At the end of each month, I plan to summarize my progress on Book Challenge 2012 as well as the other goals I set at the beginning of the year.
1. Book Challenge 2012: So far, so good. 11 books finished, 7 books purchased. I bought five of those books on a rare visit to Half Price Books in Bloomingdale; otherwise it would have been a really great month. It was a weak moment of "comfort shopping" as I had been to a wake earlier that evening.
2. Cut down on e-mail: This is going well so far. I've unsubscribed from half a dozen Groupon-like sites, about ten retail sites, and a couple of bands I haven't gone to see in years. I still need to cut a few more, but I'm already noticing it takes less time to read my e-mail in the morning.
3. Drive less: This one is going well, but I generally drive less in the winter anyway. Not going to bookstores as much helps -- due to the absence of Borders and my commitment to BC2012 (I was already near the aforementioned HPB). I'm also trying to be more aware of gas/mileage expenses. For example, it isn't worth burning two gallons of gas to use a $7 dinner coupon. It seems so obvious here in print, but lots of people do that sort of thing every day.
4. Physical activity: No progress on this one. Winter is the obvious excuse (though it's been unusually mild), plus I've had some problems with my left arm that finally seem to be healing.
5. Drink more: I got rid of the nasty old water bottle (actually just relegated it to plant-watering duty). My wife said I couldn't set a goal of drinking more alcohol, but she has given me several generous pours of single malt scotch this month. I'm halfway through a bottle of Moldovan vodka, too. Those people know how to drink!
6. Dine and shop locally: I'm doing okay with dining but not shopping yet. My biggest concern is that the corner restaurant is tilting dangerously toward becoming a Lincoln Park bar with game night, movie night, trivia night, etc. Shit, next they'll probably "adopt" a Big Ten school. How about "grumpy, anti-social guy just wants to enjoy his dinner and read a book night"?
7. Clean and declutter: I haven't made a concerted effort, but I've been chipping away at the pile on my dining room table. (My wife and I each have our own square tables in the dining room with our respective piles of crap on top. We haven't eaten in the dining room in seven years. And the kitchen table has been covered with stuff even longer.)
8. Enhance and expand my web presence: No progress.
9. Figure out my professional future: I almost wrote "no progress", but then I remembered a seed that was planted in my head by a book I read recently (no, not Hell Bent for Leather!). It's not worth sharing publicly yet, but I'm exploring a bit.
New: 10. I went to the dentist on the 31st. To my chagrin, he discovered a small cavity, my first in maybe 7-10 years. He and the hygienist suggested an electric toothbrush, although they said I actually brush very well with a normal brush (deciphering such mixed signals is the worst part of my dental visit, but I'm too old-school to change anyway -- they've been pushing those electric brushes on me since the last millennium so you'd think they would have figured that out by now). They said I should floss more regardless -- especially since I don't use an electric brush -- so I'll add flossing regularly to my list. I flossed five or six times in January, which was more often than usual (I tend to floss more as my dental check-up approaches, like cramming for an exam), so there is plenty of room for improvement. Ugh, I hate behavior modification goals like this that I have to track every day. It's like having a potty chart.
Oh well, at least I didn't set any weight-loss goals. I was at Jewel (a local grocery store) last night, and they have already started selling paczkis!