledge you are learning and be proactive about the change coming your way. Don’t overestimate what you can do in the coming year, but also never underestimate what you can achieve in the next ten years.

  1. You can have anything you want in life, just not everything!

Focus is probably something I lacked most in my life until about after I met Jade and found my life anchor in her. Before that my attention was constantly divided between too many things to even keep count of. I was constantly pursuing girls, mindless hobbies and exotic experiences. I loved traveling and I was even proud of the fact that I didn’t call anywhere my home. I thought I was living the moment”, but I now think I was just indulging myself in short-lived entertainment without any meaningful long-term goals. Of course, contemporary culture is inviting us to live life to the fullest” and not to worry about the consequences. Everything is inter-connected nowadays, and a shot of endorphins is just another click away on YouTube, an exquisite dinner in Tokyo or an exhilarating dance in the nightclubs of Bangkok. However, true happiness does not come from trying to enjoy all of the above at the same time. It does come from circling your interests for what you consider most dear to yourself and then building long-term passions around these experiences.

If I had known at the age of 18 how precious my time really is, I might have made a few different choices. Not that I regret my youth. I am very happy about it, including the many mistakes I made and the memorable experiences I collected. But I am happy that whatever I did led me to understand the simple truth of focus. I now live by the principle that I have only enough time in my life to concentrate on 3 of the following 5 disciplines:

  • career
  • family
  • friends
  • health / fitness
  • hobbies

Pick your 3, and pick them early so that you can live up to your own expectations for mastering them.

  1. You should sleep 8 hours a day

You should not forget that successful life and a productive day always rely on a solid foundation of 8 hours sleep every night. To thrive in any of the above disciplines the basis has to be a healthy long nights sleep, which only leaves 16 hours for your chosen 3 disciplines. Get your sleeping habits right and only then can mental & physical fitness follow suit. I know how hard it may seem to get enough sleep with todays schedules of binge watching Netflix, going out for parties, taking care of kids & family, or just having another beer with a friend, but proper sleep, as has been proven scientifically, does take your abilities during your waking hours to another level. When you plan your time management, always schedule in more than enough sleep to recharge your body battery and allow yourself to perform at your best.

  1. True freedom is impossible without a mind made freed by discipline

This may be the most important advise, which I haven’t been able to follow myself all the time. Looking at top athletes, successful business founders and even YouTube celebrities, you will see that great success is achieved through discipline. The over-achievers and top 1% usually set themselves apart from the herd, not by performing at maximum capacity all the time, but by having the discipline to consistently follow their dreams and work towards success in a stubborn and unforgiving manner. The discipline to consistently choose your routines over other opportunities, i.e. distractions, brings them ever so closer to their goals. Consistency in saying no” to distractions, however great they may sound or exciting they look, will give you the freedom to do the things that matter to you in the long term. Once you picked your 3 disciplines and what you really care about, work on them over years not just days. If you miss a day, that’s okay, as long as you you don’t miss the whole year. Take a very long term perspective. Take a long term perspective and pursue your goals with discipline and consistency over that time frame. Free your mind from doubt and second thoughts.

lifelessons focus discipline sleep
January 17, 2020

Update 5 on my new year’s resolutions

You can only improve what you track and measure. Therefore, I journal my progress for my 2020 resolutions.

At the dawn of a new yearAt the dawn of a new year

A week ago I updated my now and since it was the beginning of the new year I also set some goals for 2020. My 2019 success rate in regards to my goals was a very low one. I achieved about half and failed the other. In order to do better this year, one of my goals now includes to track my goal progress with weekly progress reports.

Here is my first progress update of 2020:

- 25 books

I am on schedule with this right now, thanks to a long flight to Germany just last week where I managed to get half way through two books. I also still have the Chinese holiday season coming up with a full week off from work, where I should be able to get some reading done. In February, once back at work, I will need to keep reading at least 1 hour every day to keep with the goal. I am a slow reader, I like to focus on the words used, makes notes and develop my own thoughts on the topic while reading. This makes it difficult for me to read faster, plus I also love falling asleep when reading.

- run 2 marathons, one sub 4h, one sub 3h

I am very passionate about this goal. I have been wanting to run a marathon for at least 10 years now. Several times I have run distances beyond a half marathon (21k), but never stayed disciplined enough in my training to aim for the marathon. I always got distracted by profound professional and personal changes in my lifestyle that kept me from going at it. This time though I am very determined. I have already signed up for the YanCheng Marathon in Jiangsu, China, but more importantly I have been very disciplined with my training program. I got a chest strap heart rate monitor, a wristwatch showing my heartrate in realtime and follow Dr. Phil Maffetone’s maximum aerobic function (MAF) method and do all my runs at an aerobic and moderately high heart rate. I feel better than ever about running my first marathon at the beginning of April, and will then see how close or far off I am from my time goals of sub 4 & sub 3 hour marathons in 2020.

- visit Germany once

Well, what can I see. I am currently writing this post from Germany, as I was called on a last minute business trip to Italy and Germany. I have technically already fulfilled my goal now, but it’s only half the fun in Germany without Jade and Eli. I am still planning on going back with my 2 most important persons later this year.

- go on a bare-bones camping holiday with Jade & Eli

This goal was carried over from my 2019 lists, and I feel very dear about fulfilling this wish in 2020. I think Eli is now old enough to make such a camping trip more fun and enjoyable for all of us. As soon as he stops pooping his pampers and summer has arrived, there will be nothing in the way of us going on a field trip, sleep in a tent, and have nothing but a clear sky above our heads.

- sleep 7 to 8 hours per night, aim to be in bed by 9:30pm

I have always enjoyed sleeping a lot, but denied myself way too little sleep during my teens and twenties. Last year, I read a great book by sleep scientist Matthew Walker on Why we sleep”, and now see the time I get to sleep not only as a competitive advantage but also the basis for my health and wellbeing. I am doing pretty good recently and get usually around 7 hours of sleep per night. I have also been able to adjust Jade to my early sleeping habit at least during the weekends. My new fitness watch also incorporates a sleep tracking function and offers enough battery to make this feature a convenient one to use. I have not measured my sleep for a long enough time yet to say how I am doing on this subject, but I feel I am off to a good start this year.

- use a scale to check my weight every day

Just like with sleep, you can also improve what you measure. I have been traveling a lot these first 17 days of the new year and have totally failed on this goal with only measuring my weight twice so far. I also still need to buy a cheap scale for my Ningbo apartment to be able to measure every day. I feel however, I am on the right track with the discipline I put into running and the interwoven issues of sleep and weight. Starting in February I will put more emphasize on this goal, as I won’t have the excuses of traveling and moving houses anymore.

- do not use my phone within 90 minutes of waking up or going to bed

Arguably, this is a tough one. I am able to avoid looking at my phone for more than a few minutes in the morning, as I get up for an hours-long run first thing in the morning. I do still glance at twitter and Wechat for a few moments before I get going now. Thanks again to my new watch, however, I plan on improving myself here too. Instead of using the phone for my alarm in the morning I will let the watch wake me up and then just get out of bed and away from my phone as quickly as possible. In the evenings, I need to consolidate my habit of reading for an hour to get away from looking at the phone for too much before going to bed. A work in progress and a tough nut to crack in our age of interconnectedness.

- earn a promotion

I was sent on a business trip to Europe for 2 weeks this time and had the chance to spent more time than usual my companies founder. I worked hard in representing him and his company to potential business partners here in Europe. I also sent him a summary of the work that was accomplished during our working time together before he took his flight back to China, which he thanked me with a personal message that was very encouraging and positive. I think Hooya and Costway have a lot of room to grow in 2020 and I can be one of the major moving parts in this growth. I will have to follow-up diligently with all the contacts made during this business trip, to turn these contacts into profitable business relationships. Once, I have achieved a big success for Hooya a promotion will be well deserved for me this year.

- write weekly progress of 2020 goals every Monday 5am for 30 minutes + 30 minutes diary

This week has given me too many excuses to let my goals slide. On Monday morning at 4 am I was on my way from Milan to Cologne and not in the mood of writing about my progress. With today’s progress update however I was at least able to a write down a weekly update, if not necessarily in the time alloted for it. I did consider changing this goal to just write weekly progress of 2020 goals, but the precise nature of every Monday 5am for 30minutes + 30 minutes diary keeps me accountable and motivates me to finish the task on time rather than letting it slide and slide, until it’s a new week already.


All in all, I am satisfied with the progress of my goals so far. I guess that’s the main idea behind goals. They are meant to make you happier because you’re improving yourself. Even if we can’t achieve all goals all the time, working on these goals for the betterment of ourselves already serves the purpose and should make us feel better about ourselves.

To that effect, turn your goals into habits and progress will be noticeable and much more attainable.

goals now running family focus writing resolutions updates resolutions2020