My 2015 New Year's Resolutions

Here are my resolutions for 2015. Below that I report on my progress toward last year’s resolutions.

Physical Health

  • I will continue my exercise regimen of daily Yoga stretches, isometrics and hiking in nearby parks
  • I will stay on my healthy diet and adjust it as needed to fit my health needs
  • I will get my weight down to between 165 and 170 and keep it there (current weight: 173.4 lbs)
  • I will, with my doctor’s blessing, experiment with going off my blood pressure medicine in the first months of 2015

Mental Health

  • I will fight off depression and anxiety as best I can
  • I will continue my habit of rising early each morning
  • I will exercise my brain through reading and writing to regain more intellectual strength
  • I will limit my TV watching to night time and spend my days productively

Personal Growth

  • I will continue my private study of economics and the political philosophies of conservatism and objectivism
  • I will continue my study of writing by reading and listening to books on the subject
  • I will vigorously pursue photography and my old creative pastimes of writing songs, poems, short stories and tweets
  • I will write more articles for my blog with a goal of posting something at least once a month
  • I will finish my When I Was Donnie series of short stories, I will decide whether to turn it into a book, and then begin my first novel
  • I will improve my photography skills, take good photos and display my best in a portfolio at myamericanmorning.com

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Progress Report - 2014

This is my fourth New Year's Resolutions list since my launch of a blog (at taomanna.com). It’s the first list to be posted to my new updated blog at myamericanmorning.com. Each year I will issue a new set of resolutions, probably much like the previous set, and discuss my progress against last year's list.

I met my weight goal of 175 pounds and now will try for 165 pounds. At approximately six feet tall, I don’t really need to lose the weight for health reasons. It may help my blood pressure but is mostly an esthetic or “feel good” thing. My clothes seem more attractive and pants fit me better when the waist is 32 inches, which is a bit snug for me right now. I am certainly more energetic with a slimmer body.

My exercise regimen for 2014 was successful most of the year. I've added isometric exercises to my evening walk and the result has been some upper-body muscle definition and strength. During an exam my doctor, while poking around on my stomach, said, "You've got abs!" I guess muscle definition is a rare thing in men my age.

My lower back pain is almost non-existent, occurring occasionally upon rising but dissipating after my morning stretching exercises. I am off the pain medicine for my back. All I really needed was a regime of exercises to strengthen my supporting muscles. After a few weeks of physical therapy, the medicine was no longer needed.

Much of the year I rose at my scheduled 5:00 a.m. and recently I moved that back to 4:00 a.m. I’m still struggling with the earlier time.

My problem with frequent urination is being controlled by medication and I hope to get off that medication this year after having followed my doctor’s advice to remove certain foods from my diet.

I've stopped brain training and meditation. I lost interest in meditation after my mental therapist and I had a disagreement over the goals of my therapy and I stopped seeing her. I have no current plans to get back into therapy but will re-evaluate my needs if I find myself dealing with too much anxiety or slipping back into depression. The VA is my only choice for mental therapy now and I prefer to not use them.

I made no progress with YouTube online videos and have no immediate plans. I still want to put videos online but it is too complicated and time-consuming for me to deal with right now.

Although I have not posted much to my blog I have made significant progress with my writing and I plan to post articles about that progress. And, although I have not finished or posted much, in the past several months I have written over 100,000 rough draft words in writing exercises, potential blog articles and background stories for a future novel. That is more writing than I have ever done in one year or even several years.

I have read or listened (on Audible) to a number of books about writing and now believe I’m better equipped to be a more productive and better writer. I will continue my study of writing throughout 2015. I have also purchased Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software which will help me overcome my poor typing skills.

Early this year I will develop a plan to turn my writing into a daily scheduled process of about three hours per day. Some days I will write rough drafts of blog articles and stories. Some days I will edit my rough drafts. I can generate 2000 or more rough draft words in a three hour work day. If I spend three days writing and two days editing per week, one possible plan I’m considering, I could become a quite productive writer. And that is one of my highest priorities. I want to write lots of blog articles and finish as much of my short story series as possible in 2015. I will likely begin my first novel in 2016.

Though there is still work to do, I have made significant progress on moving my old blog to a new and more updated platform and style. I have also changed the blog domain from taomanna.com to myamericanmorning.com. My American Morning is my attempt to break free from my PTSD-hampered past while showing an honest appraisal of one man’s struggle and success in America after retirement age. The new blog is cleaner and simpler. It includes some articles from my old blog. This article is the first new one. It seems fitting that my first new post on my new blog is about my New Year’s Resolutions.

Tomorrow I will celebrate the New Year with a meal of hog jowl, collard greens and black eyed peas. I have followed that tradition for most of the years of my life. It is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity into the lives of those who share in the tradition. 2015 holds a lot of promise for me. I'm in a much better frame of mind that I was this time last year.

Bring on the New Year!!!