New Skills: New Goals

I’ve been doing a lot of thought recently into where I currently am and where I would like to be. Instead of some grandiose future goals, like I typically would have in the past (money/power/love/world domination), I have a lot of things in my life that I am generally happy with and identified a few things that are keeping me from enjoying what I have even more.

I narrowed what I want down into three somewhat separate ideas, though they’re definitely cyclical/interrelated in nature.




Physical Practice

I decided want to change up my fitness and body goals. On the one hand, I’ve still got 15 pounds (putting me at 27% body fat) that I would like to lose. On the other hand, I’ve lost 25 pounds (putting me at 29.5% body fat from being at 33% body fat in 2014). I plan on maintaining my weight where it is, but I’ve lost my momentum from constantly pushing.

Since I’ve stopped focusing on losing weight as my goal, I’ve actually worked out a little more often and consistently, though the offset of eating a little more food means I’m not seeing a drop in pounds. I liked seeing a change over time, and absolutely want to lose the rest of the weight I had planned on losing, but for now I’m enjoying eating somewhat larger portions and food that’s a little more varied than my usual diet food (which relies on a system of minimal creamy foods and non-natural carbs).

What I do want to pursue is something where I can:

  1. Continue to see ongoing results
  2. Builds a skill or talent of some sort
  3. Has some degree of frivolity or needless fun

Dance is not my thing, and Crossfit or other “extreme” exercises would not be safe with the condition of my back, so I’m trying to find some less trendy activities. I would also like to practice something that improves my breathing and lung capacity, though this may be a separate practice.

Quality of Rest

Jason Fried’s recent Being Tired Isn’t a Badge of Honor, got me thinking:

A lot of entrepreneurs onstage have been bragging about not sleeping, telling their audiences about their 16-hour days, and making it sound like hustle-at-all-costs is the way ahead. Rest be damned, they say — there’s an endless amount of work to do.

I think this message is one of the most harmful in all of business. Sustained exhaustion is not a rite of passage. It’s a mark of stupidity.

I’ve been doing a lot of thought about other things (time worked, exhaustion, pain, comparative suffering, social martyrdom) that are unnecessary conditions that are accepted as a Badge of Honor. I’ve been very careful to reset my time boundaries at work if for no other reason than for necessity alone…I’ve neglected a great deal of personal and household work during the last few months, and it’s causing problems with the quality of my down time. This puts the expectations back to where they were before things got crazy with our releases at work, and is something I try to maintain as much as possible.

I’ve consistently been able to go to bed/wake up at the appropriate times to give myself a good chance to get 7 hours of sleep a day, and I want to enhance the rest that I am getting. I’m trying to make sure the room is as restful as possible, I want my bed to interfere as little as possible with my ability to rest, and I want to start participating in more activities that promote relaxation, unplugging, and things that reduce stress.

Some of the work is getting caught up on housework and personal work so I can mentally relax without something nagging from the back of my mind.

Honest Evaluation

One thing I have noticed is that I’ve been ending each day at work feeling physically miserable overall, whether that’s tingling pain from various points on my back, arms, or wrists, nauseous from various smells, sore from hot/cold variations in temperature, or having a general headaches and migraines. This makes it difficult to do anything once I get home, like cooking or cleaning, and also hinders my ability to relax suitably. I do deal with chronic pain as it is, and it can be hard to detect when something is normal pain and when something is abnormal pain. I’ve become so accustomed to ignoring any pain below a certain threshold, that I’ve ended up ignoring pains that are not related to my back issues.

This is also not a Badge of Honor. Overall I’m getting tired of hearing the idea that someone isn’t properly caring for themselves, therefore I should treat myself just as poorly. I also don’t really benefit from the grin-and-bear-it approach. There are a few realities of my life at this point, which is that I’m going to wake up already in a reasonable amount of discomfort or pain, I will go through the day without that pain improving, and that pain will make it difficult to do anything that involves calming my mind (like falling asleep at night). Originally, the pain was something that would hopefully lessen eventually (and it has), but it was something that couldn’t be fixed or changed. After 8 years, I’m not sure what is inevitable pain and if there’s something I could change.

I’m toying with the idea of figuring out what pain can be eliminated completely and what type of pain needs pain management…something else I’ve had to “deal with” and not actually address or treat prior to now. I don’t even know how to go about this process, but I’m intrigued by the thought of not feeling physically uncomfortable at all times.

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