40 For 40 Progress Report 5/12

Today ends my 5th month of being 40. I finished 5 more goals this month, bringing my total to 12:

Watch 40 classic Simpsons episodes: I did this by re-watching all of seasons 4 and 5. Holy cow, not a dud in the bunch! So many great moments I’d forgotten about. Maybe the biggest surprise was “Whacking Day,” a Schwartzwelder masterpiece that was even better than I’s remembered: the snake story is really a small part of it–this episode has the awesome Alien parody at the start, just after the bullies are locked up and forgotten until the episode’s final joke. Genius. I’m also surprised at just how many different great writers worked on those seasons, though the biggest writer surprise was noticing that Conan O’Brien wrote “New Kid on the Block.” I never knew that.

Write in my journal 40 times: I recently finished a biography of Henry B. Eyring, a book which was helped along greatly by the fact that he was apparently an inveterate journal-keeper in his middle years, when he was my age. Inspiring. I really enjoy this habit, and tend to be bemused/motivated/flabbergasted by reviewing old entries. I’ve tried to inculcate this habit in my children as well. Still, it’s a tough habit for me to keep: I’ve written more in that journal since my birthday than in the last few years combined.

No Netflix for 40 straight days: This was surprisingly easy, though I hedged my bet here by doing it at the same time as the Simpsons goal–whenever I wanted to crash at night with some TV, I just popped in a DVD instead. On the 41st day, yes, I turned on Netflix again :) But I still feel like the automatic reflex to veg out has been broken. I don’t care as much about streaming shows and movies as I did before.

Read 40 articles about the Bible: My notes from the book I used for this are already up on this blog–the notes on the second volume are actually two posts before this one. To say I learned a lot would be an understatement. I learned things that I never knew that I didn’t even know I didn’t know! :) It wasn’t meant to be a faith building project; I wanted to be slightly more well rounded in an important and fascinating area of deep interest in my life. Mission accomplished.

Ride my bike 40 times: I loved doing this when I was younger, and it’s been great to do it more now. The biggest disappointment here is that zero of these were rides to the school where I work, and the first draft of this goal was *only* to do it that way. Still, I ride to places more than I would have before–the gym, library, and church are fairly close and usually easy–and I want to keep that up.

That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned from the last five months: I can white knuckle my way through a lot of things if I have an end date, but after that date, habits tend to drop out pretty quickly. Case in point, I recently realized that I have not been doing sit ups and drinking water as much as I was during those 40 days. So I started picking those up again, as well. I guess, ideally, at the end of this twelve months, I’d be doing all 40 of these things pretty regularly still. Otherwise, what was the point?

I’ve tried to stop drinking soda twice this year and failed–the longer time lasted 16 days. Today I’m on day ten of my third try, and the difference is that I’m repeating the water goal–I just didn’t want soda as much when I was doing that in November. It’ll help me reach the newer goal, and help rededicate me to the older goal whose habit I almost immediately lost.

Next month will mark my halfway point for the year. I want to be at twenty finished goals by then, or at least close.



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