2018 : Intention

Happy New Year!

As James is oft to mention, it is intention which sets apart those who make their commitments and those who don’t. That seems more apropos than ever as a theme for this year, so INTENTION it is. (My pal Shawn also often talks of living an “intentioned life”.)

Resolutions? Not really. Goals? Meh.

Daily habits? Strangely, I resonate.

So in rough chronological order, my daily “intention”:

Motivational Quotes - every day

This is the trigger, the bare minimum. At some point every day for the last ~400 days, I have logged into this app and pushed this button. In doing so, I can’t help but remind myself of my other desired habits. Each decision makes a difference. This is my meta-trigger.

Wake - five days a week

For many months in 2017, I was up early to meet my pal Nate for a 4:30 AM run. After he earned his PhD, our running time moved later - and I found myself missing the external motivation for an early start. This is a new habit, which wasn’t easy to start at the end of 2017, but for 2018, I’m setting the start time at 0505. (I love numerical patterns, especially with symmetry, to take the rough edge off a difficult time.)

Core - seven days a week

I hit my core routine 2/3rds of last year, but much of it was on the “Quick” setting. For the last two months or so, I managed to upgrade to “Everyday” - and that’s where I’ll start off in 2018. Due to my hand injury, I had to switch my daily six around, but I’m currently on lunges, glute bridges, crunches, squats, hip raises, and leg lifts. Dare I move up to “Tough” by end of year?!

I typically complete this sometime before noon, but would prefer to chain to Wake.

Vitamins - seven days a week

This one is simple, yet is how I start every morning. In addition to vitamins, I drink water, (ideally) a smoothie, and grab some oranges for the road. On travel days, I’d be off to the airport, otherwise it’s time for exercise.

Cardio - seven days a week

I’m aiming for three days in the pool and three/four days in my running shoes. Towards the end of 2017 I added an elliptical to help deal with the days I can’t deal with the cold, the water, or the pavement. Note that it doesn’t matter how I satisfy this habit, which I find refreshing and flexible. I often look towards Apple’s Activity ring for verification; I’m targeted at 850 active calories but would like to move to an even thousand.

Swim - three days a week

Despite injuring my knee (in November) and having to pause on the breaststroke, I’m getting more and more comfortable as an early-morning lap swimmer. It still isn’t a trivial mental exercise though, hence I still enjoy (and need) to check these boxes. This year I’m going to move my Strava goal up from 200km to 250km, requiring me to average about 2k yards per swim. Also, I’m starting to get tempted by the 5AM master’s swim…

Cook - five days a week

After some exercise, I hit the kitchen to make breakfast. This serves as the trigger for the kids’ morning routine and I’ll often wake them up, help them prepare beyond breakfast, and walk Momo to school. But given that some mornings we eat cereal or pastries, this habit also “forces” me to make a dinner once or twice, typically on nights where Eriko or the kids have late obligations.

Another benefit of owning breakfast is that I’ve taken over the weekly grocery purchases - allowing me to maintain healthier snacks around the house. This year I hope to build efficient routines for having regular breakfast smoothies as well as my own lunch.

Build - six days a week

Yes! I’m building something - I much prefer that term to “working”! Up to this point I’ve included both my main “project”, as well as side projects, but this year I want to spend most of my time building something great. Building doesn’t just include writing software, of course… and that will become more important as well. Creating efficiencies and focus in my building hours will be a big part of 2018.

Meet - five days a week

I’m not sure where I’m going with this one. Is meeting anyone outside my immediate family good enough or should I be meeting more new people? What this really tends to have me do is create lunch and coffee dates, because working by oneself is quite lonely! I considered dropping this, but I still need the kick in the pants.

Reading - seven days a week

Yes! This is still somewhat bursty for me (especially if I get a good book or two) but I’m so happy to rediscover reading. I don’t know what rate of consumption I should consider adequate; I managed to finish 18 books last year, so I’ll shoot for 24 this year.

Finish - seven days a week

There are lots of little things, pieces of things, larger things, etc. that need to be done. Constantly. Some need to be scheduled regularly, some need to be acted upon immediately, some require planning and stages. But they all need to get finished. For most, I leverage Things - and this habit is me completing anything on my list. I would like to get even more prescriptive here - and still sorting out how to manage between Things, Trello, and GitHub Issues… (but things need to be finished across the spectrum.)

Stretch - seven days a week

I’ve had a couple of form and flexibility related issues this last year, so it’s finally time to build a stretching habit. I haven’t found the best time or place for this and execution is off to a slow start. This needs to become a strength if I want to pick up the pace on all things physical. I’m going to visit a physical therapist (by choice) for the first time next week to get this process going!

Journal - seven days a week

All I have to do is say a little something to myself, for posterity. More inspired or spirited entries will turn into blogs (like this one), or emails. The latter half of 2017 had a nice pickup, and while I haven’t created the writing-desk-of-imagination journalling routine, I’m getting more comfortable being mindful through written examination.

I’ve set my intentions for 2018 and I’m excited to see them to fruition!

PS Let this be the year we #DumpDrumpf!