New Year, New Goals

Well, after not having any significant goals set up for 2019, and therefore not really achieving the goals I didn’t really have in the first place, I ended 2019 in just about the same place as I ended 2018.

Now that we’re already a week into 2020, I thought I’d lay out the goals I have been coming up with over the past week. It’s going to be simple this year, and it all comes down to four numbers: 300, 4000, 250, 1000. Four simple numbers that will require a lot of work on my part. So what are they?

300 Cycling Days

Since cycling has been my strongest physical activity as well as my most productive, I think it is wise to double down and focus on cycling again. I had slacked off on cycling during the second half of 2019 and ended up not riding much. Since the start of 2020 I have cycled 6 of the 7 days so far. None of the rides have been exceptionally long but starting back up again with a few 5+ milers is a good enough way to break back into the habit.

So why something like 300, in stead of 365? I’m making an estimate really, but I know that I won’t ride every day of the year. Some days I will have conflicts, like when I am camping with the Scout Troop – Every campout involved a Saturday and Sunday morning the I’m not at home with my bike so there’s at least 20 days I’m likely to not ride. Then there’s Boy Scout Summer Camp which is another 7 mornings away (and this year will likely also feature another 7 days at Bagpipe camp with the Kilted Kid…). So right there is 35 of the 65 non-riding days as good as scheduled.

The remaining 30 non-riding days are a buffer needed to account for the potential of injuries, mechanical failures, and other inconveniences like days that, for one reason or another, I simply won’t get out and ride. For example, I didn’t ride at all last Friday (way to start the year with a concerted effort, right?). I don’t remember why I didn’t ride, I simply know that I didn’t thanks to Strava.

Goal 1 for 2020 is 300 days of cycling.

4000 Road Miles

Since I’ll be focusing on cycling, it makes sense to set an ambitious distance goal. Without having a major cycling trek planned for this year, this will require a constant grind of daily cycling. I have chosen 4000 miles sort of at random, but also with good reason. In my best year (2018) I cycled a little over 3000 miles, so 4000 miles may seem ambitious initially. However, at my peak in 2018 I was cycling a minimum of 20 miles per day and sometimes up to 50 miles for over 3 consecutive months. Given that 4000 is only 13.3 miles per day for 300 days, this makes 4000 miles seem extremely manageable – even if it takes me a while to get back up to 20 miles daily.

Not having a cycling trek to plan for may be the biggest stumbling block. In 2018, I was cycling 20 miles and more daily to prepare for the Trotternish Trek in Scotland which turned out to be 58 miles. I was initially planning for a similar ride in New Zealand later this year, but it looks like that trip won’t be happening after all. What I do have t drive the cycling is the Boy Scouts – in my role as a troop leader, I have listened to the interest of several of our Scouts and will be leading many of them through the Cycling Merit Badge this year. Cycling is one of three fitness badges required to become an Eagle Scout (a scout must earn one of Cycling, Hiking, or Swimming) which requires over 150 miles of cycling including one 50-miler.          In order to lead the boys, I have to be the example – in other words, I need to be a couple rides ahead of them in ability, so that will push me forward towards my cycling goals.

Goal 2 for 2020 is 4000 road miles Cycling.

250 Pounds Final Weight

Fat loss is what it is all about and also the number I failed to progress in 2019. That’s why it needs to be the focus again this year. At my lightest on 2018, I got down to 270 pounds but rebounded up into he 280’s by the end of the year. By the end of 2019 I was flirting back up towards (but not above!) 300 and ended around 295-297. Now that I’m cycling again, I’m edging down again ever so slowly.

At my best, when I was cycling 20 miles a day, I was losing 7 pounds a month. So even though 45 pounds is a lot of weight to lose, its only 4 pounds a month during the course of the whole year. Now the big question is whether 250 will be a satisfying number or whether it still won’t please me. Y guess is the latter, but in the long run, I have to keep guessing because I really have no idea how much I weighed in grad school when my original kilt still fit. So for now, 250 pounds will be good because it is an improvement over my best.

Goal 3 for 2020 is 250 pounds Final Weight.

1000 Words per Day

Between this blog and various other writing projects I have in the works, I need to get back into the daily writing routine. In the long run, 1000 words each day seems like a modest number given that this blog post itself will end up over 1000 words. (FYI, this post is already up to 978, including this parenthetical notation.) However, the key with writing is just doing it. Whether its good or not, the point is to produce, and then to produce more. Proofreading, editing and all can come later, but words need to be put down on paper (or at least in digital format).

Between this blog and, more importantly, a book project I need to finish for my Clan Society, this should be no problem over the coming two months or so. Beyond that, I have a couple of other documents that could rather quickly be turned into history books, so they are likely the next projects. Beyond that, more opportunities will present themselves, so I just need to get to it.

Goal 4 for 2020 is 1000 Words Written per Day.

And there you have 300, 4000, 250, and 1000. My mantra for 2020!