So here we are again: same shit, different decade. As before I've jumped into the New Year by embarking on a strict diet that gets more restrictive but slightly easier to cope with each year. As well as the usual avoidance of anything milk-based or containing sugar, wheat, yeast, alcohol or caffeine, I've also added fizzy drinks to this year's 'banned' list. That's because last year I ended up drinking lots of caffeine-free diet coke as it was a 'naughty' item that I was actually allowed. Daft. And as before I have a lofty list of goals to achieve this year but this time I'm more sure of what I can realistically achieve so although there's a lot to attend to (of that, more later) I'm aiming for targets that will stretch me without going too far.
For whatever reason, the diet is easier this year. I suspect this may be a combination of several things including: a more positive attitude to this year as a whole, deliberately getting more sleep so I'm properly rested (and of course you don't feel hungry when you're sleeping), and the simple fact that I did something very similar last year so there are no surprises this time around. I weighed myself on January 1st: 13 stone exactly (83KG) and again on January 11th: 12 stone 7 pounds (80KG). As I've done less exercise than expected (no cycling due to the bad weather) and have therefore only been doing the "15 Minute Hell" calisthenics workout twice a week as well as attending Taiji classes twice a week, I suspect 6 of those 7 'lost' pounds were just junk food working its way out of my system and there's only been 1 pound of actual fat lost. That means the weight loss ought to slow right down now and be a more gradual pound per week or thereabouts. If I hit the target of being under 12 stone by June that'll be a good boost.
So, when the ground is properly free of ice and therefore safe to cycle on again, the aim is to build up to the following weekly schedule by mid-February and then just increase the intensity and/or duration of each activity:
2 Taiji classes plus 2-3 personal practice sessions of 20+ minutes
2-3 calisthenics workouts
1 bike ride of 60+ minutes
Stretch after every workout (ideally aiming to be able to sit cross-legged comfortably)
Maintain diet, apart from 1 day a month of complete 'freedom'
Languages: 2+ hours of learning/practice each week (In descending order that will be French, Greek, Mandarin, Japanese. The Mandarin & Japanese will cross over with Kanji practice) and yes I am allowing a cheat: watching a foreign-language film will count as one of those two hours.
Writing: add more to this blog and see what else I can do in terms of articles/essays.
Handwriting: work on my usual handwriting and also learn/practice more kanji
Reading: continue working through book list.
Technology: Make further progress with Apple software, learn to touch-type.
Emotional: use Sufi "evoke/observe/analyse" work as learned at Taiji.
Right, that's enough lofty ponciness for one blog entry. So far I've lost more weight than expected, kept up around 2/3 of the physical stuff, some of the intellectual and some of the emotional. I'll update progress as the year goes by. Finally, I REALLY need to get a new job so I can afford to start paying off my credit cards. I have a 3-month window in which to do this before the money situation gets very serious...