A Very Happy New Year To You

Without going into too much detail, the past year-plus has been very difficult for me. My fitness has waned significantly, my mental acuity has suffered, and I’ve just not felt very self-confident. I’m sure many others have felt this with the overwhelming power that COVID-19 has had over our society. I’m not saying I’m a unique butterfly, but my issues are mine to address, and only mine.

Physical Fitness

So many races were postponed or cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Combined with a lack of mental energy, I completely fell off in my workout routines, gained some weight (which I did try to work on and made some progress regarding loss), and have physically changed back to an uncomfortable level. I did try to lean on my social groups, but this proved to be difficult to manage, even though we were accountable to each other. As a runner, and general fitness guy, this has not sat well with me, and I need a good kick in the butt to get going again. How? More accountability.

I’m going to lay myself bare, here. I’m going to update you on my physical progress as the year goes on. While it may not be frequent, I’ll try at least once per month to let you know where I am in terms of setting/following a routine and how I’m feeling. If I fall short on posting, call me out on social media. If I’m slacking off and losing motivation, call me out on social media.

Overall, the goal is to use my physical fitness to build routines that will eventually help build and improve on my…

Mental Fitness

To say that managing my mental fitness in 2020 has been a tough row to hoe is an understatement. I struggled with keeping my mind active, trying to read, avoiding useless video media, and wasting time on the Internet. I know that I can do better, it’s just a matter of setting the habits and goals, then sticking to them. Much like physical fitness, I need the accountability and tracking.

I started to journal this year, then gave up within a matter of days. The book is sitting by my bedside. Restart it? Use the blog as a “journal” of sorts? Possibly.

There’s a lot of work ahead in order to regain the fitness I once had, much like my physical fitness. Will I ever be the same? Probably not. Can I be a better version of who I’ve been for the past year? Definitely.

Personal Growth & Education

I guess I’ll review my past goals and set some new ones here:

  • There are many cooking-related goals to review and set:
    • Grilling and smoking - I learned to make pastrami this year. That was an adventure, and pretty darned delicious. Beyond that, I just smoked meats when I felt like it, but didn’t quite do enough. So, for 2021, the goal is to smoke more more meat AND to continue building my own smoker (soon to be written about in The Lab), which coincides with another goal for the year that will be mentioned below.

  • Sous-vide and pickling went hand-in-hand, as I used my SV for pickling, as well as some delicious fish, scallops, and beautiful strip steaks. Again, the goal is to do more.
  • The pressure cooker has been my go-to for a few years, now, and this year I really picked up on some new dishes that became family favorites - meatloaf & mashed potatoes, pork belly with shoyu eggs, and more. 2021 is the year of learning to bake in the pressure cooker. I’ve tried once with middling success. I REALLY want to make a cheesecake!
  • Just keep cooking! It’s fun, I’m learning a lot, especially with baking AND the fact that my son is gluten-free, so adjusting for that has been an adventure in learning.
  • Re-learn programming - why? Well, for one, I need it for my smoker. I’m combining a few projects and building a smoker out of a file-cabinet, then adding in a temperature regulated heater to manage the smoke temperature. As of writing this, I’m 75% done with the cabinet, and about 80% with the electronics. The latter is the tougher part.
  • I managed to meet my Goodreads reading goal this year, with a few cheat books included that I read to my daughter. I don’t see an option for a 2021 challenge, but my plan is to either meet or exceed the 52 books completed in 2020.

2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Larry has completed his goal of reading 50 books in 2020!

Tip of the Iceberg

This is only just the beginning. 2021 is really the year I want to make changes, as well as be mindful of and accountable to them. I hope you’ll join me on the journey.