I don’t believe in ‘New Year’s Resolutions’. They insinuate that you can only make changes to your life once a year, then when you inevitably don’t stick to the changes you choose, you can have 11 months off. That’s just not how I operate.
Instead, I create goals all the time. I don’t have to focus on them all at once or complete them in one calendar year, but it means when the end of the year rolls around, I can assess my progress and make new goals based on where I am.
Here is a quick list, in priority order, of what I plan to achieve in 2014, fate willing.
My diet is going to be ultra-clean, high in protein and fat and low in carbs. I will be removing unhealthy, snacky, junk food crap altogether and drastically reducing my intake of grains. in 2013 I did a month without any grains at all and felt great, but I think I’m going to have to keep oats in my diet (protein flapjacks, porridge) just to hit my mass-gaining targets. I’m going to experiment with Intermittent Fasting, too. I intend to gain at least half a stone of lean muscle mass in 2014, while keeping my bodyfat low. I’m currently 13 stone at 6 foot 1, with a bodyfat % of around 14-15%.
This will also require lifting heavier, and I have a whole separate set of targets for that. Progressive resistance in the gym, still focussing on compound lifts, bodyweight exercises and incorporating Yoga (I’m currently looking at starting DDP Yoga). Time to get swole, brahs.
Improve fatherhood skills
I started 2013 deep in depression as I felt I was basically a shit parent, I didn’t feel like I had any natural aptitude for it, and I couldn’t get the basics right despite my best efforts. Largely this is because I look after Marlowe on a Saturday while my fragrant wife works, which is after a heavy week of a very stressful job, so I’m always exhausted and burnt out before I even start.
This has gotten better, however, over the course of the year, and while my circumstances are unlikely to change – Marlowe has. He’s nearly 3 years old, so he’s much more fun to be around, and can talk, so he can explain what he wants without any of the usual guesswork. Like everything else, fatherhood just requires more effort if I want to get better.
Be even more creative
In 2013 I did plenty of good stuff. I wrote the music for three plays, one of which was a full-blown musical that went to the Edinburgh festival. I played a ton of gigs with my band and did some recording and songwriting with them. I wrote an ebook which was well received, and a whole novel which is coming along quite nicely.
In 2014, I do plan to write more – if I can think of an interesting enough premise in time, I will do NaNoWriMo again in November.
I also think it’s time I produced some more music for myself. It’s been a few years since I’ve had a ‘solo project’, so to speak. I have some demos written and recorded for a kind of electro-pop outfit, so I might choose to develop this and possibly either put another band together, or do it solo with technology. We shall see.
I’m looking forward to what opportunities come my way in theatre, film, TV – whatever.
I may even get the paints and canvases out and do some more painting – I had some pieces in a few mail art shows in Poland and Canada in 2013, and that felt good.
Become a better musician
As a guitarist for the past 25 or so years I’ve been guilty of not doing enough to really stretch myself. Last year I started taking guitar lessons, and while they were infuriatingly difficult, I’m twice the guitarist today that I was at the beginning of that year. I plan to put scheduled time aside to actually practice my instrument, using a lot more discipline, and study musical theory much more intensely.
Become a better martial artist
In 2014 I plan to keep up my personal training with my Sifu, including regular private one-on-one lessons really getting into the deepest levels of Wing Chun Kung Fu. I’m also going to try to teach more students, and increase my number of private pupils, as I really enjoy passing on my knowledge.
Work harder, or possibly less hard
I’m very proud of the work I’ve been doing in my ‘day job’. I run a department which is performing exceptionally, and I’m lucky enough to have a team of incredibly talented people. In 2014, I can either slam the accelerator into the carpet and further improve my department (and hence the company), or consolidate and reap the benefits of the systems and processes we’ve put in place. I haven’t decided yet.
The former will inevitably require squabbling, fighting, scraping and struggling against the usual corporate pressures, which is not a problem, but it’s a level of stress I feel is optional given my position and proven track-record.
Either way, I’m going to be kicking arse and taking names.
Be more personable, and sociable
The most difficult goal of all – I’m still not as sociable as I’d like to be. A large part of this is my social anxiety, and occasional bouts of depression, both of which make it difficult for me to ‘connect’ with people in a social context. But I shouldn’t use that as an excuse, so the plan is to ‘get out there’ much more often, say ‘yes’ to virtually every invitation, and like everything else in my life – practice until I get better at it. Social skills are just skills, like playing guitar or doing Kung Fu.
So, that little lot should keep me busy. From personal experience, there’s still room in there to see friends, spend quality time with my current wife, read, and all the other lovely squishy fluffy bits of life that we sometimes take for granted, but should never need to be ‘planned’. These are the bits of life that should happen to you automatically if you’re operating in a fulfilled, harmonious manner – and I’m very fortunate in that I have no excuses not to do that.
What about you – what are your goals for 2014?