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current self improvement projects

the stack of current and future reads

If you’re like me, you saw the new year (and new decade) as an opportunity to create some new, healthier, habits. If you’re like me, you’ve tried this before. If you’re thinking about starting, you don’t need a new year, a new month, or even a new day. You can start now. (You’ll note I didn’t even start most (all?) of these on the first day of the year:)

  • Write 540 words a day. Started 7/23/2020. Wrote a little bit about it here. What’s interesting is since I’m writing more every day, and making some progress on some writing projects that have been gathering dust for a long time, while also starting some news, but my sketchbook that I keep every month has a lot more blank pages. I’m losing doodling time, and the words I do write are going in to Ulysses, the app I use for writing, rather than my everything book, because I’m trying to hit that 540 a day word count. Full disclosure: Last week I don’t think I hit my 540 word target even one day. Last three days, though, I’m back on track. That’s the key with all of these projects, I’m not beating myself up when I don’t hit a daily goal, just picking myself up, dusting myself off, and doing better the next day. Rigid systems break. These systems bend.
  • Read 15 books this year. Book 1: Dune. (Started Dec 24, 2019. Finished Jan 30, 2020.) Read the 50th Anniversary Edition with that beautiful cover by illustrator Sean O’Connellt. One of the best books I’ve ever read, considered maybe the greatest science-fiction novel of all time, and I think that still underrates it. Current books going: Frank Herbert, Leonardo Da Vinci, The Collected Works of Flannery O’Connor, (she was dead by age 39, can you believe that?) which I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post, because I’m just dipping in to it for the short stories, Yiddish Policeman’s Union, and Grapes of Wrath. Of these 4 books going, I’m guessing Grapes or Herbert will end up coming in as Book Number 2 on the year. Ultimately, my reading for the year can be tossed in to three piles: completed, abandoned, and dipped in to. Comics can get counted in the completed pile, but only graphic novels. Pamphlets are too short. (Doesn’t mean I don’t love them, though. I do.) Oh, and I’m also reading Warren Ellis’s collection of columns he wrote for Bleeding Cool, Do Anything, which has been an extraordinary tour of lots of stuff I’m not familiar with. How long will it take me to get through all of this? Months. Don’t get to read, really until after little guy is asleep.
  • Lose 22 lbs. Using ‘Lose It!‘ app to budget my 2200 calorie allotment. (I use YNAB for budgeting my money, which has, quite literally, changed my life. I need to write about that at some point. I wanted a YNAB for fitness as well. I’m not yet sure if it exists, but Lose It! is great for managing calories. Now I need a YNAB for the workout part. Suggestions in the comments would be great.) Started using Lose It! Jan 10. What soon happened is I kept looking for better foods; higher in protein so I don’t lose muscle, and fiber so I feel more full. I became more mindful of what I was eating. After about a month of that, I started only eating in an 8 hour window. Most days. Some days that does not happen.I’ll write more on this in the future, but right now I’ve lost about 8 lbs. The app tells me that I’ll hit my target in mid-June, which is great. I gained the weight slowly, I want to lose it slowly as well.
  • Duolingo everyday. It’s been at least a year since I’ve worked in Duolingo. Time to get back in to it. I’m learning Spanish. Started March 4, so I’ve got a 4 day streak going. Difference between this go around and my last go-around, which lasted about 3 years, is that I’m now writing the sentences and phrases in Spanish and English in my sketchbook as I go.

Whatever project you’ve been putting off. Go start now. Starting is the hardest part. I know. I’ve been putting off too many projects for years…

reading update and outlook

self-portrait from the sketchbook

finished dune. the best book i’ve read in a decade and a half. some consider it the greatest science-fiction novel ever written and i think that still underrates it. i read the 50th anniversary addition with a beautiful cover.

starting leonardo da vinci again. my plan is just dipping in a chapter a day. no more than that. going to read it concurrently with these current and upcoming reads

frank herbert

grapes of wrath

yiddish policeman’s union