A public announcement

Monday, September 26th, 2011 at 10:19 pm

A few weeks ago I ordered some books online. While the trigger was Paranormality by Richard Wiseman, I also ordered two other books of his: Quirkology and 59 Seconds.

Quirkology was quite an interesting read, but it is 59 seconds (which I am currently halfway though) that surprised me. Most of this was because I didn’t fully realise that it was a self-help book, albeit a self-help book that is backed by peer-reviewed research. This should be the only kind of self-help book.

Take motivation for example. Research from large scale scientific studies found that techniques such as focusing on a role model, thinking about bad outcomes of missing the goal, trying to supress unhelpful thoughts, relying on willpower or fantasizing about reaching the goal are not effective.

On the other hand making a plan, telling other people, thinking about good things of achieving the goal, rewarding progress, and recording progress all signifigantly increases the likelihood of achieving the goal. Most of these involve writing, which other studies have found to be considerably more effective than simply talking or thinking about something.

So here are parts of a plan that I am sharing with the world to achieve a current goal of mine: losing weight.

  1. Reclaim the habit of cycling to work. I will allow three exceptions: it is raining enough that I would be soaked through, I need to head somewhere directly from work (ie not enought time to ride home to get the car), or mechanical issues that make the bike unsafe.

  2. Exercise every day. At bare minimum this is the above cycling to and from work, but on the weekend this means at least a 30 minute bike ride or going to the place mentioned in the next point.

  3. Going to the gym (yes, some would be very surprised to know that I know what one of those is) at minimum three times a week.

  4. Eating better. This fairly broad and covers avoiding take away and soft drinks, cooking for myself (but avoiding fats and sugary sauces) or resorting to healthy frozen/prepackaged meals.

As an aside, finding appropriate frozen/prepackaged meals has been an interesting journey. Many pasta type meals include parmesan for that delicious aroma while heating, but are actually passable. I would say that those that include rice are preferable. But then you get to those with “potato”, while not hard, I would consider these to be dwarf bread.

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One Response to “A public announcement”

  1. Good work mate but there is still a long way to go. A goal is a tangable end point. Today your goal is to give me a definitive figure that we will achieve by the end of October. it starts with – By the end of October 2011 I will have lost _____kg. If I haven’t lost _____kg by then I will XXXXX (insert some sort of additional goal) to assist with achieving my goal by the end of November 2011.

    Darren - September 27th, 2011 at 3:20 pm