Most of the previous years had a lack of particular focus to them and in a sense that’s what brought about these plans and reviews for each year. That is not the case for 2019. Everything else in this year’s day-to-day activities will be overshadowed or rather defined by two major events.
The plan is simple, as always – I want to finish writing the posts about Iceland. There’s about 12 left, it just needs to be done 🙂 There are more ideas, for other things, but as stubborn as I am, I want to finish those first.
Videos / Albums
I’ve done a few videos over the years of trips and things we’ve done either together with Andra or with friends. I have a lot more material gathered up and I want to make 2 more videos this year from the ones I have recorded.
Same goes for photo albums – it is much easier to re-live moments when you have the memories printed and so I want to create one photo album from either 2017 or 2018.
Even though I have gotten ill in the past year, I think it went very well overall and this part will be mainly to maintain that.
We’ve done amazingly over the past year and a half in this regard, mainly to Andra’s delicious and healthy cooking. The goal would be to keep this going this year as we’ve become efficient in doing it, including planning, shopping, preparation and diversity of the food. It also comes out much cheaper.
This year my goals are much more simplified compared to last year. And probably as a result, much more difficult and challenging.
I am focusing entirely on cycling and want to do two ultra-endurance self-supported events in 2019.
First, I have signed up for the All Points North race’s inauguration edition. This is a race around the North of England, starting from Sheffield, and zig-zagging from one coast to the other reaches all the way to the border with Scotland and then runs down back to Sheffield. The event is over the length of three days and should cover just over 900km.
Second, I have also signed up and have successfully been accepted to the massively oversubscribed Transcontinental Race. I will be writing more on this, but simply put, this is a self-supported race that starts in Bulgaria, runs through the whole of Europe and finishes on the French coast. Without a doubt, this will be the most challenging and difficult thing I have ever done and most of the year is focused around preparing me for it.
More will come in relation to these, and I am most likely going to use the energy put into the events to raise money for charity and will share more information on how the money from previous campaigns has been spent by the charity donated to.
As my preparations for the races above started to ramp up, I realised that the weakest link in my training plan was my rest. So I have proactively tried to squeeze in more sleep. Last year I averaged consistently around 6.5 hours per night, whereas from the beginning of the year I have managed to add another 20/30 minutes per night. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really makes a noticeable difference and I can feel it. My goal would be to push the sleep hours over seven hours per night to keep me healthy and strong while increasing my training.
As I have read in several books on endurance training and sports physiology, meditation has been mentioned multiple times in helping athletes to perform better and this has been proven scientifically even more in the last five years.
Moreover, meditation is key in handling stress, keeping a positive outlook in difficult moments and maintaining focus. All of this is absolutely critical in ultra-endurance events, where after adequate physical preparation, the most challenging part becomes mental.
Considering these factors, and since I have already discovered the benefits of meditation about a year ago, I have re-committed to the habit and have started doing it before bed hoping to extend it to my lunch breaks for about 5-10 mins.
Reading, as can be expected, has proven one of the most fruitful and rewarding habits that I managed to maintain last year. It has given me a lot of inspiration, ideas and kept my growth. I don’t limit myself to reading a specific genre or author, instead I try to diversify them and challenge my understanding and learning.
The goal then for this year remains the same, simple and easy – read or listen to the equivalent of five pages per day.
This area has also improved over the last years, mainly and simply due to having more focus on it. I have certainly strengthened more of my relationships with friends and family due to being more conscious when interacting with the people in my life. However, I always struggle when planning this as it’s hard to quantify what will improve your relationships and how to track it.
Saying that, I think simply time spent with people or talking to them is the best way to improve a relationship. In that sense, due to the increase in training and the amount of time the above-mentioned races will take from my total annual leave allowance, my time will be limited at least until the end of August. So I will need to find another way of keeping in touch.
A simple solution would be to do a monthly catchup with friends and family and make sure at least that happens. Either by calls, cards, letters, emails, it doesn’t matter as long as it does once a month. The lack of time and energy will really force me to select only the most important people to keep in touch with, something that I think is critical as no one has the energy to maintain deep relationships and connections with everyone around.
Ukraine – A trip to Ukraine in the beginning of the year to visit my parents.
England – The All Points North race should take me through all the national parks and plenty of the coast of Northern England.
Europe – For the Transcontinental race I will be covering (hopefully) at least nine or ten countries with a successful finish.
Bulgaria – With Andra we are hoping to go to Bulgaria at some point later in the year to relax and recover from the busy first half.
The plans are pretty modest compared to previous years, but I am sure parts of them will change.
This year will be pretty interesting in terms of finances. First because I am selling some stuff but also investing plenty in my preparation for the races (hopefully quality gear that I can still sell at a decent value later on).
Moreover, we are making some other decisions which can impact our finances, but those are still to be made clearer.
Overall, I will be happy if we finish the year on a neutral and surprised if we do on a positive. But I am sure we can do well as we are not travelling that much and are also hunkering down on many other spendings due to simply being too busy.
I am not yet sure where the project work in my new place will take me, but I can tell that I am already learning loads as it is and being exposed to plenty of diverse and interesting work. In that sense, I am sure this will naturally help me grow.
However, to set some specific goals, I want to use the time after all the races, to focus and do an AWS certification in my newly available “spare” time. Even if it is just starting the course, I would consider it a success. Obviously completing it and passing the tests would be the ideal.
As I didn’t hit my hefty goals last year, I think I will try to keep them simpler this year. First, I want to keep doing my Spanish Duolingo exercises as that keeps me exposed to the language.
Second, I still want to finish reading the Robinson Crusoe bi-lingual book in Spanish
Third, after finishing the book I would like to start getting exposed to Romanian by also practicing it in Duolingo to begin and make a plan for growing it from there.
Similar to last year, I will add all of these goals in Trello and try and review/track them proactively throughout the year, rather than just at the end.
As mentioned in previous plans, I believe focusing on one set of goals naturally means you cannot do others, and it is useful to proactively recognise the latter ones to avoid distractions.
I will be giving up any training not particularly helpful or directed toward my cycling this year. This means I will lose a lot of progress in other areas, but without this I stand no chance in preparing for the races.
I am reducing my goals in language learning and also in financial management to reflect all the other goals for the year.
Finally, due to the huge amount of time required for the other goals, we will be doing less trips and other activities outside work in our spare time.
2019 is laid out to be a super challenging year and in a sense very different to the last few plans. Most of the focus will be on just a few specific goals with much having to be left behind, but hopefully it will all be worth it with many memorable moments and positive experiences.
I am both super exercised and nervous about this year. Lets see how it all pans out.