Thursday 6 January 2011

Goals, New Year Resolutions, and other fantasies

I don't think I even bothered doing a post about my goals last year, but looking back at my 2009 post I can see that I still haven't achieved several of my main goals, so here they are again for 2011, plus a few new ones:

    HEALTH: 1) Lose weight and 2) exercise more:

After losing a few kg when I was sick last year, I put it all on again. So I still have to lose about 20kg to have a healthy BMI, and ideally I should lose 25-30 kg. I also want to achieve at least 3.2 METS of exercise 3x a week - preferably every day. This week I've lost 1 kg by sticking to my 'standard' diet since the 3rd, and exercising 3 days (avg. 2.25 METS).

My 'standard' diet (at the moment) is:

100g apricot halves in juice
125g tub of mandarin segments in syrup (drained)
1/2 of 420g tin of pineapple pieces in juice
1 glass grapefruit juice

420g tin of baked beans
2 slices hi-fibre bread

100g meat (skinless chicken breast, fillet steak, pork fillet or tin of tuna slices in spring water)
150g frozen vegs (eg. peas, carrots, broccoli, corn)
2 slices bread, or 100g boiled rice, or 2 medium roast or boiled potatoes.

1 apple
1 banana
1 orange, or 100g grapes

I also consume about 1-2 2L bottles of diet coke each day, which I'd like to reduce. I'll try replacing one of the bottles of coke with a bottle of filtered water flavoured with 1 soluble aspirin. I should also switch to 'no added salt' baked beans, as the normal baked beans contain around 1000mg of Sodium (salt). I suspect I might be sodium-sensitive, so restricting my sodium intake to under 2,000 mg/day might let me reduce my blood pressure medication once I lose some weight.

Overall, this 'standard' diet provides around 1,800 kcals/day which would result in around 0.75 kg/week weight loss initially. As my weight reduces my maintenance calorie requirement will decrease, so this diet would be sufficient for me to maintain a healthy weight of around 70-75 kg in the long term.

This diet plan also provides high dietary fibre (~40-50g/day), low fat (~5% of daily cals), and about 80-100 g protein. As I also take some vitamin supplements it should be reasonably healthy over the long term, being similar to a moderate level of CRAN (Calorie Restriction with Adequate Nutrition) which some animal studies suggest could help maximise life span. If nothing else, the weight loss would provide immediate health benefits!

    BUDGET: 3) Track my expenses using Quicken to help stick to my budget:

I start each year setting up a new Quicken file but then not keeping it up to date. It used to be easy (before I got married and had kids), but I'll try to find the time this year. So far so good, although I haven't yet entered all my stock holdings and purchase details (which would make tax time a lot easier).

I seemed to have a higher than expected CC bill almost every month last year, so this year I'll try to stick more closely to my budget.

    SAVINGS: 4) Save and 5) Pay off some debt

My retirement (superannuation) savings are on 'autopilot' (my employer SGL amount and salary sacrifice get automatically deducted from my pay each fortnight), and the home loan and margin loan interest payments don't vary much from one month to the next, so this shouldn't be too hard. One of our home loan mortgage accounts is due to revert to variable interest this year, but the rate increase should be offset by the recent increase in rental income from our investment property. On the other hand, everything is currently on 'interest only' and we didn't manage to pay off much of the loan principal last year.
So, another goal for this year is to reduce my total investment debt balance by $12,000 this year. I'll calculate my investment loan balances as at 1/1 in the next post and calculate them each month when I do my Net Worth post.


6) Keep my job! ;) (And maybe get a pay rise that's more than the inflation rate this year?)

    STUDY: 7) Get Distinction (or better) for my MAstron subjects

I'm enrolled in another two subjects for my Masters of Astronomy course this year. I'm aiming for a High Distinction in one or both of these subjects. I won't include getting a student fellowship at the AAO as a goal, as realistically it's a very long shot, and the outcome is pretty much out of my control.


8) Attend the target range often enough to keep my shooter's licence. I should also setup my 'SCATT' computerised training system at home so I can do some 'dry fire' target practice and get back up to A-grade standard.

I haven't had any success using my CCD camera with DS1's small telescope (can't bring the image into focus), so I want to 9) install a permanent pier for my 10" telescope in the back yard and get started on differential photometry and astrometry of minor planets (asteroids) this year.

10) Build a new base board for my old HO railway setup, so DS1 and DS2 can have some fun with all the model railway stuff I have packed away in our garage.

11) Finish landscaping around our swimming pool.

12) Renovate our lounge room/library and setup the aquarium I bought last year.


So, an even dozen goals for this year. Maybe tracking progress towards them each month will help achieve them?

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mOOm said...

Do you really eat that every day? Or is that an example? Seems like it is pretty odd at least to me as a daily diet. Would be hard to maintain I think. said...

If I stick to my diet, that's pretty much what I tend to eat. When fruits are in season I'll substitute (eg. fresh peaches instead of the canned apricots), and when I get tired of having just fruit for breakfast I switch back to either ceral or porridge for breakfast.

I've previously eaten this sort of menu for over 6 months while 'dieting'. After the first few days I lose my habit of snacking on 'sweets'. I keep a daily record in excel of what I've eaten, so I can check my total fat, salt, protein and fibre levels are OK. Keeping track of my diet in excel also helps me avoid 'cheating' and eating some junk food.