Miss me? Didn’t notice your favourite English copywriter and proofreader was gone? Either way, as promised, I’m back. The plan is still to post every 3–4 weeks.

It’s been four weeks since my last post, so I knew I had to get a post out this week. I’ve been trying to write this post for the past week or so. But I haven’t been able to get it started. Why? In a word—momentum.

Earlier I mentioned that I committed to writing a blog a week for a year—and I did. But as soon as I hit that goal and took my foot off the gas—wow, did things ever come to a grinding halt! And not only with blog writing. I’m behind on my Instagram posts too. 

I schedule posts a month in advance, but I still have a weekly schedule I try to keep. This ensures I stay a month ahead of schedule. But I’m struggling. I currently have posts scheduled through to April 15th. But by the 1st week of April, I should have posts scheduled through to the end of April. But I don’t—yet.

Screenshot of Later, the social media publishing tool I use to schedule posts.

I’m not struggling because of work. My work hours are pretty much the same as they’ve been for the past few months. I’m still working 40 hours/week with one job and 8-10 hours/week with the other.

Without daily blog writing tasks, I do have a little more time. I’m getting more work done during the week for my second job. That should theoretically give me more time on the weekend, but that hasn’t been the case.

Deadlines, even ones you set yourself, can be effective

It all comes down to mindset. A month ago, my mindset was that I had to get a blog written a week. Now that I’ve removed that time frame, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting this blog for weeks. But without a hard deadline, I’ve kept pushing it off. But now that my 4-week deadline is here, I have no choice. I’m forcing myself to write, and I’m ‘finding’ time to get it done.

Over the past month, I’ve definitely felt myself become a bit lazier. And to be honest, I’ve needed to. I’ve been going full out for several months, and I’ve needed to slow down. But I didn’t expect my momentum would disappear. But when I started thinking about it, things made sense. 

An illustration of Newton balls at rest.

I’ve mentioned before that I like streaks. When I commit to something, I commit to it. But once I slow down, things go off the rails. Quickly. Let me give you some examples.

When I’m in, I’m all in

Starting sometime in the early 2000s, I started playing soccer. I joined a team in a Sunday league. I played every week. I never missed a game. When I started at my university, I also played with the professors weekly. Again, I never missed a game. I decided it was time to stop playing in the Suday league sometime around 2014–15. 

And once I stopped, that was it. I played with the professors from time to time, but it didn’t have to be weekly. It was more “when I felt like it,” and as time passed, I felt like it less and less. I haven’t played soccer in over two years.

Back in 2009, I started cycling. For the first three years or so, I cycled to work, but then I started going on longer rides. In 2012, I got into long-distance cycling after joining a 375 km ride that had to be completed in 24 hours. 

A picture of me doing some long distance cycling somewhere in Korea.

Over the next 5-6 years, I rode almost daily. Every weekend involved a long ride. Rides of 100 km were nothing. My light work schedule allowed me to ride daily. There were times when I had a 3-4 hour break between classes where I’d jump on my bike for an hour.

But after completing multiple 1,000 and 1,200 km rides, my interest started to wane. I realized that I was focusing too much on planning the rides, thinking about the checkpoints. I was picturing the ride being over before it started. 

I realized I wasn’t enjoying the long rides anymore, though I continued to cycle to work. I had cycled in almost any kind of weather unless it was impossible to ride safely. But I found myself looking for excuses to avoid riding more and more. “Oh, it looks like it might rain. I should drive to work today.”

COVID hit me the same way it hit many others—enter the sedentary lifestyle

Then, when COVID hit and I started working from home, cycling stopped completely. I haven’t been on my bike in over two years. My bike has sat in the entryway of my apartment, untouched. It’s become an umbrella rack.

A picture of my unused bike, now serving as an umbrella rack.

I used to be so into cycling that I’d source a bike when returning home for a vacation. If I went back to Canada tomorrow, I wouldn’t be looking for a bike, and I wouldn’t be packing my cycling gear.

And speaking of trips home, I’ve noticed an interesting trend. The same thing keeps happening about 18 months before we actually go on vacation. This was before we’d even decided where or when to go). I’d decide it was time to lose weight. Over the past decade, my weight has fluctuated between 105 kg and 75 kg—several times. 

When I go on a diet and exercise regime, I get down to around 75 kg. This has coincidentally happened in time to go home and see family and friends. I arrive slim and healthy. But when I’m back home, there’s lots of food I haven’t had in years. And I’m on vacation, so the diet goes out the window. Who wants to be worrying about food and weight while on vacation. It’s only a month, right? 

Weight loss is about two things—diet & exercise

I always return to Korea a few kilos heavier, but I’m determined I’ll lose the weight again. But what happens? My momentum disappears, and the weight comes back. Remember when I talked about long-distance cycling. One year I cycled more than 10,000 km—and I still gained weight. If that’s not proof that you can’t out-train a bad diet, I don’t know what is.

A picture of a healthy meal of pork, asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

I’ve been on my current diet for over 18 months. After losing some weight at the start, I plateaued. This was because my lifestyle had become sedentary—due to COVID and my new job. No more commuting to work by bike, coupled with spending 10+ hours a day at my computer wasn’t good for weight loss. 

I can count the number of times I’ve eaten before 5 pm over the past 18 months on one hand. But that wasn’t been enough to lose weight.

If you read one of my previous blogs, you’ll remember I recently bought a rowing machine. Since buying it, I’ve rowed for 30 minutes every day. Since I bought it on January 30th, I haven’t missed a single day. And I’ve dropped 5 kg in two months. I’ve got a ways to go, but at least I’m making progress again. 

Like anyone who exercises, there are days I don’t feel like doing it, but I force myself. I know myself. And I know that if I lose that momentum, it won’t be long until that rowing machine becomes a clothes rack. 😉

A picture of a young man doing a push up.

In December, I did a pushup challenge. I did five pushups on day one, ten pushups on day two, and so on. Following that math, I did 155 pushups on December 31st (in several sets). In January, I decided to keep doing 100 pushups a day. It’s the end of March, and thus far, I’ve done 9,000 push-ups. I haven’t missed a single day—momentum.

As long as I maintain my momentum, all’s good

I started playing the guitar again back in 2014. I estimate I’ve missed less than ten days of practice, excluding trips abroad. I play every day for at least half an hour when I’m at home. I’d play for several hours a day when I had my university job. 

It can be a struggle to find 40 minutes to practice these days—but I find the time. You’d think with all that practice, I’d be a decent guitarist. Come to my band’s next gig—I’ll prove you wrong! But I am better than I used to be, so we’ll call that progress. Slow, painful progress, but progress nonetheless. But at least I haven’t lost my momentum.

A screenshot of my 1295 day streak on Duolingo.

I’ve been using Duolingo for years to study Korean. Even though I ‘finished’ the Korean course ages ago, I still spend 10 minutes reviewing every day. I’ve got a 1,295 day streak going as I write this post. Like everything else, I’m pretty sure if I take a day or two off, I’ll stop doing it before long. I don’t want to lose that momentum.

There’s another reason I ‘force’ myself to do these things every day. If I study Korean, do push ups, spend 30 minutes on the rowing machine, and play the guitar, I’ve accomplished something each day. I don’t need to get better or make progress every day, but if I do these things, no day is a complete waste.

Losing momentum doesn’t need to be the end—you just need to figure out how to get it back

What’s the point of this post? Not sure. It’s mainly me rambling, trying to get back into the blogging rhythm. And in the midst of this rambling, I’ve recognized how important momentum is to me. 

A photo of the 'new post' page on WordPress.

Looking back on things, it’s evident that once I start losing momentum, I completely lose momentum. So this blog post is about me regaining momentum. Even regaining the momentum to post every 3–to 4 weeks will ensure I don’t give up on this blog. And this weekend, I’m going to get my Instagram posting prep back on track to ensure I maintain that momentum too.

When you have a cheat day, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your diet. But for me, it only takes two or three cheat days in a row for my momentum to evaporate. That’s why I value streaks and consistency. It’s why I need to find a cadence for blog writing that fits my new 3-4 week timeframe. And I will.

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