Year 2020 Resolution Log

The high level goals and expectations for the year 2020.
created: modified: status: in-progress reading time: 9 mins

Preamble

A New Year’s resolution is a common western tradition where, at the start of the new calendar year, a commitment to lasting change is established. These resolutions typically include changing an undesired behaviour (quitting smoking), accomplishing a personal goal (going to the gym consistently), or otherwise improving their life (become less offended by others).

By documenting my resolutions, I intend to have an accountable record to refer to when I review the events of the year 2020. The resolutions that are proposed minimize dependence on external factors, and therefore remain primarily within my realm of control.

Master’s Degree

By the end of 2020, I aim to have a significant portion of my master’s degree thesis completed. I will adhere to the thesis preparation, requirements, and deadlines set by the University of Alberta Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

If possible, my final oral examination (thesis defense) will have been scheduled/completed.

At Least One App

By the end of the year, at least one high quality mobile application will be available to download from the popular mobile application distribution platforms (Google Play Store, Apple App Store).

Commitment to Health and Wellness

Throughout the year, I aim to commit to the following lifestyle changes:

  1. Continue on the Fast-5 daily intermittent fasting schedule. Currently, I have successfully fasted since December 22nd, 2019 with an eating window between 2pm and 7pm.

  2. Maintain morning fitness routine with Bonnie. I aim to complete at least one ten minute FitnessBlender exercise per day, at least five days a week. Two days of arbitrary flex time per week are provided.

  3. Sustain current bouldering (rock climbing) activity at the University. The Wilson Climbing Centre is free for students and walking distance from my lab. While completing my MSc. thesis, I will attend the climbing wall two times per week, if available.

Rubric

Resolution Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Good Excellent
Master’s Degree Thesis largely incomplete. Significant effort required (>3 months) for written dissertation. Thesis requires major revision. Between 1-3 months of effort is necessary for dissertation pass and oral examination. Thesis requires minor revision. Less than one month of effort is necessary for degree completion. Thesis complete. Defense scheduled or completed. Convocation scheduled.
Mobile App No mobile application is published on any distribution platform. One application is published onto the major distribution platforms. No other criteria satisfied. One or more applications have been published. Applications have generally positive user feedback, and reviews. More than one application has been published. Applications have positive user feedback, reviews, and monetary income.
Health & Wellness Over 90 inexcusable skips or absences to the Fast-5, FitnessBlender, and Climbing Centre activities. Between 60 and 90 inexcusable combined skips or absences. Between 30 and 60 inexcusable combined skips or absences . Less than 30 inexcusable skips or absences.

Health and Wellness Penalty Calculation

Scores are calculated every Sunday. Skipping one full week of fasting, fitness blender, and climbing would incur a penalty of:

7Fast+5Fitness+2Climb=14Penalty Points 7_\text{Fast} + 5_\text{Fitness} + 2_\text{Climb} = 14_\text{Penalty Points}

Although inexcusable absences itself is subjective, the intention is to distinguish days where I did not perform a health and wellness activity due to laziness.

Resolution Log

I will update this post every week until the end of 2020.

January

January 2020 penalty summary:
Fast=1+1\text{Fast} = 1 + 1; Fitness=0\text{Fitness} = 0; Climb=2\text{Climb} = 2

It is eye opening how long recovery from a cold takes.

Week 1: Wed, Jan 1 - Sun, Jan 5

Fast-5 accomplished each day, climbed on Thursday, Jan 2nd. Skipped one day of Fitness Blender on Sunday Jan 5. Most difficult part of this journey is the fast, especially when in social situations where other people are eating.

Week 2: Mon, Jan 6 - Sun, Jan 12

Skipped two days of Fitness Blender. Fast-5 failed on Sunday due to dinner with girlfriend’s family I ate outside of the eating window, roughly ~830pm dinner finished. Climbed on Monday and on Friday. Weighed self, roughly 69kg (152lb).

Week 3: Mon, Jan 13 - Sun, Jan 19

I’ve been run down with a terrible cold this week. What had begun on Friday, January 17th as an unusually pervasive sore throat had turned into a weekend of progressively becoming weaker. A full blown hallucinogenic nightmare of chills, cold sweats, and phlegm occurred by Monday. That being said, given the time period specified in the header, I was able to climb twice, I never broke the fast, and I skipped two days of Fitness Blender (within my 5 days per week criteria).

Week 4: Mon, Jan 20 - Sun, Jan 26

Most of this week was spent in cold/sickness recovery. Tuesday, I had a meeting at the CN tower to discuss the ECG research. Friday, the only day I went to the lab, I was able to reverse engineer the ECG traces from a SQL database dump. I broke my fasting window Friday the 24th due to Chinese New Year evening dinners at my grandmother’s. Also no wall climbing was done this week due to illness.

Week 5: Mon, Jan 27 - Sun, Feb 2

I did not adhere to my fast on Saturday February 1st. I also did not climb at all this week with no valid excuse other than laziness and poor time management. I performed fitness blender activities at least five times this week.

February

Week 6: Mon, Feb 3 - Sun, Feb 9

I had a moment of weakness this Saturday morning and indulged in two hotdogs during a grocery run to Costco. Additionally, this Sunday was my Grandmother’s birthday dinner. I continued eating until well after the 7pm window close. I missed three days of Fitness blender. I climbed twice this week.

Week 7: Mon, Feb 10 - Sun, Feb 16

Many lapses in the fasting window occurred this week. Friday, Valentines Day Dinner; Saturday, Post V-Day Dinner Hot Pot with friends, Sunday, Dinner with Bonnie’s family. I was able to climb twice this week and I performed Fitness Blender every day.

Speaking to a friend about my fasting window and the strictness which I apply my rubric, I was offered a suggestion to begin recording deviation of time from the window, rather than just marking failure cases. One behavior I see is if I break the window, I no longer have incentive to continue the fast for the remainder of the day. By having more fine grained logging of my eating habits, it may provide more insight into the effectiveness of the fast.

Week 8: Mon, Feb 17 - Sun, Feb 23

The climbing wall is closed from Feb 15 to Feb 26 due to Adaptability wall construction. I did not track my eating windows this week, but noted three days in which I had not followed my fasting window schedule of 2-7pm. I fitness blended daily, with the exception of Thursday.

Week 9: Mon, Feb 24 - Sun, Mar 1

Climbed twice this week. Performed daily fitness blender exercises. Maintained consistent fasting window, eating only between 2-7pm.

Starting to allow myself to be less strict about fasting as results are very apparent (target weight achieved, have abs again). Social eating (late dinners in particular) are very problematic for the fasting window. Most of times my breakfast meal is delayed until 3pm to compensate. May stop tracking fasting schedule and just delay meals as habit? Problematic for year-long rubric/schedule.

March

Week 10: Mon, Mar 2 - Sun, Mar 8

Ate past 7pm on Sunday, March 8th. Otherwise nominal.

Week 11: Mon, Mar 9 - Sun, Mar 15

Deferred to Week 12

Week 12: Mon, Mar 16 - Sun, Mar 22

Last two weeks have been quite a blur. The COVID-19 pandemic seemed to arrive quite suddenly. On Week 11, I had climbed on the Monday, but was too worried to go climb since.

I had a difficult Friday, Mar 20th. My trusted Dell XPS 13 laptop popped a capacitor and I no longer had a ready to go research laptop. The next day, after taking the day to self reflect and reprioritize I recalled the importance of being mindful, of having stillness and being focused.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote down a rubric outlining grading criteria with respect to my Master’s Degree, the Climbing/Fasting/Health and wellness, and the Mobile app. I began to feel very discouraged and very nit-picky about tracking my dietary fasting windows and climbing. However, I remain satisfied with the long term habits that I have developed with respective to my eating and with exercise. Every morning, with tolerance of 1 day per week, I do fitness blender morning exercises with my girlfriend. I also remain mindful most days that I do not eat until well into the afternoon. Admittedly, it is not always between 2-7pm, I have limited my evening snacking and pushed my breakfast meal out considerably past my previous limits. I believe that this is the right step for longevity, and the original rigour for keeping to the strict 2-7pm window is no longer appropriate.

I would like to try lists again. I have begun using a task/list application to track necessary todo items. I will try to check off as many of them as I can. Every week, rather than a passive recap of eating windows, I would like to self-reflect on how the lists approach is working. One thing that was surprising to me was how quickly I was able to get my Linux setup up and running again, and how approachable it was when using the list as a guideline. I will work on how best to phrase the todo items mindfully.

As for the rubric, I am no longer very serious about it, but I intend to reflect back and estimate on good faith how I fared. The metrics for MSc. Thesis and the mobile app are still very applicable, as a deliverable is generated (whereas fitness & health is more a routine)

Week 13: Mon, Mar 23 - Sun Mar 29

I’ve found that keeping a todo list that I can check off has been very useful in keeping me accountable for my work. Keeping each task roughly equal to 1 hour’s worth of work appears to be the secret. If the task takes more than an hour to complete, it should be broken down further. Occasionally, I allow myself to write down tasks that I accomplished but have not recorded ahead of time just to have the satisfaction of marking it off of the list.

As a result of the todo task list, I’ve made progress in the ECG classification problem posed by the Physionet 2020 challenge organizers. I will submit my new model this week, as well as update the research log in the wiki.

In terms of eating, I am satisfied with my current schedule, which has naturally shifted from a ‘Fast-5’ to a ‘Lean-8’, where my allowed eating time starts around 11am and ends around 7pm. I have not been keeping track of it diligently.