January review

After seeing others (Susan Fowler, Julia Evans, etc.) write year-in-review posts, I thought I should give it a go too! However, I don’t trust my discipline to last all year. So, I’ve decided to post monthly reviews.

For January, I set the following goals, all framed in a ‘habit’ style.

  • 30 minutes of reading every day. Reading was a fond childhood habit, which I have replaced with oodles of pointless Redditing, YouTubing and Twittering. As a kid, I’d carry my books along on visits my family made (serving the purpose of a comfort blanket, while also engaging me I guess). Time to get that back on track. I forced myself to only count time spent reading books, not articles.
  • 10 minutes of walking per day. This is some indicator of how unfit I had become at the end of 2020, given that till 2019 I could easily run a 5k in under 28 minutes with little effort.
  • 5 chess puzzles in a row every day. Intended to improve my skills at chess. Based on something I read on KhanAcademy (I think) stating that streaks of correct answers indicate mastery better than %-based metrics.
  • 3 sets of push-ups every other day.
  • 3 sets of squats every other day. For both this and the push-up goal, I didn’t really set a fixed amount of reps per set. This may be something I change going forward.
  • Watch 2 tech videos every week day. This goal was abandoned after 4 days. I need to fit ’learning’ into my schedule in a different way.

And now,

The results

in the same order: Reading Habit 7 days in a row to begin, then missed the next 6! Only 6 misses after that, a big win for me since this was the toughest goal I felt.
Managed to finish a couple of books (A river in darkness and A little history of philosophy, and around half a book more (parts of The Story of Philosophy and Blood, Sweat and Pixels). This one was tough, since I usually read before bed, and 30 minutes before bed feels extremely long. May split it up into reading 10 minutes during the day and 10 minutes at night (or similar).

Walking Habit Missed 3 Fridays (!!)
Barely feels like a goal, but considering my fitness level, was good motivation to get me out the house. Likely also reduced my food delivery bills, as I walked to pick food up instead.

Started on the 12th: Chess Habit Missed 2 days, both Saturdays (hmmmm)

Started on the 3rd/4th: Push-ups Habit Missed 1 day
Squat Habit Missed 1 day

Midway through the month, I’d also set a few other non-habit goals:

  • Run ten minutes twice (towards the end of the month, once my fitness was back up)
    • The first ten-minute run was much harder than the second one. Will increase the duration next month.
  • 15x3 push-ups (one day)
    • Was just right.
  • 20x3 squats (one day)
    • Was somewhat easy, but squats were giving me knee problems.
  • 4100 chessCom puzzles (I was at ~1200 when I started)
    • Cleared this (at ~4200 now), although next month I’ll track the number of puzzles solved successfully instead.
  • Write 3 blogs
    • At 2 blogs with this one, which I am fine with since I had forgotten about this goal.

Overall, I am pretty pleased with the results. I feel like my chess has improved and my fitness is slowly improving.