In April 2015, I received my Apple Watch, which I have worn every day for the last 437 or so days. On July 10 of that year, I used that device as a launching-off point for a lifestyle change. I started using Lose It! to monitor every calorie I consumed; I started going to the local YMCA two, three, five, then eventually seven days a week. By the middle of January this year, I had lost over 100lbs.

Since then, life got in the way and I had what I’m hoping is more of a “dead cat bounce” rather than a sustained trend. But I’ve had difficulty getting back into the groove. Last week is the first time I’ve managed to force myself to go to the gym several days a week (Tuesday through Friday, and Sunday), and I have yet to get back into the habit of counting my calories. (Now that I’ve rediscovered this wonderful thing called “a filling breakfast,” I don’t want to give it up!) But I’m working on getting that back under control, too.

Of course, summertime for me is ideal for working on improving myself. Up until a couple months ago, I was a graduate student, and I’m going into a field with a very notable “off season.” So summer grants me the time and flexibility to analyze the things I hate about myself and work to change them. Last summer, the focus was entirely on getting my weight under control. And that single-minded endeavor took all of my energy. This summer, I’m focusing on four areas:

  1. Health and Fitness: I am making strides to get back on the right path, and that will largely come back to once again getting my diet under control. I generally eat healthier than I did prior to the start of my weight-loss journey, and I am immensely more mindful of what I put into my body. But work still needs to be done to make sure I don’t fall back into bad habits and ensure that I continue in the direction I want to go.
  2. Creativite Pursuits: As my cavalcade of new followers have noticed (I appreciate the attention, and apologize in advance for how awful an experience it will prove to be), I’ve made a strong effort in the last few days to inspire myself to be more creative. Part of this has been facilitated by free time, part of it by listening to podcasts, and part of it by having the right setting. Two of my four stories were written whilst sitting at a winery, listening to my friend’s band play. (Same band, two wineries, two different days; I didn’t cheat.) But a lot of attention this summer is going to go towards creative writing, with some energy going towards this blog and maybe to getting my podcast up and running. Hopefully this renewed interest in creativity will play into the fourth category, professional growth, as well. It remains to be seen.
  3. Social Growth: This is the area in which I am least satisfied with my life. I have a blog post in progress on this topic, but suffice to say: I have always been a bit of a late bloomer in terms of interpersonal relationships, and I’m only now starting to get that aspect of the human experience somewhat figured out (rather than experiencing it vicariously through the lives of friends and voyeuristically through the exploits of characters on situational comedy television shows). I really do regret that I didn’t go through the trial-and-error stages back when I was young and it was expected for not-yet-fully-formed persons to go through such trails-and-error. But there’s no changing the past, and it’s time to stop looking at that as an excuse to keep from moving myself forward. More to follow.
  4. Professional Growth: Lastly, I’m trying to start my career. I won’t discuss that here, but suffice to say that it’s a long time coming and as many reservations as I have about the path I’m on, I do think I’m prepared to take this leap. We’ll see how that goes.

The “too long, didn’t read” version of this is, I’m going to put this summer to use in a way that is a long time coming. I’ve made massive progress in the last year, and I want to continue to build momentum rather than squander it. So here’s to a future that is a lot brighter than I would have thought it could be even this time last year.