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2008 Goals: July Progress Report

Well, goodness, July sure got away from my quickly, and here it is already the 10th of August. Where does the time go? Here on baby watch, Hanna sits 3cm dilated for going on a couple weeks, and we're just wonder WHEN will the little girl emerge? *sigh* It's all about timing! In all honesty, though, the past month went fairly well, and we're now in pretty good position this month for the pending delivery and all the fun that will ensue in the aftermath.

Overall, I think July was a good month, though frankly it went so quickly I can't remember all the details. July 4th was a lot of fun out at Jill's and a good way to start the month. I had a couple work-related trips that were productive, and things have in generally been bopping right along. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the month was getting the baby's room all setup, despite that going against our "no new debt" pledge. Oh, well. More below...

1a. Watch less television. I think I reduced my weekly TV viewing to about 3-4 hours/week in July. This was largely due to their not being a whole lot on. We were entertained by the return of pscyh and Monk, and I've also gotten somewhat hooked on the rather dumb In Plain Sight on USA. Toss in Last Comic Standing and that about sums things up. LCS is done now, and psych and Monk have maybe a couple more episodes left in their Summer seasons. So, I think we're doing quite well. The only challenging upcoming in August will be the Olympics, although this could be a blessing in disguise if the little miss should decide to join us here in the real world. :)
1b. Read more books. My book reading has been very bad the past few months. Mainly, I'm exhausted most of the time and either don't have/make time to read, or I spend it on other things. I did, however, complete a couple books in July - one on interviewing skills and one on politics and status of freedom in the U.S. - but otherwise, that was about it. I do, however, read a lot, so this is really more a case of needing a bit more discipline and sleep. At time of writing, I am half-way through 2 other books, and I think I've decided that it's a good approach to read 2 books at once, mixing light and meaty. We'll see.
1c. Improve my vocabulary. Me no know if me speak good no more. :) I've really made little or no progress here in the past month, except that I'm finally getting a much better handle on the use of naughty words, which in and of itself is a victory. Something about having a baby due soon is motivating me well.
1d. Keep a cleaner house. All-in-all, I think we're doing much better in this regard as a family. The wood floors really make it much easier to sweep up on a regular basis, and that just leaves vacuuming, which I do every week or two. Because we're eating at home more often, we have a lot more dishes to do, which Hanna has become very good at getting into the dishwasher and running. Laundry is also getting done more often, mainly because Hanna only has a few maternity outfits to cycle through. Nonetheless, this is good progress for us! :)

Health & Wellness
2a. Exercise more. Ugh. So, one of the negatives of being on travel is that it's harder to exercise regularly. Nonetheless, my strength has improved, somehow, some way. :) Pavel's "get in the groove" approach really does make sense, except for getting cardio-quality exercise. It's great for strength. So, we'll see what happens as the baby arrives, but this is sort of a plateau for now.
2b. Lose the fat. Doggone sympathy weight. I have worked very hard to improve in this area, and have had a couple weeks where I felt good about things, but in the end, I'm simply fighting the whole sympathy weight issue. Hopefully as Hanna delivers we'll be able to manage this better. *sigh*
2c. Eat better. Hooray! We've been eating much better! I've been using Paul's recommended "cheat day" approach, telling myself that I cannot have junk 6 days/week and then on my cheat day I just gorge myself on crap until I'm almost sick, and then I spend the rest of the week being motivated to eat well (and feel better). So, overall, we have made leaps and bounds in this area. Eating at home has alone made a huge difference.
2d. Address form issues that are affecting my knees, hips, ankles, and shins. Mitigated/closed.

Professional Development
3a. Write more meaty blogs. Hmmm... of the 17 posts I made in July, 2 were meaty, 2 were book reviews, and the rest were fairly short. Is this a good ratio? I don't know that it is. I've been very lazy in the blog-posting realm lately and need to pick the pace back up again. This will be an area for improvement in September and October, after we adjust to life with baby. On a side-note, I'm currently planning to live-blog the birth, so that will certainly kill my ratio in August of meaty:light posts. ;)
3b. Begin writing articles. Well, I've not made any real progress here. However, a colleague has asked me to help him with 2 articles, so I guess I could claim some small degree of progress if I could simply find the time to revise them. Guess I have some work to do today on that.
3c. Begin writing white papers. Uh, yeah... no real progress here. As with everything in this category, July was a blur, and I really didn't get much done here. Oh, well... it's hard to improve in all areas simultaneously every month.
3d. Attend webinars and other free or cheap training programs.

Fiscal Responsibility
4a. Finally pay off high-interest debt. We're continuing to make solid progress in this area. The biggest challenge in July was finishing purchasing everything that we needed for the baby room. That being done, we should not need to put anything else on credit cards for a while.
4b. Start putting aside money for emergencies (goal: 3 months' expenses). We're continuing to make progress in this area. Once I made the realization that it's better to put money aside first, and then pay the bills with what's left, well, it's just made all the difference in the world. If I had only started doing this years ago, I don't think we'd be nearly in the hole that we are now. If there's one lesson I could impart to the world, it's to not get into debt AND to put some money aside to cover yourself for larger purchases.
4c. Begin investing in aggressive funds. Pending available capital, deferred until 4a and 4b are good.
4d. Continue reducing expenses. As noted above, aside from making some major baby-related purchases, we're really doing much better in this area. There will always be room for improvement, but July seemed to be a much better month. Eating at home makes a big difference, as does not wasting money on frivolous things on a regular basis. I am THE WORST when it comes to spontaneous purchases. We really need to move out of this region so that I can get my brain out of work-and-life-avoidance mode.


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