Quarter 4 Progress Toward 2017 Goal

I set out at the beginning of the year to sustain the changes in lifestyle that I had instituted in 2016 and for the most part I was successful in doing this. I did not do well in the month of December and this seems to be the result of using willpower as my driving force to sustain the physical activities I had adopted, the writing focus I had assumed in the earlier part of the year.

Research by Greg Miller at Northwestern University suggests that willing oneself to accomplish a goal can be quite stressful. Studies by David DeSteno suggest that goals that are supported by underlying emotions of gratitude, compassion and a valuing of the future tend to contribute to more success in goal achievement. I think this was my experience this year.

I compulsively forced myself to engage in the specific behaviours I had elected to use to pursue both my physical wellbeing and writing goals, and rigorously tracked my doing of these activities in a spreadsheet. Circumstances intervened (the failure of my old fitness tracker and acquisition of a different one that did not provide the same data) and I had to relax that compulsion to track my behavior. In doing this, I became much more satisfied that I was effectively living the changed behaviours as new habits and wasn’t having to exercise as much will power.

I shifted to a satisfaction, a gratitude of sorts, with how I was doing and this meant I was much more tolerant of my own digressions when they occurred. I became mush more compassionate toward myself and found some pride in what I was doing, knowing that the payoff was a healthier future.

This doesn’t mean that I met all of my 2017 goals or that I didn’t fail completely on some of them. However, I finished the year feeling good about what I had accomplished and looking toward 2018 with an easier heart. Unlike the norm where only about 10% of most people’s “New Year’s Resolutions” or annual goals are met, I think I did significantly better.

Writing and Publication

  • I completed the final revisions of all four Insight Sales books and published them as final versions so that they are available in paperback and Kindle versions at Amazon.
  • I completed the final revision of “Insight Solutions (Creative Problem Solving)” and self-published it so that it is available for purchase in both paperback and Kindle versions through Amazon.
  • I completed the writing of a book titled “Insight Counseling: A Practical Approach”, submitted it to Katherine Caine for a first edit and have been working on a major revision. Her input has been extremely valuable and this book is taking shape quite nicely. I’ve shifted from focusing the book exclusively on peer counseling toward writing a book on counseling that could be used by any counselor, personal coach, support person, or mentor.
  • I began the year with a hope that I could complete a first draft of the fictional novel titled “19 VIP Transition House” that I started several years ago, but did not take any of my writing time to focus on that work of fiction. I will move this goal into 2018.
  • I had also wanted to launch into writing of some illustrated books for children but that project also failed to get any of my attention. This goal will also move into 2018.
  • I brought my Insight Publishers website up-to-date.
  • I wrote five haibun during this quarter.


  • I completed twenty days of photo-shoots during the year but they occurred during travel. I can’t say that I was successful in broadening my focus on new subjects and my photographic activity tailed off too dramatically in the last quarter. I hauled my camera with my on two trips but barely used it.
  • I generally managed to edit and post images within a month of their being taken.
  • I installed Topaz Impressions software for photo-editing and a sample of software for doing HDR post processing but I have hardly used them. I did not install the NIK suite from Google, and did not fully install specialized software to do better HDR merges, or even try the demo that I downloaded. I’m feeling the speed limitations and lack of memory within my current computer so will do this in 2018 after I acquire a newer, faster, more capable computer.
  • I’ve done some preliminary research trying to find a USB hub that can plug into the Lightning/USB-C ports on a new and faster MacBook Pro with more video and operational memory plus 1TB solid state storage but I think I will wait for the new release of that computer. The Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar is improving in value and I’m hoping that will help with this purchase.


  • As intended I did have contact at least once with Carol and Dennis, Garfield, John and Jane, Bobbie and Bob, Brenda and her children, Ron, Donna and Jeff, Lois, Nancy and Ray, Chris, and David and Lorraine. I was not successful in connecting with Ken and Tashi or Rick Roskin. Dianne's mother, Reg, died in this quarter and will be seriously missed.
  • I spent a lot of time with Quynn this year both in the city and at the lake. We did get to see some of Fort Edmonton Park, visit the zoos in Edmonton and Calgary (the Calgary Zoo knocks the coks off the Edmonton Zoo), and the Tyrell Museum.
  • I did manage to get together weekly with Kathy and Ray when they were in town.
  • We did have another weekend event with Gary and Julie out at our place but did not have Dale and Linda or Bard and Tanis out for just a weekend visit during the year.
  • We had the extended Dotto family out to the lake on the July 1st long weekend, the August long weekend and again on the weekend of August 16th to celebrate Reg’s 92nd birthday. Dale and Linda were part of those gatherings.
  • Daryl visited us at the lake multiple times in the year.
  • We had some of the Dotto clan out for thanksgiving dinner at our place.
  • Aryn, Quynn, David, Kelly and Cooper came out to the lake this summer and we had a good time.
  • We attended Cythera’s wedding in the fall with Aryn, Quynn and Cooper then we had the three of them out to our place for another week as we all looked after Cooper while Kelly and David were off on a cruise around Baffin Island.
  • We visited David, Kelly and Cooper a couple of times at their place this year.
  • We had a great three days as Donna and Jeff visited us at the lake and then had their friends Jeff and Teresa, and Harold and Joyce out for a day to celebrate Donna’s 65th birthday.
  • Lois managed to come out this summer and we visited her in December.


  • With regret, I was unable to spend a week in Jasper with Kathy and Ray as we normally have but we did take a five day trip to Cypress Hills in September, before Ray headed off on his drive to Ontario.
  • Dianne and I travelled in the spring through Utah, New Mexico, and Nevada to visit Cedar Mesa State Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada and Zion National Park. We thoroughly enjoyed this trip even though we covered a lot of miles in the RV in just three weeks.
  • We failed to make an RV trip to eastern Canada this year.
  • In May, we drove to Vancouver Island to attend and volunteer at the Oyster Festival on Cortez Island in the month of May, spending a few days visiting with Marty and Sue at their cabin on Weiss Island.
  • Daryl and I attended the Flashback Weekend at the David Thompson Resort in mid June, using our RV and thoroughly enjoyed the event. We wanted to go back for the 2018 version but becvause of lack of attendance this year, they have cancelled it for 2018.
  • We did a weekend trip to Crimson Lake in our Rv to spend the time with Tyler, Meaghan, Gweneth, Evie, Krista, Darin, Adalyn and Willow. Weather was a bit cool but we did get in some beach time.
  • We did participate in the annual Dotto/Chichak/Tomas family RV weekend at Kananaskis but I found once again that this isn't my favourite place to camp. I like a place with a beach and water for the kids to play and swim, and this isn't really available at the Mount Kidd RV Park.
  • We didn’t get an invite this year to visit the Honky near Radway for a boondocking weekend with the Chichak’s because their travels took them elsewhere.
  • Over the time period from November 27th to December 12th, we did manage a longer fall road trip traveling in the Ford Escape to Victoria for six days then to visit Lois in her new Condo in Seattle for four days and had a great visit with family and friends.

Physical Well-Being

So this is a tough one to assess. I finished the year weighing more than I did at the start but I spent the year doing very well at being much less sedentary and much more active. I stopped being concerned about recording my daily performance and simply lived a lifestyle in which I got up and did about 50 minutes a day of stretching exercises, any where from 18 to 30 minutes of light weight lifting activities, and daily household up and down walkabouts of 15 to 18 minutes in duration. I also generally completed a longer walk each day. A few times I did do bike rides but was foolishly hesitant to use the bike because such activity didn’t contribute toward daily steps and I had started the year heavily focused on completing at least 10,000 daily steps.

However, in the last quarter, I was much less careful about my consumption and clearly over ate. It was particulary bad in the month of December when I spent half of the month traveling, and over eating as I visited different places and restaurants.

Daily Goals (for six days of each week)

  • I believe I did average at least 75 minutes per day in physical activities such as walking, light weight lifting exercises, and a stretching routine. I only charted these activities in a spreadsheet during the first six months.
  • Unfortunately, I only rarely sat to meditate for 30 minutes but in my defense, my stretching exercises serve as a somewhat meditative activity.
  • I totally failed to accomplish my eating goals, too seldom failing to stop eating after dinner, too seldom sticking to a smaller meal portion, and too often indulging in high carb foods.

Annual Goals

  • I managed to get my weight down below 210 earlier in the year but finished 2017 at the weight of 220.6 pounds after returning from a very over indulgent, and lazy weeklong all-inclusive holiday at the Riu Vallarta. I left on that trip already at 215.4 lbs because of the amount of eating and lack of workouts I did on our trip in early December to visit MegAnne’s gravesite and friends in the Victoria area. (These weights are on my digital scale,which I acquired mid-year, so given the inaccuracy of my old scale, I think I finished darn close to the weight I started at.)
  • I walked more than 2000 miles (3,200 km) during the year.


  • Although I had no plan to do so, I built another large garden box during the month of June and planted a large number of carrots, and some spinanach then replanted some asparagus. The carrots grew in abundance, the spinach somewhat, and the asparagus proved that it will be ready for harvest next year. Only one of our apple trees produced apples and only two.

I’m very happy with how 2017 turned out, feeling like my health is okay for a 71 year old, that I am living reasonably well, and that my relationships are intact. However, my weight gain and some unfinished writing mean I have another challenge ahead of me in 2018.

returning home
from plus 30 in Mexico
a frozen car in the parking lot