Q4 Report on Progress Toward 2013 Goals

As 2013 draws to a close, we have more snow on the roof than we’ve ever experienced, temperatures in the minus teens, and not much more than grey skies – unusual for blue sky Alberta. On this last day of the year, my reflections lead me to wonder how well I did at sticking to my order of priorities.

  1. Physical wellbeing
  2. Writing
  3. Photography
  4. Website
  5. Relationships
  6. Travel

I did well on work toward better physical well-being, but the last month of this year was a set-back. I wrote almost every day but did not have the discipline to work on the specific sub-goals that I had set. I took lots of pictures but didn’t feel the aliveness I felt when I was a passionate student of the art.

My website was up-to-date for much of the year, and finishes the year in that state. My relationships remained very important to me, and progress has been made, but I failed to achieve one major sub-goal. I travelled somewhat, and made plans for a trip in February of this coming year.

Working through the year on these priorities in this order did not create any friction within my family, and for that I’m grateful.

Physical Well-Being
I was very aggressive in this area, and I congratulate myself on my persistence through the year. This was definitely not a resolution that was discarded in the first few days of January.  I far exceeded my promise to myself as to the amount of activities I undertook to work on my physical state.

I came into the year having been extremely sedentary, having lost all control of my eating habits, and weighing close to 230 pounds. My legs were weak, and I woke to aches and pains that had nothing to do with the activity, or lack of activity on previous days. I promised to spend 20 minutes a day doing my early morning stretch exercises, to follow a progressive plan to increase my steps per day and to use the MyFitnessPal app on my iPhone to track all that I eat. I stated that I would lose 2-3lbs per month throughout the year, but didn’t openly declare that my secret goal weight was 200 pounds.

I established a lifestyle where I now do about 60-70 minutes of stretching, core, and resistance exercises per day; plus I walk an average 50 minutes per day. In the warmer weather, my walks approach 70 minutes, and I had many days in the summer and fall where I also biked for 50 minutes. I achieved a weight of 199 pounds in the fall. However, with echo’s of my doctor’s rhetorical question in my head - “You’re not going to lose any more are you?” - my weight returned to 206 pounds as of today.

I had originally declared an intention to make two main changes to my eating pattern – smaller portions and no eating after 7:00 in the evening.” Early in the year, I was able to reduce portion size but didn’t manage to cease eating after 7:00 p.m. I accepted this because I was recording all that I was eating into MyFitnessPal and was eating less than the program was predicting that I was burning – hence I continued to lose weight.

In the summer, I decided to test myself to see if I had made a true lifestyle change and I stopped entering my consumption and activity into MyFitnessPal. I figured that I had made my new lifestyle a sufficient habit that I could continue. I actually did this until this last month of the year. December challenged all that I had done. I failed to control my eating, especially with the various feasts and parties we attended, and with all of the candy and Christmas baking that entered my home. I am such a glutton, when I don’t apply my willpower. As a result, I put on additional weight in December.

However, at the end of this year, I don’t feel so big physically, and think better of myself. I know I have the willpower that I need to get better control of my physical wellbeing.

In the beginning of 2013, I continued work on my book on selling. I made good progress on the first draft, and began some revision. However, in late spring, I found myself feeling discouraged and unable to proceed.

As I am prone to do, I questioned the value of such work. I had been reading several writing magazines where the conversations are frequently about the changing world of publishing, how competitive it is out there, and how hard it is to get published.  I began to wonder why someone my age would write a book that wouldn’t get published, and set it aside.

In it’s place, I continued to frequently write haibun and a tiny bit of freelance poetry. I also began to write a fictional novel based on a premise that I thought had great potential. I wrote enthusiastically for 32 pages, introduced a new character, and stopped. I let it sit for three weeks, then read what I had written. As excited as I felt when I wrote the work, I felt that much boredom when I read it. It was set down with disgust and was not picked up again during this year.

I began the year proclaiming that I would submit two books to agents in search of publication by the end of 2013. I utterly failed to do so. However, in November, I had a conversation with a colleague that had originally worked with me to develop a sales training program for my business. He called and asked me what I had produced so far. He told me that he had worked with several different sales organizations since we both left my company, and he was more and more convinced that there was a need for this work.

Following that conversation, I returned to revising the first draft. I see it getting better as I work, and intend to bring this to a conclusion – a level of writing that could be submitted to an agent.

In addition, I declared that I would produce three haibun per month for posting on my website, and that average was achieved. I think I only produced one freelance poem in this year, which was consistent with what I had suggested at the beginning of the year.
In 2013, I took a lot of photographs. Most of this work occurred while travelling. I find myself more inclined to get out my camera when I’m in new areas, seeing things for the first time. However, some of my photo adventures did take place in the area where I live, as I forced myself to get out there to shoot.

I feel relatively positive about many of the images I captured this year, but I am well aware that my work doesn’t seem as inspired as the work I did earlier when I felt quite a bit of passion as a student of the art.  I get encouragement from friends so will continue. In December, I cashed in my Airmiles points to acquire two new cameras – a Canon 70D DLSR and a point and shoot Canon Powershot sx280. I look forward to learning to work with both of these cameras.

I finished the year with an up-to-date website complete with all images captured in the year and all writing posted.

I feel blessed with the relationships that I have. My mother is still with us and generally in good shape. She got sick in December,  as I did with a cold/flu, and that set her back; but we are both recovering and that is a relief. My family grew this year. My son David, and his wife Kelly, brought Cooper G into the world on October 27th.

We were able to bring Dianne’s granddaughter out to stay with us at our lake house over several weekends during the year, and this was a treat.
I did spend weekly time with Quynn throughout the year and was able to look after her over extended periods when her mother traveled, and when Quynn was ill and not able to go to daycare.

Dianne and I fared very well together during a five week RV trip through later January and all of February. This was seen as a grand portent for our choice to be partners. We have made commitments that relate to major changes she will make in June of 2014, and will at that time be living together on a constant basis. This year, we have spent half the year or more living on our own as I stay out at the lake during the week, and she can only join me on weekends.

We managed to visit David and Kelly in their new home several times during the year, and they managed to visit our lake home as well, particularly spending Christmas eve and day with us.

Dianne and I drove in our RV down I15 to Las Vegas, then over through San Bernardino to Palm Springs, down to El Centro to visit with Linda and Phil around the Salton Sea, then to San Diego to attend the Zoo and the Acquarium. We headed back home staying for a few days south of San Francisco. From there we did day trips to San Francisco and to Monetery. From there, we journeyed to north California, and along the Oregon Coast. We spent time in Tacoma, Washington visiting a friend that lives in Seattle.

Although a great trip, we encountered the need for RV repairs and incurred costs in the range of $7,000. Some of this work, was necessary repair, and some was simple upgrades to the RV to make it more appropriate for our needs.

 We did travel by RV with Dianne’s family to Kananaskis; and later in the year, with my mother to Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump.

The year has been a good one in general – good health, good spirits, good relationships, and good achievements.

dunes of snow