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2008 Goals: March Progress Report

Well, that was a quick month! :) It seems that as I get older, if I blink, then I might just miss something significant. For those keeping track, this is my monthly recap of my goals for the year (see Jan and Feb reports). I'm providing these reports as a way to publicly motivate (or flog) myself. Hopefully you find them interesting, and maybe some day one of you will even post a comment ridiculing my pathetic efforts. :)

March was an interesting month. Hanna and the baby are continuing to do well. My application to the ATLAS PhD program at Colorado-Boulder was rejected (unsurprisingly - I didn't put my best effort into it, sadly). I was put in for a promotion at work (I should be officially a "senior security consultant" very soon). Work continued, as it's been known to do. Overall, it was an uneventful month, as best as I can tell. The only really big news was that Hanna's sister gave birth to a baby girl, while Hanna was visiting. Kind of cool. Babies seem to be en vogue, because a lot of people I know are having them this year. :)

Before starting, I need to point out that last month's progress report got munged, and badly. I have no idea what happened to the majority of the self-help section, but I'm not going to go back and fix it, either. It must have gotten eaten by the giant spaghetti monster. :S

1a. Watch less television. Did I do better in this area? Yes and no. I spent less dedicated time to following specific shows, generally, but I found myself very lazy, particularly the last half of the month. It's starting to seem that my natural rhythm is about 2 weeks up, 2 weeks down, lather, rinse, repeat. New episodes of shows I was previously watching hadn't resumed yet in March, which just left a couple new items: American Idol and John Adams. In the case of the former, I plead guilty by way of entrapment (aka "blame the wife"). On the latter, I justify it because it is based on a historical account, and so thus is somewhat educational. At any rate, bad news ahead: all my normal shows are returning in April (House, Bones, Criminal Minds, CSI, Men in Trees, Everybody Hates Chris)... and the NHL playoffs are about to begin, with the Minnesota Wild recently clinching their division. Oh, well...
1b. Read more books. If there's any consolation, it's in the fact that I read more in March. Or, so it seemed, anyway. I read a couple books, and a third this past week, and will undoubtedly read 2-3 more in April. I feel reasonably good about my progress and prospects in this category. There is, of course, always more to read.
1c. Improve my vocabulary. I had deferred this item a bit on the grounds that I had no intention of taking the GRE. With getting rejected at Colorado and considering reapplying, I am now thinking about giving in and taking the bloody exam. Oh, sigh. So, with that in mind, I will be resurrecting this item in the last half of April, hopefully with progress to report by June.
1d. Keep a cleaner house. March was a much better story. I was able to vacuum at least once, change sheets, do laundry on a regular basis, and keep a general flow of dishes through the dish washer every couple days. Still, more could be done. One milestone is that I was able to move the contents of our main bookshelf into our storage unit. I now have a couple other bookshelves to conquer the last half of April, in May, and then it'll be moving time. Eep.

Health & Wellness
2a. Exercise more. Have I made progress in this area? I think so. Since cancelling my gym membership, I have tried to make a point of at least spending 5 minutes per day doing a little something, whether that be pistol squats in the door frame, or a few quick swings, presses, and/or snatches with the kettlebell. I'd say at least 3-4 days per week I've been getting closer to 15-20 minutes in with the kettlebells. The bad news is that I've not been doing swings enough, and so while my muscle is increasing, my waistline is keeping pace, too.
2b. Lose the fat. As I was just mentioning, no, I'm not doing a good job in this area. I need to increase my cardio (swings) and get back on pace to do a regular morning workout. I felt extremely wiped out in March, and thus had a terrible time getting up in the morning. Daylight savings time (stupid concept) has definitely screwed me up. I need to get back into the swing of things this month.
2c. Eat better. Ugh. Well, it's a nice idea, but... as I was just saying, I've been exhausted, and Hanna's not been much better. I've had several late work days, and have been absolutely slammed trying to keep up with things. April will not be much better, unfortunately, as I'll be on travel for the first third of the month. I need to gain some discipline and get this entire category straightened back out.
2d. Address form issues that are affecting my knees, hips, ankles, and shins. Mitigated/closed.

Professional Development
3a. Write more meaty blogs. Success! March saw two key improvements: better writing and a significant increase in traffic (THANK YOU!!). Now that I've gotten up a head of steam, I'll now need to maintain it. I've found that when I get ideas, I need to start a file of notes, and then take some time to put together good thoughts. On average, it's taking me about 3-4 hours to write a decent entry (in infosec).
3b. Begin writing articles. Success! I drafted my first article this month. It's already been sent back for edits, but that's ok, I'm just happy to get the experience. Once I get back from travel, I'll be looking to resubmit that draft, and then move on to the other two ideas that I've been mulling over for a very, very long time.
3c. Begin writing white papers. This goal is not out of the concept stage yet. I do have an idea related, but I'm not ready to share it yet.
3d. Attend webinars and other free or cheap training programs. I brought to vendors into my client to present on their solutions, so I'm going to take credit for that. :) I've also read a ton of good posts this past month, as well as watched a couple interesting videos (such as the L0pht panel at SOURCE Boston 2008 - more on that later this weekend).

Fiscal Responsibility
4a. Finally pay off high-interest debt. Progress is being made! By this time next month, I hope to have made even more progress. With the baby on the way, I'm trying to accelerate paying off these debts so that I can then have money to compensate for Hanna being away from work for a couple months, as well as the increased kiddo costs.
4b. Start putting aside money for emergencies (goal: 3 months' expenses). Good news here, too. For the first time in almost a year, I put money into savings. With the progress on the debt reduction plan, I've now budgeted savings each month, and will make a concerted effort to stick to that plan. It'll be a while before we hit 3 months expenses, but at least it's a start. In the meantime, I sat down and reviewed our current insurance with my insurance agent, who helped us round out our renters and car insurance to provide more complete coverage. The only area of potential concern still is life insurance, which I'm not sure what to think of. As such, I'm going to give it a month.
4c. Begin investing in aggressive funds. 401k was reallocated better in February. Any further investment is on hold pending improvement in the other areas.
4d. Continue reducing expenses. This area remains a challenge. Our top three expenses, according to analysis provided on our checking account using Wasabe, are credit cards, rent, and food in a ration of about 3:2:1.5. Obviously, I'd like to turn this around dramatically, and we're well on the way to accomplishing that goal. It's just going to take some more time.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 4, 2008 8:16 PM.

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