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.

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