A third full Goal Accountibility Phase since my reboot is now in the books. I’ve continued to build on my previous three periods of momentum even as I have had more perturbations to my schedule. I’m thinking of making big plans beyond the baselines here, specifically with respect to my cardiovascular training. However I don’t want to self sabotage by having those loftier goals cause me to stumble and bring the whole house of cards down.
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 8 Closeout
As I wrote in the Phase 7 Closeout/Phase 8 Kickoff Post , I was very stoked by the momentum going into this third phase. I knew I’d have some dings in the area of diet for legitimate reasons which may bring my score down. I also knew that I wanted to ramp up my running thus I didn’t want to stress things too much with the harder cardio requirements. By far the weakest of my goals going into Phase 8 was the Brain Health (Goal #5) where my social media timeboxing just wasn’t working as original designed. Fortunately I locked in most things, including that, but I did have some unforeseen stumbles on Sleep (Goal #2)
Therefore the goals for Phase 8 of 2023’s Goal Accountability were:
- 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: 20-30 minutes of weight training, calisthenics, or yoga
- Goal 5: No more than 40 minutes of social media per day in increments no smaller than 5 minutes at a times; meditate 15 minutes or more per day with a stretch goal of 30 minutes
First lets look at the aggregated daily grade. Once again there were no whiff days. There wasn’t a single day below a 3.00 (B) grade even. While the aggregate grade has continued to trend well north of 3.50 it does have a bit of a down trend graph though. Looking at the grade break down you can see some pluses and minuses
Let’s start off with the really good news here. I once again aced the cardio activity grade (Goal #3) with a perfect 4.00 (A) grade. My strength activity grade (Goal #4) was extremely close at 3.96 (A-). It was dinged on one day that I could only get most of the way through a 20 minute workout because I screwed up my scheduling. Those are still great scores, especially on the cardio side where I frequently far exceeded both the “hard cardio” count per week but total durations on long run days. I also continued to get my diet (Goal #1) more dialed in despite the vacation and special occasions that tripped it up. That finished up above the B+ line at 3.56. With the new smaller time slices on the brain exercises (Goal #5) there was marked improvement there as well. I’m getting much better time boxing over the day and this has proved to be a better way for me to capture what I’m trying to do. That left me with a 3.84 (A-) grade which was much better than the previous phase. I do wish I had made more progress on the meditation front but I most definitely did not. I often just got the bare minimum in. But I did pretty well with that.
Sleep (Goal #2) was the one area that showed a big regression this phase. It dropped from 3.84 (A-) to 3.44 (B). One of those days were things out of my control that had me clocking in just a few hours of sleep that night thus getting a 0.0 (F). There were a smattering of days where I got to bed a little late and I couldn’t sleep in. There was also some times where I would get to bed on time and then my brain wouldn’t shut off in the middle of the night. The net effect on sleep is the same regardless of the reason, which was insufficient levels of it for parts of it.
The aggregate grade across all of the goals for Phase 8 came in at 3.76 (A-) which was the exact same grade as Phase 7.
Phase 9 Kickoff
As my fitness continues to get more dialed in I get more excited about my momentum going into the next phase. Again, this is the second longest period of me having all these sorts of parameters equally dialed in. As often happens in these scenarios I am doing some larger goal setting beyond the grading system here in terms of potentially training up for a distance race. As I wrote in the intro I want to make sure that I don’t trip myself up by pushing my limits too hard on that. The kickoff for this phase is going to be very simpler than previous times since the goals aren’t changing but I’m changing up some of the terminology.
Goal #1 I’ve often labeled as “Blue Zones inspired plant dominant diet”. I’m changing that to a more broadly used diet labeled called “Mediterranean Diet” but I’m doing a plant-based emphasis version of it. That means eating a mostly whole food plant based diet with fish a couple times a week and very occasional consumption of eggs, dairy, or meat of any kind. The diet targets and concept isn’t different but the name is something more familiar to others. Goal #2 is just sleep, same as before. Goal #3 I’m terming “cardio health” which is the catch all for all the movement/cardiovascular training goal requirements. Goal #4 I’m terming “non-cardio health” to refer to all the training and activities around strength, flexibility, etc. Lastly Goal #5 I’m terming “Brain Health” as it lumps all those categories together.
While I’m not changing any of the requirements for those metrics I am going to try to set some expectations for myself on this. With Labor Day weekend and some travel in the mix I have intentions of having several feast type days. I am expecting my diet to be pretty piss poor on those days. Looking at the realism of the schedule I think my sleep will be impacted a bit too. What I want to try to do despite those two going off the rails a bit is nail a perfect score on the remaining three goals. That will be difficult but not impossible. Why not just say I’m going to dial all of them in to try to get 4.00? On the sleep goal I am still going to try to do that but the emphasis still goes to making time for the training. So if on one night I have to lose an hour of sleep to make room for the training I’m going to. Doing that every day is bad. Doing that sparingly isn’t good but it’s not catastrophic. On the Diet goal planned slips it is about enjoying life. If somehow there are super health and in-plan options available to me then I’ll go for them. However if I’m at a place with some signature dish that isn’t remotely healthy or in plan for me then I’m going to be trying it regardless. A day or week here and there of splurging out of a year of eating healthy won’t adversely impact my long term health or longevity. There is therefore nothing to be gained by missing out on that.
Therefore the goals for Phase 9 of 2023’s Goal Accountability is:
- Goal 1 (Diet): Eat a plant dominant Mediterranean diet averaging at least 90 grams of protein a day
- Goal 2 (Sleep): Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
- Goal 3 (Cardio Health): 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 (Non-Cardio Health): 20-30 minutes of weight training, calisthenics, or yoga
- Goal 5 (Brain Health): No more than 40 minutes of social media per day in increments no smaller than 5 minutes at a times; meditate 15 minutes or more per day with a stretch goal of 30 minutes