WOAH! Is the first thing I want to say about January! I finally put into play pretty much all the elements I want to have in my life, trying to get all my goals working together and it’s been a total whirlwind! It’s hard to know how to go about summing up in a comprehensive way but I guess a lot of things have been covered in my weekly round-ups, so I’ll start by summarizing my monthly goals and go from there!
A2) Weigh 140 – I lost 5.2 pounds this month. That doesn’t hit any of the targets I set for myself at all but by aiming high I’ve at least made some concrete progress, and I’m in the next “decade”. If I lose the same amount each month then that could potentially be a total loss for the year of 62lb which would get me almost down to 190. That would be great in itself, but the real target is 180 so it would be great to catch up a bit of ground here if possible. I need to work more on eating habits as I’m still pretty emotionally dependent on food to keep my moods in check, but the one thing I can say is that this is not a problem with my exercise level, which has increased, and I’m in a great routine with that. Also I’ve noticed differences in the way I look and feel this month, so that’s positive.
A4) Tackle one eating habit per month – my habit was to eat more fruit and veg, and I did a round-up here.
B1) Combined practice target of 720-730 hours or more (15h/week on average) – target for the month was 60-62 and I managed 69 hours, so I’m happy with that! I feel like I’ve made progress here but it’s difficult to quantify because I’m not entirely sure where I started, but I know I can play and sing several songs I couldn’t at the beginning of the month, have improved on a load of others, I finished writing one song and learned one new piano piece. I have tonnes of ideas for things to do each week and month but altogether could take a year to complete – 15 hours is not really enough but it’s all that I can squeeze in at the moment and I’ll just have to get done what I can.
C1) Read at least one book each in Japanese, French and German – Given that I’ve been starting the books this month (and the beginnings of books are often filled with “free” pages that will add to the total) that probably explains why the numbers are good but I’m also a week ahead on everything I think:
- French: target 33, I’m up to page 62
- German: target 17, I’m up to page 33
- Japanese: target 22, I’m up to page 41
C5) Improve spoken Japanese (keigo): target 24 sessions, 2 sessions a month
C6) Improve written German – Postcard exchange
Neither of these two goals have been worked on – I don’t have the people in place to get these working yet. I might swap them out for other things or leave them blank for now!
C9) Read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Russian: my escalating target was 17 pages and I completed 20, so I’m just about ahead of where I should be which is all I can ask for here! It was tough at the beginning but has been really fascinating, I haven’t missed a day on reading or on vocab (although sometimes I doze off while doing my vocab tests on the train!) I feel good about how this is going and confident about completing the book by the end of the year!
D1) Pay off our remaining debt – I made payments equivalent to 18% of our starting debt, so a little bit short if I want to complete this in 5 months but next month should be better. After some consideration, I’ve massively reduced my weekly spending which will contribute to this goal in a major way.
D2) Save £4620 (not until D1 is completed)
E3) Monthly sewing project – I made a kind of tunic top – from some brilliant tie-dye material we bought at the market when we were in Africa. I have a load of long-sleeved t-shirts to wear underneath so wanted something I could use at home and I’m really pleased with it! Yay new clothes at no new expense! A couple of pics:
E4) Try 12 new recipes – not an actual recipe but we cooked some different things in our quest to use more vegetables – a couple of soups in particular and a great stew. I’m considering this goal covered!
F4) Monthly day-trip with B – this didn’t happen due to scheduling conflicts and not really having the money or the ideas for stuff to do. We did however resolve to find ways to spend more time together and came up with some good ideas so I think that’s pretty good for starters.
My specific monthly goals for January
- Stay on top of all my weekly targets – I did this, have not missed any workouts, my music hours met the minimum each week (rather than having to make up for hours I’d missed) and the same with my language commitments, letters, gifts and creative time. This was a big goal for the start of the year as I was trying to work out how everything fit together. On exercise, specifically, I did 23 each of cardio and strength workouts (love that it’s the same number for both) which is so great – I’m loving working out and most days, unless I’m desperately exhausted, I have the urge to get in some cardio, to the extent that I’m shifting from a 5-day to a 6-day schedule quite naturally. I’ve done the things I’ve wanted to do and the things that have made the most sense given the season, especially swimming, and got my 1K time back to 30 minutes. I also did a few pre-season warm-up jogs that have got me in the mood for jogging way ahead of spring – the other morning I really wanted to go for a jog before work but it was just too dark still! But that’s a step forward I hadn’t even thought I would take.
- Clear out and reorganise the Studio – I have mostly done this, specifically clearing out my desk, clearing a shelf of boring books for more inspiring bits and pieces, clearing out my cupboard and moving some less-used stuff in there, and making a more functional recording space on one side of the room – there’s a bench to put my computer on and everything is set up so I can just plug in and get going! There is always more to do here because there’s a lot going on at any one time but the mix shifts subtly every now and then. I’m happy with it for now though!
- Research and practice some new calligraphy styles – this wasn’t done at all, I think I had maybe one session of playing around with stuff but have done zero research and not made any progress! Maybe a specific creative goal was just one step too far on top of everything else!
So on the whole I’d put January down as a big success! I’ve certainly had a blast and not felt like any of my time, at all, has been wasted – I’ve had some very enjoyable down-time and time with friends, and I’ve just about managed to keep everything in balance. I’ve even managed to fit in a leisurely bath once a week (let’s face it, if you don’t have enough time to yourself to have a bubble bath then that’s a really sorry state of affairs!)
At the end of the month my biggest observation is that there simply isn’t enough time! I just managed to scrape through the targets I’d set myself but only by sleeping less (we’ve had some crazy weeks of late nights, some crazy weekends with early starts) and by sacrificing anything that wasn’t essential – blogging and writing in particular got hit by this, both of which make me feel like I’m not mentally quite on top of things. A lot of the time I’ve not known quite where I’m at but luckily having such detailed daily and weekly task lists has kept me on track even when I wasn’t quite sure what the track was – it’s good to keep on with these things and plan the details ahead whenever I have ideas.
The second big thing I’ve noticed is that amongst all the other things I forgot to prioritise my sleep, which has resulted in some really random hours. Mostly I’ve found that if I’m on track with things, feel like I’m making progress, am inspired, and am getting enough exercise, I can survive on much less sleep (especially if the odd mug of coffee is added to the mix) – but that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to go about things, and I definitely think the odd sleep hours went some of the way to hampering my weightloss, which is one of the major goals. So in future months I want to do better with sleep management, prioritise sleep on some days, and get a decent, but not excessive, amount of sleep in a regular schedule. I feel so much happier when I sleep well, it’s so worth it!
I’ve felt so alive in January! It’s great getting to do all the things I want to do and enjoying almost every moment of each day. One third of the way down The Road to Spring, the days are getting longer, the weather is getting better, I’m in the 240s, jogging again, and swimming 30min 1Ks. It’s all good!