Goal cycle 4

Iain Smith

Iain Smith / December 14, 2020

8 min read

Water of Leith

Cycle 4 was from the 26th of October- the 6th of December. If you want to know more or catch up on the goal cycles, read here. From the previous cycle, I set the following goals:

🏆 Big Goals

Big GoalMeasureTracking
Improve my Strava fitness of 69Improvement of Strava fitnessmaintain fitness level of 69

🏅 Habits / Small Goals

I am a runnerRun 4 times a week6 / 6 weeks
I am a runnerRun 600 miles in a year618 / 600 miles
I am a bloggerBlog three times in a cycle1 / 3 posts
I am a readerRead more of Happy by Derren BrownRead 3 chapters but not finished

🤔 Thoughts

😃 What went well?

I am a runner

Strava fitness

My Strava fitness level has kept at 69. I feel that this cycle was challenging due to the autumn/winter weather. In Scotland, it is usually cold rain which is not the most favourable weather for running. I have found that you need to go out as the next time you look it will be worse. I think maintaining the fitness level was an excellent achievement under the circumstances.

I have found running with friends more enjoyable. Next cycle I will try to do this more often if the opportunity arises, as it was a nice change to the usual routine.

I will be looking to get closer to the fitness level of 83, next cycle aswell. Another goal this year was to complete 600 miles. I finished this last week and am currently sitting at 618.4 miles for the year, so woohoo! Possibly looking to be close to 650 by the end of the year.

Now that I am on cycle 4, the habit of running 4 times a week feels very cemented into my day to day life now. I am proud of this achievement as it's been 30 weeks of running. I like the idea of keeping this going for a whole year.

Again as I have stated in previous cycles, this has been my favourite habit to develop. I can use running as a tool for stuff going on in life like I can use it to push myself fitness-wise or use it to de-stress and chill. I am really enjoying it even when the weather hasn't been that bad, and I weirdly like running in the rain.

I am a reader

I set out to read the book Happy by Derren Brown but have only managed a couple of chapters. I'm going to keep working on this book, aiming to read a couple more chapters in the next 6 weeks. I have found it hard to set time aside for this, I'm planning on making this a bigger goal to focus on. The Christmas holidays are coming up so there should be time for this. If I can work on forming this habit, this would be good.

Interestingly, the chapters I have read this cycle are about goal setting. Derren Brown talks about how the idea of goal setting has adverse effects, e.g., you think after achieving the goal you will be happy. Most times, you are just yourself again, more or less the same.

I can relate to this when I had a goal of "achieving a fast 5k PB". I did manage a fast PB, but it felt empty, and it was easy to disidentify with the goal once I acheived it. Instead, I am focusing more on the mental and health benefits of running and not the acts of trying to prove myself. If I can prolong the amount of time I can enjoy running in my life, then that feels like a better use of my time than potentially injuring myself and having to stop.

He also goes on to mention that goal setting puts a lot of the focus on trying to control life to fit around the goals. We have no control over what happens in life, no matter how much self-belief you have. A random event of life cannot be willed out by goal setting and focus, so they can cause the failure of goals, and we would blame ourselves. There are a lot more details in this book I would like to cover, so I am planning to do a review at some point once I finish it. Derren Brown also did a talk at Google about the book if you are interested before getting it.

I am a blogger

I set out to write 3 blog posts, with one being the massive technical post. I managed to finish this monstrous post, a 29-minute read! After receiving some feedback, I decided to split it into smaller posts. Needless to say, this has consumed my blogging time, but I have learned a lot from the process. I now know that I should do the research first, then come up with a structure. Rather than having a structure first and trying to make it fit with the results of the investigation. Also I am trying to get better a receiving critique and not taking it personally. Hard to do when you just want it finished, but I feel the outcome is better now that I have adopted the feedback. No one is going to read a 29-minute post!

For the next cycle, I am going to go for 3 posts again. I managed that before and with the massive one out of the way, it should be possible. To continue developing my writing I want all of the posts to be 5 to 10 minutes long with a well-constructed structure and flow.

I am a learner

Declarative header

While making the header graphic for the Declarative UI post, I started to look into graphic design. I did a couple of small tutorials on Adobe XD, kind of like Adobe's version of Sketch. I want to do more with this, possibly mobile UI or just more blog header graphics. I know my header image is basic AF but I like it. Looking to do these lessons in the next cycle.

Another goal was to improve my typing speed -I am going to continue with this. I have improved a little but not a lot. Doing a little each day seems to be making progress.

👷 What can I Improve?

The massive blog post has caused an issue, and I am glad I have experienced it. Knowing that something of this size would require a lot of effort, lets me re-evaluate what to write about. Split it up, make it more consumable for readers. I think from this experience if I can focus on smaller posts with an improved writing style, I would gain more understanding of how to structure posts.

🤩 Serendipity

So what non-goal events have happened?

Destiny 2

The Destiny 2 expansion, Beyond Light, was released and a couple of other games I have been looking forward too; Baldur's Gate 3, Among Us and CyberPunk 2077. I have really enjoyed playing games over the last couple of weeks, connecting with friends and getting caught up in immersive worlds.

For Destiny 2, my raid team are looking to level up in the hope of completing the next raid, Deep Stone Crypt. I will be focusing on leveling so I can participate.

I also went to a couple of events:

This was quite a fun experience. We were split into teams of 3 and tasked with looking at a Javascript API and working out how it works. Highlighting how everyone tackles looking at new code and the techniques you can use. As someone who looks at code a lot, this was fun to see how other developers approach this problem.

I have also started to draw buildings near me, just to keep the creative side flowing. I would like to keep this up.

Me drawing buildings

🔁 What do I want to do next?

As I have discussed:

  • I will continue my running, 4 times a week
  • I am aiming to get most of the way through the book Happy by Derren Brown
  • Start to form a reading habit
  • I want to do a course on UI/Graphic design, so if I can do one or two lessons that would be good
  • Draw more
  • I am going to do three blog posts, focusing on having a good structure and flow

I am going to start cycle 5 on the 14th of December.

See you on the 31st of January for the end of cycle 5!

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