Sunday, January 1, 2012

Twenty - Twelve



Well, this year is going to be big. I'm certain you, like many, have a stack of New Year's Resolutions lined up. I don't. A resolution, when you are resolute to changing something about yourself you belief to be a flaw. You can quit smoking, lose weight, get a new job, meet someone new, dump who you're with... the potential is enormous, but rarely do people pull it off. Why?

I believe the failure is in the term and the intent. People hate change, we resist it for a number of reasons, but generally people are simply not able to just pop a switch at midnight and be done with something. We need to plan out a change, change our mind-set, think differently. We need the change to be a priority, and frankly we're busy enough that the change is often more effort than we have left.

That said, we can set out a plan for change, to quit smoking you will want to eliminate the stresses from your life while you exercise your plan. Just as anything you're quitting (or changing) that's linked to stress or depression-related behaviours, you need to have people (that you trust) aware of your goal. Yes, GOAL. You do not need a resolution, you have a goal. It doesn't need to happen overnight, from the ball-drop, but that can be the execution's beginning. Now you need to work at the change. If you have a list of goals, think about setting them up in series, completing one may be beneficial or serve as a pre-requisite to another, you have all year, but let's not procrastinate. Goals require plans, and schedules.

I'm no expert on addictions, so I'll leave quitting smoking/drinking/drugs to the professionals, but Turkey is a dish best served cold. If you can link it to a period where you lack routine, like a vacation (a week or two), to kick it off, then do so. If your friends are the sort that are a part of the problem, then make new friends and go on vacation with them. If you can shake something for two weeks, you've got a head start.

In setting a goal, set a reward, or rewards, for milestones. Do not make the reward part of the problem, like dinner out for losing weight, for example. Do not make the milestones unattainable, they should be set in J-E-L-L-O (thanks Bill), movable, but not easy. They can be an encouragement as much as a reward. If your goal was to be able to run 5K a day, but your last milestone was 4K and you're hitting a wall at 4.7K, you may treat yourself to the reward (new shoes?), but keep the next milestone intact. You do not want to punish yourself for success, you still have your long-term goal of a marathon. The milestone should be affordable, attainable, and not impact any of your other goals negatively.

My trouble is food, and in turn my weight. When I get stressed, depressed, or bored I eat. Add to that that my weight makes walking distances (a good way to lose weight) a cause of pain to my body, and you have a complex challenge... PLEASE, do not gain weight people. It sucks. That said, I have a plan, my goal is to lose 100 pounds in 2012. That sounds HUGE, and I am, but That's a reasonable goal for a year. I am starting now, but the plan is still being worked out. There needs to be a change in mind-set for me, where I take those moments of doubt and boredom and turn them into something productive, rather than venturing to the fridge. When I'm, stressed, I need to find an outlet that's better than food. I need to look for opportunities to walk more, not great distances (yet) but enough that I'm increasing activity. One more thing, PORTION SIZES. I have always been told portion control is part of it, but when you feel like crap, you turn to what makes you feel better. What you need to realize is that that feeling better now, is not going to feel better in the long run and it will lead to a downward spiral. Eat less, enjoy it more.

GOALS (mine):

  • Live better, healthier, lose 100 lbs (reach 250lbs by January 1, 2013)
    • Buy a new pair of boots
    • Go canoeing (milestone reward)
    • A 10K hike with people I love
    • Buy a pair of snowshoes
    • Christmas Walk in the snow.
  • Write a meaningful application or tool in VB.NET
    • Buy a NetBook or affordable Laptop computer to be more mobile.
  • Write a BlackBerry PlayBook App
    • Upgrade my PlayBook to 64Gb model and give my 16Gb model to someone
  • Become "debt-free" (again) and attain a $2000 savings buffer.
    • For every $500 saved (or paid off), $40 in Microsoft Points for games/add-ons.
    • Halo 4 (or another game)
  • Read the Bible (or at least the daily verses from daily
    • The reward is built-in.
That should be plenty for 2012. Remember these are not set in stone, life has a way of getting in the way of success sometimes, as much as we plan to get everything done there are factors that will destroy a savings plan, change your focus at work, put you in a completely different situation than your plan can accommodate. You need to look at those goals when things change and realize that there are some that you can complete without shame or any sense of failure, they simply became unattainable. You must also realize that some goals are important enough to be bigger than anything laid in your path to prevent success.

For me, all of these are important, but if push came to shove 'Live better' is the ONE goal I must succeed in. The rest are expendable if circumstances deem them impossible, but you need to remember... 

Never Give Up.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Preparing for 2012...

Tomorrow we celebrate the demise of another year. Was it a good year for you? What do you have left in your bank account, and is it spoken for by your Christmas debt?

Why do we go into debt? My ex-wife used to talk about "good debt" as if it benefited us to have an anchor around our necks while swimming with sharks. She was wrong, there is no such thing as "good" debt. The simple idea of debt means that you need to pay someone else more money for something you could not apparently afford. Any manner of discount you may have received is washed away by the fees and interest associated with borrowing. That doesn't mean there are not opportunities to leverage those 0% opportunities, but you should never catch yourself saying, "I'll have the money by then."

Save credit for those days when you need it, when the unexpected happens. I have debt, $5000. I could have less, but as it happens this was a bit of a surprise, so I borrowed money to pay for something necessary. Until December 2011, I was pleasantly growing a savings account.

Living within your means is important, to your future. I would like to wish you a Happy, and debt-free, New Year.