Three Impossible Things

Dec 2, 2011 by glennji

What a year.

In the last rapidly-accelerating twelve months we moved into our own house, bought the biggest, sookiest dog known to humankind and had a son — although “had” is past-tense and he’s undeniably more of a handful here on the outside! I flick back through the pages here and it’s like taking a trip down memory lane, only it’s via Google Street-View.

But it is the next 12 that I’m looking forward to, however: renovating, working hard to diversify, going camping and watching little Jules grow and grow. He’s already amazing, of course, but just listening to him make ever more complex noises (i.e. proto-speech) is humbling, scary, brilliant — and wait until he starts walking! (Sometimes we speak to each other and say, “I can’t wait until…” but we really CAN wait — even realising he’s outgrowing some of his clothes is a shock.)

Rather than any “new year’s resolutions”, I’m setting myself three impossible tasks (and several unlikely ones). The way I’m soft-wired, you tell me something is impossible and I just want to get in there and try it; so this way I’m hacking myself. Turns out it seems to work even when you consciously KNOW (but don’t dwell on the fact that) it’s a hack attempt!

My three impossible things are:

3. Get hyperfit

I’m losing weight at the moment, which in itself is pretty amazing for this time of the year, thanks to the combination of various Internet forums, Tim Ferris and Today I weighed in at 89.8kg — the first time I’ve been below 90kg for years, and possibly finally breaking through the “barrier” that’s had me drifting between 91kg and 94kg on every other “healthy eating/diet change” I’ve tried before. Better than that, my body-fat percentage (according to our WeightWatchers scales: inaccurate, but consistent) is a little above 29% — when previously it’s read 30+.

But I want to do more than just shake this office-worker beer-belly off, so next year I intend to introduce more exercise (hiking, cycling, body-weight exercises) and get that percentage as low as it can go. Hyperfit: that level of fitness that professional (or at least semipro) athletes achieve in the course of training for their sport, like wiry marathon runners or muscle-clad MMA fighters. Yeah, it’s an ongoing thing — use it or lose it — but getting down to less than 10% body-fat (and building a little muscle) should put me around 75kg, which is respectable for my height and build.

2. Publish Android

This is something I’ve been intending to do since before we left London (!!). It’s very hard to find the time, after a long day in front of a computer, to sit down in front of a computer. Key here is Dee’s backing — this is the way to get a little money in, eventually, so if that means we have to have a design session rather than watching How Clean Is Your Kitchen then so be it.

We’ve got so many ideas for apps — ironically, one in stalled-progress is for making new year’s resolutions — and my professional experience/history should make me an ideal candidate for “garage-startup mobile-app development house”, so this the most important activities for this impossible thing are scheduling and prioritising against other activities. Time to be a “productive procrastinator”!

1. Speak French

Another impossible thing — impossible to find the time to actually practise, and practise is what makes possible (if not perfect). We have so many livres et CDs et materiel français it is just ridiculous that we DON’T already speak French, but hey, like anyone we take the easy way and nothing is forcing me to learn … except myself. So I’m planning how to structure and schedule my sessions, gathering Internet links and books, and really intend to attain a basic level of comprehension — to watch a film without subtitles.

So they’re my three impossible things, and now I’ve told the world about them I guess I better actually make some progress. There’s always a danger in putting up something like this: the pressure can backfire, especially on me and my peculiar rebellious mindset, and there can be a tendency (again, for me anyway) to mentally tick-off a task, and therefore forget about it — it’s someone elses’ responsibility — once I’ve told someone about it. This is, I think, why so many good ideas talked about in bars and over coffee never go any further…

I’m telling myself that this note is for me, that nobody else really reads this so I can’t expect someone to learn French (or go for a run) for me — and that nobody cares if I fail, so why try failing? But if you are out there, and I haven’t made at least some progress by this time 2012, by all means call me out on it.

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