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.

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. 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.

August saw my city re-enter lockdown, so it’s been a bit of a challenge to pivot my usual habits according to the new restrictions and working-from-home routine.

Exercise – My running has gone down to once a week, and I’ve had to change to running a roughly 6km circuit around my neighborhood rather than using the gym. Luckily we have a nice bush track on our door step that I can use. Some habits have stayed the same – I still listen only allow myself to listen to my favorite podcasts whilst running, but it has been a challenge to clock off early twice a week to get my run in. Despite the drop in running, I’ve still coloured this green as I have been walking for an hour every single day. This is the maximum we are allowed to exercise outdoors, and it’s funny how the restriction has made it seem extra important to get my full 60 minutes of fresh air each day.

Diet – Although our kitchen is still not completely set up, the weather has become warm enough to use the barbeque in the evening without being too uncomfortable. Our winter pasta habit has been ditched this month, and we are eating simple dinners consisting of a protein + salad/steamed veg almost every night. My lunches remain as a bean/lentil based salad or cassoulet with plenty of veg, and a fruit and yoghurt snack. Banana bread has somehow snuck and replaced actual bananas as my mid-morning breakfast, but not going to die in a ditch over this.

Flossing – This habit is not as regular as I would like (green would be flossing 3-4 nights per week), but I haven’t completely abandoned it this month. In September, I’m going to try setting a reminder for 8pm for this habit, as it helps to do it well before I start getting tired.

Organisation – As this is the second time around for lockdown for us, I’d learnt the importance of getting my home work area set up and organised. I spent half a day clearing a proper table space and getting a proper keyboard, mouse and monitor from my work. As part of our renos we extended our bedroom to make use of a redundant hallway, so I this time I have space to put a desk in a room where I can shut the door and have the heater on. So much better than two people trying to conduct teams meetings in the same work area!

Stress induction – My team has made a couple of new recruitments and work load felt much more manageable this month. The ever-present kitchen reno is weighing on my mind a little, but realistically there isn’t much progress we can make whilst the weather is still wet. Again, this is orange because it’s not causing any issues but I’m not able to actively think about new projects I can start.

Stress reduction – Last month, I’d identified that stress reduction needs to be more about creating habits and a lifestyle that allow for things that I enjoy, rather than ‘recovering’ from an imbalanced workload. My enjoyment comes from being out in nature, and despite being in lockdown I’ve been going out walking and getting my fill of the outdoors almost daily. Longer term, once restriction are lifted, I think this category will be about regular camping trips, day hikes, visits to the beach and other excursions.

Overall, I tried very hard not use lockdown as an excuse to let all my good health and wellbeing habits go. It took a bit of effort to re-work my schedule but I’m glad that I didn’t just treat it as an excuse to sit around in jogging pants for weeks eating biscuits (like the first time!).

How have lockdowns changed your health and wellbeing habits? I’d love to hear in the comments!

July’s update can be found here

June’s update can be found here

May’s update can be found here

April’s update can be found here

March’s update can be found here

February’s update can be found here.