So, it’s that time of year again. We’re leaving 2017 and entering 2018. This time of year, I always start thinking of goals I want to set, but I don’t really like the term “New Year’s resolution.” I have a horrible track record of making them and giving up on them quickly.
This year, though, it’s all bigger than me. I find it hard to motivate myself for me. I’m not affected by being disappointed in myself, as bad as that sounds. But this year, I have Angela and the girls to think about, and their presence in my life is a powerful motivator to achieve my goals. I want better things for myself because it means better things for them.
Here’s a few of my goals for this year.
Operation: Fat Dad Slim
I’ve said for years that I wanted to lose weight, but I’ve never made any serious efforts at it. I’ve always been a big dude, but I’m currently at my highest weight ever — somewhere around 350 lbs. My weight has never really bothered me before, but this year I’ve had more pain and less energy from it.
I need my strength and my energy to keep up with Baby and Monster. They’re active girls that love to run and play and I want to be part of that with them. I hate having to sit down out of breath after a few rounds pushing them around in a cardboard race car, or picking Monster up and letting her “fly like airplane.”
I’ve read a lot of great books about weight loss. Tim Ferriss’s The 4 Hour Body is a great read, as is Joel Furhmann’s Eat to Live. I also really enjoyed The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, even though it was a hefty academic read. Using ideas from those books, here’s my weight loss plan.
The Plan to Achieve My Fitness Goals
I got some extra money from relatives for Christmas, so I’m going to sign up for a membership at a local gym. Some friends of mine already go there, so I’ll have a support network in place. I do have an ancient weight machine at home that I can use, but experience has taught me that I’m a lot more productive going to an external gym than trying to work out at home.
I did weight training in high school and college and really enjoyed it. I’ll be following StrongLifts 5×5, a really great strength training program I discovered a few years ago. I’ll also be adding some extra cardio to improve my heart and lungs.
You can’t exercise past a bad diet, though, so I’ve got some work to do there. I eat a lot of crap food, especially sweet stuff. I think I’m going to limit sweet stuff to one cheat day per week, probably Wednesday. The rest of the time I’ll try to stick to fruits and veggies for snacks — more apples, more celery sticks and bell pepper slices with homemade crockpot hummus.
One of my favorite things from Eat to Live is the daily salad. I did it for a few months in 2016 and lost about 30 pounds (but gained it back when shit hit the fan). So I’m going to get back to having a big salad for lunch every day. The one problem with this is that making a big salad every day is time consuming, especially because I like my salads with lots of different ingredients. I might be able to alleviate some of that by doing some prep work ahead of time, like dicing lots of peppers at the beginning of the week or pre-portioning the nuts and beans that I like to add.
I’m not going to stress too much over actual weight loss, and I’m not going to set a specific goal weight. I might not even get on the scale all that much.
Operation: Slim Wallet Fat
Getting into better physical shape is a pretty heavy goal, but I don’t want to focus just on one thing — I’ll get sick of it and give it up if I do. So, another of my goals for 2018 is getting into better financial shape. I want to be able to go do more things with Angela and the kids, and I want to be able to give them better things. Improving my financial situation is a necessary component of that.
Finding steady work has been difficult since my epilepsy diagnosis. The job market in my area isn’t really great, and many of the jobs available are ones I can’t work — I can’t medically handle 3rd shift work or work that interrupts my sleep schedule too much. My last career was very high stress with long hours, and unfortunately that’s just not something I can handle anymore without jeopardizing my health.
At the same time, I’ve got outstanding debts that need to be paid off, and I want to get back to a spot where I’m less reliant on handouts from family. Here’s my plan to do so:
The Plan to Achieve My Financial Goals
Step one is accountability. I’ve gotten into the bad, lazy habit of not really paying attention to my money. Over the past year, I’ve missed a few payments and ended up eating late fees just because I didn’t pay attention to due dates, and I’ve come dangerously close to overdrawing my account a few times. Several years ago, I used YNAB to manage my money, but it looks like they’ve since converted to a subscription model. I either need to give that a shot, or I need to find another option. If you have any good suggestions, I hope you’ll leave them in the comments.
Step two is income. I’m actually hoping this blog can help out a bit there. I’ll be using the Amazon Associates affiliate program, and maybe some Google Adsense. I may even try my hand at writing a few ebooks or sponsored posts. I’m not going to lump all my efforts into this blog, though, and I don’t want to be the kind of blog that beats you over the head trying to sell to you. I’ll be looking for more freelance opportunities and checking out the local job boards for suitable work, even if it’s just some light part time work.
I’ve got more time than money right now, so I need to make my time work for me. There’s no reason for quick expensive convenience meals when I can cook something good and wholesome for a little more time and effort. I can DIY some stuff that would otherwise cost money.
Angela and I have a few financial targets set for the year. We want to be able to take a beach trip, and maybe a trip to a cabin in the mountains. We’d also like to increase our giving — in the past, when I can, I like to give $100 to a random stranger who needs it. I haven’t been able to do that lately. I think we’d also like to start giving annually to a cancer research fund — we’ve both lost close family members and friends to cancer, so it’s a cause that’s important to us.
Mini Goal — Operation: DIY Kid Kitchen
As a smaller project for the year, I want to build the girls a play kitchen. “Let’s cook!” is one of their favorite games, and we’ve made some awesome pretend dishes — one-pot hamburgers and cupcakes! They have a little plastic kitchen that has a stove and a sink, but it’s so small, there’s no room to store all the new plastic food and utensils they got for birthdays and Christmas lately.
Sure, I could go out and buy one, but they’re expensive and I really enjoy making things for the girls with my own two hands. And part of my finance plan is DIYing more stuff, too.