March update

If you're reading this you are probably interested in reading my February update as well.

In this blog post I'm going to talk about what happened to me during the month of March and the first half of April. Things that I planned to do and didn't manage to do, and did managed to do, and more.

My February plan

So in the month of February I felt a burnout like never before, I had to come and work in an office environment during a global pandemic, and that made me sacrifice my daily activities to stay away from most people and not do anything much.

Then my physical well-being started to get affected, my sleep, my weight, and my eating habits were all over the place.

Because of all these issues, I decided to give myself a goal to change my life for the better and in order to keep track of my progress write every month about it.

My three goals

Initially my goals were:

  1. My daily goal of exercising
  2. Working on my side project daily
  3. Writing up tweets and blog posts

I will explain how I went about doing them in a bit, but the reason I chose these three is because I thought they have the highest impact and therefore priority in my life at the time.

Exercising goal

Before starting to do this I used to try to walk every day as much as I can, but I didn't really follow any daily goal, my average per day was about 2.7 kilometers. According to the WHO guidelines, anything below 5000 steps per day is considered sedentary.

I was determined to change that, therefore I set a goal for myself to walk 8k steps or about 5.4 km per day. That was about twice as much I was doing everyday.

One of my friends pointed out to me (after reading my blog post update) that this isn't a good way of creating a new habit, the better way was to do small improvements and iterate on that. I completely agree with that idea, but it wasn't what I needed at the time, I needed a change and needed it fast. So I went ahead and set that goal for myself. Every few minutes (roughly after two pomodoro cycles) I would go for a fifteen minutes walk.

This actually turned out to be great, I felt a lot less tired, a lot more motivated, my sleep cycle improved, I could easily eat without feeling any guilt and so on.

I'm glad to say that it actually worked for me, last month my average went up to 7700 steps per day or about 5.2km per day.

I haven't felt this energised in years. And now I'm actually increasing that goal to 10k steps per day.

Working on side-projects

It was clear to me from the start that I'm not going to be able to meet this goal, so I gave up on it pretty early.

The reason was that all that walking took time from me and I had less time than before (which wasn't enough then to work on any projects anyway).

So I decided to double-down on my exercise goal as I believed the impact it will have on my health will eventually help me to have enough energy left to develop this new habit as well.

I'm actually going to take my friend's advice this time and start building this habit one small step per day, everyday.

Writing tweets and blog posts

This was somewhat successful, according to the Twitter analytics I had 10k impressions for the whole month, which might sound like a lot, but is probably not, so I'm going to improve that by tweeting more frequently.

New goals

Interactive tutorials based on side-projects

I have actually decided to create interactive tutorials based on my side-projects, it's still in the proof of concept phase, but I'm very positive about the idea because it combines what I like to do (teaching) with what I can do (build stuff).

So I'm going to recreate my side-projects one-by-one as interactive tutorials which users can follow and customise on-the-go. I got this idea from Julia Evans (who makes interesting tutorials and sells them on the internet), and Bob Nystrom (the writer of craftinginterpreters.com).

I'm going to create small steps for each tutorial everyday, to eventually create a pomodoro app.

Duolingo

I'm moving to the Netherlands soon, and I could use a little Dutch, so I have started learning on Duolingo, I have decided to go for consistency rather than quantity here, because I learned from someone that if you do something everyday, you brain thinks it's important and pays attention to it. I'm going to learn Dutch everyday (even small 5 minutes sessions count).

Conclusion

I believe setting those goals that actually mattered to me and solved important problems in my life were very fruitful, and I'm going to continue doing them and improving on them.

I'm going to aim for consistency for all of those habits, and I know that I might fail to reach my goals every now and then, but in the long run, what it counts is that they become my habit rather than something that I need to schedule or track.

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