2023 Goal Accountability Phase 6 Closeout/Phase 7 Kickoff

I’ve now had one full Goal Accountability Phase after my health reboot. I was concerned that I’d be able to continue my workout streak, the thing that I always struggle with. It turns out I was able to keep that up even hitting stretch goals. The rest of the grades I turned in were another solid result as well.


This is a quick refresher of how this works. The “Goal Accountability” method is to give myself five focus areas each day which help contribute to longevity. Technically it can be any five things but for me these have historically always fallen into the categories of: diet, sleep, cardio movement, strength movement, and mind exercises. For each day one is given a numerical grade like in school from 0.0 (F) to 4.0 (A). By keeping track of those things we can see how we do by week and over the year. To give myself opportunities for feeling the “new years resolution” type psychological prodding more than just once a year the whole year is broken up into four week “phases”. Therefore I can see how things are going over the year and at an approximately one month interval have an opportunity to start with a clean slate and “get a good grade”.

Phase 6 Closeout

I had a lot of momentum going into Phase 6 from my 30 Day Health Reboot . For that the food and sleep goals were the usual, plus the 90 grams of protein per day minimum requirement. The exercise goals for the challenge were to basically do 20 minutes of focused cardio (Goal #3) and daily calisthenics/yoga (Goal #4) with no real time requirement. Meditation (Goal #5) had a 15 minute requiment as well. As I wrote in the Phase 5 Closeout/Phase 6 Kickoff Post I didn’t want to crank up the requirements so high that I may stumble but I did want to make progress towards where these minimums should be. That led to the goals for Phase 6 being substantially the same as Phase 5, with the exception of Goal #4 where I set a minimum, but with stretch goals for some as well:

  • Goal 1: Eat a Blue Zones inspired plant dominant diet averaging at least 90 grams of protein a day
  • Goal 2: Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
  • Goal 3: 20 minutes of focused cardio exercise (indoor cycling, running, swimming), stretch goal 30 minutes with “hard” sessions three times a week
  • Goal 4: 10-15 minutes of daily calisthenics or yoga
  • Goal 5: 15 minutes or more of meditation, stretch goal 30 minutes per day total
2023 Daily Grade Graph through the end of Phase 6

I’ll get first to the daily grades. It is clear that I was able to maintain a very solid showing, with most days being a perfect 4.0 grade. I did have some wobbles in there. Early on there were some sleep schedule perturbations I couldn’t help with. There were a couple of other nights where I woke up early even though I went to bed a bit late and nothing I could do could get myself to fall back asleep. There were some dings on the diet for some peoples’ birthday parties as well as a couple of random cheat days. There is a huge dip on two days though.

The first dip is from the day I had jury duty. To get to jury duty on time I had to get up at 6 am. I originally wanted to try to work out before leaving but that would have required me getting up 60-90 minutes before that. There was no way that was going to happen. I wanted to make sure I got a good night’s sleep. I figured I could work out afterward since I figured worst case even if I got selected for a jury we’d have hard stops in the late afternoon or early evening. As it turns out I was selected for a jury and we ran so late I didn’t get home until a bit before 9 pm. I didn’t get done dinner until 10 pm. I found the gravity of the process very stressful so I did a bit of stress eating as well. In the end I essentially wiffed on exercising at all, but did get a decent amount of movement time throughout the day, and my diet got dinged too. It was actually the first time since late-April that I failed to exercise at all. I was disappointed about breaking my streak but I wasn’t disappointed enough to force a workout on a full stomach after a draining day.

The second dip was from the last day of the phase. I have no real excuse for it. I started off strong. I ran four miles straight for the first time since 2021. That felt good but kicked my butt. I made a new lasagna recipe for dinner which required shopping for a dozen or so ingredients etc. We decided to have some extra wine at dinner. It was supposed to be a higher calorie day but I went hog wild after dinner eating not one but three slices of cake. The dinner splurging and after dinner snacking dropped my diet score down to 1.0. All of that commotion also meant that it wasn’t until this morning that I realized I never got my meditation session in in the evening like I was planning on. Ah well, it was still a good day.

2023 Phase Grade Graph through the end of Phase 6

Looking at it from a per-goal perspective it is easy to see that I was able to maintain or improve on every almost metric I’m measuring. Diet (Goal #1) is by far the weakest but that still ended with a 3.29 (B), down a bit from Phase 5’s 3.34 (B). Sleep is really getting more dialed in with each phase this year and ended with a 3.70 (A-), compared to Phase 5’s 3.65 (B+). In terms of cardio workouts/activity (Goal #3) I got an identical 3.89 (A-). In terms of calisthenics/yoga style (Goal #4) workouts I further increased to 3.86 (A-) from a 3.71 (A-). Brain exercises I was so close to getting (Goal#5) my first perfect grade for an entire phase. Unfortunately with a lot going on yesterday, all good though, I forgot to get my meditation session in. So it too ended with a very good but not perfect score of 3.86 (A-). That gave me a total grade for Phase 6 of 3.71 (A-) compared to 3.66 (B+) for Phase 5. That has me very very stoked. This is the first time since the beginning of 2020 that I’ve scored an A- for a whole phase. The numbers though don’t tell the whole story though.

For the cardio goals in order to get a 4.0 I had to do 20 minutes of focused cardio but I set a stretch goal of 30 minutes. I actually met the stretch goal most days. My cardiovascular fitness has improved dramatically for another 4 weeks. I set a stretch goal of also doing three “hard” workouts a week. At this point I’m probably getting one very hard workout, the running day, each week but the others not so much. Partly that is because I’m really pushing myself with the weight training that I added to the mix. If that dials back then I should try for these harder workouts stretch goals again.

For the calisthenics/yoga I actually hit that goal doubly so. That goal is really about building strength and flexibility. It would probably be more appropriate to add “strength training” to it. At the beginning of June I actually started literally adding strength training to the routine. So on many days not only did I get my 10-15 minutes of yoga/stretching in but I also was doing 20-30 minutes of strength training as well. On days where I wasn’t doing strength training the yoga/stretching would often be more like 20-30 minutes.

As much as the numbers didn’t tell the story for cardio and strength in a positive direction, the opposite is true for the brain exercises. The point of focusing on those is for mental health over the coming decades. Meditation is a great way to do that. I didn’t make as much progress on meditation as I liked. I generally exceeded the minimum goal of 15 minutes but almost never hit the stretch goal of 30 minutes. Worse is that the whole point of the meditation isn’t to sit there in mindfulness and chill out for 30 minutes and then go back to status quo frenetic monkey mind behaviors. Unfortunately that is exactly what I ended up doing most times. I could often get centered and sometimes I’m good at applying mindfulness to situations, but I am too often indulging in short attention span internet browsing behaviors with social media and YouTube. So while I technically met the goal objective the spirit of it was missed.

Phase 7 Kickoff

I was very excited to see how well I was able to keep things going on all metrics. While it is not a foregone conclusion that I will be able to keep it going with such numbers for Phase 7, I have more confidence in that. For that reason I am going to adjust up some of these metrics further to capture that progress towards where these things need to be for longevity purposes and to capture some of the nuance that I think is needed to be added.

Once again the diet goal (Goal #1) and sleep goal (Goal #2) are where they need to be and will not change. I’ll be continuing to try to eat a Blue Zones inspired plant dominant diet and get 7-8 hours of sleep.

On Goal #3, from a health/longevity perspective I should be doing at least 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular training and getting reasonable amounts of movement throughout the day. I didn’t want to crank up the minimum cardiovascular requirement for Phase 6 but I am comfortable doing so this time. There were a few days, mostly early on in adding the weight training, where I felt the need to do 20 minutes for recovery purposes. At this point I can do recovery rides even during lighter regular workouts so adding ten minutes on even recovery days would be entirely feasible. The previous stage’s stretch goal of three “hard” workouts per week is too much to do while ramping up the weight training. The one hard day is good but I’d like to see if I could maybe hit two. The big thing I need to work on is getting more regular movement throughout the day. I am someone getting that anyway with the stand goal requirements from Apple Watch and the need to stand up every 15-20 minutes to keep my lower body more limber after harder workouts. I’d say that is about half way to where I really need it to be for longevity purposes though. I’m not going to incorporate that into Goal #3 just yet but if I ace it again this Phase I will probably add that in the next one.

On Goal #4, I blew it out of the water on the 10-15 minutes of calisthenics/yoga. I’m going to relabel that as “strength training” instead. The steady state final place this should be for longevity purposes is probably 20-30 minutes per day. I’m therefore going to bump up the bottom end to 15 minutes solid rather than the amorphous 10-15 minutes. If I end up being able to nail that I can add another five minutes in the next phase.

Goal #5 is probably where I’m struggling the most with the spirit of the goal versus actually hitting the metrics. I’m therefore going to keep the meditation goals the same, at 15 minutes minimum and stretch goal of 30 minutes, but I’m going to add an additional element. I’m going to timebox my social media usage for each day to 30 minutes per day with session times of no less than 10 minutes. This should stop a lot of my reflexive behaviors that are getting in the way of me doing productive/useful things throughout the day.

Therefore the goals for Phase 7 of 2023’s Goal Accountability is:

  • Goal 1: Eat a Blue Zones inspired plant dominant diet averaging at least 90 grams of protein a day
  • Goal 2: Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
  • Goal 3: 30 minutes of focused cardio exercise (indoor cycling, running, swimming, etc), with one hard session per week minimum and a stretch goal of two hard sessions per week
  • Goal 4: 15-30 minutes of weight training, calisthenics, or yoga
  • Goal 5: 3x10 minutes total 30 minutes on social media; 15 minutes or more of meditation, stretch goal 30 minutes per day total