My ‘project’ for 2021 is a focus on health and wellbeing, and as part of the plan I will be monitoring progress through monthly reviews, which I’ll share here. January was spent planning so February is the first month of action.

Just like business projects, it’s important not to mix up monitoring with evaluation. Monitoring is to check the planned actions are being done, that the immediate effects of these actions are still contributing towards the overall goal and that the actions can be achieved with the planned resources. It’s main purpose is to implement any mini-corrections such as altering the action/goal or committing more or less resources. Evaluation is not done until the very end of the project, and assesses the overall success.

When reporting monitoring on projects I like to use a traffic light system. It’s simple to communicate but also simple to assess.

Exercise – I’ve set up a good habit of going to do cardio (5km run) twice a week after work as there is a small gym right by my office. I’m only getting to a yoga class once a week though, and I haven’t found a way of fitting in any weights into my weekly routine. Next month, I’ll be trying to add an extra yoga session and a weights session.

Diet – I decided to follow the CSIRO’s total wellbeing diet and bought the recipe book. It’s a low carbohydrate, high protein diet designed for weight loss (I’ll probably back off the high protein in the long run) but it’s pretty uncomplicated and the recipes are really tasty. I’ve managed to stick with it pretty well although I have had the odd pizza night! There is a regular pub that I eat out at on Friday nights and I need to work out and commit to a menu item that fits in better with my diet.

I’ve already noticed that I don’t get hungry as quickly and I have more energy, but the high protein has really increased my grocery budget. As I’ve set this year as the health focus, not the financial focus that I had last year, I’m ok with making this reallocation of resources. Water intake is pretty good (I keep a water bottle next to my desk), but alcohol is a bit higher than I’d like with 2-3 drinks Fri, Sat and Sundays.

Flossing – I’ve been remembering to floss a couple of times a week, this is usually when I have an early night but also start to prepare for bed much earlier. This means I need to build the habit of brushing my teeth and flossing sometime after dinner, before I’ve gotten comfortable on the couch. I’ve made an appointment to have my teeth cleaned alongside my regular check-up with my dentist, so I’m hoping the nice clean feeling get afterwards will motivate me to keep it this way.

Organisation – My personal life is pretty organised, although I don’t really focus enough on my hobbies and my professional work would benefit from some increased commitment. I’m at least aware of what my values are and know that once I have my health and wellbeing in a ‘maintenance mode’ I can focus on these another year. My physical environment (my home) is mid-renovation and is far from being organised.

Stress induction – The house renovation is creating quite a bit of stress as we are doing most of it ourselves, and the schedule is going to much longer than we originally though. Yes, we were totally naïve! I will need to change my mindset on expectations to help reduce stress. On the plus side, my work is not producing much stress at the moment probably thanks to the January lull plus the fact that I only took a week off over Christmas which allowed me to get ahead on a few things.

Stress reduction – This has been really hard to fit in. I haven’t yet figured out the best methods of stress reduction, I’ve just been thinking about hiking, meditation, massages and saunas. I haven’t tried any out on a regular basis for the purpose of stress reduction either. Next month I’ll pick one, commit to it and see what the relative benefit looks like.

How is your 2021 focus tracking? Do you have any suggestions for a regular stress reduction activity?