Monetizing Failure: May Report

Well, it’s the end of the month, which means it’s time to check in on my experiment in monetizing failure. May was a bit rougher than prior months, with an injury and my first set of failures. The toughest part of the new rules turned out to be the daily sit-ups and push-ups. Not because they were difficult, but rather because I never found a good time to do them. I had to remember, which turned out to be surprisingly difficult. There were a lot of late night saved-by-the-bell calisthenics, and I ended up forgetting, twice. In some ways, it was too small a task – I didn’t need to plan my day around it, and as such, it was easy to forget.

The other bad news is that I appear to have torn my rotator cuff doing push ups (!), so I had to abandon that challenge halfway through May.

Everything else worked pretty smoothly. I did come close to missing one workout, but even with the slightly accelerated schedule, it’s been fairly easy to stay on track. I think the biggest surprise has been how easy it’s been to cut out unhealthy foods, or change eating habits. Given how hard this has been in the past, and how easy it’s been to backslide, I see this as pretty huge. To recap:

  • Only raw fruit and vegetables, yogurt, seltzer, coffee, and what I bring for myself at work (candy bars not allowed)
  • Only raw food and non-fat yogurt after 8 pm (not including restaurants)

These rules have been very effective – instead of late night ice cream or cookies, I now snack on fruit or non-fat yogurt. Instead of potato chips from the snack wall at work, I now grab an apple or dried apricots. I miss the junk food, of course. I’d like to have a bowl of ice cream after the kids go to bed, or grab a piece of pizza at the office. But these aren’t particularly strong feelings – in the past, there was nothing to oppose them, and so I had to fight them every single time. Sometimes I’d win, but more often, sometimes minutes later, I’d lose. By creating these rules, however, making them public, and giving myself penalties, I’ve been able to change my default answer. Any time I crave something, I simply ask myself if it’s worth $100, and am able to go along on my way.

As for losing weight? Slowly (5 lbs in 5 months??). I’m certainly not where I would have expected to be, and though that’s disappointing, I feel like things are on the right track. I have more energy, more endurance, and just generally feel better. That’s a far cry from where things were in December, and even without the weight loss, I feel pretty good about my progress.

So, this month, I’m going to close some loopholes. My shoulder is still recovering, so no push-ups, but I should be able to do 40 sit-ups per day. Also, no more cookies, granola bars, biscotti, or other sweet pastries at work or home. I’m still allowing myself to splurge when at a restaurant, since that’s a relatively rare occurrence – but no casual, mindless snacking. Let’s see how things go!

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