Happy New Year!
As is traditional, many people make resolutions on January 1st as to what they want to accomplish in the new year. I've done this in the past too. However, I've decided to take a bit of a different approach to it this year. This year, I'm setting goals for the year, not resolutions. I am also cementing these goals in my brain by writing them down on a piece of paper, and sticking that piece of paper 'in my face' on the fridge in the kitchen. I am also going to write these goes down here for the whole world to see. I will be checking back over the year to see how these goals are progressing. They say that just setting goals for yourself doesn't do much unless you write it down! So I'm doing that and putting it in a very conspicuous spot that I'll see a number of times every day. And so, on with the goals.
200 lbs by 7/14/2009
If you look at the META tags, in the source of every page of my blog, you will see that I describe my blog as 'Thoughts on computers and health.' I still ramble on about computers pretty regularly, but the health side of my ramblings has been noticeably silent over the last couple of years. That is because my attention on health over the last couple of years has been pathetic. Several years ago, when I was at my healthiest, I managed to get myself down to a low of a very healthy 194lbs (for a guy who's 6' and medium build, that's LOW). However, these days my weight is considerably higher. I'm currently sitting at about 255 lbs, I'm ashamed to say. Back in the days of my being in fantastic health, I swore up and down that I would never allow 'Fat Rick' to return. Well, he did return. He returned because I got lazy and I got complacent. It became entirely too easy to just say to myself, "I can skip my diet, just this one time..." Of course one time, turned into two times, turned into ten times, turned into one hundred times. Before you know it, I'm fat again. I don't think I'm AS fat as I was at my worse (I was pushing 270 in those days), but I'm damn close.
I refuse to allow myself to return to that point. There is no reason for this to ever happen. I know how to keep my weight under control. I did it for several years. I know how to lose weight. I did that and VERY successfully for several years. It's just a matter of getting myself back into those habits. I also have been noticing a return of the 'fat guy' health issues - Lack of energy, little aches and pains, etc. I'm not getting any younger. I can't afford to allow these problems to continue. As such, I have put several policies into effect.
First, I am returning to the regular gym visits. At my best I was going to the gym 4-5 days a week. Effective immediately, that is resumed. Tomorrow, and at least 4 times a week after that, I will be going to the gym and doing my usual intense interval program on the elliptical machine. Normally, I do that on the treadmill, but due to the fact that I sprained my foot several months ago and that foot is still rather weak, I don't think I should be putting that heavy of a strain on that foot for a while, at least until I can get it back up to full strength. Given a month or two, I should have lost enough weight and rebuilt enough strength in that leg that I can start going 'whole hog' on the treadmill again.
Second, I have returned to my habit of daily morning weigh-ins. I've actually already been doing this whole return to the diet for about a week or so, so I've been doing this weigh-in every day so far. I've already lost several pounds. I intend to continue this on a daily basis going forward. You can't track your progress if you don't check it regularly. I am also logging this information in an app I have on my iPhone (Weightbot) that is meant for this purpose.
Third, I have returned to my old habits of 'nutritional responsibility'. While, I have continued to eat a very healthy diet over the last few years, there are many things I've done that have been ruining my diet. These include, frequently eating out for lunch (BAD BAD BAD), drinking a lot of sodas, and eating a lot of bread (too much carbs). I have cut the soda down significantly. My rule now is two cans of soda a day. No more. No more large sodas at lunch. No more sodas on the (now very rare) eating out. No more bread in the fridge. I am also diving hardcore back into my old six small meals a day program (which I never truly stopped). I've maintained this six small meals a day program for many years, but unfortunately one of those meals tended to be a not-so-small lunch at the neighborhood Quizno's, or Chicken Kitchen, or whatever. Each of those meals is several times larger than the proper size one of my six daily meals should be. Those days are over. I am now returning to my old rule of ONE eating out meal a week. And that meal will be a healthy one. No massive subs, no huge plates of rice & beans, etc.
Fourth, I now have a Wii Fit. When my family asked me what I wanted for this past Christmas, I told them I wanted that. To my surprise (or perhaps concern) they didn't seem at all surprised that I wanted an exercise game. Hmm, they have been criticizing me for gaining weight a lot so maybe they weren't surprised that I asked for it. I needed it! My brother was lucky enough to find one of these very rare gems, and gave it to me for Christmas. I've been playing with it daily ever since Christmas and I really like it. (I'll write a full review later). Since I now have my own 'in house personal trainer', I intend to put in a good 30-60 minutes of time on this game every day. I was worried at first, that this thing wouldn't be intense enough to give you a good workout. Boy was I wrong! Once you get past the beginner levels (which doesn't take long), the advanced levels can get very tiring. A half hour of some of those games will have you sweaty and panting. Just what I need. The Wii Fit also tracks your weight and BMI over time and lets you set goals for those to help you track your progress. While I'm not thrilled that it uses BMI (which is not a very good indication of obesity) as it's sole indicator of how healthy you are, that's the best it can do, so I'll use this as a 'backup' weight tracking system. The game is also a lot of fun, which certainly helps if you are going to be playing a video game that is that strenuous.
Now you may be wondering as to the significance of that 7/14/2009 date that I set as my goal for my return to the 200 lb range. The answer is, that date is my birthday - my 40th birthday. A significant date to be sure. Plus my older brother (age 42) has been teasing me that once I hit 40, everything starts falling apart. That is not going to happen. I intend my 40th birthday to be one of my best, and healthiest birthdays ever! I'm going to get healthier with age, not worse!
One iPhone app on sale
I have been studying how to write iPhone apps ever since the first beta of the iPhone SDK came out on March 6th, 2008. While I did develop a small iPhone app as a consulting project for a friend's company, that app has yet to go on sale to anyone. It seems to have been 'shelved' for now. I've also, in all this time not released any apps of my own for sale. There is a HUGE market for these apps. If a stupid app like iFart Mobile can sell 100,000 copies in a couple weeks, (at a profit of $70,000 to the developer), surely I can come up with something that will be able to earn me some money. As such, I have set a goal to have at least one iPhone app on sale in the App Store by the end of 2009. What that app will be, I have no idea. I have to come up with a good idea of something I can implement and sell. Getting that idea is the hard part. Once I can get a good idea going, I can tackle this and produce something. I spent $100 back in July to become a full-fledged iPhone developer. I have nothing to show for that $100 investment though. It's time to solve this problem.
$25,000 in savings
I make a good salary (I won't say how much) but I haven't been saving as much as I should. I do have about $13,000 in my savings right now, but I would like to get this up to $25,000. Why? I estimate that my monthly expenses are around $3,000-3,500. I would like to have at least 6 months of salary in the bank to provide a nice 'cushion' in the event that I lose my job for a while. While I certainly don't see any signs that my employer is going to start laying people off, it's always good to have a nice 'buffer' for things. This large savings also makes the inevitable 'emergencies' that always pop up less of a stress on your life. If you have $25K in the bank, the need for a new dishwasher, or new tires, or whatever, goes from being a major crisis to a minor inconvenience. I've done a pretty good job of managing my finances lately. I live considerably below my means. This goal means I would need to save at least $1,000 a month. This is very doable, based on my salary and expenses I just need to be more careful with the 'discretionary income'. I originally had a rule that the savings has been off limits. It was for real emergencies only. However, like my diet, I've gotten lax in this rule. I've become entirely too comfortable using this emergency fund for non-emergencies. That has to stop. I need to cut back heavily on the big toys in favor of this. I also have been thinking about making two large purchases this year - a new Macbook Pro (upgrade to my current Macbook), and a big-screen HDTV. The plans for these two were for the Macbook Pro to happen around the time of my birthday in July and the HDTV to happen around Christmas time. Whether these two purchases are still possible, given this goal, remains to be seen. I could easily sacrifice both items in favor of this goal, if need be. However, I still think that these two major purchases would be possible in the timeframes I mentioned, even considering this savings goal and my current income and expenses. A selling iPhone app would certainly also contribute to this goal! :)
I have other goals for the year, of a much more personal nature, that I won't talk about here, but I think these three goals I mentioned are a good indication of my plan for the year. For the most part, my life has been going pretty well. It just continues to need some refinement in a few significant areas. That's my target for this year.