Hey. I normally just do these notes for myself in Evernote, but I might as well post it.

Disclaimer: Personal, unedited post. For me. Read if you like, but you might get frustrated.

I am actually writing this in Evernote and planning on copying it over. If there’s anything too personal or sensitive, I’ll probably just pull it out before I post it. But honestly, I’m not too concerned.

Since I’m not planning on getting a goals post together until at least the end of the month or early February, I wanted to fill the gap with something. If I don’t, I’ll just end up wasting the time. I don’t like rushing the goals at the beginning of the year, since it takes time to really settle on what I want to do and how it’s going to affect me. Plus, trying to come up with good goals around a bunch of holidays has historically led to me making pretty misguided mistakes. So yeah.

Because of all that, this isn’t gonig to be a goals post. Just a planning post. Some of this might extend beyond January, some might not.

Using January

I like to use January to do things I normally wouldn’t prioritize. Trying out new hobbies, making big changes in lifestyle, and so on. Basically anything that takes longer than a couple of days to implement.

The one thing I’m usually pretty limited on in January is discretionary spending. Christmas spending, year end bills, and beginning of the year bills (like real estate taxes) kind of make me a little wary of unloading on some new idea or hobby.

Right, so, let’s get started.

The month is already creeping along at a surprisingly fast rate.

Diet and Food Changes

I’ve already started in on this, and it’s probably the biggest thing I want to do this month. Changing my diet isn’t so hard, but it almost always leads to being more tired than usual which wasn’t really an option in the ramp up to the JLPT. I’m trying to get completely off of soda, then dramatically reducing caffeine. So the plan right now is:

  1. Replace soda with coffee (for caffeine) and water (for something to drink during the day)
    1. Start with the first 1/2 of the work day
    2. Move to the entire work day
    3. Remove soda entirely (except for meals out at most)
  2. Replace coffee with tea
    1. Start with fist 1/2 of the work day
    2. Move to the entire work day
    3. Remove caffeine entirely (except for meals out at most)

Pretty straight forward. I’ve already started replacing the morning soda with coffee + water. I think I’m going to try to switching to coffee + water throughout the work day either this week or next. That is to say, I’m going to try to switch this week. I’ve already started to run into the effects of the caffeine withdrawal and diet changes even though I’m trying to do this a bit at a time to avoid it. I’ve been losing focus towards the end of the day, sleeping more, getting headaches, that sort of thing. I think the headaches might get worse before they get better.

I have a large number of specific ideas on how I want to change what I eat, but it basically boils down to the following:

  • Stop eating fast food
  • Reduce and eventually eliminate significantly “processed” foods.
    • That is to say, things like frozen pizza, packaged deli foods, etc
  • Eat more squash, cucumbers, and things in that family of plant
  • Reduce refined sugar as much as possible
  • Eat locally and organically as much as realistically possible

I mean, the general idea is “Eat local food that is either raw or cook it myself.” The reason I haven’t been doing that is laziness. I haven’t even liked the stuff I’ve been eating, so eating more fresh foods is better. I’m not a huge “organic” nut, so I don’t really care about it that much, except for things like grains if possible.

But yeah. I might do a more complete post on this stuff later. I did a big thing in Evernote and have some specific stuff I want to do – including projects. I’m looking at what it’ll take to grow some of my own vegetables inside my house. Things like unusual varieties of tomato. Though I’m a little concerned about that, since it could end up getting my house raided since it’d look like a grow operation. We’ll see on that. I’m going to start small and hopefully I’ll be able to move into a greenhouse or something before I get myself raided because they suspect I’m growing the type of plant I’m not supposed to.

The other thing I’m planning on doing is incorporate intermittent fasting, 1 and 2 day fasting, and eventually longer fasting. I’ve already added in 2 potential 1-2 day fasts into my main weekly schedule. I want to make sure I do both at least one day and each are potentially two days. I’m going to have to mess around with that to determine if 4/7 days a week is too much and how it effects my energy levels. For IF, I’m just planning on the 16/8 schedule to keep my meals during the day. These are just tools. I’ll adjust things as they make sense.

Cleaning

Not much to say about this. Things got away from me starting in November or so. I didn’t really clean up much and clutter just built up. I’ve already started on general cleaning, but some of the bigger tasks are still on the list.

  • Clean up all the clutter and get things put away across the entire house
  • Dust everything that needs dusting
  • Vacuum everything that can be vacuumed
  • Spot clean anything on the floor that needs it
  • Go through the closet
    • Pack up everything that I want to keep but don’t wear
    • Get rid of as much as I can
    • Nothing should be in a closet or drawer that I haven’t worn in the last year unless it’s dress clothing.

New Hobbies

I’ve been wanting to learn how to create and produce music. I bought the cheap version of Ableton Live and have messed around with it some, but the main issue I have is time. Music has always been something I’m passionate about, but I haven’t really had a place to express it for a number of years. I know this can become a giant money sink and I’m willing to drop some money on it as I go.

However, I need to seed my confidence in it and see if it’s something I want to put real time into. I have to put together a more detailed plan later, but I think the general path will look similar to this:

  1. Follow along with a “create a full song” tutorial
  2. Do another one
  3. “Trace” a simpler song that I like

That’s probably more than I’m going to get done in January. To clarify #3 above, “tracing” would basically be trying to analyze and copy a song that I like. It doesn’t have to be identical, but very similar. It’s like tracing early in the drawing process – you don’t do it to produce your own work, you do it to learn how someone else made theirs. I’m not sure how useful that’ll be, but honestly I think that there are only so many patterns and such out there, so I won’t be wasting my time learning some of them.

Doing those three will teach me the interface and some of the basics of the process. I think once I get past that point I’ll need to decide if I make it a bigger part of my year or not.

That’s probably it for trying out new hobbies.

Work

I want to spend some of my free time gaining some traction at work. The project I’m on has been giving me some trouble, and I need to be an expert on what I’m working on. I’m not going to go into detail here, since work stuff, but I’m not going to feel bad about spending a fair amount of outside-of-work-hours time working to establish a good base to work off of for the rest of the year.

Planning

Obviously I’m spending more time planning and considering the goals for the year as I go through the month. Getting ready to ramp up for 2017 and hammer out whatever major goals I have for the year. I have a few ideas cooking, but I like to ruminate on them during the month to see if they make sense. It’s easy to plan out a process for achieving something and honestly I could get it done right away if I wanted to. But there’s only so much time I can spend on things, so I want to make sure that I’m happy with the results when I get to the end of the year. So it comes down to settling on what.

On goals planning – I had far too many unrelated goals last year. This year I want to get myself down to a much more focused direction. I had 11 major goals last year. I accomplished like 2 or 3 of them, depending on how you count it. Next years goals should be BIG but few. I mean some of those 10x style goals. But I can give you a preview I think. There will likely be 1 – 2 goals in each of the following categories:

  • Health & Fitness
  • Japanese Study / JLPT
  • Work – potentially. I’m not sure if it makes sense to put these in my formal goals document or do my work goals as a separate thing. Maybe “professional development” would be a better way to phrase this.
  • Writing & possibly Music Production

And that’s about it I think. Music Production might become a non-goal level thing still this year, but we’ll see. Depends on how it goes during the month. I’m still trying to make some decisions on that. Same with writing. At most that means 8 goals, and to be honest I think I can probably get it down to 6 or 5. We’ll see.

I had been planning on doing a more detailed week-by-week breakdown on this post. It’s been taking me far too long to get this written – I’m on day three of working on this. Any breakdowns will have to be just in my Evernote notebook for myself, sorry about that. I can’t spend any longer on this post.

Expect a goals post in a few weeks.

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