Making a Plan
Every year I decide to get fit. I watch what I eat and do some exercise. This works for a couple of months, then I get derailed and somehow both the eating and the exercising revert to normal. Repeat every year.
I think being fit and healthy is important. We did a series last year about health. I often talk about how it is similar to getting your finances in order.
And yet I find it easy to optimise my finances and (so far) impossible to sort my health out in the same way.
I turned forty last year. In January, my weight hit 95kg. My smartphone tells me I am obese (not a word most people want to hear). The window for me to make permanent changes to my lifestyle and improve my fitness seems to be closing.
So once again this year I decided to get fit. Just for fun, I am also going to share my progress on the blog (because ten thousand people reading this might help with motivation).
I'm also going to try to use the principles that allowed me to get to grips with my finances. If you are a sleek, trim, money-wasting machine perhaps this post will be useful in that way. And if you are a lard-ass like me, maybe we can shape up together.
GET A GRIP ON THE CURRENT SITUATION
In terms of your finances, this would be figuring out how much money you have coming in and going out, and what you are spending it on.
In terms of my health, the following things are positives:
- I don't smoke
- I don't drink much (maybe once every couple of months)
- I generally only drink water and black coffee (no calories)
- I am somewhat active (walk a fair bit, use stairs, etc.)
- I eat somewhat healthy food (vegetables, rice, etc.)
- I seem to put muscle on fairly easily
- I have some knowledge about running, weight lifting, and diet
And the following are negatives:
- I have very high cholesterol
- I have so far failed to create consistent exercise habits (tend to do something for a couple of months)
- I overeat and have an unhealthy relationship with food
- I am borderline obese
- I don't get enough sleep
- I spend too much time sitting in front of a computer
Not terrible, I guess. My first goals are to eat less and do more exercise (in terms of finance this might be spend less and make more money).
MAKE A PLAN
I'm going to start with some easy goals. Easy goals are good because they are easy and you have a good chance of making them into permanent habits. For finance an easy goal might be to save 10,000 yen a month into a separate emergency fund account.
For my fitness challenge, my first two absolute rules are:
- Walk at least 10,000 steps a day
- Don't buy any snacks
I got a fitness tracker in the new year, and have been using it to keep track of the first goal. If I don't have enough steps when I get home, I go and walk around the block a few times. Once I forgot to put the band on after showering in the morning, so had to do 9,500 steps when I got home! Not my finest hour.
The second goal is based on the idea of controlling your environment. It's a bit like not going to shopping malls if you are trying to reduce your spending, or making a rule to wait a week before ordering something online. By not buying snacks I reduce the chances of my eating them (although note that this rule does not prevent me from eating snacks I am given, or that happen to be in the house).
I also have some supplementary but not compulsory rules:
- Do at least one set of bodyweight exercises (push ups, squats, plank) every day
- Do kettlebell swings in the evening unless the weather is terrible or I am not feeling up to it
- Don't eat at night (I get home around 22:30-23:00, so eating then means I get to sleep very late). In practice this puts me onto an intermittent fasting timetable, with two meals at 11:00 and 18:00 or so.
The kettlebells are new for me. I quite like lifting weights, but find it almost impossible to drag myself to a gym regularly, and hate waiting for people to get off the squat rack. Kettlebells are an improvement because I can do them at home (well, in the play area outside the manshon), you can do them every day (I find it easier to do things every day than say three times a week, as the rule is clearer) and so far the effects seem to be similar (kettlebells weigh much less than barbells etc. but you swing them so they effectively weight much more when they are in motion).
I read Kettlebell Simple and Sinister, by Pavel Tsatsouline and picked up a 16kg kettlebell. So far I am liking it very much. The book is great, full of Russianisms like: "we do not tolerate weakness, so you do not have a weak hand and a strong hand. Instead, you have a strong hand and a stronger hand". Tsatsouline is definitely hamming things up, but it makes for an entertaining read and he seems to know what he is talking about.
EVOLVE THE PLAN
Eventually I will increase the amount of daily steps, and once I have bought some new running shoes will run the remaining ones at night. I'll also move the supplementary rules into the absolute rules section.
If you were working on your finances you might try to save more, or perhaps open a NISA or iDeCo account.
My eventual weight goal is to get under 80kg, and I hope to reach it before the end of August. When I made my plan I was 95kg, and this morning I was 92.1kg.
Wish me luck. I will post updates every so often.
How about you? Any fitness or money goals? Care to make some absolute and supplementary rules, as well as goals, in the comments?