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2013.03.01: A new month ... reboot?

Friday, March 01, 2013

Goals (quality and quantity) and the day ahead.


Ms. S. and I will, briefly, be heading out to take care of our beginning of the month shopping chores.

So many words, so little described.

Grocery and around the house items. A stop at the bank. We'll make sure all bills are paid. Then lunch at Schlotzsky's ...

... I first saw a Schlotzsky's Deli in Madison, WI, many many years ago. I never went. Given the name and such I assumed it was Midwest or Upper Midwest creation, the type of thing one would expect to see come out of Milwaukee or Chicago. But, no, it's Texan.

Go figure.

Even better, though?

Where did I find a Schlotzsky's I sort of wish I'd gone to? Berlin, Germany.

There on Friedrichstrasse, heading south to the former Checkpoint Charlie, just before getting to the former dead zone, stood a Schlotzsky's on the right-hand side of the street. I passed it numerous times and pointed it out to visiting friends, who also found its placement there somewhat amusing. A McDonald's or Burger King? A Starbucks, even? Those we would expect.

So today I get to go to Schlotzsky's for the first time. On the first of the month, even. They have a number of tasty-looking/sounding (from their website) chicken and turkey sandwiches. Full nutrition facts (well, the 'required' information) are provided on their site for both 'small' and 'medium' sized sandwiches; no such thing as a 'large', I suppose.


Goals should be S.M.A.R.T. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM
), they tell us. Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Make them "Smarter" by adding Evaluate and Reevaluate ...

I also like the Idea of being a bit Kantian, a bit neo-Scholastic, and adding the categories of Quality and Quantity, schematizing the latter by time, as Immanuel might. I do this in jest. Goals may be short, medium or long-term, but this introduces ambiguity and equivocation: short term goals are undertaken in the short term and are likely to last a short while, but when it comes to long term goals, does it mean you are undertaking them further in the future (not necessarily right now) or that they will last longer? As for quality, I guess I mean "what kind" of goals, to which domains do they apply? I'll classify them by Nutrition, Fitness, Motivation ... and Wellness?


Those are all short-term-ish goals for me. For March means continuing with pushups and squats until I complete the program. There are weekly charts and the tasks are well-defined.

In terms of nutrition I want to simplify a bit so as to allow room for splurges and experimentation. I want to standardize my breakfasts and dinner; my lunch is the one meal I'm most likely to share with Ms. S. I like a breakfast rotation that includes eggs and oats and fruit, and the occasional waffle or similar. I want dinner to be smaller and MyPlate-based in a sense, but also German in the 'Abendbrot' sense, snack-ish; when not that, then vegetables, a grain, and a legume. Or a salad that incorporates these items.

In terms of cooking I want to batch-cook several things, keep them around, and reduce my overall time spent cooking. That means beans and soups in the fridge and perhaps a big batch of cooked brown rice ready to be reheated. I have functional sourdough starters now, and so I should bake from time to time to meet our bread needs.

Or bread kneads, so to speak.

My motivation has been lacking recently, which has also harmed my look at medium-term goals. I need to return to waking up at the same time, 5:30, every morning, and staying up. This means that most nights I need to go to bed earlier, and/or take a nap during the day. I function best on eight hours of sleep, but not when those eight hours are spread between 2am and 10am, and my morning is lost to me.

My morning time needs to be spent in front of a computer, at a desk, writing. No being sidetracked programming Python, not collecting points for reading blogs or posting to message boards or spinning wheels, daily or bonus. After that writing is done, then I can do these other things. And every Friday Ms. S. needs a status update as to what has been written during the week.

Why can't I produce one hundred pages in March this way?


These short-term goals are easy to state. The long-term ones are not too difficult to deal with, either, depending on how concrete they are. They're not necessarily SMART.

Ms. S. and I can envision where we want to be in five years. Even three, let's say. But that's not the same as specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and timely. There's a time fashion. They may be relevant (to our lives, lifestyle, happiness). Attainable? Yes, if other sub-goals are first attained. Attainable in a broad sense? Yes, according to our skills and such. Attainable without intervening steps or 'making it happen'? That's the rub ... Measurable? In being attained, yes, but step-by-step along the way, perhaps no. And they can be specific.

That's where medium-term goals come in, goals that are ends to other goals. This, too, is Kantian and Aristotelean; just as every effect has a cause, which is itself the effect of another cause, each end requires means, which function as shorter-term ends, which require their own means, which can also be stand-alone, relative ends, etc.

One of our goals is "get out of Alabama". That's a goal that requires means. But reversing what's stated above, we have to ask, is it also a means to another end, or a dead end? If the latter, it's likely just reactionary, not pro-active (or just 'active'); it's fleeing a place we dislike rather than looking forward to making a better life.

The medium-term goal is leave Alabama. We want to end up preferably on the West Coast, perhaps near Portland or Seattle, though as a stop-gap, I suppose the Boise area would work, as I would have a network of family there to help make sure things worked out. But Boise is not a long-term solution, as it's not where we want to end up, whereas we could see ourselves settling in western Oregon or Washington. But the first move there wouldn't be the last, in any case, as we won't be buying a house for years, meaning that Boise is probably as good as being more coastal. But how to achieve that goal? The means involve searching and financial necessitities, before and after. Before means I need to return to the workforce, probably in April. And after means we both need to be able to find work once we're there.

I find it depressing just thinking about it.

Then I look back at my resumé, at my c.v., at the past few decades of my life. It's a chain of cause and effect, but it wasn't supposed to lead here.
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