A good start

Well, it’s Monday, so that means it’s time for my first weekly check-in.

Last week I wrote a post describing my five goals, which I chose to help me focus on my three highest priorities: health, family, and photography. So how did my first seven days go?

Progress report – week 1

I’m going to break things down goal-by-goal first, give myself a grade on each, then summarize any results I feel are related to all of this. You’ll see what I mean.

I will spend one hour a day exercising and stretching.

This has been a struggle, mostly due to the weather. We’ve had several days of rain, and the sort of wind which makes an umbrella useless. So getting out for walks (my go-to exercise) has been a challenge. But at least I’ve been stretching, right?

Ehh…sorta. It was really rough at the start. I didn’t stretch at all the first couple of days, and I honestly don’t know why. Stretching is relatively easy, but I just didn’t do it. It’s not a question of forgetting about it, I just…didn’t wanna. I finally got around to it on Thursday, though, and managed to stretch at least once a day ever since.

I’m giving myself a C on this goal, but only because I’m cutting myself a little slack due to the weather. I probably deserve a C- or a D.

I will use a meal planner to eat healthier.

I’ve been doing really well on this! I’m using an Android app called “Fat Secret” to track my calories and overall nutrition, and it’s made me think long and hard about my food choices. I’ve been eating a ton of greens, choosing much healthier snacks (like baby carrots), and staying focused on my nutritional needs. I’m also drinking a lot more water and finally feeling properly hydrated for the first time in I don’t know how long.

That said, there have been a couple of times at the beginning of the week where I went a little over my calorie count and shouldn’t have.

This gets an A this week. It’d be an A+, but I really can’t ignore those little slips.

I will spend one hour a day on meditation and related practices.

I am totally rocking this goal. As I mentioned last week, these “meditation and related practices” are more involved than I’m comfortable discussing right now, but any way I look at this goal I am thoroughly kicking its butt.

That’s an A+, hands down.

I will spend one hour a day with my family members.

At first glance, I’ve been nailing this goal as well, and doing so for well in excess of an hour a day, but I have to keep something in mind. This goal isn’t about just occupying the same space, but really interacting with (and enjoying the company of) all my family members.

Sitting in a room, watching and talking about a show or a movie totally counts. Sitting in a room, listening to podcasts via my earbuds and phone, while everyone else is watching and talking about a show? Not so much.

I’m giving myself a B, here, because I’m mostly taking the earbuds out and interacting more often (and this weekend I hung out with the family a lot), but there’s definite room for improvement.

I will spend one hour a day on photography.

I’m also kicking this goal’s butt, but only if you go by the letter and not the spirit of the goal.

In my case, “photography” is an umbrella term which includes taking photos, editing photos, posting photos, and reading/watching/learning about photography stuff. And I’ve certainly spent an hour a day (or more) doing some of these things, but the one thing I didn’t do hardly any of was actually get out and take photos.

That’s…not what I wanted. So, this goal might just be too vague. I may need to narrow my focus, narrow my definition of “photography” in this context. For now, I’m going to leave it worded as is, and I’ll try to maintain a better ratio of “taking photos” versus “everything else.”

In the meantime, I’m giving myself a B, here. I’ve absolutely done something photography-related for an hour a day, but I’m leaving an important part of the picture out. (See what I did there?)

Results

I haven’t felt this good, or happy, in years. Maybe ever.

For starters, I’ve slept well every single night this last week. Minus a trip or two to the bathroom, I’m getting good, deep, quality sleep and waking up feeling refreshed and alert. For a chronic insomniac like myself, that’s insane. I don’t think a week of sleep like this has ever happened to me before, at least not that I can remember.

Related: I’m not tired at all during the day. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve gotten tired in the early afternoon and just wanted to take a nap. This week? Not even a little bit. I’m alert, focused, and enjoying pretty much every waking hour.

Oh, and I’ve lost five pounds. And I’ve done it without starving myself or otherwise feeling hungry all day.

Combine all this with much reduced levels of stress and anxiety, and the fact that a lot of my little, nagging aches and pains (including my haunted neck) are becoming a lot less achy and painful, and…wow.

I never, never thought I would experience anything approaching these results so quickly. And didn’t really expect some of them (like sleep) at all. I’m still in the honeymoon phase of this plan, so I need to keep in mind that my results are probably skewed a bit due to optimism, but damn, son!

So that’s how my first week has gone. An overall grade in the B range, and huge positive returns for the effort.

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