When even in Hong Kong it begins to feel like autumn, it is a clear indicator that the year is drawing to an end. It has been quite a while ago, but you might remember that in a Life-Sparring round titled Doing it all right in 2016 – S.M.A.R.T. Goals not just a New Year’s Resolution back in January, I set a number of targets that I wanted to achieve this year. This is the third quarterly check-in with my progress on this very targets. I did similar posts after the first and second quarter of the year.
75% through with the year, the landscape looks increasingly clear. Some to-dos are already checked off, for others the time is running out quickly. But as previously stated, just remembering a New Year’s resolution in October I consider a huge improvement.
Just as reminder, the idea of the New Year’s resolution 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.
So how likely is it for me to dodge the leather pants?
1) Posting at least 48 Life-Sparring sessions in 2016
This is Life-Sparring round number 21 in 2016. So the pace of around seven articles per quarter is unchanged. I said it previously, the target of 48 rounds over the year was far too ambitious. Posting a full-length article would require me to either blog full-time or share the workload with contributors. Both are definitely interesting options for the future. For the moment two to three rounds per month is all I can manage without scarifying my quality standards.
If two-three articles are not enough for you, you can always hop over to Facebook. On Facebook I post content in much higher frequency. So why I definitely won’t achieve the target of 48 rounds, I don’t really feel as if I failed this goal, as I continuously created content over the year.
2) Developing a sustainable mindfulness practice, sitting for 99 meditation sittings in 2016
The somewhat arbitrary goal of 99 meditation sittings was ambitious, but achievable. The idea behind it was, that if I sit for at least 99 times over a calendar year, it should have become a regular practice.
I still mainly meditate with guided meditation from the Calm mindfulness app, which I subscribed to for US$39 annually. Most of the time these days I mediate in the morning, doing the daily calm, a varied ten-minute meditation with different reaffirmations.
The current count for the year is 89, so the goal will be smashed by the end of the year. Overall I think that with the increasing routine, the quality of my meditation improved. I also definitely think that the meditating that often effects my life in a positive way. I feel more balanced and less antsy over the course of this year.
3) Reading 20 books in 2016 and sharing the lessons on Life-Sparring
After my wedding in July, my reading pace picked up significantly. Over the course of the past three month I finished five titles, which brought the total for the year up to 14.
The biggest reading achievement definitely was finishing Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. The book is very rich, containing a lot of surprisingly contemporary advice. Halfway through the book, I regretted a bit reading the free classic translation by Meric Casaubon from the 17th century. The Shakespearean English made the book a true challenge. I would definitely recommend to read a more recent translation.
I also read another classic last quarter, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy by Musashi Miyamoto. The book is often touted as the Japanese Art of War, however I was a bit disappointed, especially comparing to Sun Tzu’s masterpiece it is much less dense in tangible wisdom.
My reading highlight over the past months was Fooled by Randomness by Nicholas Taleb Nassim. The book was on my reading list for a fairly long time. Finally, I got around to read it and enjoyed it a lot. How much of our life is determined by randomness and how much by skill, is a question I think about a lot. I touched on some thoughts around this topic in my recent Life-Sparring round Life, a Game of Incomplete Information and (partly inspired by Fooled by Randomness) plan to write another blog about the effect of chance in a management career.
As usual, you can follow my reading activity on the Goodreads app. Over there you can see what I am currently reading and plan to read next.
4) Hiking and running 800 km within the year
While I got a few more kilometers in over the past three months, it still looks more and more hopeless to reach the goal. I managed to run and hike about 200 km in the third quarter, doubling up the distance covered in the first half year. Even with this increase though it doesn’t look good for the target, unless I run a few marathons over the next months. Speaking about marathons: I signed up for a 50 km trail run in February and am in the lottery for a spot in the half marathon of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. So at least I do everything to motivate myself to crank up my mileage.
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.
Technically I missed the target, as my appointment for a gait analysis at Hong Kong’s Joint Dynamics was only in the first week of July. But I did the gait analysis and I wrote about the process and the surprising results in a blog called Swinging My Hips for the Camera. As it looks, it is less my ankle but by hips that hold me back in my attempts to run faster.
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
I have to admit, not only did I miss my July 15 target by about 1 kg and 4% body fat, I also am currently another kg heavier and another % fatter. I am still significantly below last year’s weight though and after stressful weeks and months I hope that over the next three months I can get at least significantly closer to my goal.
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.