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.