I already blogged about my biking and walking in the post I Can’t Drive 5,555 Miles, but I Bicycled Them! (6,056 Total with Walking in 2021). What about my other activities, though? Let’s take a look at how I did.
Yoga: I’m starting with the practice I’ve done the longest. The daily 30′ of stretching and breathing was successful in that I did it every day. (Usually, it was at night. Sometimes it was after midnight, which I still count. If you’re being a perfectionist, you could say it’s not really a streak, to which I say, “So what? Who are you? The yoga police?”) I began the year with Yoga With Adriene’s 30-Day Program, HOME, which shook things up a bit. However, In the remaining 11 months I did not progress into becoming stronger and more flexible. That’s because I did very gentle yoga asanas (poses), mostly on the floor at the end of the day to wind down and to recover from my biking. That is not the best time for a vigorous workout. (You can enter yoga in the search bar for other posts.)
In terms of results, I suppose I could give myself a low grade, except 365 days of yoga is pretty freaking fantastic. I passed eight years of daily yoga on December 25. I recorded it on Strava this year, too. Maybe I’ll go to a class again someday when coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is over, which at the moment appears like it will be on the 12th of never. But I don’t need a class, because I know enough to practice at home, where I save time going to and from class and don’t have the pressure to perform. It may seem a bit odd to be proud of a such a practice, given the spiritual trappings of it. It’s incredibly difficult to make yourself do something every single day, so you’ll get why I’m not sorry.
Currently, I’m doing YWA’s 2022 program, MOVE. In fact, it’s a bit challenging so I have to be careful to not overdo it as I did the other day. [Tip: Always listen to your own body over the voice of the teacher.] I plan to keep on doing yoga as long as I can, but ultimately a day will come when I can’t do it. That will be a good lesson, too.
Foam Rolling: In 2021, I added five minutes of this to yoga. I know I did it every single day because I added that time to my yoga in Strava. After the initial discomfort, I began to appreciate the hard foam on my sore legs and back. So this is a keeper. I could still benefit from Epsom salt baths and massages, but this definitely helps.
Meditation: I started adding five minute guided meditations to the end of yoga I believe in spring of 2019. I admit I’m not a big fan, although I know it’s good for you. Sometimes I get in the zone, but usually my mind is occupied with what’s for dinner or on the to do list. Fortunately, Insight Meditation Timer has a wide variety of free sessions based on topic, time, with music or not, male or female voice, and so on. So I do it, still waiting for some big revelation. Although I do believe I’m often slower to react emotionally to problems, like a car trying to kill me on my bike. Recently, I read that you need to meditate about 13 minutes a day to see noticeable changes. I’m not making this a goal, simply because I don’t like just sitting there, and well, I simply don’t want to. Maybe I will extend it at some point, but I doubt it. By the way, 40′ of yoga a day with foam rolling and five minutes of sivasana at the end, and other focused activities like biking, walking, flute playing also involve plenty of mindfulness.
Flute Practice: Speaking of blowing into the wind, I started the year trying to play my horn 30′ every few days. Then it got really cold in the house where I was staying without central heat and we had Snowpocalypse, so I stopped for a month. But beginning in March, I have faithfully practiced 15′ daily. A few times I had to play in a closet or a car to not disturb people, but I did it daily. I’ve worked my way through all my old music several times, and still find new things to appreciate. That’s because many of the etudes I didn’t like or they were too hard, so I didn’t practice them much. It is limiting to play sonatas and such without piano accompaniment, but I do it for my own enjoyment and brain stimulation. I need a new flute and a teacher (or maybe to join a band or orchestra) to really progress more, but I don’t have those as goals for now. I definitely have improved, though, and it’s fun, so yay for music!
Writing: For the fourth year in a row, I either blogged, journaled, or worked on revising my book every day in 2021. Always 30′, but often more. I also joined the Writers League of Texas, volunteered at their conference, took a summer retreat class on revision, attended numerous online meetings like Member Meetups, and found two occasional writing partners. So in terms of getting the words out, I did this every day, too. In terms of actually making progress on the book revision done after the teacher suggested I make a major change to the structure, I have not gotten very far. In fact, I have reviser’s block. Redoing the whole thing seems insurmountable. This is also a time management problem, so I’m considering how to do that with also having to start working again. One or another of my practices will have to go away or be done a lot less for me to finally get the book into good shape to either submit it or self-publish it. At the end of 2021, I also got from the WLT (at a steep discount), three video classes on memoir, and I have at least four books to read on the topic. So I’d say this was a success again in it being a daily habit, but again, not the results I wanted with the book or the blog in terms of readers, either.
Reading: I do read a lot, but like many people, it’s often articles, news, other stuff on the internet, and blogs (not as many as I’d like — I stay busy with all of this stuff, so sorry about that, y’all!). But last year I committed to adding 30′ a day of reading proper actual BOOKS. According to my Goodreads data (which is a bit incomplete), I finished about 24 books in 2021. Not one a week, but it’s a major improvement. And granted, most of them were crime novels by four white dudes, so I want to change that. So I’m definitely calling this one a win, and aim to continue it again for this year. (If you’re on Goodreads, feel free to follow me there as several fellow bloggers already do. Though we don’t do much there.)
Salad: I ate a salad on 364 days last year. The one day I missed was due to being out of town and very busy. But it was a huge improvement over previous years when I barely bothered to eat any salads at all, so I chalk it up as another win for A Dude. I didn’t notice any improvement from it, but surely there’s been something at the cellular level, with my cholesterol, blood sugars, etc. Those were already pretty good despite being a fathlete I’m still at it for 2022, although I keep meaning to quit it if I’ve not eaten it by a decent hour.
Calorie Tracking: I tried MyFitnessPal again for a good long while, and maybe I lost about five pounds. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough results for the amount of hassle of trying to remember everything or stopping to do the data entry, so I happily dropped it. I tried again later but quickly remembered how much I detested it. So, I continued measuring portions with my food scale, cups and tablespoons, though lately I’ve been a bit lax on that and using my hand or eyeballs. With major stressors happening last year (not to mention the pandemic is stressful for all of us), I have also done my share of stress eating. At least I don’t drink or smoke, or do meth. So it’s not surprising my weight went back to where it was, but it is disappointing that it has gone up some over that. (Read my last post was about Fighting Fat Phobia in the Cycling Community.) The answer is to eat more veggies, sleep more, and do strength training, but ….
Strength Training: Similar to my flute playing, I started out strong every few days, but then I got bored and stopped. When I restarted, I quit again because doing it after yoga right before bed was not skillful; I’d be sore while trying to sleep. I never managed to switch it to the morning, either. Resistance bands are a great substitute for going to the gym where lunkheads are grunting and shouting out their ‘roid rage and dropping free weights and getting coronavirus. But I just found it hugely boring and it aggravated some old injuries, even when I did it lightly. I mostly wanted to do this to help with swimming, but I’d rather just swim. At least I tried it for a while, but overall, it was a fail. I suspect I’ll be more likely to try it again without the pressure of a goal. My blog post on this topic was fairly popular, ironically.
Swimming: Thanks to COVID, I didn’t feel safe going to indoor pools. And it was the same for the outdoor pool, because I would have had to use the indoor locker room showers and bathroom. So I only managed a few outdoor swims. Maybe in 2022 I’ll have more motivation and actually get a little swim coaching. An alternative may be outdoor pool aqua aerobics, if the omicron variant surge passes (and there’s not another one, although a sub-variant has already been found in South Texas). So another one in the unsuccessful column. But since I worked up to a mile swim in just six weeks, I hope it’ll come back.
TV/Movies: I didn’t make this a resolution, and there were a number of days I didn’t see any of my programs at all. But I do enjoy the filmed entertainments quite a bit, both for good writing (I read the closed captions for details sometimes omitted or hard to hear dialog) and the immersive escape into the other people’s lives and different worlds. So I did my duty as an American to consume as much as possible, within reason. I wrote a few blogs about I’ll Tell Ya What’s on My Telly (that one is Part 4) and one about Most of the Movies I’ve Seen in 2021. This is the obvious activity to cut down on to have more time for other things like work, and I probably will. But I like it and sometimes learn stuff, so to paraphrase a saying from the Old West: You’ll have to pry my remote control from my cold, dead hands.
Well, I think that’s about it. It was another very, Very, VERY active year. I’m pretty tired, actually. And quite aware that sustaining all these streaks may not be sustainable or very realistic. Hey, I’m just like you — a work in progress so don’t judge me. I’m doing my best, and try to forget the rest. You do the same. Perhaps I’ve inspired a few people to do a bit more, as many of you have. Thanks to everyone who’s been supportive of my journey — you know who you are — I truly appreciate it. Onward and adelante.
Tell me about your 2021 resolutions — both successes and not so greats — in the comments below.
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2 thoughts on “Resolutions Recap 2021 – The Rest of the Regimen”
Great work on the salad! I myself have done the same thing, by eating the same lunch for years—a salad and oats. Lately I’ve begun to learn cooking, so lunch has varied a little as I try my hand at various stir-fries or roasts, but the principle does kinda remain: a vege, protein, and fruits. Anyway, thanks for this post!
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Thanks! It’s led to no noticeable changes, unfortunately. Sometimes I have it quite late, too. But good on ya for your changes!