Two months into 2017

In my last post, I published my lofty and perhaps superhuman resolutions for 2017. I’ve actually failed at most of them! I’ve learned a few things in the process. Here’s the summary of what happened:

  • Workouts
    • About 50% of compliance. This is the only goal where I only made it half way (most of the others are flops, and a couple ones went actually as planned).
    • Cause: I basically fell off the wagon with the excuse of frequent travelling and moving.
    • Action: Nothing to do here but get back on track, since the habit is doable (I had been keeping at it for most of November and December).
  • Main project
    • Worked 5 days a week on them, on average.
    • On average, every day I worked on them was 2:00 of pure focus (it probably took me 3 to 4 hours of clock time to achieve these 2 hours of focus).
    • Actual progress: I’m very close of publishing the first version of my main library for building client-side apps. I also made interesting¬†strides in design for my app/service. I’m happy with my progress here.
    • Results: despite underperforming in hours relative to my proposal two months ago (I was estimating 2-4 hours of focus 6 times a week), I’m happy with the frequence, amount and productivity of what I’m doing.
    • Action: I’ll just revise down my crazy resolution. 2 hours 5 times a week is more than enough, especially with the amount of travelling and working and wedding planning I’m going through.
  • Side project
    • An utter failure. I only sat down to write it down perhaps three times in two months.
    • Action: drop it. Evidently I don’t have enough drive to work on this now.
  • Finance
    • Underspending & making the expected money. Definitely on track. Also in very good terms with my main client.
  • Math, music & Russian
    • About 25% compliance.
    • Interestingly, the days where I did these things were correlated (the odds of doing math went up if I did music already, for example).
    • One hour per day is too much, and some days I felt like doing one or not the other.
    • Action: I’m separating all three of these. I started to read Russian at night before bed (it’s a better trigger). I’m doing music in the morning. And for now I’m dropping math, since I feel that doing three things is too much to keep going.

General conclusions & changes of direction

  • I don’t have enough willpower to carry the resolutions I proposed.
  • Habits (i.e. showing up) are much more effective long-term than goals. I’m actually dropping the goals and sticking with the habits.
  • I’m focusing on a more relaxed and open schedule, with this structure:
    • Do some music learning in the morning.
    • Workout in the morning on the days when I have to.
    • Work on my main project before evening, ideally for a couple of hours.
    • Have an evening space where I can do some math or some related research. But something less structured than just following the book. The main goal is not to utterly squander this space with TV or computer games.
    • Read at night in Russian – I’m shooting for one chapter per night (they are quite short).
  • I still believe that taking the goals out of the equation, the habits will ensure that I move forward on the things I care about. Limited willpower is great at filtrating what I’m passionate about from what I’m not. This is a limitation to be worked with, rather than shunned or repressed.
  • The resolutions were a failure in themselves – but I was thinking about them even in the days where I didn’t do jack shit. They are keeping me trying – in the past, after failing my goals, I had months of low output and general laziness. Having to write this blog post had me trying different things. Although this isn’t going as planned, it is still much better than starting the year with no goals. Accountability works in strange ways.

See you in a couple of months!