Working Toward Winter Happiness: Week Seven

It seems hard to believe but I’ve been working now for seven weeks on doing the things I, and my friends think will keep me feeling happy and enjoying things even as it gets colder and darker here. As I’ve done in previous weeks I’m comparing how well I’m meeting my goals for my habits against my ratings (on a scale of 1-10) of how my days have gone. Let’s dive in.

Goal 1 (Go outside 7/7 days) and Goal 2 (Dress properly to enjoy being outside):

This was a big success this week. For the first time I managed to hit all of these. 7/7 or 100%. Part of this was because I’m ramping up to going to the office three days this week, and I was there an extra day as well thanks to a scheduled power outage to do the final fixes related to the fire in our highrise.

Goal 1 & 2: 100%

Goal 3 – Running:

My target for this was three days this week. I made it twice for a couple of great runs, having just started Week 4 of my “Couch to 5K” restart. The distances went up as did the paces. I was really pleased by that. Furthermore, though the weather was cooler and damp I dressed warmer and just got out. Yay me!

Unfortunately, on my second run, the longer, 3.8 km ride, a minor pain in my right calf turned a little more annoying. By the time I got home, even after stretching it told me I needed to take some time off.

Running is so tricky for me compared to cycling. If I run just a little to far or with just a little too much effort I end up with an injury. If I go on a 80 km ride and think “This is fun, let’s go another 40 km!” nothing happens except I need to spend a little more time and buy some more snacks. I may rethink my commitment to running even though I also really love the feeling of running – which is often how I end up injured, doing an 8 km run when I had been doing 4 km for the weeks prior.

In any case, I managed 2/3 days or 66.7%.

Objective 4: Cycling

My original goal was to ride twice this week. The first time I went out I did a loop I often do, down through the park and then along Danforth Avenue’s bike lanes. This time I stopped to pick up coffee and then went to another store to get some groceries before heading back home. It was lovely to get out but I’m glad I brought my lights. The days are definitely short.

As you can see, at the very start of the ride, it was already nearly dark – and it wasn’t that late!

Fortunately, though, my running injuries never seem to affect my cycling. So instead of running on Friday as planned, I did a ride instead. So in the end I did a total of three rides this week. One outdoors and two indoors. And this looks very good for my goal and hopefully makes up for my not running.

Objective 4: 3/2 days cycling (150%)

Objective 5: Get more than 6.5 hours sleep

I’ve been doing OK this week though this time instead of feeling like waking up in the middle of the night, I might wake up at 3:30 and then struggle for a while to eventually get back to sleep. (Lucky me – Sage also is experiencing this but wakes up then.). Still, I only got 6.3 hours two nights this week and less than 5 the night the clocks went back. (I was up right at 4:00 AM ready to go!). All of which makes me think that this early rising and struggling to sleep is just me on my old schedule.

Objective 5: 4/7 days = 57.1%

Objective 6: Eat Properly

While I could have done better this week I’ve been doing well enough that I give this a 100%. Nothing special this week though my goal is to eat a bit more.

Overall Weighted Habit Compliance = 95.7% – a record!

A few things are also happening outside of this habit-wise:

First off, I got a new fitness watch, a fancy Garmin Fenix 7 – the day of my injury sadly. But it works with cycling too. In any case, what it also does is bugs me to walk more when I’ve been sedentary. It also gave me an initial target of doing 10 flights of stairs every day. On my days I went to work I avoided escalators entirely, taking the stairs from the depths of the subway. Just from that I managed to get in 8 flights. Getting off the elevator a little early and walking the rest of the way got in the last couple of floors. It also tracks a few other metrics to better quantify how hard I’m working and where I’m improving (or not) which has motivated me to be a bit more active.

Second, I remembered about Vitamin D and have been taking it every day from Wednesday.

On the downside, the days are getting shorter. Last week the days were 10.1 hours long, this week they’re 9.8 – around 15 minutes shorter.

Whether it’s the activity or the vitamins there’s been a bit of improvement in mood that I can really feel. On Friday in particular, as I was riding the subway, I had a feeling of happiness and contentment not unlike what I feel on a long bike ride or when traveling. It was pretty exciting to realize. But what’s the average mood rating for the week?

The average mood this week was 72.9%. Still a drop from last week but I can see that that’s from Sunday through Tuesday when I had some of the lowest readings this week. There was nothing wrong per se but I felt excessively glum for no good reason. Those days were 68%. The last three days of the week was 76.7% with yesterday being one of the best days on record. Let’s see if I can keep that trend happening.

Now for the next few weeks, what’s the plan?

Goals 1 & 2: Same – every day I go outside even if I just walk out the door and back inside.

Goal 3: Running suspended until further notice.

Goal 4: Cycling is now aiming for five days.

Goal 5: I really hate to do this but I think I need to move back the time when we start getting ready for bed from 10PM to 9:30 PM. If I’m missing my goal by just 12 minutes, adding a little earlier bedtime will help. The challenge I see is fitting in everything together from all the other goals with an early bedtime. Though it’s getting colder I think as long as we don’t have any wintery precipitation I may gain some efficiency from cycling to work instead of taking the bus. Good thing I don’t have a reading task goal.

Goal 6: Eating will continue to be better with more focus on eating veggies.

No movement yet on other classes though there could be some in the future. We’ll have to see. Meanwhile, I’m really happy with the direction this is going. If I can keep at this level through the winter it’s going to be a good one!

And for those who want the full dataset:

ObjectiveWeek OneWeek 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7
Go Outside71%100%86%86%86%86%100%
Dress Warmly80%100%100%100%100%100%100%
>6.5 hours sleep#N/A#N/A43%57%71%71%57%
Eat Properly#N/A#N/A86%86%71%71%100%
Day Length11.711.411.010.710.410.19.8

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