Hard to believe, but half of the year is already behind us. As you might recall, I made a whole list of New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year. You can find the original post titled “Doing it all right in 2016 – S.M.A.R.T. Goals not just a New Year’s Resolution” in the archives. This is the quarterly check-in with my targets. I did a similar post after the first quarter of the year.
At the half-year mark, the results are pretty mixed. Some targets are looking increasingly difficult to achieve; others seem to be easier than anticipated. But I guess in a way it is already a success that I am still talking about my New Year’s resolutions in the heat of the summer. The half-life of my goals this year is definitely longer than in previous years! That’s the positive effect of Life-Sparring.
So let’s see where I stand at the end of the second quarter 2016. Just as a reminder, the idea was to choose targets that fulfill the S.M.A.R.T criteria: being specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-related. By making my goals public and checking-in regularly with you out there, I hoped to keep me motivated over the year to achieve all goals for 2016. And just in case this is not enough, I added a punishment on top, promising to go to work in original Bavarian Lederhosen on the first working day in 2017 if I miss more than one of the six goals for the year. Still pretty scary!
1) Posting at least 48 Life-Sparring sessions in 2016
This is Life-Sparring round number 14 in 2016. Just as in the first quarter I published seven Life-Sparring rounds in the past three months. I also don’t foresee that I will be able to increase this pace significantly. In hindsight, the target of 48 rounds over the year was pretty crazy, given that I am still the only contributor to Life-Sparring and I have a demanding full-time job. I guess for the time being, there will be just two to three rounds per month.
However, in addition to the lengthy Life-Sparring rounds here on Life-Sparring.com, I am posting quite regularly smaller tidbits, comments, and links on Facebook and Twitter. In June 2016 alone, there were 12 Facebooks postings. So even if it is pretty obvious that I will come short reaching the 48 blog post target, I think in spirit I actually will reach the goal, steadily putting out content.
2) Developing a sustainable mindfulness practice, sitting for 99 meditation sittings in 2016
While the number of 99 meditation sittings seemed astronomically high, this goal proves to be one of the easiest to fulfill. So far I had 62 sittings at 10 minutes each. The trend is pretty stable. I had 29 sessions in the first and 33 in the second quarter. I think I am close to really forming a regular habit.
I still mainly use the Calm mindfulness app for my mediations. The app recently got a facelift, and while I am not fully happy with the way they changed the sorting of the meditation tracks, I really like the direction the developers are taking. My annual subscription for US$39 is worth every cent.
Currently my favorite meditation track is the deep sleep progressive muscle relaxation, a meditation done in bed just before falling asleep. It is a spin on a body scan from toe to head, but instead of just scanning the different parts of your body, you flex specific regions of your body in an inhale and then release the tension in sync with your exhale. I enjoy this meditation tremendously, especially after running or boxing. The exercise seems to help my recovery, and just feeling the sore muscles tense and relax is an experience by itself.
If I meditate in the morning, I mostly do the recently introduced daily meditation. This mediation is usually a 10-minute-long body scan with a reaffirmation to a specific topic towards the end.
3) Reading 20 books in 2016 and sharing the lessons on Life-Sparring
My reading pace is still a bit below the target, but with nine books finished at the halfway mark of the year, I am not too worried about reaching the goal of reading 20 books in 2016.
I read much more non-fiction than fiction, but in June I finally got around to reading Game of Thrones, the first book of the Song of Ice & Fire saga. I bought the book five years ago but gave up reading it at that time pretty quickly. The memory of the TV series covering the same part of the story was still too fresh in my mind. Now with the distance of five years since I watched season 1, I really enjoyed the book. While still knowing the general plot, I found a lot of smaller details to the story-line I was not aware of and really appreciated the awesome writing style of George R.R. Martin. You can say what you want, but GOT is an epic story masterfully told.
And don’t say you cannot take away something inspiring from a novel:
“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’ ‘That is the only time a man can be brave’, his father told him.”
Besides the 800 pages of fantasy goodness, I also finished the massive Feynman biography by James Gleick in May. Richard Feynman was one of the leading physicists of his time, and his life-long passion to find shortcuts is a great example to follow. If you do not want spare the time to read the whole book, I can recommend this recent posting on brainpickings.org, that summarizes the essence of Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman up quite eloquently.
As usual, you can actually follow my reading activity on the Goodreads app. I don’t constantly update my reading progress, but there is an update whenever I start or finish a book, and you can see my never-ending reading list.
4) Hiking and running 800 km within the year
Unfortunately, the second quarter did not bring much improvement in terms of my quantitative hiking and running target for the year. After just 75 km in the first three months, the total at the half-year mark is still just 198 km. I am a fairly optimistic person, but reaching the 800 km by the end of this year will be pretty challenging. I hope that after my wedding in July, I can turn up my running volume again and will try to motivate myself by signing up for a few more trail runs in autumn/winter.
5) Improving my running technique by doing a professional gait analysis and getting technique advice. Also fixing my long-term ankle issue by June 30.
Well, technically I missed the target, as my appointment for a gait analysis at Hong Kong’s Joint Dynamics is in the first week of July. But at least I am getting it done close to the original deadline. You can definitely expect a Life-Sparring round on this topic within July. Let’s see if the analysis yields some actionable advice that improves my running results.
6) Reducing my weight below 85 kg (from currently 89 kg), while at the same time reducing my body fat to 20% or lower before July 15 and maintaining those values till the end of the year
With only two weeks left to reach this target, it doesn’t look very promising. The second quarter started actually quite good, with the monthly average weight for April being 1.2 kg down and May bringing another half kg weight loss. Unfortunately, since then I am pretty much stuck around 86.5 kg. My body fat percentage is still around 24%, again a steady improvement but far short from the original goal.
So while I am likely falling short to reach the targets, I am still somewhat satisfied with the overall development, losing around 3 kg since January 1 and a good 2% body fat.
Anyway, I will continue to work towards further weight and fat loss, following my current approach to not do a classical diet but simply trying to be more disciplined in what I eat. So maybe I will get to my targets in the overtime.
How about you? Do you still remember your New Year’s Resolution? How did you do with your goals for the year? What did you actually want to achieve in 2016, and how did you try to keep yourself accountable? Post here on the Life-Sparring Facebook page or just message me to start the discussion.