Monitoring should not be confused with evaluation – these monthly updates are not an assessment of whether or not my annual plan is a success or failure. 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. I’m using these monthly monitoring posts to see if there are any mini-corrections I need to make, such as altering the action/goal or committing more or less resources. I can also see if there is a particular area I need to lean into.
When reporting monitoring on projects I like to use a traffic light system. It’s simple to communicate but also simple to assess. Recently, I read a great post from ‘Live Well by Alison’ that describes an approach to healthy eating using a ‘good/sometimes OK’, ‘better’ ‘best’ system. I really like the simplicity and positivity of the system, and the way that it avoids the tendency to strive for perfection.
I’ve decided to use it when monitoring my health and wellbeing habits, so red = ok, yellow = better and green = best. Importantly, ‘best’ is not 100% for the month, but more of a 80/20 rule which is much more achievable and reasonable.
Exercise – I’ve given up trying to fit in yoga and weights sessions into my schedule, and instead doubled down on cardio sessions. I’ve been running 5km or cycling 15km three times a week, and have been finding this much easier to do consistently than classes as I can be more flexible with the time I finish work. The goal of the exercise component of my plan was to just build a regular habit, I don’t necessarily need to optimise the type of exercise right now.
Diet – I’ve settled into a good routine of healthy eating during the week, and always eat a good breakfast and lunch (every Sunday I prep lunches for the week). Dinners are usually pretty good, but weekends tend to be a bit more haphazard. My choices for meals eaten out are probably 50/50 healthy choices compared to ‘good value’ (read carb-heavy) choices.
Next month I’ll try to set up a simplified grocery list to help me build a better routine, as at the moment I find myself going shopping 2-3 times per week and don’t really have any kind of meal plan. I need to reduce the effort it takes to make a healthy dinner choice every night by creating a simple framework to shop to and make meals from. I also need to coordinate cooking with my partner somehow…. Water intake is still good, and alcohol intake is down slightly.
Flossing – This month I had my teeth cleaned, which really motivated me to floss to keep that lovely clean feeling for longer. I knew how to better build this habit, by preparing for bed before I was actually tired, and this has worked well this month.
Organisation – The house is at a point in the renos where it is probably the most chaotic, as the living area and kitchen are quite hard to use. Added to this, I haven’t really felt in control of my personal life and values. I’ve had an unexpected expense as I had to buy a new phone, and two weekend trips which meant that things just felt a bit chaotic each Monday going back to work.
Stress induction – Both the house reno and a big increase in work load has increased stress this month. Funnily enough, I feel quite in control of the work stress and this almost feels more exhilarating than detrimental. I’m very aware though, that I don’t have any additional capacity to take on extra projects or commitments so I’ll be continuing not to say ‘yes’ to anything.
Stress reduction – Two weekend trips this month have been great stress relievers. I find getting out into nature and camping or hiking it great for my mental health. Although taking trips brings its own stresses, the benefit is well worth it. Next month, as the weather cools, I’ll be looking at planning day hikes in my local area or maybe trying a massage.
How is your 2021 tracking?