My healthy living goals year-end reflection, with 5 key tips.

Back at the end of January, I shared my healthy living goals with a video. In summary, I was tracking:

Workouts – minimum 20 min. of cardio, one strength and one stretch exercise.

Intermittent Fasting – a 14 hour gap overnight (also known as time restricted eating).

Meditation – minimum 10 minutes guided

Reading or Writing – minimum 30 minutes, including e-books, but not podcasts.

Here is my year-end summary that I promised I’d do in the January video.

Summary of the percentage of days that I achieved my goals:

Workouts: 63% (57% would have been an average of 4-days a week. I only did less than 4 days a week 3 times during the year.)

Time Restricted Eating: 48% (71% would have been the max, or 5/7 days a week).

Meditation: 100% (possible that I might have missed a maximum of 2 days).

Reading & Writing: 86%, 26 books (listened to), and 168 blog posts (mostly through a daily blog since mid-July).

Here are some key things that helped me achieve this goal:

1. A year-long calendar poster. You get to see at-a-glance how you are doing and you can motivate yourself to meet your goals at the end of the week if you are not on target.

2. The best time to start a new streak is RIGHT NOW. I mentioned this in the video, don’t wallow in disappointment. There are only 3 weeks (starred) in the chart below that show weeks that I didn’t get at least 4 workouts in. I didn’t let those weeks define me.

3. Reduce friction. Here are 3 examples:

  • My stickers and sticker chart are right next to my treadmill. I make it easy to track and see this.
  • I have a pair of runners and a shoe horn in my exercise room. I never have to look for my shoes, and I don’t need to tie them, the shoehorn allows me to slide my feet in while still being tight enough to run in. Also, my headphones, and all equipment are where I need them… Always ready, and I never need to search for them.
  • Don’t exercise at your maximum every day. Some days I push really hard, and some days I go at 75%. A day when you are feeling low, give yourself an effort break, but don’t give yourself a break from actually doing exercise. If you end up doing 3 workouts at a lower effort, you’ll have the drive to push when you feel up to it. Make the friction about how hard you work out, rather than if you are going to work out or not.

4. Share your goals with others. You are more likely to hold yourself accountable if you have made your goals public. That’s partly why I did my original post in January, and promised in that post that I would do this update.

5. Be vigilant at your busiest times. It is really easy to say, “September is too crazy”, or “I’ll get started as soon as things calm down.” There will always be an upcoming busy time to deal with. Things won’t calm down (sorry, but you know this is true). If you want this to work, make it work when you are busiest and the rest of the year will be easy.

My goals will be slightly different for 2020, but I will continue to track things that I want to make routine.

One final note: My routine isn’t just about what I do, it’s also about what I don’t do. I don’t snack nearly as much. I don’t watch TV, I even gave up a hobby I love for the year. Understand that this commitment to myself comes with giving things up too. I fell in love with archery a few years back, but with travel time, the sessions were usually about 2 hours long. I couldn’t maintain that, and my daily regiment, and my work schedule, and sitting in front of the couch watching TV. But with everything I’ve given up, I’ve gained more energy to accomplish all the other things I do. It also helps that I don’t start my blog post until after 9pm if I do any writing at night, and I am completely done my routine including scheduling my blog post, doing my workout, and listening to an audio book by 6:30am. My routine is disciplined and does not affect my daily life beyond the time that I give it.

What about you? Grab a 2020 calendar from Staples, Amazon, or where ever you shop for things like this, and get the new year off to a healthy start!