2 Jan 2012

Review of My Personal Goals for 2011– Part 1

At the start of this year, I compiled a list of goals for 2011.  I thought it would be useful to look again at the 5 general aims that I set out then, to see if there were any lessons I could learn for the year ahead.

To recap, I had 5 main goals for 2011:

  1. Get fit!
    • Reduce weight to 68kg.
    • Eat no chocolate, and work to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet.
    • Exercise daily for at least 45 minutes.
    • Get at least 7 hours sleep every night.
    • Start a martial art by April.
  2. Friends and Family
    • Spend some time each week staying in touch with friends and family.
  3. Personal Interests
    • Read 100 new books.
    • Watch 50 films.
    • Release an open-source project.
    • Write a new blog post weekly.
  4. Career
    • Become Microsoft Certified in SharePoint 2010.
  5. Financial
    • To save 20% of my net salary (separate from pension contributions).

I had hoped to do this review in a single post – it turns out, I’ll need to do a series of post to cover everything.  In this post, I’ll look at the first goal – getting fit. 

Overall, I missed this goal by a mile – I’m definitely not fitter than I was at the start of 2011.  Considering each of the sub-goals in turn:

My current weight is 76.4kg, higher than the start of last year.  A check of my online bodyweight log shows the following graph for my weigh over the 2011:

Bodyweight Chart for 2011

Part of the initial weight loss in the graph above was due to changes in my diet; I didn’t eat any chocolate in the first half of the year.  Unfortunately, I simply displaced my chocolate craving with other sugary treats.  In the second half of the year, my diet started to decline, and I started eating chocolate occasionally, which led to the weight gain.  I experimented at various times with keeping a photo food diary, but found it difficult to keep this going.  In the future, I’m planning on maintaining a written food diary, and looking at the use of portion control.

For the goal of exercising daily, it was partial success.  A quick check of my diary shows that I exercised on 312 days, or approximately 85% of the time.  There were two main periods when I couldn’t exercise – two weeks in April, due to injury, and a further two weeks in November, when due to major  deadline for a work project I couldn’t exercise as planned.  A major improvement in my exercise plan was to start each day with some light circuit training and stretching.  This only take 25-30 minutes, and is a great way to wake yourself up.  It also means that if I miss a scheduled exercise session in the evening, I only need to add a brisk walk for 20-30 minutes to meet my daily exercise quota.  This is something I plan on keeping on in future.

I definitely didn’t get 7 hours sleep every night. I also noticed that a lack of sleep definitely hindered my diet, as I tend to binge late at night. 

I did start a martial art during the year.  In fact, I started two, attending both Judo and kickboxing during the year.  Unfortunately, in my first Judo session, I tore my pectoral muscle (an extremely painful injury – I initially thought I had cracked a rib), which led to two weeks unable to exercise completely, followed by  6 weeks of light exercise.  I started kickboxing in June, and stuck at for 4 months, at which point I ditched it – I found it very boring.  Strangely, I could see myself going back to Judo.

What went wrong?  The overall aim of getting fit was a worthwhile one.  But I attempted to do too much, with too many sub-goals; I should have focused on losing weight.  I was already exercising regularly, but I was still slowly gaining weight.  I didn’t focus on the reasons for the weight gain – my poor diet.  Until this happens, I’m not going to get fitter.  I also wasn’t flexible enough in my goals – I didn’t plan on injury or work commitments stopping me training.

What can I improve on?  Concentrate on the core issue – my diet in this case.  Everything else will fall into place when this is dealt with.  Also, I need to be more flexible in planning to meet the goal.

2 comments:

  1. 312 days exercise out of the year isn't bad! I'd hazard a guess that it was in and around 270 more than I managed. To be honest I'm just not sure where people get the time from. By the time I get home and do what I have to the day's almost over. And first thing in the morning I'm useful to absolutely nobody. So well done you!

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  2. Andi, I recommend my wee bro's blog, if you need some nutrition advice, to help match and maximise your fitness efforts: http://www.matthewarrell.co.uk/index.php/category/blog/.

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