I started off 2018 with “Follow-Through” as my word of the year.

While I did make some massive changes throughout the year, there are many things to follow-through with that just never happened:

  • I still have not started to find my manly side and start working with wood and create that desk/mantle/anything
  • My son’s Spanish is outpacing me by leaps and bounds as I have failed multiple times to keep up with Duolingo

Even with these “failures”, I have made improvements in many other areas during 2018. These improvements required me to focus and what was important and to streamline them.

Here are two aspects of my life that I have focused and streamlined to help me become a better me with my new word of the year.

Health

I never want to experience another injury like I did in January 2018. While the doctors could not find anything wrong with my shin (most likely a shin splint), it hurt to walk for months.

Once it I could stand to move the shin, I focused on using the elliptical at the gym almost everyday. A few months later, I started running a 12 minute mile…and then 2 miles!

Once I was back in good health, I went all in and started exercising twice I day! A run to the gym, then the gym and finally a round on the elliptical at my work gym during gym. I was on fire…until I realized that I was always tired and sore.

It was time to find the groove. I had to streamline my exercise routine to prevent injury and prepare for my triumphant return to the world of half marathons.

I stopped running everyday and settled with three runs a week (Tuesday 5K Intervals, Thursday 5 Miler, and a weekend long run).

To fill in the gaps, I made Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays gym days. Instead of running to the gym, I gave my legs a break and started biking the 1.5 miles. The bike made it much more likely that I would go since I saved time and energy.

This new focused and streamlined exercise routine has helped me run a new 13.1 PR at the San Diego Holiday Half at 1:50:20 and lose close to 30 pounds. I am in the best shape of my life.

Media Consumption

2018, for many of those that I follow on the internets, was the year of cutting back on media. Podcasts, social media, and television all were focused and streamlined for me.

Podcasts

I listened to way, way too many podcasts at the start of 2018. I had headphones on almost the entire day. Cooking breakfast, podcast time. Walking to work, podcast time. Intimate time with my wife, pod…well that’s not true 😄.

One day I decided my ears needed a break and I needed to spend more time focusing on the task at hand. I launched Overcast and unsubscribed from more than half of the podcasts I listened to. Gone were the weekly tech podcasts and daily news updates. I said goodbye to a few lifestyle and serialized podcast. I kept what I think are the best of the best for me right now.

There has been some new podcast creep back into my feed. So I know in 2019, I will have to go through this process again. But for now, my podcast listening is streamlined to shows that make me happy and/or relaxed (those news podcasts are so depressing).

Television

We cancelled Hulu. I would cancel Amazon Prime if it wasn’t for the free shipping (though that could change in 2019).

Watching TV is a time suck and I just don’t get the joy out of it that I used to. I am constantly distracted and even a focusing on a ten episode arc can be an ordeal.

There is also the problem of too much choice. Should I watch Narcos: Mexico or finally finish up Lost in Space.

In 2018, I decided that I would focus my TV viewing by only watching one show at a time. I made it through Man in the High Castle and watched the last few episodes of Lost in Space.

If I am going to watch TV (on my iPad most of the time), I am going to make it intentional and end the endless scrolling of available options. Pick one and be done.

Reading

Reading is something we all want to do more of. I would love to be like Bill Gates, focus on reading at least one hour a day, and have my recommenced 5 books at the end of the year.

While I am not quite there yet, I have read way more books in the past year than the previous 10 years combined.

Well “read” might not be the right word since I have listened to about half the books I have “read” this year. Streamlining my podcast listening and running a lot farther has freed up the time to add audiobooks to my repertoire.

New Word of the Year in 2019

After a year of focus and streamlining on my health and media consumption (and more not worth mentioning in this post), it’s time to say goodbye 2018 and hello 2019! A new year means a new word of the year. For 2019, I am starting out with the word “Strengthen”.

Photo by Elena Taranenko on Unsplash