An inventory

Back in January, I did a Personal Year-End Review. I was bowled away. It’s taken me since then to assimilate what this inventory means. I’d like to share part of this review as it pertains changes in my physical conditioning and work methods over the past 12-18 months.

  • I started jogging regularly by joining a running group at work and having a weekend run, giving me aerobic activity at about 12-15 miles a week. No injuries have kept me from running. I look forward to my run.
  • I kept up with my daily meditation practice, focusing more on mini-sessions rather than 20-minute blocks
  • I kept up with my yoga practice 3-5 times a week, and made breakthroughs in several poses, especially improving balance and flexibility
  • I took at least 2 weeks of real vacation (travel away from DC) – Ontario and Quebec, Canada; Orlando; Eastern Shore MD
  • I upgraded my Omega-3 pills to higher quality and increased intake.
  • I found my own personal doctor and had a full physical examination
  • I brought down my total cholesterol by 23 points while raising my good cholesterol (HDL) by 5 points, compared to 2 years ago
  • I got a specialist to check out my sinuses, finding a long-term infection that had been a drag on my health
  • I lost about 15 pounds and 6 inches off my waist while increasing muscle mass and strength.
  • I am getting to the gym as often as feasible, doing a few exercises every day at home, fitting other simple things in daily routine (walking up 8 flights of stairs).

I’ve been doing some of these things for more than the past year and I’ve mentioned them on this blog, but the intensity has picked up. This progress also meant reducing time spent on other activities, like doing outside consulting, watching TV, surfing the Web, reading the news (magazines and newspapers) and some books.

Measurable success (having concrete milestones) has a reinforcing effect on my motivation. I am also aware of other benefits that I had never expected. I hope you don’t think I’m just bragging on myself, but I was not really aware of what I had done until I sat down and listed them in the review — and this is just the physical side of the change!

The most significant conclusion is that I have made physical well being as a top priority, rather than an afterthought to fit between a 9-5 job, moonlighting and TV. That decision translates into time and energy spent on taking care of myself. I made a conscious decision to take command of my body and be proactive about my health. I decided that maintaining the discipline of physical exercise was the single, most important thing I could do to ensure my mental, physicial and spiritual health and a long-term investment in my future. If I can’t do that, other efforts at self-improvement have less of a chance of succeeding.