And just like that, the clocks have gone forward and the Easter holidays have arrived. As we reach the end of the first quarter of the year, how am I progressing against my 2021 goals?
My objectives for the year span both longer and shorter-term targets and split into three main categories: health, wealth and self. I’ve reached my first couple of checkpoints this month, so it’s time to evaluate performance and set some new goals too.
March was a decent month in terms of hitting my health goals.
Consistency and routine remain the secret to my success. I easily surpassed my monthly target of completing 20,000 steps on at least 20 days, missing the milestone on only three occasions. And while I made it to 25,000 steps just twice, I achieved at least 18,000 every day. So far this year I’m averaging a whisker over 21,000 steps a day. Not bad.
That level of consistency does require a degree of dedication and sacrifice that some might consider slightly unhinged. For instance, my Sunday routine generally involves a 6-7km solo walk before everyone else is out of bed, followed by a similar length family geocaching walk, a lazy afternoon and a big dinner. I don’t have to do it but I actively want to, and I don’t begrudge the lack of a lie-in (that much).
It helps that the finish line of my Conqueror Virtual Challenge is almost within sight now. I’m approaching the 1,500km mark of my virtual walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats. With only 250km remaining, I’ve just passed Loch Ness and should finish nearly two weeks ahead of schedule. I’m already planning to sign up for the Route 66 challenge next. At 3,670km, it’s more than twice as long and should see me through until December.
I didn’t quite manage to get under 12½ stone by the end of March, falling a couple of pounds short. Nonetheless, I’m five pounds lighter than the start of the year, which I’m not at all unhappy with.
[UPDATE: I weighed myself again this morning (1st April) and, of course, the scales showed 12st 6, which means I would have hit my target if I’d extended the deadline by 24 hours. It’s like my body is playing an April Fool’s joke on me.]
I’m going to hold off setting another weight target for now. I’m less concerned by a number on the scales and focussed more on rebuilding my fitness. So instead I’m aiming to get back under 30 minutes for 5km, which I’ve only ever managed once, almost exactly a year ago. I surprised myself by completing 5km (albeit slowly, in over 35 minutes) on the treadmill early in March. Now that the clocks have gone forward and the weather is improving, it will provide some impetus to complete some longer runs outdoors.
Okay, so I’ve failed to complete my will before Easter. But, approximately 417 years after I put it on my to-do list, I’ve at least started, so I’m awarding myself a yellow rather than a red traffic light. I’ve contacted a local solicitor and filled in as much of the form as I can to start with. The next step is to agree a few details with Heather and then I’ve agreed with the lawyers that I’ll contact them to arrange a call and get a quote. I call that progress. (And, as with so many things that have hung over me for years, once I’d actually started it has proven to be relatively quick and simple.)
Linked to this, I’m borrowing a second ‘wealth’ goal from a project that Heather has already started. As not-the-most-organised-person-in-the-world, should I be run over by a bus tomorrow – most likely one driven by a gleeful Kara, who would no doubt reverse over me just to make sure – it would take the love-child of Sherlock Holmes and a world jigsaw puzzle champion to reassemble the pieces of my life. Details of bank accounts, investments, pensions and direct debits. Contact details for work. Passwords for critical websites. How to access this blog and my social media accounts (y’know, the really important stuff).
I’m calling it my ‘Doomsday document’. Catchy, eh?
Heather started this a few weeks ago, so now it’s my turn to do my bit. It’s a natural fit with making our wills too. Does getting our proverbial affairs in order seem a bit morbid? Maybe. But if the worst should happen sooner rather than later, Heather and the kids won’t have to deal with trying to make sense of my disorganised life on top of dealing with the trauma of my death.
I’m aiming to complete it this month because I know that if I give myself longer I won’t bother starting. So off I go.
A bit of a mixed bag here, but I’m not going to get too down on myself.
I’ve stalled a bit on the reading front. It’s taken the whole month to get halfway through my current book (Matthew Syed’s Rebel Ideas). I’m enjoying it but too often I’m too tired to read before bed. I need to dedicate more time for reading to get back on track.
There was plenty of cooking from scratch in March, though, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Some of this has been familiar fare that’s well within my comfort zone: Sunday roasts and so on. But a recent boys’ afternoon out with Toby to a local-ish Asian supermarket sparked some successful experiments with Japanese food that will definitely be repeated. I want to make sure I keep trying at least one or two new dishes a month going forward.
Food also gives me something that I can talk about and do on a one-to-one basis with Toby. While all three of our kids are capable in the kitchen, Toby is definitely our most foodie child. It’s lovely that our interests can align so neatly like this.
I still haven’t latched on to one definitive ‘thing’ with Isaac yet, although there are certain TV programmes that he and I watch together and talk about. And Kara should be my training buddy/fitness instructor, although she’s still emerging from a months-long funk where she has suffered from only being able to Zoom classes. I’m hoping that an impending return to ‘live’ training will restore her mojo and we can start exercising together.
Overall, I think there’s a lot to be pleased about. I’ve fallen a little behind in a couple of places, but in general my motivation remains good and I’m achieving enough of my goals to feel like I’m making decent progress. Let’s see what April brings.
Previous ‘2021 goals’ updates