Hey! Happy New Year! I hope your 2016 is off to a great start so far.
I’m enjoying the tail end of my second straight 3 day weekend and I must say that it’s been nice. Being able to wind down 2015 and begin 2016 with some time off has been a great blessing.
The time off has given me a chance to reflect on the year that we just closed. On New Years Day I reviewed my goals from 2015 and took a good hard look at how I did and what I’d like to do differently for the upcoming year.
In the midst of all that I happened to review my 2015 appointment calendar. I discovered that after subtracting all my lunches, breaks, holidays, vacations, business trips, employee meetings, networking meetings and training classes that I either gave or attended, I had a total 1706 office hours working with clients over the past 12 months and 690.5 of those coming in just the first four months of the year. This was of course not counting any of the time I spent writing articles and newsletters, doing interviews, lecturing or the 20+ hours I spent working with the Toronto Blue Jays at their Spring Training facility last March.
Looking back at the year I would say that in all honesty I worked too much during the first and second quarter. I am judging this by how I felt during that time of the year- exhausted, sleep deprived and sometimes overwhelmed. I’m also judging this by how the other areas of my life were- very little time with my wife and son during the week, very little time to exercise, no time for hobbies and very little energy left for recreation.
Once I realized this was happening I began to make adjustments. I started coming in a little later and leaving a little earlier. Doing this during the third and fourth quarter made an enormous difference. I’m spending much more time with my family, investing lots of time into my own health through exercise, pursuing a sport I’m passionate about that I never had time for before, and I’m getting way more sleep. This is not only helping myself and my family but also my clients.
When planning this upcoming year, I took all these numbers into account and I determined that I needed to maintain a certain schedule in order for all these things in my life to be in a healthy and desirable balance. This will make 2016 much smoother and more enjoyable.
Here’s what’s instructive. I had two things that I needed to become clear on in order to make the appropriate changes for 2016.
1. My subjective opinion of how things were. This included how I felt mentally and physically and how I felt about the other areas of my life as a result of how much I was working.
2. The objective, concrete measurement of how things were. This was defined by the total number of office hours I worked.
When analyzing these two things together I realized that when my office hours got over a certain point in a given month, I felt worse and my life fell out of my desired balance. When they stayed beneath a certain point, I felt better and my life was more balanced.
Had I not kept a consistent journal during the year of my subjective experience and kept a calendar with an objective measurement, I never would have been able to see the correlation as clearly as I do now. Now I can set a goal that I am going to keep my hours at a certain level, knowing that if I go beyond that I will risk having the same thing happen again.
So how does this relate to your goals for the year? If you want to achieve a health goal than you need to keep record of the subjective and the objective.
For instance, if you have a goal of increasing your energy and decreasing your pain than you would be wise to keep a log of how you feel each day. Even just a small notebook with one question “how did I feel today, physically and mentally?” filled out at the end of each day will suffice.
Next, keep track of the objective stuff. How long you slept, what exercise you did, how much you sat, what you ate, how much water you drank, what you weighed that day and so on. You can get as detailed as you want with this, just don’t overwhelm yourself.
At the end of a week, a month or a year, you can go back and line those two things up and see what the correlations are. If you found that you always wrote that you felt tired on the days that you got less than 6 hours of sleep, guess what your sleep goal should be?
If you discovered that you felt better on the days that you took a walk in the morning, guess what you should try and do each morning?
One thing I can say about this is that it sounds a lot harder than it is. In fact, even doing it for 3-4 weeks will give you such an insight into how your body responds to certain things that you may not have to do it beyond that point as long as you remember and continue to apply what you learned.
The simple fact is that you cannot manage what you refuse to measure. You’ve got to get clear with what you are doing and how it is affecting the way you feel, otherwise expect the unwanted and the unexpected, a lot!
One of my projects for the next two months is to complete the writing of a log book for this exact purpose. When it is completed and published, I will let you know. Until then just use any notebook. The more you do this, the more empowered and in control of your health you will feel. You will have more confidence in your own ability to positively affect your health and your will reach your goals much faster. That will make 2016 a healthy year indeed!
Chris Vercelli MATm, RTS, CPT
Founder: Non-Fiction Fitness