Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: January 2023

A little less talk…

…and a little more action?

Oh, gosh, you know me, if there is one thing I’m not, it’s SUCCINCT. Perhaps we can just have both? Let’s give it a try and talk about all the JANUARY GOAL ACTION WOOWOO!!!

January Goal #1 – Be 183.5 lbs by the end of the month

Boom, done. Kidding. Kind of.

Besides a little blip up in the radar early last week (I think I probably ate/drank about double what I burned on NYE/NYD and maybe once again last Friday), things are trending the right direction. Also, I’m doing a mini-dry January thing (my last booze was Jan 6th, my next one will be when vacation starts on Jan 20th), so I expect some nice benefits from the lack of whiskey, unless I sub in junk food for a splurge. The goal is to nahhhht do that. So, cheers. Or anti-cheers. Whatever you feel is appropriate this month.

As a reminder, the plan is:

  • ~1500 cal/day or less on average, track food every day
  • Cardio with intensity 4-5x week for at least 30 mins (swim, bike, run, elliptical)
  • Weights 3x week
  • 10k steps as often as possible

First week in January was 1578 calories/day. While as you can see, I’m still losing weight, it’s just not as quickly as I wanted. Hoping to take it down, take it down now since we are no longer indulging in some “it’s still the holidays sorta” vacation treats.

January Goal #2 – Strength Over Stamina

Being super consistent with my weight training has actually been producing some noteworthy results these days. It may sound weird, but my body feels different, my legs especially. It’s difficult to describe but the places where there used to be wobbles now have indentations? It’s been so long. I don’t remember what this is. Anyhoo, it’s fun using the chunky weights like the 32.5 lb-ers for sumo squats and the 25s for bench instead of the barbie weights and feeling sturdy AF. I kinda feel like a brick… house!

My run has quickly progressed from 11:30 mins/mile being the top of my capacity when I started running 5ks a month ago to easy 10:30s without me really trying. I’m just running what feels good each day, and I keep getting better. I know there’s a point in which that loosey goosey training plan will have diminishing returns, but for now I’m enjoying it. I return to cycling this week (with the same plan, whatever pace feels good), and swimming will happen when it happens (maybe this month, maybe not).

I did start to slack juuuuuust a little at the end of last week on recovery (on stretching and rolling) so I’m trying to make my recovery habits a perfect streak until I go on vacation (and then stretch and roll still every day I can).

I’m going to keep it simple this month and take baby steps forward. Nothing changes except once per week, at one sport, I’m going to do something that is NOT just whatever pace feels fun. Maybe I’ll do some quarter mile repeats in my 5k. Maybe I’ll do some 1 min on/2 mins off efforts on the bike. Maybe I’ll do some 100s in the pool… hahah… ok, that was a good joke. Either way, I will push myself at least once a week.

Because I was a weirdo and scheduled a vacation at the end of the month (who does that just after Xmas break?), I’m giving myself the week of Jan 29th to do an FTP test on the bike. But I willll do it (scout’s honor) and report the results and proudly claim my pathetic watts/kg as a starting point upon which to improve every month this year.

January Goal #3 – Stop Ignoring My Surroundings

Ok, mad awesome progress here!

The workout room is pretty gosh darn done. Sure, there’s a bit more bike stuff that we could pare down and organize, but it’s cleaned out and fully functional. Sometime in the future we might take another pass, but for now, it’s lovely.

The game room/Joel’s office/dining room is very much in progress. It’s been repainted, the shelves have been assembled and arranged, and now we just need to organize what’s in some of the drawers and hang the art back up.

We did enough organization in the guest room to fit all the luggage/random stuff that was chillin’ around the room in the closet. The closet could absolutely use some more love, but everything fits in it (even with a little room to spare). It’s also now on the “we’ll get back to it after other parts of the house have had a pass” list.

Super happy with the progress. Just a bit more in the game room this week and I’m calling January donezo!

January Goal #4 – Relaxing Hobbies

  • Mediation – check! 5-6 days a week, it really helps me get up on the right side of the bed each morning.
  • Guitar – I have decided to end my workdays at home with 3 guitar songs (either before or after dinner). While that’s only 3 days/week, I’m hoping it’s enough to jumpstart the habit again. This is the dumbest habit to get out of – it’s something I can do in 3-4 minute chunks.
  • Painting – I have sucked at this so far this month (haven’t touched a brush), but I’ll give myself a pass since I’ve been in writing land. I just updated my daily To Dos and added “Paint one thing”, so I’m going to try for some level of consistency there (really, just go paint one thing with Joel when he’s painting since he does it most days as well)
  • Photo editing – yep! Almost through my fall foliage, about to start back on ocean sunsets, then go back to Brussels and Paris next month. 🙂
  • Work/life balance is great so far… on my first day back. Check up on me in February, haha.

January Goal #5 – Write (and not just here)

Traded real life “barding” for writing about one (but hope to get back to both!)

The muse who just up and left in 2020 came back on the scene with a vengeance. From December 26th on, I’ve been writing most days and I knocked out a first draft level first half of the book I wanted to write back in 2019/2020. It has made me so incredibly happy to dive back into the world of my silly little bard and expand the minimal backstory I wrote years ago to something I anticipate will be a 2+ hour read right now.

I feel like this is a good halfway point for Book 1, and now I change gears for a bit. I plan to spend January:

  1. Taking a VERY quick editing pass over the whole thing in the next two weeks.
  2. Watching the recordings of our sessions to help plan what goes in the next bits (where I have very few notes).
  3. Send my draft to my kindle to read over vacation to see how it “feels” when read like any other book I read.

I expect the next quarter of the book to be the most difficult to write, so I expect February will have a continuation of the second point and maybe starting on drafting actual words from notes. We shall see!

While January has kind of been easy mode in some regards (a week off work, plenty of time to do stuff!) and more difficult in others (a week off work, let’s eat the entire fridge!), I’m very happy the momentum is continuing nicely.

2023 – the year of momentum

2023, hallo there. Nice to meet you. I’m ready to kick your ass, but in a good way, I promise.

However, with all the planning I’ve been doing to greet you, it feels like we’re already good friends. So, let’s get down to it and start goal setting already.

#1 – Take 2 – Weigh 165 lbs by December 2023.

I sound like a friggin’ broken record, but it bears repeating for me, because this is NOT EASY. I’m going to do this by continuing to do the things I’m doing now.

  • Eat 1500 calories or less per day, and I’ll know I’m doing this by consistently tracking my food each day.
  • Build muscle by continuing to work with a trainer and strength train 3x week.
  • Cardio more days than not, working towards some more intensity.
  • 10k steps on average.

In terms of progress, I would like to calibrate my plan for about 1 lb/week. Right now I’m at 187.5 lbs. That means at the end of January, I should be at 183.5. At the end of Feburary, that means 179.5 (happy birthday to meeee). At the end of March, 175.5. And so on. I’ll reset this each month so I have a short-term but achievable goal for which to aim.

I’ve been hesitant to use specific goals because weight loss seemed so unpredictable. However, I think if I’m truly honest with myself – it’s pretty easy to predict. When I do all of the above, I lose weight. When I skip workouts, graze on snacks and forget to track them, or sit on my ass all day and not take walks, I don’. It feels frustrating because I’m getting some of it right, and that *should* be enough, but history and metrics proves I need to get ALL of it right to keep momentum going.

On a day-to-day micro level, occasionally my goals are not going to matter more than whiskey or chips or chocolate cake. That’s okay. However, to make progress, it needs to matter more often than it has in the past (at least pre-November). This takes consistent tracking even on days that suck.

When the going gets tough, I need to remember my WHYs:

  • I want to continue to run pain free and eventually run faster and further. Going from a 12 minute 1-mile run to a 10:30/mile 5k run has been so amazing. I want more.
  • I want to be able to choose from my whole closet, not just the same 10 things I wear all the time because they’re on the larger side.
  • I want to have better energy. My energy levels are SO improved from 3 months ago, but I know I’m still a slug compared to 3 years ago.
  • I want to feel the most confident version of myself, which is when I look good and feel good. My logic brain knows no one really can much tell if I weigh 180-something or 160-something but the part of the brain that makes the confident words with the people when I’m not feeling it does. So, it matters.

#2 Strength Over Stamina

Every year I say I want to get stronger and faster at the short distances. Also, every year I plan myself a long-distance race or three. While there is nothing wrong with long distance volume, in fact, when I come off a successful endurance build where I don’t wear myself out, I find speed. That’s not been case the last few where I’ve limped to the finish line and then died for months.

Yeah, I proved I can still complete a 70.3 (2021) and 50-mile triathlon (2022), so I’m done proving anything this year with stupid triathlete stunts. Doing that shit makes it tough to get stronger and faster at the short distances. So, I’m planning a FULL YEAR of strength over stamina. No races beyond a sprint, no exceptions. My goal is to be back to full short course form by the end of this year. What does that mean specifically by December 2023?

  • Swimming ~1:45/100m for 1000m distance, ~1:30ish/100m sprints
  • ~190W FTP test on the bike
  • Running ~9 min/mile 5ks off the bike

I would certainly be open to improvements beyond that, of course, but this gets me in the ballpark of 2018-2019. I will do this by continuing some habits:

  • Aggressively recover. Stretch, roll, ice, and use the massage boots daily
  • Strength train 3x week as I have been, continuing to increase weights/reps to build muscle
  • 10k steps/day, as often as possible
  • Consistent cardio with some intensity most days per week
  • Lose weight, because free speed! 🙂

And, starting to do a few more:

  • One FTP test per month (let’s say the last week of the month). I can’t move towards what I can’t track. And just because I’m scared of how far I’ve fallen doesn’t give me a pass. The only way to track progress is to quantify.
  • Get back to speedwork. Garmin is begging me to do it, so I know it’s time. Once a week, I’m going to start throwing some anaerobic stuff into my runs to start with, and I’ll incorporate the other two sports once I’m really back to them.
  • Drills and sprints in the pool. I’m keeping swimming rather minimal to focus on running and lifting right now, but that should mean I maximize my time in the pool rather than wasting it.

I don’t want to push it too far too fast, but I’m ready to START doing some of these things badly instead of waiting for some magical time when I’m in shape enough to do these things well. Because how I start being good at these things is first sucking at them.

It would be super cool if this could all translate to some good performance/placement in sprint triathlons or other shorter races, but I’ll just be super happy to feel like I can actually race again.

#3 Stop Ignoring my Surroundings

Two people. A four-bedroom house. We should not have issues with not enough storage space or be wishing for a fifth or sixth bedroom. Also, there are cracks in the shower, the floor, the patio, and many other things that need attention. I’ve spent a long time just shutting all the things that need to be done out, and lived in my bubble, where I can make them disappear. No more. This is a priority next year.

  • Spend a few hours per month cleaning out/organizing rooms that aren’t really usable right now. Order: dining room/office/gameroom, workout room, master bath/vanity, bedroom, and then guest room.
  • Redo the master bath. It’s falling apart. This has to be the next thing we do.
  • Consider hiring someone to help us organize our spaces if we feel too overwhelmed to do it ourselves

I mean, there’s more to do but that would be an excellent start in 2023.

#4 Prioritize Relaxation/Hobbies That Relax Me

I’m digging the chill I’m feeling right now (well, chill for the Type A Flower Sniffing Champion, that is), and want to keep that going.

This means:

  • Keep meditating more mornings than not (I’m about 5-7 days per week right now, I want to keep to it)
  • Work playing guitar back into my life more days than not. I need to establish a workday routine (either playing at lunch or ending work with it).
  • Continue painting. It’s relaxing. When I’m feeling intimidated by my current projects go help Joel paint NPC minis or terrain to do something lower stress.
  • Find the zen activity that shuts off my brain and sends me into relax mode.
  • Photo editing, which means finding pretty places to go and take footage. Aw, shucks. 🙂
  • Continue to prioritize work life balance under normal circumstances. Yeah, I’m sure there will still be crazy weeks here and there, but they can’t all be crazy weeks.

#5 Write (And Not Just Here)

In 2018 and 2019, I spent a ton of time using my words with meaning and feeling, both in narrating my life and in writing some fiction. The muse was my BFF. I was, to quote Hamilton, writing like I was running out of time.

Funny, in hindsight, I kind of was.

2020 was the year where everything crashed and burned. I wasn’t motivated to write here because WTF can you write about when you’re incredibly lost, unmotivated, and have no plans or direction. I wasn’t motivated to write fiction because, I dunno. The muse just left me. That’s an excuse but it’s the one I’m going with.

I returned to writing here in 2021, which was great. But if you look at my posts from before the pandemic and after, you’ll notice a significant difference in quality. Before, I chose my words carefully, thoughtfully, and I wrote with a voice. I definitely lost that voice over 2020, when all communication pretty much was in type, I got used to vomiting words on a screen as quickly as possible, with little care for structure and nuance, and the bad habit just stuck.

I saw an executive coach back in November to try it out, and when she heard I wrote, but hadn’t much lately, she encouraged me to pick it back up. My job is creative, but I rarely CREATE anymore, if y’know what I mean, and it looks as if it will continue to trend that way. So, having an outlet like this is helpful. I can definitely see it. I’m feeling energized and refreshed after restarting on the Fork Files, it’s like I’ve collected another one of those pieces of me I lost during the pandemic.

I’m chuffed that I’m about 16k words (25% of a novel-ish?) into the rewrite of my silly genderfluid bard’s journey. It has momentum, I have motivation, and the muse, she is BACK, baby! I will forgive her returning after years at 2am on Boxing Day, I’m simply glad she’s made her return. However, I’m still working on finding my voice again. I’m pleased enough to be putting words to (virtual) paper, at times, even ones that make me laugh and feel things at times, but I was finding some STYLE when I focused on it before and I’m not quite there yet.

However, I know the style will come. It will come with flexing the muscles regularly, it will flex with focus (not trying to put together words while the TV is on or whilst multitasking, shutting myself in my office for some duration to really monofocus), and it will flex with editing.

For right now, I’m jazzed to be putting together dialogue like:

“Yeah, that’s Taylor Alacritous… oh… yeah, I remember now.  The one that broke baby Morgan’s heart at the first concert.”

Morgan huffed.  “Taylor made promises that weren’t kept.  I have no tolerance for flighty vows of the heart.”

Donnchad scoffed.  “You mean, like the ones you make to your groupies nightly?”

“That’s different.  I make guarantees of a good evening but nothing more.  Taylor started talking about a blank space for us and then I found out Taylor was Jessie’s.”

“I bet you wish you could find someone like that.”

Morgan looked down.  “I felt so dirty later when I heard them start talking cute.  I’d get revenge, but the point is probably moot.”

Is it going to last through the rewrite stage? Maybe, probably not. Is it making me giggle and feel sneakily clever right now? Absolutely. And I’m going to continue to have fun with it for now. I could put some big goals like before about publishing it this year, but instead, like the triathlon goal, I just want to feel like a writer again and produce work that makes me happy. And this, this will be enough.

I do believe that’s it. Sure, I want to travel, and I will (two-ish weeks out from seeing fishies again, def some race trips, maybe some subset of CA, Seattle, Germany/EU for work, and I really really want to do a dive vacation). I’m sure I’ll stumble on other goals throughout the year. But I’m really excited to be heading into this year with MOMENTUM in many things that are very important to me. I’m always hopeful on January 4th, but this time that optimism comes with confidence, and that, I believe, will make all the difference this year.

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