Progress On My 2016 Resolutions
Although New year’s resolutions seem to be going out of fashion I still like them. I print them out and stick them on my desk wall but I also have them on my phone in Google Keep, each one decorated with a nice photo as a visual reminder. I think they provide a good way for me to reassess my life and do a bit of periodic re-design. Here’s my belated progress report on last years resolutions:
- Integrate exercise into my day – achieved
This has been a great breakthrough for me. I’ve done much more exercise this year, but almost all of it has been outside of the gym and integrated into my normal day’s activities. Getting an allotment has helped, because that involves a lot of lifting, carrying, squatting, stretching etc, but I’ve also cycled around town more, carried all of the shopping, gone off trail and up more challenging paths while hiking and generally sought out opportunities to move. I’ve finally cancelled my gym membership because I never felt the need to go there and because I find I feel much better spreading my exercise out rather than squeezing it into intense bursts, that increase my risk of injury. So it’s ironic to write this sitting here ‘enjoying’ an enforced rest period because of a sports hernia, caused by lifting a very heavy and unwieldy door that had been left on my allotment!
- Read a book a week – partially achieved
I’d assumed that I would read more now that I’ve retired, but that’s proved not to be the case, I just prefer to be outside and moving rather than sitting and reading. I’d also thought I would have more time for audio books, but I’ve found that I’m enjoying the shorter and livelier podcast format more. As a result I only managed to read 35 books this year, but I’m not worried – I’ve still learnt a lot, enjoyed myself and read plenty.
- Improve my home environment – achieved
Retirement has meant more time at home and more time to improve the home environment and this year all of the kids also flew the nest, giving Debbie and I more opportunity to spread out. I’m very pleased with the results. Debbie now has her own home office. We’ve created a very relaxing winter living room, that’s part library, part cafe, part TV room, but equally important it’s cosy and warm. Having this library/cafe has meant that I go to real cafes a lot less and as a result I’ve saved the money that I needed to create the room and eaten fewer cakes. We also redesigned the back garden, created an ornamental kitchen garden, a fruit garden and a large patio that gets the afternoon and evening sun, this was very heavily used for afternoon relaxation and entertaining. Jon and I also did a fair amount of decorating both inside and out and I redesigned my home audio/visual environment making it much more integrated, flexible and resilient.
- Enrich my life with Debbie – not achieved
Although we managed to get away for a few holidays, Debbie’s life is overwhelmingly dominated by her job as a teacher, which most of the time leaves me to pick up all other responsibilities. The end result is that we were both too tired and busy to do many of the things we planned to do together this year. It’s not all bad news though because we still greatly enjoyed the time we did get, we just want more of it and we have a plan for the future! The highlights for me were two walking holidays in Edinburgh, cycling the lights, hiking in The Lakes, working on the allotment together and regularly eating out at our favourite cafes and Carvery.
- Quality time with my children – partially achieved
As the kids have now all left home, it is very important to me that I continued to keep in close contact with them and spend quality time with them. I’m fairly pleased with how that’s worked out: I get to spend a lot of time with Jennie, Jon and especially Robin; I’ve been on holiday to Paris with Steph and we’ve also spent a few days hiking and I’ve stayed with her and Graham; I’ve stayed for a week with Anna and Thom down in London and Anna is wonderful at keeping in touch on a weekly basis; Tess and I need to work on spending more time together though, we’ve only managed a few walks, breakfasts and car journeys, but no real quality time with her and Ollie. We’ve also managed a few big family get togethers and we were all here for Christmas.
- Travelling with my bike – partially achieved
I’ve done a lot less travelling this year, because I’ve been busy at home, enjoying the allotment and the local area too much, but whenever it’s been possible I’ve taken the bike out with me on day trips, to create hiking/biking experiences.
- Create systems – achieved
To complement these resolutions I also wanted to create systems that encouraged me to live a full/good life on a daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal basis. Systems are basically sets of habits that nudge me in the right direction. Rather than set specific goals, the systems, when working well, naturally move me in the direction of my goals. Examples of systems that worked well are taking sunrise and sunset walks, growing my own food, making up healthy meals in advance, cycling or walking around the local area rather than using the car.
It’s worth mentioning that although it wasn’t a specific resolution I’ve also been working hard on improving my health and I’m pleased to say that for the first time in many years I’ve not had a major flare and that my day to day health has also been much improved. I still have a few ups and downs and some injuries to work on this year though.