My Plan For 2015


I’ve achieved a lot in 2014, but there are a few things that I’ve failed on, I’m intending to try and fix these.  But I’m also planning to be a little kinder to myself; to reduce the number of objectives I have; to worry less about work; to leave more time in my days for relaxation.  This post lays out my plan of action, but part of being kinder to myself is not worrying too much if I don’t follow this plan, to go with the flow, this post only sets the direction.

First though lets take a look at the things I failed on:

  1. My pain levels have gradually increased over the last year
  2. I’ve had three nasty flares and had to up my immune system suppressant medication levels again, I’ve also had many mini-flares
  3. I’m not able to sleep without sleep aids
  4. I’m still suffering from chronic migraines, having made excellent progress in 2013, they are back, probably in part due to the fact that I still need to take codeine a few days a week, sometimes every day
  5. I’ve not learned anything truly new, but I’ve spent a lot of time maintaining the knowledge I already have
  6. Strength training is rarely possible and I’m gradually getting weaker
  7. I’ve pretty much stopped swimming.  The sleep meds I’m on make it too hard to go early in the morning and I’m too tired at night.  I need to find a way though, swimming is the best thing I know for my arms and shoulders which are much worse this year
  8. I’ve been absolutely hopeless at just lying back and relaxing during the day, reading a book, listening to music, playing games with the kids – I never seem to find the time

There are some root causes in this list, or at least I’m hoping there are:

  1. I reduced my dose of Methotrexate, which resulted in the increasing number of flares
  2. I didn’t move around enough, which increased my pain levels
  3. I took more pain killers, which increased my chronic migraines
  4. I relied more on sleep aids and pain killers to get to sleep, which increased my sleep duration but reduced my sleep quality, contributing to all of the above.  Sleep aids make it hard to wake early enough to go swimming
  5. Increasing pain levels and lower levels of motivation meant I rarely did strength exercises or went swimming, both reduced pain on the day, but increased my pain levels in the medium to long term
  6. My days were too busy, so I didn’t relax enough, used up all my motivation/will-power, didn’t meditate enough and also contributed to all of the above
  7. I’m only meant to work for 2 weeks a month, but I frequently did more than that, even though I know from experience that 2 weeks work is enough to make a difference and any more too much to be sustained.  Sticking to the 2 week a month rule would give me the time to learn new things, which would help me at work and home
  8. I’m only meant to work for 4 hours a day,  I do only work for 4 hours in a block (in the afternoon) but I also often work for an hour early in the morning, mid evening and often do a few hours over the weekend.  This extra time is all I need to fix some of the issues above

Some fairly obvious fixes reveal themselves:

  1. Wean myself off pain killers, especially opiates
  2. Wean myself off, or at least reduce dependence on sleep meds, so I can wake in time to go swimming and I’m brighter in the morning
  3. Move around more during the day
  4. Stick to the 4 hour working day rule, counting the research time I spend in the morning and the evening
  5. Stick to the 2 working weeks a month rule
  6. Find more time to relax

On to the plan, which incorporates all of these fixes:

  1. Wean myself off painkillers by the end of January
  2. Swim 3-4 times a week, cycle on the days that I don’t swim
  3. Do strength exercises twice a week
  4. Do yoga nidra every day
  5. Do sitting meditation every day for at least 5 minutes, but for 20 minutes 2-3 times a week
  6. Start work at 11am but finish at 15:00 and go read in Caffe Nero to on my Kindle, away from distrations
  7. Watch a conference video 4 days a week, except when I’m on holiday, that’s 160 sessions, which should help with the ‘learn something new’ objective
  8. Get back into going for a hike around Rivington on days that I go into the office
  9. Wean myself off sleep aids by the end of April, this might mean taking some additional time off work, because it’s going to be tough on family, body and mind

I’m also intending to mix up my diet a bit, while keeping it simple:

  1. 2 days a week I will do a partial fast, not eating until lunch and dropping 1000 calories, but still eating a big cooked meal of mostly vegetables with lamb, beef and liver burgers for dinner and a big berry and cream salad for supper.  Fasting sometimes stops a flare in it’s tracks
  2. 2 days a week I will each a big salad for lunch and a big cooked meal of mostly vegetables with lamb, beef and liver burgers for dinner and a big berry, banana and cream salad for supper
  3. 2 days a week I will drink a mega smoothie for lunch and a big cooked meal of mostly vegetables with roast chicken or turkey for dinner and a big berry, banana and cream salad for supper
  4. Depending on how much exercise I do, a few days a week I will go out for breakfast and have bacon and eggs, one or two evenings I will go out for dinner, 2-3 days a week I’ll have a big bowl of crispy oats, nuts and seeds for lunch.  For snacks I might have nuts, pear crisps, dark chocolate, apples, pears, crispy bacon, I also find ways to add Coconut, MCT, Olive and Avocado oils to my diet

I like to live a simple life, but I’ve also realised that for me some variety is important, there are a few ways that I’m intending to do that:

  1. Reading a wider range of non-fiction than I did in 2014
  2. Listening to a wider range of podcasts
  3. Reading some new fiction authors
  4. Taking 6 short breaks at my beloved Filey, but spending the other 6 short breaks in new places or on day trips, or learning new things at home
  5. Learning something new on every think week
  6. Although I’m intending to go to Caffe Nero twice a day, early morning and late afternoon, I won’t go to the same one twice (I have three to choose from within cycling distance)
  7. Going out for picnics, hikes, plays, concerts etc. in addition to the cinema
  8. Sometimes finding the energy to go out in the evening

As I say I want to live the simple life, so this is what am planning to do to further address that:

  1. I’m going to grow as much of my own food as I can
  2. I’m going to continue with my experiment in not buying anything, except consumables, replacements and experiences, for myself.  For example I’m not intending to buy any new gadgets until Debbie gets a job after finishing her Master’s next year
  3. I’ve decided on my year’s reading in advance, drawn from books I already own.  I’m reading them in alphabetical order

All these plans are all well and good but what happens when I wake up and I can hardly move my legs, lift my arms, twist my neck?  Well on those days, I kind to myself and just do a little of everything above, but not all of it and supplemented by chocolate.

Oh and finally I’m going to get down to my weight at age 25, a time when I was cycling 16 miles a day, working out in the gym, eating a raw food diet and swimming often.  I was at my best when I weighed 10 Stone 4lbs.  I’m 10 Stone 10lbs right now, I’ve lost 8lbs in the last couple months, by eating normally five days a week and partially fasting on two.

I picked a pictures of the Lake District for today’s post, which I’m uncharacteristically writing at home, rather than Caffe Nero.  I really do need to get back to the Lakes before the snow starts falling, it’s been too long, I’m not even sure where this picture was taken, but I think it’s the southern end of Derwent Water, @grahamchastey would know!

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

3 Responses

  1. Vince says:

    Yes it is taken from the south-west end of Derwentwater looking NE.

    I’ve got a lot of books to read – but we’ve only one in common the Feynman; also have a lot of hours of audible books to hear. Travelling to the office a lot has helped with that backlog.

  2. You should publish your list, then we might have more in common next year

  1. December 30, 2014

    […] was an interesting book to read while reflecting on the last year and planning for the next.  My plan for next year is defined by: doing less; focusing more; being kind to myself – all topics addressed to a […]

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