At the beginning of last month I outlined some goals I wanted to meet. Or not, as they weren’t at all SMART and the only measurement I settled on was “Am I happy with _____?” I think that was a great first step, and some goals work well with that format, and the motivating idea feels sound: maximize happiness, minimize regret, stay focused on the why over the what, and avoid comparison to some unmaintainable ideal. Still, I wonder if it’s too subjective and if the time frame for reflection is too short.

Regardless, I (we) made some progress.


For the big goal of improving my interpersonal skills, I’ve really only read The No Asshole Rule. I did take some notes and plan on writing up a reflection on it soon.

For the other more mundane goals…

Get up earlier each day, especially to help L with the girls.

I did alright with this in the middle of the month, but the past few days have been up later than I’d like, and my morning routine has lengthened so I’ve been less of a help lately than I’d hoped. This may be a good candidate to add more objective measures around.

Play fewer video games. Play more board games.

I haven’t played many board games, but I haven’t played many video games either. I haven’t had the time, energy, or inclination. I’m sure that will change in the future and I’ll have to think more carefully about how to spend my time.

Watch less TV and allow less TV. Read more.

I talked with the family and we settled on some rules around TV: no TV on school nights, two hours of TV on non-school days. We haven’t stuck to the latter to the letter, but we’ve removed TV from most nights. It’s been grand, and the girls have started adjusting to playing more in the evening. Perfect!

I read two books and started another, and my own TV consumption is down somewhat (based on reflection; this may also be worth tracking with objective measurements).

Eat out less. Cook more.

This is a big win. We’ve not eaten out nearly as much as we had been, and I’ve been cooking most nights. This is due mostly to my mother gifting us a week of Hello Fresh, which, silly as it seemed, really does make meal planning and cooking easier. We’re entering our third week of the service and so far it feels worth every penny.

Create a budget and stick to it.

We haven’t created a full budget, but we’ve put in place a “be frugal” rule until we make the time to. No unnecessary spending until then, which should suffice for a few more weeks.

Write more of everything: blogs, prose, code for my game or another side project.

I’ve written a bit here, but that’s it for January.


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Find time for more exercise. At least walk the dog.

Oh boy. I haven’t found any extra hours, but I have been biking to work. That’s helped a little bit.


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Overall things have improved a lot from where they were at the end of last year. It was worth taking the time to think about what I wanted and write it down. It helped me work toward a better future, even if the details of how weren’t concretized at the beginning. You can see the changes pretty starkly in the data I did collect.


  1. Am I happy with ███████████████████████ today?
  2. Am I happy with ███████████████████████ today?
  3. Am I happy with the time I woke up today?
  4. Am I happy with my media consumption today?
  5. Am I happy with █████████████████████████ today?
  6. Am I happy with how we ate today?

Was I happy with…

Next steps

I think the chart above shows that tracking some of those goals in those ways are losing value as I start to pull myself back up to a baseline of how I’d like to be — but as the dips in the last few days show, I shouldn’t entirely abandon tracking even the baseline goals.

  1. Update 2/11: I wrote a post about The No Asshole Rule. Write a post about The No Asshole Rule and how I’m interpreting it and applying it.
  2. Decide on which, and read another book on interpersonal skills.
  3. Identify the new set of goals I’d like to track and metrics with which to measure them.