Minimalist Goals for 2013

Last year, I really went overboard with goals: I had a lot of goals, in a lot of areas, and then I kinda just ignored them. That’s been an unfortunate trend for me. I like setting goals more than working to achieve them.

At the end of 2012, I’m pretty happy with the trajectory I’m on (I’ll probably write another post about this). I post regularly on this blog – not as much as I like, but every week or two. I’m learning new skills, becoming a better programmer, continuing to improve my finances – all things that are important to me.

The one area where I only managed to maintain status quo was my health. Sure, I lifted weights a bit, but the sad fact is that given the amount of free time I have each day, I can’t regularly work out. (I mean, I do literally have enough time to work out, but not enough slack that I can stick to the habit). Although I’ve sporadically started working out,every six months or so over the past few years, it’s just been too brittle a habit to stick with it. So, I’m changing tactics.

They say that most of being healthy is what you eat, and less about going to the gym. Eating better doesn’t really require that much more time than eating terrible food. And it can be combined with other interests I have – being more self-sufficient, and being more frugal. My weakness has always been sugar and starches, and not so much fats, so I’m going to focus on reducing intake of sweets.

I’m making a very simple resolution for 2013. The only processed sugar I want to eat is stuff I’ve made myself, or when I’m at a restaurant with friends and family. No buying candy or ice cream or soda. No going to the vending machine for snacks. No gorging on the seemingly endless cakes and cookies that people bring into work. But if I make a pie or a smoothie or cookies myself, that’s ok.

My goal initially is to re-adjust my taste buds. I’ve seen before that apples and bananas can actually taste really sweet – if my taste buds haven’t been sated with sugar. I have a super-powerful vitamix blender that I use regularly. Although I use it a few times each week, I can lean on it much harder and have a shake or two almost every day, and put a lot of healthy greens in those shakes as well.

After a month or two of that, I’ll also look to cut down on bagels, breads and pasta.

Finally, I’m going to be more active. That doesn’t mean working out all the time, but I will get out and do things more often… particularly hiking and camping… maybe some pickup games and biking. Again, I’m killing two birds with one stone: doing something enjoyable and enriching, while getting healthier.

The overall goal: have a more trim, fine-tuned body – which should make me happier, more energetic, and more outgoing.

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  1. Those sound like great goals for 2013. I too have trouble finding time to get to the gym, especially during the winter. I recently bought a 60 lb kettle bell and if I’m feeling too lazy to go to the gym, I do 60-80 kettle bell swings and call it even. I got the idea from the 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, which as an engineer I really enjoyed (body hacking).

    Do you find the Vitamix to be worth the money? I really want one, but I’m not sure if I can justify the $400 price tag.

    • m741

       /  December 31, 2012

      The Vitamix was worth the money to me. I have three complaints. The first is that it’s really noisy, which I consider a problem in an apartment building. So, I only allow myself to use it between 10 AM and 8:30 PM. Don’t want to wake anyone up.

      Second, the containers are expensive. I would like to have 2-3 containers but it’s not worth paying $100+ for each.

      Third, there’s a sort of burning smell if I leave it on for too long with a thin shake. Unjustified or not, it worries me.

      Still, the thing is super-powerful – it blends anything down to a fiber/pulp – and so far I’ve gotten a lot of use out of it. Assuming it doesn’t break for 3-4 years (I’ve had one for 6-8 months) I’d call it a successful purchase.

  2. Great plan for 2013, and it sounds very do-able! I’m doing something similar since I rarely stick to new years resolutions. As far getting more active, I purchased a Bodylastics set (elastic bands) over a year ago, and it usually just sits on my bookshelf. Since I travel a lot for my job, I’m going to start taking my Bodylastics with me on every trip for 2013 and commit to doing a little workout in my hotel room instead of laying around watching TV.

    We also have a Blendtec blender (similar to Vitamix) which we use a lot for green smoothies. When I’m on the road, I look for smoothie shops and juice bars to get my “fix”. 🙂 The Blendtec was expensive, but I feel it was some of the best money I’ve ever spent as an investment in health.

  3. You should really try martial arts. I started four months ago and it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long, long time. I also feel happier now than I’ve been for a long time.

    I’d advice you to pick a full contact martial art with sparring – they’re no-bullshit and great for both mind and body. I’m doing muay thai, brazilian jiu-jitsu (no-gi) and MMA. It’s a great workout, a great way to meet new people and a great way to stimulate the brain, the last one is especially applicable to BJJ. You’ll find a high ratio of nerds in BJJ as well.

    Only downside is – it’s kinda expensive. But well worth it in my opinion.


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