My Goals Report - April 2021

Journal

The monthly post where I update you about my goals and how they're going.


Table of contents

Here's a link to last month's goal report that had more details about each of these.

Health

💪 Get six pack abs

I abandoned this goal last month. I'm still attempting to eat broadly healthily, but getting takeaways far too often. Most days I've been intermittent fasting (ie: skipping breakfast) upon Dave Asprey's advice in the book Fast This Way.

🧘‍♀️ Fix my posture

I have a serious issue with anterior pelvic tilt + nerd neck + rounded shoulders. My bum sticks out like a Kardashian, and not in a good way. This is thanks to decades of sitting on a desk in front of a computer.

I've been half-arsing this particular goal. Other than spending around 30% of my desk time in standing mode, I haven't made much progress towards fixing my posture. I know it involves daily stretching and strengthening exercises (hip flexor stretches, glute bridges etc) but I haven't yet built the habit.

Mar 2021 Action Point - Find a default stretching and mobility routine that I can do while watching TV or while standing at my desk in Zoom calls.

Update - Someone DMd me on Instagram after reading last month's post, and pointed me towards this video by Jeff Nippard. It made me question my goal of 'fix my posture' and made me wonder if maybe it's not all bad. Given the abundance of conflicting information on the internet, I should ask my personal trainer about this.

Apr 2021 Action Point - Ask my personal trainer about whether I need to 'fix' my posture and if so, how to go about it.

👅 Get more hench

No changes to report since last month. The YouTube comments of 'your biceps are getting bigger' have fallen in frequency sadly. I've also dropped down to 2 Zoom sessions per week with my personal trainer, which feels more generally sustainable. And thanks to the UK lockdown rules loosening a little, I've restarted tennis lessons, which should hopefully contribute to some level of calorie burn / cardiovascular health.

👽 Live longer and healthier

Still not going well.

I need to do more reading around the 80/20 of things I should cut out from my diet and lifestyle - I suspect I'm eating quite a lot in the way of inflammatory foods, artificial sugars, low-quality fats etc. Right now, I know that some of these are Bad but I don't know how Bad they are and what the evidence for their Badness is. Maybe this would be a good blog post + video to research this month.

Mar 2021 Action Point - Ask my team to research a video around "How to Live Longer and Healthier" or something like that.

Apr 2021 Update - Completely forgot that this was a thing. I've now asked my team about it so we'll see what happens.

Happiness

✍️ Do more journaling

Journaling is apparently good for one's health and wellbeing. I've been enjoying doing Morning Pages most mornings. It's brought me some level of mental clarity. I normally write a few dozen to a few hundred words in Roam, and then every so often I copy and paste them into Day One, the journaling app I've been using for years.

Days in which I've journalled (app: Day One)

🥰 Be more grateful

In my live-streamed interview with Justin Kan (co-founder of Twitch), we talked about various strategies for wellness. Justin's favourite is Gratitude Journaling - each morning, he writes down 3 things that he's grateful for. This is a ridiculously simple practise, and I've been hearing about it on the grapevine for years - apparently there's some evidence that it does more to boost your happiness than a doubling of your salary.

Either way, after hearing him wax lyrical about it, I decided to give it a go. I'll report back next month.

Action Point - Gratitude Journal everyday, and include screenshots in next month's Goals Report.

Apr 2021 Update - I've been doing this occasionally. As part of my Roam daily note template, where I have my Morning Pages prompt, I have a gratitude section that I sometimes fill in. Here are some examples.

I don't feel like this has made a meaningful difference to my happiness, but it's a nice thing to do each morning.

Major Projects

📖 Write a Really Good Book

Mar 2021 - I'm on the verge of officially signing with a literary agent, and I'm working with David Moldawer to help whip the book proposal into shape before we try to get a US publishing deal.

I really want the book to become a NYT bestseller. But this is a tricky goal because (a) it's really hard to do, and (b) I don't like having goals that are outside of my control.

Apr 2021 Update - I've now signed with a literary agent (Kate Evans from Peters Fraser Dunlop). She's great.

And while it would be nice to shoot for the NYT list, and I'll do whatever I can on the marketing front to increase the odds of that happening, it's far more important for me to write a book that I'm happy with. So whenever I think about the book goals, I try and remind myself of the internal goal (writing a book I love) rather than the external one (becoming a bestseller).

Remember to join my Book Journey mailing list if you want updates 😀

Medicine

🏥 Work part-time in A&E

I'm still waiting for my paperwork to be processed because I can go back to work. The plan is to work a few days each week in the Emergency Department of my local hospital. Hopefully, fingers crossed, things get sorted out in the next few weeks so I'll have more of an update next month.

🧠 Become a Medical Educator

I enjoy teaching Medicine much more than actually practising it. My mid- to long-term goal is to get some sort of flexible teaching position at a medical school so I can teach people in real life, when the pandemic stops. From 2019-2020, I was a physiology supervisor at Girton College, Cambridge, which was super fun. I quit the post in August 2020, intending to travel the world, but the pandemic put a stop to that, and so I haven't done much in the way of medical education for the past few months.

Not sure I can be bothered with doing Zoom teaching sessions, so I think we'll park this particular goal until real-life teaching opens up again.

🪣 The Medicine Bucket List

  • Work in different countries - I'd love to try my hand at working in Emergency Medicine in different countries. Step 1 is to get reasonably good at it, probably starting off in the UK. Step 2 is to explore other cool places to travel to where I can be useful. I like the idea of Australia / New Zealand / South Africa.
  • Doctors without Borders - I love the idea of doing humanitarian medical stuff. The book War Doctor by David Nott really inspired me last year. This is a very long-term plan because generally, to be useful in these environments, you have to know what you're doing (whereas I'll be in training for at least the next 5 years).

Learning Cool Stuff

🎨 Become a Concept Artist

I'm still taking art lessons over Zoom 2-3 times per week. But things have been slower this month because my art teacher and I have mostly spent our time discussing an exciting new project we're working on together, rather than actually doing art. Oh well.

🧞‍♂️ Join the Magic Circle

Background - In an attempt to increase my sexual market value, I've been dabbling in close-up magic since 2011. When I was at university, I used to perform at end-of year balls and parties. Since I've graduated, I haven't taken magic particularly seriously.

But then, a few weeks ago when a chap called Matthew Le Mottée emailed me. He's a professional magician based in Cambridge, an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle, and has won the Magic Circle Close-Up Magician of the Year competition 3 times. This is a huge deal in the world of magic.

In return for free access to my Part-Time YouTuber Academy, he's become my Magic Mentor, and we're working on getting me into the Magic Circle. This involves building a 8-12 minute magic act to perform in an audition to other members of the Magic Circle + judges.

Mar 2021 - We've just started figuring out what routines I might do during the act, and brainstorming ideas for incorporating storytelling elements into it. It's been quite fun so far.

Apr 2021 Update - Lessons going well. I ordered a really nice set of Cups and Balls from Brett Sherwood, which arrived a few days ago. Here's a quick TikTok I made practising some moves.

@aliabdaal

I need a wizard name. Please comment suggestions ##magic ##magician ##harrypotter ##wizard

♬ Harry Potter Theme Song - Ost

🎤 Learn to Freestyle Rap ✅

In February 2021, I started a 30-day experiment to try and learn to freestyle rap. After seeing the likes of Chris Turner and Harry Mack on YouTube, I thought "this is really cool" and decided I wanted to learn it. Here's a video showing my journey.

I think I'm going to abandon this as a goal now that I've ticked it off. Freestyle rap is fun, but it's not something I particularly care to practise and actively improve at.

👩‍🎤 Busk on the London Underground

This has been on my bucket list for a few years. There's a few action steps:

  1. Audition for a license (yes, you need to audition to be legit enough to get a license for the London Underground). This is stalled because of the pandemic.
  2. Build a set list of 15 songs that I can sing on repeat - I've got around 12. Need to work on some more.

Life + Relationships

💕 Take Dating more seriously

My brother and I had a really interesting conversation with Joey Savoie on our podcast, Not Overthinking. Here's a clip that relates to dating that changed the way I approach one aspect of it.

💌 Make more of an effort to stay in touch with friends

Going reasonably well. I've been having occasional phone calls with friends more often than I used to. Still plenty of room for improvement.

Business Stuff

  1. This website - Going well. We've got some decent articles on here, and we've been working to sort out all the various errors that have accumulated over the past 5 years.
  2. Main channel - Ticking along.
  3. Second channel - Hasn't quite started ticking along, but should hopefully start to tick this month.
  4. Part-Time YouTuber Academy - We wrapped up Cohort 2 of the course. It was super fun. Might write a retrospective about it later if I feel like it.
  5. Mailing List - Switched over to ConvertKit, ticking along. Rebranded to the Friendzone.
  6. TikTok - We started taking this seriously a few weeks ago, and the account's on 11k followers now!
  7. Instagram - Ticking along.
  8. Twitter - Ticking along.

Overall Plan for the Month

Now that we've wrapped up the second cohort of the Part-Time YouTuber Academy, I've got more spare time on my hands to focus on book-writing. We're aiming to have the proposal done and dusted by the end of May, so 2 more months of continuing to thrash around with a tonne of ideas and trying to figure out what the underlying thread through the book is going to be.

Thanks for reading!


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