Monday, January 21, 2013

Moving Goalposts

I think one of the factors contributing to my erstwhile depression was the lack of a goal. More concretely, I had accomplished all my goals, and was left with nothing immediate to reach for, and a resulting sense of futility.

When I was in the UK, I wanted to be well enough to make it on my own, and to survive back here in New York. On top of that, I wanted to host a party to celebrate not dying for a whole year. Finally I wanted to attend the Burning Convention and run a game that weekend. I achieved all three goals, and promptly plummeted.

So, I intend to set myself some goals, and track my progress towards them. I'm going to try not to ask a vast amount of myself because it's unrealistic, but here goes:

Weight - I weigh too much again. I want to be at (or under) 170lb, from this morning's 197lb. There's no time limit on this goal, so long as I'm trending in the right direction.

Exercise - Staying at the frequency I was at before is quite doable. I should be at the gym 3-4 times a week, and swimming 2-3 times a week.

Meditation - Like exercise, this is one of those stupid ones: I know meditation does me good, so I just have to hold myself accountable for doing some. Let's start with making it super easy: meditate every day this week; doesn't matter how long for.

Stretching - I haven't been doing the neat regimen of stretches that I was doing for the dumbest reason: the android app that was timing the stretches is broken. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Goal for this week: stretch after every gym session. Stretch goal: every day.

Writing - Apart from this blog, I write stuff. Except I haven't been. It's tiring, but it is possible. So: write some of Project #1 every day. For the first week, a word is enough (but more is better). I also have projects #2 and #3 which deserve dates, but not this week.

Sure, I have to face that I do have more limited resources than I used to have, that reading, writing or typing take longer, in some cases much longer, and that despite the sure and certain knowledge that all of the above are good for me, sometimes I just don't wanna. But I know that if a week goes by when I haven't met these goals, then something is wrong.

So look for a progress report next Sunday where I find out how realistic my short-term goals are.


  1. Oh, the goalposts, they slide. Little fuckers.

    Can I suggest one more goal for this list, though? It's to be kind to yourself if they slip again. I don't mean to sound condescending or trite; I just think finding a way to not beat yourself up while still pushing yourself forward is practically a life's work all on its own. (I'm sure there's at least one terrible platitudinous book on the subject, and if that's not validation, what is?)

    1. (Third time's the charm!)

      I totally agree Julie. Beating oneself up is a sure-fire way to build unhelpful brain patterns / habits, and I don't want to do that. But not doing so is really hard to quantify on a weekly basis. Like "Yeah! Go me! I went easy on myself!" seems sort of un-goal-like. On the other hand, I don't feel bad, for example, about gaining a bunch of weight when I was depressed: I understand better what's going on, and how futile it is being unkind to myself.

      The goals I've set so far are meant to be measurable or actionable (to use the jargon), and their a yardstick and a reminder for now. It's saying "the person I want to be does these things, remember, so go do!" I think there's a disparity between who I think I could be, and who I currently am, and I get to the former through practice. Sometimes, though I have a hard time remembering what it is I should practice, so this is a start.

      That said, if you think I'm not being kind to myself, you have my full permission to appear with a pint of chocolate ice cream, and make me eat it.

  2. I was going to say I could come beat you up, but sure, ice cream works.

    And yep, totally get it. Especially when you put it as "Yeah! Go me! I went easy on myself!" Cause that's hilarious.


Please say what you're thinking, be excellent to each other, assume the best in other people, and just don't be a dick!